Subtitle: But, No Biscuit for US or the Aussies
Author, activist and naturalist Bill McKibben is orchestrating the nationwide “Step It Up” campaign. Listen to the Bryan Walsh interview (MP3).
Bill McKibben began an article for the Christian Science Monitor with some very, very unfortunate news:
Earlier this month, a draft White House report was leaked to news outlets. The report, a year overdue to the United Nations, said that the United States would be producing almost 20 percent more greenhouse gases in 2020 than it had in 2000 and that the US contribution to global warming would be going up steadily, not sharply and steadily down, as scientists have made clear it must.
That’s a pretty stunning piece of information — a hundred times more important than, say, the jittery Dow Jones Industrial Average that garnered a hundred times the attention. How is it even possible? How, faced with the largest crisis humans have yet created for themselves, have we simply continued with business as usual?
So, what can be done? Well, CNN will air a Democratic presidential debate, live from Las Vegas, Nevada, sponsored by the “clean coal” industry — America’s Power. Get the message? There is nothing that you can do. The fix, as they say, is in.
Now if you think for one minute that you, one person, might be able to do something, then, for a start, David Roberts provides “three excellent new sites went up in the last few days, all related to the single biggest source of CO2 emissions in the world: power plants.”
CARMA contains "the world’s most detailed and comprehensive information on carbon emissions resulting from the production of electricity." You can track power plants in any zip code or any part of the world, see how much CO2 they emit, and how they rank relative to other plants. Here are some tips to get you started using the site. Fascinating stuff.
The Sierra Club’s coal plant tracker "lists every new proposed coal-fired power plant in the U.S., where it is in the permitting process and how much global warming pollution it will emit." It also has info on who’s funding the plants.
Meanwhile, Appalachian Voices just started up My Connection to Mountaintop Removal Mining. You can enter your zip code and find out whether the electricity you get from your utility comes in part from coal gathered by blowing up mountains.
And, BBC News already has done a story about the CARMA (Carbon Monitoring for Action) website that lists CO2 emissions from more than 4,000 providers and 50,000 power stations. Some conclusions from the data compiled by the Center for Global Development include:
Australians were found to be the world’s worst polluters per capita, producing five times as much CO2 from generating power as China.
The US came second with eight tonnes of the greenhouse gas per head – 16 times more than that produced by India. The US also produced the most CO2 in total, followed by China.
CARMA informs us that collectivity US power plants emit 2.5 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. “Australian power stations are the least efficient on a per capita basis, with emissions of 10 tonnes, compared with the US’s 8.2 tonnes.”