All the News That's Fake To Print

Sherman, set the Way-Back machine to last November, when we awoke one morning to find our fair city flooded with copies of a painstakingly crafted spoof of the New York Times. The prankster activists behind it, the Yes Men, put the fake Times together to call attention to the war in Iraq -- and now they've struck again.

If you're lucky, you caught a glimpse this morning of a New York Post headline that screamed, "WE'RE SCREWED." Although it may not have even raised an eyebrow -- this is the Post we're talking about -- a closer inspection reveals that the entire issue deals with global climate change. Admittedly, that's the kind of thing the Post wouldn't touch, except to allow the paper's editorial board to break out its awe-inspiring arsenal of four-letter words and aim it at the liberal menace.

More »

Lights Out for Empire State Building, Others on Saturday's "Earth Hour"

nasablackout.jpgIf you enjoyed seeing a dimmer New York skyline during the 2003 blackout, you may get some pleasure from the March 28 "Earth Hour." On that date from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., several large New York buildings will cut their lights as part of a 1,000-city effort to highlight the climate crisis (though its actual effect on global energy use will probably be negligible). Earth Hour is the World Wildlife Fund's idea. Among the participants are the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, and the U.N., whose Secretary-General endorses it as a message of support for earth-friendliness to the December Copenhagen Climate Conference. Citizens are encouraged to take part, too. "So the question is, how the hell are we supposed to entertain ourselves without electricity?" ask the Martini Boys. " The obvious answer: sex with ugly people." Photo via NASA.

Watchdog: City Calls for Use of Illegal Rainforest Wood in Contract

rainforest.jpgIn the interests of preserving the world's rainforests, New York State Finance Law 165 names certain tropical hardwoods that can't be used in state business. Among these woods is apitong, which comes from Malaysian old-growth rainforests.

But Rainforest Relief says they've noticed that a contract the Department of Sanitation has bid out -- and for which they've already received proposals -- specifies the use of apitong for the construction of flooring for flatbed trailers at its North Shore Marine Transfer Station. (See the middle of the second page.)

Rainforest Relief's executive director Tim Keating tells us he'd like to "get the city off all tropical hardwood," and has been fighting to get the applicable laws changed to that effect. (The Marine Transfer Station plans include lots of greenheart wood, which is technically legal but, Keating says, enormously unnecessary and wasteful.) In the meantime, they're pressing the city to at least make sure the materials they specify for use aren't overtly against the law.

Bloomberg Panel Says Floods, Hurricanes on the Way, Eventually



During the campaign Obama said his election would presage the "moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." Today Mayor Bloomberg exempted New York from that forecast. His expert New York City Panel on Climate Change predicts "extreme weather events" over the next century. By the 2020s, rainfall may rise as much as 5 percent, sea levels by 5 inches. It doesn't sound like much, and it's pretty consistent with previous analysis, but even these rates increase the likelihood of hurricanes, floods, and droughts, the panel says, though not all at the same time. And later in the century, the risk of disaster-movie weather increases. (Full report pdf here.)

We console ourselves with the cheering thought that we'll be long dead before things get really bad, but the Mayor feels obliged to think ahead, and says the city's Adaptation Task Force will use the data to "create a plan to protect the city's critical infrastructure and will inform other city efforts to adapt to climate change." So as soon as the stimulus money rolls in, let's all head down to the Battery and to the Rockaways and build up those seawalls.

Earth Wind & Fire: Bloomberg Solicits Renewable Energy Ideas

bloomenergy.jpgMayor Bloomberg's looking to harness the power of the earth, sun, and wind to meet our energy needs. He announced in a speech to the 2008 National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas that the City is soliciting firms "with strong track records in producing renewable energy" to send their "best ideas" -- which, he suggested, might include "dramatically increasing rooftop solar power production," "geothermal energy," and "windfarms atop our bridges and skyscrapers."

"I think it would be a thing of beauty," said the Mayor, "if, when Lady Liberty looks out on the horizon, she not only welcomes new immigrants, but lights their way with a torch powered by an ocean windfarm."

Just in case that's not enough, Bloomberg also wants to "increase our capacity of safe and clean nuclear-generated power."

Gaia Scientist: Enjoy Life; Global Warming Will Doom Us All

Categories: Climate Crisis

The Guardian newspaper asked climate scientist James Lovelock—who formulated the Gaia hypothesis while working for NASA— what could be done about climate change. Lovelock's answer: Not much.

"There have been seven disasters since humans came on the earth, very similar to the one that's just about to happen. I think these events keep separating the wheat from the chaff. And eventually we'll have a human on the planet that really does understand it and can live with it properly. That's the source of my optimism."

What would Lovelock do now, I ask, if he were me? He smiles and says: "Enjoy life while you can. Because if you're lucky it's going to be 20 years before it hits the fan."

Flash Floods and a Hell Commute May Return on Friday

Categories: Climate Crisis

That stuff you see hovering over Ohio may wreck your Friday commute, according to the National Weather Service.
Satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

It could be another horrible commute on Friday morning. The National Weather Service issued the following warning at about 4 pm on Thursday (forgive the shouting, the NWS gets very excited about these things):


More »

Should the Brooklyn Cyclones Be Renamed the Tornados?


It's less than 24 hours after the National Weather Storm confirmed that a tornado touched down in Brooklyn and already people are trying to make a buck selling T-shirts on ebay.

Maybe the Brooklyn Cyclones— who recently made some waves with the Marty Markowitz bobblehead—should adopt the Tornado moniker? Or maybe the Nets should become the Brooklyn Tornados?

A Mighty Wind in Brooklyn

Photos by Neil DeMause
Even some of the oldest trees in Brooklyn were no match for a tornado. The car didn't fare too well either.

While the Bay Ridge tornado got all the initial press, Mother Nature opened up a major can of whoop-ass on Ditmas Park (aka "Victorian Flatbush") as well.

More »

Me & Al Gore in the Convent

Categories: Climate Crisis
Saint Brendan was a navigator, so the church named for him in the Norwood section of the Bronx has the gently sloping lines of a sailing ship on its exterior and the feeling of a vessel's hull inside. Next door on 207th Street, the parish school and convent are less interesting to the eye, inside or out. But in one of the convent's rooms is a big-screen television, and that's what twenty or so mostly gray haired parishioners schlepped in to see after mass yesterday: a big TV, a former vice president, and an argument for saving the planet from/for humankind.

To those of theater-going age and/or inclination, "An Inconvenient Truth" is old news, and not something that has much to do with the Good News. But the people at Interfaith Works think global warming's potential to unalterably change Creation does have, hmmmm, religious implications. And they understand that a lot of people of faith haven't been to a movie theater since The Duke died. So they arranged with Paramount Pictures to send screener copies out to houses of worship around the country, spreading the Gospel of Al, kind of like Paul was always dashing off notes to the Corinthians.

More »