Climate & Energy

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 …


Greenpeace report calls carbon capture and sequestration ‘false hope’

On Monday, Greenpeace released a new report called "False Hope: Why carbon capture and storage won’t save the climate." Here are the conclusions, as summarized by Ken Ward Jr.: • Adequate technology is not expected to be commercially available until 2030, while leading climate experts say carbon dioxide emissions need to level off by 2015 to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change. • Coal-fired plant capacity is expanding so rapidly that as much as 70 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation in 2050 may not be technically suited for carbon capture and storage. • Carbon capture …

Jason and the Carbonauts

Obama energy adviser Jason Grumet talks climate, coal, and transportation policy

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 and energy …

I will bring oil to your house, carrying the barrels on my own back!

Clinton vows to take down OPEC

Now Clinton’s going to dissolve OPEC: “We’re going to go right at OPEC,” she said. “They can no longer be a cartel, a monopoly that get together once every couple of months in some conference room in some plush place in the world, they decide how much oil they’re going to produce and what price they’re going to put it at,” she told a crod at a firehouse in Merrillville, IN. “That’s not a market. That’s a monopoly,” she said, saying she’d use anti-trust law and the World Trade Organization to take on OPEC. Are we allowed to call this …

Name that tune

Clinton sings the faux-populist, anti-intellectual Manichean blues

I must say I’m surprised and gratified at the amount of coverage the gas-tax holiday is getting. It appears to be blowing up in Clinton’s face, which is exactly what would happen in a Good and Just world. Earlier this week, asked about the fact that not a single policy expert or economist thinks the holiday would do anything for consumers, Clinton spokesflack Howard Wolfson said: “We believe the presidency requires leadership,” said Wolfson. “There are times that a president will take a position that a broad support of quote-unquote experts agree with. And there are times they will take …

Ten thousand dead

Myanmar cyclone is a portent of disasters to come

At least 10,000 people lost their lives when a tropical cyclone struck the nation of Myanmar, in Southeast Asia. Perhaps the jury is still out on the extent to which storm intensity can be related to climate change. What is clear is that sea-level rise will make future storms, more intense or no, much more deadly in many developing nations. We can talk about pain at the pump for Americans being a serious problem, but it pales in comparison to the threat to human life posed by global warming. Another note: Myanmar is one of a handful of rice exporters …

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