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Climate & Energy


Fast and furious

Ted Glick enters Day 17 of climate fast

Yesterday I went through a day-long fast for Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, a day of atonement, and the climax of the Days of Awe. We Jews usually start to get hungry by the afternoon. So it's worthwhile to remember that Ted Glick was likely really hungry in Day 18 of his fast to solve the climate crisis, something probably even more important to God than the condition of our souls. Check out this video from Ted on Day 17:


Must-read climate report from Lehman Brothers

Climate policy and its implications for business

Lehman Brothers has just released a terrific report, "The Business of Climate Change II." The theme is, "Policy is accelerating, with major implications for companies and investors"; but the piece has a lot of breadth, with cogent comments on everything from the social/damage cost of carbon, to auctioning vs. grandfathering, to the Stern Report. Here are some extended excerpts: What are the chances for a global climate agreement? The probability of some sort of international greenhouse-gas-limiting agreement in the next three to five years involving the US, China, and perhaps India, which earlier this year we put at 50%, will …


All you need is <del>love</del> sun

Solar thermal company says its generation/storage combo can power the nation

A new design for solar thermal electric generators could bust the technology out of niche status and supply the country's entire electric load, according to ... people who make solar thermal electric generators. ... physicist David Mills, chief scientific officer and founder of Palo Alto, Calif.-based solar-thermal company Ausra, has bigger ideas: concentrating the sun's power to provide all of the electricity needs of the U.S., including a switch to electric cars feeding off the grid. "Within 18 months, with storage, we will not only reduce [the] cost of [solar-thermal] electricity but also satisfy the requirements for a modern society," …

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Capping carbon: Is nothing better than something?

On whether to advocate weaker climate change bills

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. How fearsome must the headlines be about tomorrow before people change their ways today? -- Nancy Gibbs, TIME In Greenland today, the ice is thawing at a pace that is alarming climate scientists. Meanwhile in Washington, D.C., Congress remains frozen on the issue of carbon pricing. And that may be a good thing. Carbon pricing, as most readers of Gristmill know, is the idea that some portion of the costs of greenhouse-gas emissions should be reflected in the price consumers pay for carbon-intensive …


Sprawl and global warming

Land-use and development decisions are crucial in the fight against climate change, says new report

Living closer to where you work will do more to fight climate change than buying a Prius and living in the 'burbs. We'll never beat climate change until we change the way we structure our communities. That is the conclusion of a new report out from the Urban Land Institute: The report, "Growing Cooler: Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change," analyzed scores of academic studies and concluded that compact development -- mixing housing and businesses in denser patterns, with walkable neighborhoods -- could do as much to lower emissions as many of the climate policies now promoted by state …

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Alan Greenspan is very overrated: Part II

Greenspan on climate change

If you thought Greenspan was confused about energy, his discussion of global warming in The Age of Turbulence is downright stupefying. He opens well (p. 454): There can be very little doubt that global warming is real and man-made. But the next sentence is (I kid you not): We may have to rename Glacier National Park when its glaciers disappear, in what now looks to be 2030, according to park scientists. That's what all the fuss is about -- we'll have to rename one of our national parks in 23 years. This is the Lomborg view. The movie version might …

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Alan Greenspan is very overrated: Part I

Greenspan on energy

Greenspan is no polymath, to go by the discussions of energy and climate in his instant bestseller, The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World. During his nuclear power love-fest, he writes (p. 453): Nuclear power is not safe without a significant protective infrastructure. But then, neither is drinking water. Wow! That's an analogy I bet you never heard before. Greenspan is actually comparing drinking water infrastructure -- which is needed mainly to protect the water from us (i.e. from human pollution) -- with nuclear power's infrastructure; which is needed to protect us from nuclear material, which (unlike water) …

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Sanders-Boxer TKO

New WRI report compares climate bills

The World Resources Institute has a new report out comparing the various climate bills floating around Congress. Here's what you need to know (click for larger version): This confirms what we already knew, that Sanders-Boxer is the best bill and the only one that has a chance of stabilizing CO2 at levels we can live with. Call your legislator!


Whither the energy bill?

Rep. Ed Markey looks down the road on climate and energy

The Center for American Progress hosted Rep. Ed Markey at a roundtable for reporters to give a sort of primer for what to expect in the run-up to and during the marathon of international climate-change events in the coming week. He was, to my ear, a little bit sanguine about the energy bill, which he expects will be completed and sent to the White House this fall, in time for the Congress to then turn its attention to a climate-change bill. Markey said, "The NRDC estimates that that bill, if it was signed by the president, would meet 25 percent …


A methane feedback from the past strikes again

Bogs, not oceans, may have been the source of an increase in atmospheric methane

What triggered the Palaeocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) about 55 million years ago, which saw the fastest period of warming documented in Earth's geological history? The PETM is associated with a rapid rise in greenhouse gases, particularly methane -- but the big question is where did the methane come from? The most common answer has been the ocean (methane hydrates), but new research in Nature ($ub. req'd) casts doubt on the ocean theory -- instead finding chemical evidence that the methane came from terrestrial sources, bogs, which were themselves stimulated by rising temperatures -- an amplifying feedback. The lead author says: …

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