Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Climate & Energy

Comments

Science orgs plead for more funding for severe-weather preparation

More floods, storms, and droughts are a-comin', and the U.S. lacks funding to predict and prepare for 'em, say eight scientific organizations. The groups, including the American Geophysical Union and American Meteorological Society, made a plea Wednesday for Congress and the next U.S. president to double the current budget for climate research and forecasting between 2010 and 2014. "With more than a quarter of the U.S. gross national product sensitive to weather and climate events, these events substantially impact our national health, safety, economy, environment, transportation systems, and military readiness," says the document. "All 50 states are impacted by these …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

Colorado utility voluntarily shuts down two coal plants

Two coal-fired power plants in Colorado will be shut down -- not because green groups sued like crazy to make it happen, but because a utility volunteered. Citing concerns about public health and greenhouse-gas emissions, Xcel Energy asked permission of state regulators to close its coal plants, and regulators have approved the plan. Xcel becomes the first utility in the country to shut down power plants on the basis of their greenhouse-gas emissions. Xcel, which is Colorado's largest utility, will replace its dirty coal power with concentrated solar and wind. "Gov. [Bill] Ritter last year called for a 20 percent …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

Toward a sensible energy plan

This is a guest post by Ted Glick, the policy director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network/U.S. Climate Emergency Council. He can be reached at usajointheworld@igc.org. He is author of "Past Future Hope" columns. ----- On August 4, the Barack Obama presidential campaign released a comprehensive program for reform of the U.S. energy system. In the words of Obama supporter, climate blogger, and author Joe Romm, it was "easily the best energy plan ever put forward by a nominee of either party." The critical question, however, is this: Is it an energy plan that will actually do the job of …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

IPCC needs to update projections to include deforestation feedbacks

The following post is by Ken Levenson, guest blogger at Climate Progress. ----- As deforestation accelerates and grows ever more concentrated the climate change consequences appear even greater than previously thought. As reported in New Scientist: Pristine temperate forest stores three times more carbon than currently estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and 60% more than plantation forests, according to research in Australia. The study: Mackey and colleagues used remote sensing and direct sampling to study eucalyptus trees at 240 sites across a 14.5-million hectare swathe of natural forest in south-east Australia. Globally? The global implications are not …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

Two of world’s richest men visit Canadian oil sands

The richest and third-richest men in the world made a surprise visit to an oil-sands operation in the Canadian province of Alberta on Monday. Investor Warren Buffett and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who are said to have a combined worth of $120 billion, "were exercising curiosity, basically saying, 'Wow, this is neat,'" says Greg Stringham of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Buffett has recently said he is interested in investing in oil sands; he invests in American oil company ConocoPhillips, which owns significant oil sands assets. If the bigwigs are interested in investing in alternatives to conventional oil, we …

Comments

‘Gang of 10,’ part 3

Part 2 began an analysis of the bipartisan compromise proposed by the "Gang of 10" senators, suggesting that their deal isn't so bad. The other evidence the deal isn't so bad is that the House GOP is threatening to refuse to vote for it. The good of the five-year extension of the renewable tax credits certainly beats the "bad" of doubly de minimis drilling. But what about the rest of the deal? More good Offsets The $84 billion in investments in conservation and efficiency in the New Era bill will be fully offset with loophole closers and other revenues. Approximately …

Comments

Meetings about clean energy conspicuously fail to identify the main barrier to it

There were two remarkable aspects of the National Clean Energy Summit: Federal policy recommendations from the varied speakers -- scientists, business types, politicians -- were largely in sync. In fact, I got sick of hearing the same policies touted over and over again: renewable tax credits, cap-and-trade, electricity grid improvements, efficiency standards, renewable mandates, increased R&D. It seems that there is broad agreement on what needs to be done. Nobody so much as mentioned the rather striking fact that this policy consensus has yielded zero actual policies at the federal level. Everyone agrees what ought to be done, but nothing's …

Comments

Climate change endangers American pika, say groups

The American pika should be listed as an endangered species because climate change could cause its extinction, say Earthjustice and the Center for Biological Diversity in a lawsuit filed Tuesday against California and the federal government. The pika, a rabbit cousin characterized by inordinate cuteness and a squeaky call, is "the polar bear of the Lower 48," says Greg Loarie of Earthjustice. Pikas live in alpine meadows and spend their summers gathering vegetation to sustain them through the winter. "Global warming threatens pikas by shortening the time available for them to gather food, changing the types of plants that grow …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

That which cannot be named

There must have been a dozen separate speakers at the summit who mentioned the need for long-term extension of the renewable tax credits (PTC and ITC). Every one of them identified it as a necessary and beneficial policy, and just about every one lamented that Congress hadn't done it. Only one speaker the whole day -- Fred Redmond, VP of the United Steelworkers union -- mentioned the following seemingly salient fact: Senate Republicans have have blocked extension of the tax credits eight times this session. T. Boone asked earlier, "Why don't they pass it?!" Weird that only Redmond knew the …

Comments

Mayor has big clean-energy goals for NYC

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg touted clean energy Tuesday at, aptly, the National Clean Energy Summit. He said his city has issued a formal request to companies for ideas on how to source electricity from the wind, sun, and waves. "Perhaps companies will want to put wind farms atop our bridges and skyscrapers, or use the enormous potential of powerful offshore winds miles out in the Atlantic Ocean," Bloomberg said, adding, "I think it would be a thing of beauty if, when Lady Liberty looks out on the horizon, she not only welcomes new immigrants but lights their way …