Climate & Energy

Tale of obsession

A review of Fields of Fuel

Fields of Fuel, directed by Josh Tickell, is visually compelling and technically polished, which unfortunately bestows a veneer of legitimacy the film does not deserve. Promotional films are stereotypically one-sided, ignoring or glossing over negatives while exaggerating and or fabricating positives. That is to be expected, but what set this film apart from your generic promotional film is Tickell's success at manipulating viewers' emotions.

'Often contradictory stances'

Mainstream media realizes that McCain’s energy rhetoric and record don’t match up

The mainstream media has started to pick up on the fact that John McCain’s energy policy is totally inconsistent. Bloomberg: As a senator, John McCain has condemned policies that pick market winners and losers, aiming …

Tropical rainforests: From bad to worse

Satellite images show rapid deforestation in Papua New Guinea and Amazon

The following post is by Ken Levenson, guest blogger at Climate Progress. Pushed from center stage by the expected record arctic ice and permafrost melt, tropical rain forest destruction has been elbowing its way back through the smoke and into view. This Mongabay article, "Papua New Guinea's rainforests disappearing faster than thought," is one such look: Previously, the forest loss was estimated at 139,000 hectares per year between 1990 and 2005. But now? Using satellite images to reveal changes in forest cover between 1972 and 2002 ... Papua New Guinea lost more than 5 million hectares of forest over the past three decades ... Worse, deforestation rates may be accelerating, with the pace of forest clearing reaching 362,000 hectares (895,000 acres) per year in 2001. The study warns that at current rates 53 percent of the country's forests could be lost or seriously degraded by 2021. Stunning. Adding insult to injury -- the good news as reported last Thursday in the New Straits Times:

Penguin declines don’t bode well for the rest of us

Penguin populations are declining, which is bad news not just for the tuxedoed birds but for, well, the world in general. A new scientific review published in the journal BioScience shows that everywhere they live, …

Big, bad John

Texas Sen. John Cornyn hearts drilling and a good brew

Okay, so this campaign ad for Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has nothing to do with the environment, but it needs to be posted: Cornyn’s latest ads focus on his energy plan, which includes offshore drilling …

Moore rules on greenhouse gas emissions

Georgia judge finds that coal plant must obtain emissions permit from state EPA

The AP has the bombshell news. A judge has finally used the Supreme Court decision that carbon dioxide is a pollutant: The construction of a coal-fired power plant in Georgia was halted Monday when a judge ruled that the plant's builders must first obtain a permit from state regulators that limits the amount of carbon dioxide emissions. Read Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore's ruling [PDF]. What did the judge find?

Anti-science conservatives must be stopped

New global warming denier article in Salon

That's the title of my new article in Salon. I had proposed "The political fight of the century," but the editors wanted a stronger headline -- and subhead: Americans must not allow global warming deniers to block the policies needed to avert catastrophic climate change. Our future is at stake. Now that the relevant science is settled -- namely that failing to quickly embrace strong greenhouse gas reduction policies would be the greatest act of self-destruction in human history -- the fight to save a livable climate will indeed be the greatest political fight of our times. As the piece concludes:

Electable energy

The importance of elections for a renewable energy economy

This article in Business Week is both a fascinating read and a perfect illustration of why national leadership is so essential for a sustainable energy future. Many environmentalists (including myself) believe that electricity generated through clean renewable sources can power not only most of our homes and industry, but also our transportation sector through plug-in cars and buses. There is little doubt that the solar and wind capacity exists, but the major obstacle is a lack of transmission lines to transport the energy from the deserts or the wind farms to the large urban areas where most power is used. This is where the federal government has to step in. First, these transmission lines are incredibly expensive, and it is unlikely that power companies will foot the bill themselves for a national grid; the total cost is in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Second, and no less important, is the fact that the siting of these lines is very cumbersome and filled with extensive red-tape, which means that it takes many years to get them off the ground. An administration that helps to both finance such a grid and to streamline the siting process is desperately needed if we are going to make serious strides in the share of renewable energy in our national energy mix. This type of work would employ hundreds of thousands of people, stimulate many local economies, and vastly upgrade America's domestic energy capacity thereby making us more energy secure. Of course, it would also help us to greatly reduce our carbon footprint. This is why elections matter so much. Eight more years of doing next to nothing on the energy front may leave America's economy and world standing so damaged that we may not be able to recover. While both political parties have their share of bad ideas and are beholden to special interests, I trust much less the party which has spent the past decades demonizing government at every turn.

The power of the state

State energy news update

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Kari Manlove, fellows assistant at the Center for American Progress. ----- On Wednesday (June 25th), Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed a historic piece of energy legislation that advances Florida one step closer to establishing a cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Florida is the first state in the Southeast to adopt a law of this nature. While Crist has prevented new coal plant construction and while this article describes a handful of solar thermal projects in Florida, Joe has followed and described some attempts by companies in Florida to pursue nuclear, encouraged by the governor. Other state progress is happening in New Hampshire, whose Governor John Lynch just recently signed his state on to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. In other power plant-related news in states, Virginia is mid-showdown over the future of coal in the state, an issue which has left a huge divide between northern Virginia and southern Virginia. Unfortunately, the latest coal plant in Virgina has unanimously won approval (on the condition that another coal plant start to burn natural gas). Still, this is a state to keep an eye on. In terms of coal, but also in the upcoming presidential election (see this 2007 example of the changing political orientation). Finally, all has been quiet on the Kansas front. But it's worth keeping in mind that every single Representative and Senator is up for re-election in November. So once the new pieces are set, it will literally be an entirely different game. This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

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