Climate & Energy

Lapel-pin patriotism vs. protecting this country against its greatest threat

True patriots would fight global warming

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, executive director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. ----- As you'll recall, Barack Obama made a controversial sartorial decision last October about what he will and will not wear on his lapel. He declared he will not wear one of those American flag pins that have become so popular among politicians since Sept. 11. "I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest," he said while campaigning in Iowa. "Instead, I'm going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great. Hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism." His decision was instant red meat for a number of people who wear their patriotism on their sleeves as well as on their lapels. They questioned Obama's allegiance to his nation and to our troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

American filmmakers arrested in Niger Delta

Four Americans working on the documentary Sweet Crude, about the impact of the petroleum industry on the economy and environment of the Niger Delta, were arrested in Nigeria this weekend and are still being detained. A Nigerian man accompanying them was also seized. Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil exporter and the fourth-largest exporter to the United States, and its petroleum industry is infamous for pollution, injustice, and corruption.

Coal victory in West Virginia

Virginia’s State Corporation Commission today rejected American Electric Power’s request to build a massive ($2.23b) new dirty coal plant in West Virginia. Why, you ask? The commission said the plant’s estimated price, which dates back to November 2006, isn’t credible. It also said AEP has no plans to provide a detailed, updated estimate until it gets full regulatory approval. So picky!

That weak-kneed presidential hopeful

McCain reveals cynicism, hypocrisy with call for summer gas-tax holiday, energy budget freeze

Any remaining glimmer of hope that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) might be the principled, non-cynical politician to transform our energy policy and avoid the dual calamities of peak oil and climate catastrophe died today. The Associated Press reported that: John McCain called Tuesday for the federal government to free people from paying gasoline taxes this summer ... aimed at stemming the public's pain now from the troubled economy. ... To help people weather the downturn immediately, McCain urged Congress to institute a "gas-tax holiday" by suspending the 18.4 cent federal gas tax and 24.4 cent diesel tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day. ... Among other proposals, McCain said he would ... Suspend for one year all increases in discretionary spending for agencies other than those that cover the military and veterans ... Sad. In fact, doubly sad.

Skeptic stage dad to impressionable teen daughter: ‘MOTIVATION!’

This is the saddest, creepiest story I’ve seen in a long while.

The best technology to protect the earth

Concentrated solar thermal power: a core climate solution

Other than energy efficiency (see here), I don't believe any set of technologies will be more important to the climate fight than concentrated solar power (CSP). I have a long article on CSP in Salon: "The technology that will save humanity: The solar energy you haven't heard of is the one best suited to generate clean electricity for generations to come." OK, maybe "will" should be "may help" (I'm an optimist, sue me!) and readers have heard about CSP for a while. But I do think CSP deserves much more attention: It is the best source of clean energy to replace coal and sustain economic development. I bet that it will deliver more power every year this century than coal with carbon capture and storage -- for much less money and with far less environmental damage ... How much less? Many industry experts told me CSP will likely deliver power for well under $0.10 per kilowatt hour fully installed in the next decade. What is its market potential? I think it could be more than two wedges, which is several thouand gigawatts:

Gore’s Law

Modelled after Godwin’s Law, here is Gore’s Law: As an online climate change debate grows longer, the probability that denier arguments will descend into attacks on Al Gore approaches one. (via Deltoid)

An additional note on additionality

Carbon projects ‘under attack’ as U.N. clamps down

This is timely. The Wall Street Journal ran a page 1 story on Sunday on the travails of the major developers of carbon reduction projects in the developing world, as standards for additionality and carbon accounting grow more stringent. Such projects are certified under guidelines established by the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism. As the U.N. has tightened its oversight with each succeeding version of the CDM, early entrants have found themselves squeezed, forced to write down large quantities of carbon credits: In mid-2006, there was an early hint that regulators were toughening their stance. The issue: manure. Decomposing manure at farms emits methane, a greenhouse gas. The projects involve placing a tarp over the manure to capture and dispose of the rising gas ... But in 2006 the U.N. tightened its rules, requiring animal farms to measure the amount of methane they were capturing rather than simply estimating the number based on a formula -- and use the lower number. That move slashed by more than one-third the number of credits a typical animal-waste project would produce for sale.

Bush to give speech on climate change strategy

Just over the wires from AP: President Bush is giving a Rose Garden speech on Wednesday on climate change to lay out the way he thinks the U.S. can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. White House press secretary Dana Perino says that Bush will not outline a specific proposal, but instead will spell out a strategy for long-term goals for curbing emissions. Bush wants every major economy, including China and India, to establish a national goal for cutting the emissions believed responsible for global warming. In his remarks, he also will talk about legislative proposals on Capitol Hill that the administration …

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