Climate & Energy

The $3 trillion shopping spree

How are you going to spend your $3 trillion? I just put this in my cart.

Colbert on gas prices and oil profits

(thanks LL!)

Break up with your utility company ... or get dumped

Millions of Americans may not be able to afford heat or power this year

So, I spent almost $2,000 today ... to fill up our oil tank. We heat primarily with wood, but we use oil as a backup system to keep the pipes from freezing and occasionally on days when we're going to be out for an extended period. Our hot water is also heated with oil. For whatever reason, most oil heat in the U.S. is in the Northeast, mostly in towns beyond gas lines like mine. I suspect today's purchase may well be the last tank of heating oil we ever buy. Unfortunately, that's not true for most Americans.

Polar-bear listing would hurt the poor, says industry

If the U.S. Interior Department decides that polar bears are endangered, litigation will be immediate from a group arguing that bear protection will “result in higher energy prices across the board, which will disproportionately be borne by minorities.” So says Roy Innis, chair of the Congress for Racial Equality — a recipient of Exxon funding that has recently aligned itself with activists opposing the environmental movement. Industry groups will rely heavily on the CRE lawsuit to “give us a very high-visibility national media platform on day one,” says Jim Sims of the Western Business Roundtable, who says the CRE can …

Timothy LaSalle of Rodale on the surprising climate benefits of organic farming

Organic methods: good for carrots and for the climate. The Rodale Institute, founded by organic farming visionary J.I. Rodale, is one of the nation’s leading organic-farming research and advocacy organizations. Today, Rodale sits on a 333-acre farm near Kutztown, Penn., home to the longest-running U.S. field trials study to compare organic and conventional farming practices. I had a chance recently to talk with the Institute’s executive director, Timothy LaSalle, about Rodale’s vision, its work, and how it sees agriculture as part of a crucial response to climate change. Our conversation touched on some of the key findings of the Institute’s …

Gearing up for an eco-week

McCain kicks off series of environmental events with address in N.J.

John McCain gave a campaign speech in New Jersey today in which he touched on environmental issues and talked up his record in that area. “There is no doubt our environment is globally challenged,” McCain said in a stop at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, N.J. “I’m proud of my environmental record.” But as some enviros in the state were quick to point out, that record is mixed at best (take, for example, his lifetime League of Conservation Voters score of 24 percent and his 2007 score of zero). “His words say one thing, his record puts him …

Coal is the enemy of the human race: Criminal negligence edition

Mining accidents and deaths cause a flurry of press coverage and then fade into our collective memory. But for a moment, let’s think back to those horrific weeks last year as we waited to find out the fate of the trapped miners in Crandall Canyon … only to be bitterly disappointed. Now look: The general manager and possibly other senior staff at the Crandall Canyon Mine near Huntington, Utah, where 9 miners died in August 2007, hid information from federal mining officials that could have prevented the disaster and should face criminal charges, according to a Congressional investigation whose results …

Life after coal

We can’t wait for new nukes, so what do we do now?

Suppose the leaders of this country were wise enough to put a moratorium on traditional coal (the most urgent climate policy needed, as discussed here)? How will we meet our steadily growing demand for carbon-free power over the next decade? And to get on the 450 ppm path, we don't just need to stop U.S. emissions from rising -- we should return to 1990 levels (or lower) by 2020. Nuclear Nuclear is an obvious possibility, beloved of conservative Francophiles like McCain and Gingrich, but energy realists understand that it is very unlikely new nuclear plants could deliver many kilowatt-hours of electricity by 2018, let alone affordable kwh. Indeed, back in August, Tulsa World reported: American Electric Power Co. isn't planning to build any new nuclear power plants because delays will push operational starts to 2020, CEO Michael Morris said Tuesday ...Builders would also have to queue for certain parts and face "realistic" costs of about $4,000 a kilowatt, he said ..."I'm not convinced we'll see a new nuclear station before probably the 2020 timeline," Morris said. And that in spite of the amazing subsidies and huge loan guarantees for nuclear power in the 2005 energy bill (see here).

U.S. fails to be climate leader because of war, says Obama

The war in Iraq is one reason the U.S. is such an environmental laggard, Barack Obama said in a CNN interview Thursday. “I think the way we have run this war in Iraq has … led us to ignore the critical needs for us to focus on a sound energy policy in this country,” Obama told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “It has left us unable to lead on critical global issues like global warming.” Americans, said Obama, “want to succeed, they want to get a college education. They want to be scientists. They want to be, you know, on the cutting …

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