Climate & Energy

Revkin agonistes

Is tackling climate change contrary to human nature?

On DotEarth, Andy Revkin again wrestles with a dilemma he returns to frequently: how do we overcome human nature? He quotes the work of David …

Something for nothing

Since offshore oil is de minimis, why shouldn’t Obama and the Dems make a deal? Part 1

Getting something for nothing is always a good idea. Kudos to Senator Obama and other progressives for understanding this. The key questions are: How much of a "nothing" is ending the congressional moratorium on offshore drilling? How much of a "something" can progressives get by way of a serious effort to end our oil addiction once and for all? Right now, it seems like conservatives are willing to hold their breath until they turn blue in the face before they agree to move any legislation whatsoever if it does not include coast drilling. Politically, they seem to have a winning argument in part because the media simply isn't policing the debate, even when people like McCain just repeat the lies of the oil industry over and over again. And in national politics, the side who doesn't have to explain their position usually wins. I do think that agreeing to some coastal drilling now is de minimis as for two reasons:

Flat tire

What’s the deal with Republican attacks on the tire gauge?

I’ve had a few pundit types ask me what the deal is with the kerfuffle over the tire gauge. What’s the attack here on Obama? …

At last he's ready to vote

McCain says he’d end his vacation from Congress to ‘drill here, drill now’

Originally posted at the Wonk Room. In eastern Pennsylvania yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) repeatedly argued, "We need to drill here and we need to drill now." His invocation of the slogan of Newt Gingrich's right-wing 527 corporation, American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF), was coupled with the following call for Congress to "come back to town and come back to work": Congress should come back into session, and I'm willing to come off the campaign trail. McCain's call for action on behalf of Big Oil and right-wing billionaires hardly jibes with his record of absenteeism on major votes. In fact, McCain has been on the campaign trail and fundraising circuit a tremendous amount this session, missing far more votes than any other member of Congress. His vacation from his elected duty has included some of the most important legislation considered by Congress:

Paris responds

The Hilton energy policy

‘They take pride in being ignorant’

Obama smacks back against GOP “tire gauge” mockery:

A real energy plan for America

Efficiency now, 10 percent renewables by 2012, and one million plug-in hybrids by 2015

Senator Barack Obama has fulfilled the promise of his earlier climate plan with a detailed and comprehensive "New Energy for America" [PDF] plan. Yesterday, he gave a major speech on this plan in Lansing, Michigan. This is easily the best energy plan ever put forward by a nominee of either party: Increase Fuel Economy Standards: Obama will increase fuel economy standards 4 percent per each year while protecting the financial future of domestic automakers ... Invest in Developing Advanced Vehicles and Put 1 Million Plugin Electric Vehicles on the Road by 2015: As a U.S. senator, Barack Obama has led efforts to jumpstart federal investment in advanced vehicles, including combined plug‐in hybrid/flexible fuel vehicles, which can get over 150 miles per gallon of gas ... [more details below] Partner with Domestic Automakers: Obama will also provide $4 billion retooling tax credits and loan guarantees for domestic auto plants and parts manufacturers, so that the new fuel‐efficient cars can be built in the U.S. by American workers rather than overseas. Mandate All New Vehicles are Flexible Fuel Vehicles Develop the Next Generation of Sustainable Biofuels and Infrastructure Establish a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard: ... The standard requires fuels suppliers in 2010 to begin to reduce the carbon of their fuel by 5 percent within 5 years and 10 percent within 10 years. This is the only way to jumpstart an end to our addiction to oil in a climate friendly way. Indeed, an accelerated transition to plug-in hybrids and electric cars -- a core climate solution -- must be the cornerstone of any serious effort to dramatically reduce oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. That is the crucial litmus test for any presidential candidate's energy independence or clean transportation policy. As for the test of a candidate's grasp of electricity policy, energy efficiency is obviously the only cheap power left and a limitless resource and the core climate solution. Obama understands energy efficiency in a way few other major politicians do, as his plan makes clear:

Estimated cost of Nevada nuke-waste dump soars

The total cost of dumping nuclear waste at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain repository will hit $96.2 billion, the Department of Energy estimated Tuesday. The estimate has …

Auto industry to McCain:

Congress should inflate their tires, not their rhetoric

This post originally ran on the Wonk Room. For most of this year rising gas prices have been on everyone's mind. Believe me, the auto industry understands very well just how much of an impact $4/gallon gas has had on American consumers. As you may have seen, it's having an impact on us, as well. Last week, the Auto Alliance and the National Auto Dealers Association sponsored tire pressure checks for members of Congress and their staff who park in the Rayburn Office Building. Surprisingly, we found that most drivers had tires between 5 and 7 pounds under inflated -- some had tires under-inflated by as much as 20 pounds. This significantly reduced their vehicle's fuel economy. We all share a goal of increasing fuel economy, as well as enhancing energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and the fuel economy increases passed last year by Congress (and supported by the Auto Alliance) will help. But consumers want ways to fight back against high gas prices right now. By properly inflating tires, we can have an immediate impact on the more than 245 million vehicles currently on our nation's roads and highways. Earlier this year, we cosponsored the Alliance to Save Energy's Drive Smarter Challenge. As part of this campaign we advocated maintaining proper tire pressure as one simple step consumers could take to increase fuel economy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It's more important than you may think. For instance, did you know… • The Department of Energy estimates that 1.2 billion gallons of fuel were wasted in 2005 as a result of driving on under-inflated tires. • Fuel efficiency is reduced by 1% for every 3 PSI that tires are under-inflated. • Proper tire inflation can save the equivalent of about 1 tank of gas per year. • Proper tire inflation also reduces CO2 emissions. • Experts estimate that 25% of automobiles are running on tires with lower than recommended pressure, because people don't know how to check their tires or don't realize that tires naturally lose air over time. Maintaining proper tire pressure may not solve our dependence on foreign oil, but it will help. Consumers can get a few more miles to gallon, and when combined other driving and maintenance tips, those small steps can help to make a serious improvement in vehicle fuel economy.