June 2007

Hummer vs. Prius


Fish and Whales
Salton Sea Update
D.C. Still Cherry-Picking
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Freight Transport
Oakland, Calif.  

First meeting of the Task Force responsible for providing input to the Port of Oakland’s Air Quality Improvement Plan will be held at the West Oakland Senior Center, 1724 Adeline Street, Oakland, from 3:45-7:30 p.m. Stakeholders, especially West Oakland residents, are invited to attend. For more information, contact us.


West County Indicators
Richmond, Calif.

Community leaders and residents will convene to draft indicators of economic, environmental, and community health issues, focusing on seven major issue areas: violence, racial justice, community economic development, housing & gentrification, youth & education, environment & land use, and community capacity & social networks. The Steering Committee still seeks new participants. The meeting will be held from 5:30-8 p.m. For more information, contact us.

Hummer: Greener than the Prius?

Don’t Bet Your Gas On It  

Hummer versus PriusAn automotive marketing company made a startling claim in a study released earlier this year: the Hummer H3 and other SUVs have a lower life-cycle energy cost than the Toyota Prius and other hybrids. This analysis raised some eyebrows at the Pacific Institute, and we decided to take a look at the science behind this surprising finding.


Carl Sagan once said “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” The Institute’s closer analysis suggests that the report’s conclusions lack such proof, and instead contains dubious science and analysis. In fact, reanalysis suggests that common sense prevails: fuel efficient cars consume less energy than inefficient ones. Learn more:



  The Fish and the Whales

Fish and whalePublic attention was riveted on California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta last month, as two wayward humpback whales made their way back to the Pacific Ocean. At the same time, and of far less apparent public interest, another crisis below the surface of the delta had reached a boiling point. New scientific surveys revealed that a tiny fish — the delta smelt — appears to be heading for rapid extinction. More:

The Drama Below the Surface


Dead FishThe California Resources Agency submitted a preferred alternative for restoration of the Salton Sea to the California Legislature on May 25. In response, the Pacific Institute and the Salton Sea Coalition urged legislators to take immediate action to implement consensus elements of the plan.
“The Secretary had the unenviable task of trying to develop a consensus plan to protect the enormously important but complex Salton Sea. We commend him for the tremendous amount of time he devoted to this effort, and for moving the restoration project to the next phase,” said Institute Senior Associate Michael Cohen. Learn more:

  Salton Sea Restoration Plan Submitted
Institute, Coalition Urge Action


 White House Continues Cherry-picking Data
And Who Wrote the Soundbite?


George WashingtonThroughout the first half of 2007, the White House has falsely claimed that the United States is doing better than Europe in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This claim was officially made by the White House on February 7 and has been repeated in various forms by the White House Press Secretary, the Council on Environmental Quality Chairman, and the Science Advisor to the President — as recently as May 31.


The White House is misusing science and data to make this claim, as the Pacific Institute first pointed out on March 8. On June 1, the Institute released an update that revealed a surprising source of the claim. Learn More:






Additional Media Highlights

Southwest Water Woes Living on Earth, 5/4/07
West Oakland: 53 Liquor stores, 0 grocery stores … indybay.org, 5/4/07
King’s visit puts focus on poverty issues Contra Costa Times, 5/5/07
Prepare for new smoke screens on global warming Sacramento Bee, 5/6/07
LA … residents learn to conserve San Jose Mercury News, 5/14/07
Is SLO County’s salty water drinkable? New Times SLO, 5/23/07

Africa starts feeling the stress of warming msnbc, 5/23/07

Sin City’s Continuous Flow U.S. News & World Report, 5/27/07

Turning water into wine San Francisco Chronicle, 6/1/07

Research challenges rain forecast models Contra Costa Times, 6/1/07