Tag: Rob McDonald

Population Growth, the Personal and the Political

Written by | October 19th, 2009

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One of the difficulties writing for Cool Green Science is that our name necessarily constrains our subject matter. While we are all conservationists and hence prone to write on environmental topics most of the time, the occasional truly bizarre tangents into other issues that you’d get on a personal blog as the author meandered intellectually […]

The Lessons I’ve Learned From ‘Energy Sprawl’

Written by | September 17th, 2009

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Scientists want their research to inspire serious discussion of critical issues. So I’ve been encouraged by all the discussion in the press about the recent PLoS One paper I wrote with colleagues entitled “Energy Sprawl or Energy Efficiency: Climate Policy Impacts on Natural Habitat for the United States of America.” Still, it’s unsettling sometimes to […]

Energy Sprawl and The Importance of Fact

Written by | August 26th, 2009

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During a dinner several months ago, the former U.S. ambassador C. Boyden Gray pointed a gaunt finger at me and said: “You environmentalists dislike ethanol, therefore you must want people to die.” While rhetorically grand, the accusation made little sense in the content of our dinner discussion about the potential land-use impacts of large-scale ethanol […]

New Energy Production and Nature: What Will the Impacts Be?

Written by | August 26th, 2009

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Renewable energy is poised to be the wave of the future, but what impact will it have on landscapes and wildlife? In the United States, at least 67 million acres will be developed for new energy projects by 2030. While these projects — including wind, solar and biofuels — will help reduce carbon emissions and […]

Will We Repair Our Green Infrastructure?

Written by | July 16th, 2009

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The Amtrak train sits idle in the station, as the passengers alternately make cell phone calls from the platform or drink warm beer from their seats. There’s a gas leak ahead along the tracks in Baltimore, and the whole Northeast rail corridor is shut down. Coming on the heels of the June crash in the […]

High-Speed Rail (or, Why Conservation Can’t Afford To Be Conservative)

Written by | May 20th, 2009

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Ray LaHood, President Obama’s transportation secretary, recently pledged to remake the nation’s transportation system, with the key goal of making it more environmentally sustainable. As part of that, Obama has promised to put down $8 billion to start construction of a high-speed intercity rail network. This investment is something that’s long overdue, and would correct […]

Sprawl Inequality and Climate Change

Written by | April 29th, 2009

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I’ve been studying the growth of U.S. cities from 1990 to 2000, trying to get a handle on how much habitat was lost to urban sprawl. When most people think of sprawl destroying natural habitat, they think of a big, fast growing city. Sure enough, if you look at the total number of acres lost, […]

Energy Conservation Can’t Reduce Energy Sprawl Completely

Written by | April 24th, 2009

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Chrissy Schwinn’s recent post called me to task for not talking enough in my first post about the role of personal energy conservation in reducing the amount of land impacted by new energy development. There is a tradeoff: Renewable energy generation, so crucial to meeting the goal of preventing catastrophic climate changes, takes more space […]

Nature Conservation + Renewable Energy = Personal Action

Written by | April 21st, 2009

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Renewable energy is most definitely not my area of expertise. Nor is conservation planning for that matter. But recent news, developments and blog posts by colleagues who know more have me thinking. The issue is how to make room for all the new renewable energy we will need to move to a low-carbon economy, in […]

Energy Sprawl and U.S. Climate Policy

Written by | April 16th, 2009

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The fact that renewable energy takes more space than conventional energy isn’t an environmental paradox, just a trade-off society must face.

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