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2011 According to Top Environment Blogs


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In 2011, nearly 3,000 monthly weather records were broken in the U.S. alone, and extreme weather events cost the country over $50 billion dollars.

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been collecting 2011 retrospective posts that appear in my Google Reader. I culled the above factoids (and the accompanying links) from, where I also learned that atmospheric greenhouse gases attained record levels this year, and that 2011 is the 11th hottest year on record.

In his roundup over at, Joe Romm discusses some of the climate-related consequences that have come to light during the last twelve months. He believes 2011’s most important climate story to be the threat posed to global food security by extreme weather and warming-induced drought.

Romm also mentions Jeremy Grantham’s analysis of Earth’s remaining resources (I’ve posted about it on Batshite before) in which Grantham identifies an “unsustainable surge in demand and not just ‘peak oil’, but peak everything”.

The responses to these looming developments have varied from lukewarm to passionate and proactive. Lackluster initiatives include the recent United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP 17) in Durban, South Africa, where world political leaders decided to delay the creation of a new global emission treaty for a decade.

On the other end of the spectrum, urgent passion was displayed this autumn by climate activists all around the world, especially in Washington, and their efforts culminated in the indefinite delay of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have transported carbon-dense oil from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

Image credit: flickr user Robbert van der Steeg

As well, 2011 saw some encouraging developments in the clean energy sector, including a 40% drop in the cost of solar power and studies highlighting the massive potential of geothermal energy. I think you’ll find both the clean energy retrospective at as well as the one at to be very encouraging.

Also at, guest blogger Greg Hanscom points to cities as hubs of sustainability and change with a list of the “Top Cities Stories of 2011”.

Finally, over at, Michael Graham Richards talks about what he sees as a recent decline in mainstream interest in environmental issues, possibly due to an increased focus on the economy.

2011 has been a good year for It’s also been its only year (other than a few posts in December 2010)! Thank you for visiting–I hope you all rejoin me on the other side of New Year’s Eve.

Here’s hoping for a productive 2012.

(P.S. The next post will be my 200th, which I hope to complete before 2011 runs out. So, expect a post on that tomorrow.)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 01/01/2012 7:31 PM

    A concise retrospective, thanks. Not sure if we should feel encouraged or discouraged! There is so much potential for things to turn around… and such a nasty track record implying the opposite.

    Keep up the good work with the blog, I enjoy reading your posts.

    • 01/02/2012 4:01 PM

      Thank you, I’m glad. I’ve decided on a new approach for 2012–less frequent posts, but lengthier and more in-depth. We’ll see how that goes!

      As for 2012’s environmental prospects, I’ve mixed feelings. It seems that progress is likely to come mostly from businesses and individuals, rather than governments.

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