Climate & Energy

What the next president should say

Here is what I would like the next president to tell the American people: The era of cheap energy is over. We will never again see cheap gas, and we can expect the price of electricity to rise inexorably. In order for the United States to survive, we need to rebuild our energy infrastructure. To reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, we need to implement a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system. This is a national security issue. We need a Manhattan-style government-funded project to develop new forms of renewable energy. We should be spending several tens of billions of dollars every year on this research. Increased drilling or unconventional sources of fuel, like oil shale or tar sands, will provide so little fuel that they are simply not worth doing. The truth is that there is no way to avoid the pain of high energy prices. There are no easy solutions, and no way for us to continue living as we have in the past. Changes are on the way. Deal with it. This underscores a key point that I have not seen discussed. Given that we need to rebuild our energy infrastructure anyway, it makes sense and is possible to take care of climate change at the same time we take care of energy. In this way, I don't think we have to set the problems of energy and climate in opposition to each other.

The pot-shot heard 'round the world

McCain names his energy plan and bashes Barack Obama while he’s at it

John McCain gave another energy speech today (bringing the grand total in the past week to four), this one in Las Vegas. It seems like the big new thing in this speech is that he’s …

Notable quotable

Why indeed

“We have been talking about energy independence since Americans were waiting in gas lines during the 1970s. We’ve heard promises about it in every State of the Union for the last three decades. But each …

Hot zones

National Intelligence Assessment finds that climate change poses national security threat

A National Intelligence Assessment of the security challenges presented by climate change, which Congress requested last year, has been completed, and the intelligence community has come to the same conclusion that many have before: Climate …

Global energy demand will grow 50 percent by 2030, says EIA

The world isn’t going to kick its energy-sucking habits anytime soon, the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicted Wednesday. By 2030, global energy demand will grow 50 percent, says the EIA report, mostly in China and …

Climate change ideas for On Day One

Day three of the UN Dispatch-Grist collaboration

The UN Dispatch-Grist collaboration continues today with a discussion of the top user-rated idea on On Day One: 'Eat the View,' by Roger Doiron. This idea was so popular, it even found its way into The New York Times. Here's what he suggests: Announce plans for a food garden on the White House lawn, making one of the White House's eight gardeners responsible for it, with part of produce going to the White House kitchen and the rest to a local food pantry. The White House is "America's House" and should set an example. The new President would not be breaking with tradition, but returning to it (the White House has had vegetable gardens before) and showing how we can meet global challenges such as climate change and food security. Kate Sheppard, David Roberts, and Timothy B. Hurst respond below the fold.

We must tax carbon

Hansen’s message to the planet

Maybe it was the thought of two decades of climate-crisis exhortation, little more heeded than words shouted at a hurricane. Photo: germuska via Flickr.Maybe it was the temporizing of the Democrats and the obstructionism of the GOP. Or it might have been the images of cities, houses and farmland of his native Iowa drowned by the latest "500-year" floods. Perhaps it was all three. Whatever the reasons, the climate crisis' Paul Revere turned it up a few more notches in a speech yesterday (PDF) at a Congressional staff briefing in Washington D.C. Yet James Hansen's headline-grabbing broadside against Big Oil and Big Coal CEOs may prove less significant than his full-throated advocacy of carbon tax-and-dividend as the highest priority for reducing carbon emissions and abating global warming: A price on emissions that cause harm is essential. Yes, a carbon tax.

'It is now'

Obama lays out an energy vision that’s economics and security first

I just read the energy speech Obama gave on Tuesday in Nevada. I’d call it a TKO if I didn’t sound so unconvincing using boxing metaphors. Watch what he leads with: "A green, renewable energy …

Supreme Court slashes Exxon’s punitive damages for Valdez oil spill

ExxonMobil is off the hook for billions in punitive damages related to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. In 1994, the oil giant was ordered to pay $5 billion in punitive damages. In 2006, that …

Got 2.7 seconds?

We've devised the world's shortest survey to find out what kind of actions our readers are taking. You know you want to.