Climate & Energy

Salzburg Global Seminar: prelude

Dave heads to where the hills are alive

Listen Play "Prelude," from The Sound of Music On Wednesday, I leave for Salzburg, Austria, where — thanks to the generosity of a Knight Foundation …

How to green your day job

Simple steps are the key to a greener office. Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to waste we go. Nope, those aren’t the lyrics the Disney dwarves …

Texas oilman unveils Pickens Plan to avert U.S. energy crisis

T. Boone Pickens. Photo: University of Texas America has a problem, and T. Boone Pickens has a solution. “U.S. dependency on foreign oil has reached …

Jeffrey Sachs, economist and eco-problem solver, chats about his plans to save the world

Jeffrey Sachs speaks at the University of North Carolina. Photo: Kevin Tsui Jeffrey Sachs — the renowned economist who devised a grand plan in 2005 …

G8 nations agree to cut emissions 50 percent by 2050 (sort of)

At this year’s Group of Eight meeting in Japan, the world’s richest nations more or less agreed to cut greenhouse-gas emissions 50 percent by 2050. …

'Cooling a fevered planet' in <em>Z</em> Magazine

Economics, policy, and vision for fighting global warming

Z magazine has published an extended article by me on the politics and economics of global warming. It begins: Nobody, except for a small lunatic fringe, still disputes that human-caused climate chaos endangers all of us. Further, most serious scientific and technical groups who have looked at the question have concluded that we have the technological capability today to replace greenhouse-gas emitting fossil fuels with efficiency improvements and clean energy -- usually at a maximum cost of around the current worldwide military budget, probably much less. The question therefore is: What's stopping us? To answer that we need to look at the causes of global warming -- not the physical causes, but the economic and political flaws in our system that have prevented solutions from being implemented long after the problem was known. One driver is inequality and the maintenance of power that keeps inequality in place produces perverse incentives in resource use. Read the whole thing. (Note this will disappear behind a paywall eventually. I urge you to buy a copy of Zmag or subscribe to the electronic edition to support alternative media. But if you want to read it for free, grab your electronic copy now.)

Oil prices will go ... up?

No easy explanation for continued price increases in the oil markets

At the end of last year I predicted that the price of oil would go down; so far I have been terribly wrong. My prediction, shared by many other economists and energy experts, was premised on a reasonable assumption: Since the world was headed for an economic slowdown, brought about the housing bubble and the financial crisis, global demand for energy would likely moderate, putting downward pressure on prices. While it was a sensible prediction, I am happy that no one took me up on my bet. So what happened?

State workers in Utah will enjoy mandatory three-day weekends

Starting in August, thousands of Utahns will begin enjoying mandatory three-day weekends. Some 17,000 government employees will switch to a compressed workweek — four days …

CCS: Environmental whack-a-mole

Carbon capture and sequestration gets heralded as a great way to lower CO2 emissions and keep burning coal. Unfortuantely, it also kills the efficiency of the coal plant, meaning that every other environmental externality associated with coal-fired generation -- from mountaintop removal to power plant siting -- is exacerbated by CCS. Planet Ark puts it succinctly: The process called carbon capture and sequestration requires as much as 20 percent of the electricity a power plant generates. That essentially means that for every five coal plants using the technology, a sixth would be required just to power the capture and burial of carbon dioxide produced.