Climate & Energy

Making a mountain into a coal hill

Virginia’s disappearing mountain Eden

As I reported last week, I'm in Appalachia, Va. to attend a hearing by the Virginia Air Resources Board about whether or not Virginia will permit Dominion Power to build a dirty, coal-fired power plant. It's Eden in the Mountains here -- miles and miles of green, forested mountains in every direction. Inside the forests, it's even better. My wife and I went on a hike through old growth hemlock groves (and did a trail-cleaning service project in the nearby Jefferson National Forest) with naturalist and activist Anna Hess of the Clinch Coalition and learned that this region is the most bio-diverse in the mainland United States, with different little endangered salamanders creeping around the top of every mountain and old growth hemlock groves around many corners.

Achieving the climate goal

Short-term targets key to long-term stabilization

Ken Ward takes a worthwhile look at the goalposts for U.S. climate policy in his argument for making 350 parts per million the new bright line for success. We agree that we need to aim lower than 450 ppm -- the world is at roughly 380 ppm now, and we're already witnessing adverse climate impacts. But we part ways when it comes to how we're going to get there. Ward suggests that EDF's support for the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act can't be reconciled with a stabilization target below 450 ppm, because the bill as written wouldn't drive sufficient emissions reductions. In fact, there's nothing incompatible about the two. Here's why:

Climate change ideas for On Day One

Day two of the UN Dispatch-Grist collaboration

Our weeklong collaboration with UN Dispatch rolls on today with a discussion prompted by On Day One user taylorshelton who suggests government subsidies for non-renewable energy should be eliminated. Eliminate all subsidies for traditional fuels (coal, oil and nuclear) and invest all energy-related funds into renewable energy resources like solar, wind and cellulosic ethanol with the goal of completely eliminating dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear power. Nigel Purvis, Kate Sheppard, David Roberts, and Timothy B. Hurst respond below the fold.

No McCain, no gain

GOP candidate calls for energy efficiency in a California speech

John McCain gave yet another address on energy and environmental issues today (the third in the past week, if you’re counting), this one focused on energy efficiency, which he says should begin at home with …

My kingdom for a so-called expert

Sam Stein goes looking for an energy expert who will endorse John McCain’s contention that oil drilling will provide short-term price relief. You can guess the rest.

Nibbling the hand that supplies you

Saudi Arabia to host summit on high gas prices

Since when do we deal with our addiction by going to summits hosted by drug suppliers? Yet here is the Washington Post: "Saudi Arabian Oil Summit Hopes to Isolate Cause of Price Rise" JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia, June 21 -- Leaders from oil-producing and oil-consuming nations will meet here Sunday to try to pinpoint the reasons behind the rise in oil prices, which have doubled over the past year, and to find ways to bring them down.

A Stirling idea

Development in waste-heat-to-electricity technology

Here's a 200 year old idea with merit: A Stirling engine, modified to capture the waste heat of industrial processes to make electricity. Gar noted Stirling Energy Systems' efforts in this vein to make electricity from solar thermal collectors using a Stirling engine a year ago, but instead of the sun, a startup in my neighborhood, ReGen, is developing a Stirling that will specialize in using the low to moderate heat generated by landfill gas systems, paper mills, steel mills, chemical and petroleum refining facilities, glass ovens, cement plants, and similar locations:

Put down the oil

Increasing oil production will not substitute as energy solution

Originally posted on the NDN Blog. Yesterday, Saudi Arabia did what everyone -- including George W. Bush on bended knee -- has been asking it to do for months: agree to increase production. Prices closed up a dollar. The Saudi move and its non-impact on the market shows just how tight supplies remain. While it was designed in large part to offset declines in Nigerian production due to rebel violence in the oil-rich, poverty-stricken Niger Delta, it might have sent a psychological signal of easing supplies but it did not. Meanwhile, back in Washington, another panel of oil traders told Chair Dingell's House Energy and Commerce Oversight subcommittee that speculation is driving up oil prices and tighter oversight of commodities futures markets could lower prices. Staffers released data to the effect that 70 percent of trades are now speculative, up from 30 percent not long ago.

Tokyo set to pass citywide cap-and-trade bill

Tokyo, Japan, is on track to pass a bill on Wednesday that would limit the amount of greenhouse gases big companies in the city could emit, making it the first such mandatory program in the …

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