Climate & Energy

In their humble overestimation ...

IPCC likely too optimistic about recoverable coal

Anyone interested in the climate should watch this talk by Professor David Rutledge from Caltech. He makes the argument that there are a lot less recoverable fossil fuels than assumed by just about everyone, including the IPCC emissions scenarios. His conclusion is that even if we burn all the fossil fuels on the planet, atmospheric carbon dioxide will not exceed 500 ppm. Is he right?  Perhaps, although his analysis considers only conventional fossil fuels and does not take into account unconventional oil sources like tar sands or shale. He also does not consider carbon cycle feedbacks that could also add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. If true, it's undoubtedly good news for the climate but potentially bad news for our society, since it means that we will be seeing the price of energy inexorably rising in the future as competition for remaining energy resources becomes more fierce. My sense is that, while we can quibble about the numbers, it does seem likely that the IPCC emissions scenarios have overestimated recoverable coal reserves. This suggests that, at the very least, the highest emissions scenarios may be physically impossible to realize.

More anti-intellectualism from the Clinton camp

Cringe along with Terry McAuliffe, who explains why economists don’t know nothin':

Obama energy adviser Jason Grumet talks climate, coal, and green jobs

Jason Grumet. As executive director of the National Commission on Energy Policy, a bipartisan group of 20 energy experts created in 2002, Jason Grumet has come in for some flack from environmentalists. NCEP’s influential 2004 energy report called for several measures anathema to greens, including a “safety valve” that would set an upper limit on the price of carbon and CO2 permit giveaways to coal utilities and other big polluters. But Grumet’s experience finessing the contentious differences between opposing camps in the energy world clearly attracted Mr. Unity himself, Barack Obama. Grumet has been advising the Obama campaign on climate …

These criminals are slippery — very slippery

The Christian Science Monitor notices a rash of slippery thieves making off with the newest hot commodity: grease.

Nukes for all

McCain calls for 700+ new nuclear plants costing $4 trillion

"A nuke in every garage" is the GOP nominee's energy and climate plan. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) made a stunning statement on the radio show of climate change denier Glenn Beck this week: ... the French are able to generate 80 percent of their electricity with nuclear power. There's no reason why America shouldn't. The Wonk Room, which has the audio, writes of the interview, "McCain Seemingly Agrees With Glenn Beck That Solutions To Climate Change Can Be Delayed." That is lame all by itself. But the statement quoted above is even more radical. McCain is repeating his little-noticed uber-Francophile statement from his big April 2007 speech on energy policy, "If France can produce 80 percent of its electricity with nuclear power, why can't we?" Why can't we? Wrong question, Senator. The right question is, Why would we? Let's do the math.

Connecticut goes big with emissions-reducing goals

The Connecticut senate has unanimously passed a bill aimed at reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, becoming the fifth state to pass such legislation (after California, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Washington). The bill would require Connecticut to reduce emissions 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 2001 levels by 2050. If, as expected, Gov. Jodi Rell (R) signs it into law, state agencies will be required to track emissions and come up with strategies for reducing them. “We’re making a better environment, and we’re building a new green economy,” says bill sponsor Sen. Edward Meyer (D). “What fun to …

<em>BusinessWeek</em> drinks the ethanol-spiked Kool-Aid

The newsweekly uncorks a whopper in defense of crop-based fuels

The massive biofuel mandate embedded in the 2007 Energy Act, signed amid much bipartisan hoopla, is coming under heavy fire. The Wall Street Journal reported recently that two dozen Republican senators have formally asked the EPA to lower the mandate in response to heightened food prices (a power granted to the agency in the Energy Act). Perhaps not coincidentally, the food-processing giants now competing with biofuel plants for corn — think Kraft and Kellogg — have been sending hordes of lobbyists to Washington to badmouth corn-based fuel, the Journal reports. For its part, the Bush administration — erstwhile champion of …

Good sign

China vows to “actively join” post-Kyoto climate talks.

Tropical insects under grave threat from climate change, study says

Tropical insects and other temperature-dependent critters that make their home in the tropics could be in grave danger from climate change, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. As opposed to species at the world’s poles that frequently encounter a wide range of temperatures, tropical insects and other creatures live within a very narrow temperature range throughout the year, and even a change of a few degrees can mess with their physiology. “In the tropics many species appear to be living at or near their thermal optimum, a temperature that lets them …

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