Monday, June 16, 2008

Wired gets Weird

I've got big stacks of Wired magazines in my house and office. I've been taking it since the beginning I think. I love the way the colored checker boarded spines look once you've got a year or so piled up. And for many a years, this magazine has been a great source of all things "post 93".

The other day, it occured to me that I had actually let my subscription run out. You know, you get those cards that say, no kidding, we aren't going to send these things if you don't pay us. Well, I guess after maybe 15 years, I must have stopped paying.

And it seems that it is just as well. You can always go to the web site, and Wired has been trending towards tired ever since the world went wireless anyway. And now it seems, they have also become plain old lame.

The offending article is in the 6.16 edition and is entitled "Inconvenient Truths: Get Ready to Rethink What It Means to Be Green"

Here are the 10 Truthinessisms:

Inconvenient Truths:
Get Ready to Rethink What it Means to Be Green

1: Live in Cities
Organics Are Not The Answer
Farm the Forests
China Is the Solution
Accept Genetic Engineering
Carbon Trading Doesn't Work
Embrace Nuclear Power
Used Cars — Not Hybrids
Prepare for the Worst

Now, there is a really good piece at Real Climate which pretty much exposes many of these inconvenient truths to be what they are, poorly considered thinking or even worse, plain o garden variety sophistry.

On the used car idea they say:

"The rest of the advice WIRED gives makes even less sense. They say that if you want to be green, you ought to buy a used Civic or something like that, not a Prius. That's because the used car already has the manufacturing carbon emissions "written down" (or, I guess at least the carbon guilt accrues to the original owner, not that the atmospheric radiative forcing is going to care much about that).

However, this advice, sensible-sounding though it is — ignores the fact that to make that used car available to you, the original owner almost certainly had to buy something else, and probably that was a new car, or at least a newer one. So, for the scheme to work, you'd have to buy your used Civic from somebody who was giving up driving altogether."

Real Climate also debunks the AC idea as well as the new forest idea.

And, once again, like the Future of Energy article that I wrote about in Mother Jones , Nuclear Energy is given the proverbial green light, as the author chooses to minimize the vast amount of CO2 that is emitted in the nuclear fuel processing process, the CO2 that is emitted to make the concrete in the plant, or any of the other areas of the fuel cycle, including decommissioning and waste disposal where energy is embedded. (Note: the author quotes a British report that puts these emissions at 5%).
On a positive note, I agree with the authors about carbon trading and the need to move to a simple carbon fee. I also agree that well designed dense communities should be the wave of the future.

But the last inconvenient truth is to"prepare for the worst".

"The awful truth is that some amount of climate change is a foregone conclusion. The Electric Power Research Institute in Palo Alto, California, calculates that even if the US, Europe, and Japan turned off every power plant and mothballed every car today, atmospheric CO2 would still climb from the current 380 parts per million to a perilous 450 ppm by 2070, thanks to contributions from China and India. (Do nothing and we'll get there by 2040.)

In short, we're already at least lightly browned toast. It's time to think about adapting to a warmer planet."

And then, at the end, the article quotes from the New Nuker of our age, Stewart Brand, "We are as gods and might as well get good at it."

We're in charge here. Let's get to work."

Lightly browned toast huh?
How do you run your AC and prepare for the worst?

Maybe the publishers should just go on and change the name to


Earthfamily Principles
Earthfamilyalpha Content IV
Earthfamilyalpha Content III
Earthfamilyalpha Content II
Earthfamilyalpha Content

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Blogger oZ said...

I made a substantive change to the story on Tuesday morning. The original story said that the author of the nuclear story did not consider the carbon emitted in the fuel enrichment process, etc.

That was wrong.

The author quotes a British study.

8:22 AM  

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