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Posts Tagged ‘security’

How Do Greenhouse Gases Trap Heat in the Atmosphere?

by February 26, 2012

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What Do We Need To Know About Rare Earth Metals?

by May 5, 2011

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Photo credit: Giles Douglas

The short answer is: lots. This recent piece on rare earth metals in the New York Times is eye opening. The fact that each Toyota Prius uses a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of neodymium—an element that I honestly had not known even existed—is worth understanding. This article highlights the challenges facing companies who have been planning to recycle rare earth metals from old electronics, as well as the reality that China controls the vast majority of the rare earth market.

For me, that there is a role of elements like neodymium in our energy system, underscores its complexity. Obviously, Marvin just nibbles away at the edges of that complexity in our recent video created by Robert Deutsch. This is exactly the type of issue that we plan to address in efforts like our planned Media Challenge focused on energy topics.

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How To Weigh Fairly the Health Risks of Nuclear Energy?

by May 5, 2011

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Photo credit, Sakucae

In her recent op-ed in the New York Times entitled “Unsafe at Any Dose,” physician Helen Caldicott presents a compelling health-based argument against nuclear energy. Specifically, she argues that the long-term consequences of nuclear plant disasters, like at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, are often understated. She argues that medical doctors should be consulted more frequently about cancer risks, rather than policymakers and others relying on evidence provided by physicists. She feels this is particularly true in relation to the risk of cancer from radioactive material that is ingested, such as would happen when foods are contaminated.

As I pointed out in this earlier post (Having A Rational Discussion in the Wake of the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster), weighing the costs and benefits of nuclear energy will obviously have to take into account health risks from radiation following inevitable malfunctions. Caldicott’s piece certainly gives me pause, because of the challenge to get our arms around some of the long-term risks that she cites. (more…)

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So, Why Energy?? — The Rationale Behind Choosing Energy For Our Media Challenge

by April 19, 2011

For our upcoming, yearlong Media Challenge, we at Dialogue Earth wanted to choose a topic that is both of importance to our collective future and that is consistently on people’s minds.

Energy was a topic that fit very well with these considerations.

Through its varying forms, energy is a topic that most people think about and must make important decisions about on a daily basis. Whether strategizing about what day of the week you should fill up your gas tank — and if you should fill up all the way, for that matter — or remembering to turn off your lights in an unoccupied room to save money on that monthly electric bill. (more…)

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Nuclear Energy: Having A Rational Discussion in the Wake of the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster

by April 17, 2011

3686680582_c4e2a0c7fa_mIn a recent post on the Strategy + Business blog, Booz & Company analysts highlights the conundrum we face as a society in charting our energy future. Specifically, the authors provide an excellent argument for not taking nuclear off the table, stating, “The stakes are too high right now to base either political or business decisions on any rush to judgment.” Rather, they suggest that there may be no better time than in the wake of the disaster in Japan to focus our attention on increasing the safety of nuclear energy.

It may well be too early to have a rush to judgment about nuclear. We at Dialogue Earth echo the sentiment of the authors who emphasized the need for increasing public understanding of the risks and benefits of various energy sources. This is our reason for launching a year-long campaign to increase public understanding on energy topics like nuclear. We think of it as basic “energy literacy,” and it will be the focus of our inaugural Media Challenge.

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Energy Security: What It Includes Is A Matter of Perspective

by April 15, 2011

Security, as it relates to the topic of energy, is front and center lately, with oil prices on the rise and the nuclear disaster in Japan. Earlier this week, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) released an open letter to the American people and our leaders on the issue of “energy security.” As was highlighted by Andy Revfkin’s post on the Dot Earth blog, the former U.S. Senators and high-ranking officials from previous administrations zero in on reducing our “oil intensity” and setting up the systems and accountability to achieve this goal.

Oil intensity is the amount of oil needed per unit of GDP. It is clear from the piece that their focus is by and large on economic and national security aspects of energy policy. As pointed out by Revkin, economic and national security often trump considerations having to do with the environment. (more…)

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The Gulf Oil Disaster: a peek at the nature of its media coverage

by February 25, 2011

When the Deepwater Horizon wellhead blew out on April 20th this past spring, as with what happens in most catastrophic events, the media went into frenzy.  What followed was a continuous feed of news stories about the Gulf disaster for a little longer than three months. These stories not only described what had happened, but also speculated as to what should happen, made measures of accountability, debated on restorative and retributive justice and described the potential impacts on economic markets and environmental systems as a direct or secondary effect of the spill.

Articles were written from a few varying perspectives: the heartfelt human interest stories, which pushed to convey empathy by humanizing the events; stories told on the basis of markets, externalities, profit and loss; pieces highlighting the corresponding actions of heads of government and policy makers, and stories illustrating the threats that the disaster posed to ecological systems and also populations reliant on these systems.

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