Climate & Energy

ACCCE's lobbying campaign against Lieberman Warner

Coal industry launches full-scale attack against climate legislation

Originally posted at the Wonk Room. The coal-industry front group American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity has launched a major lobbying campaign against the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act. ACCCE claims it is opposed to Lieberman-Warner because it "does not adequately embrace" their "principles" and raises "just too many unanswered questions." Principles: ACCCE's 12 principles [PDF] for federal legislation boil down to demands that they be allowed to construct new, uncontrolled coal-fired power plants until taxpayers pony up unlimited amounts of money for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology. That's not a statement of principles -- it's a ransom note. Lieberman-Warner, named for its two co-sponsors Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.), would allow the United States to join the rest of the world in combatting climate change by setting a firm limit on carbon emissions while providing support to low-income families. However, the bill also makes significant concessions to polluters, particularly the coal industry: The bill calls for reductions in greenhouse emissions that are insufficient to avoid climate catastrophe. The bill gives a windfall of emissions permits to polluters, instead of auctioning all permits [PDF]. The bill promises over $300 billion directly to coal polluters. Strangely, that isn't enough for ACCCE.

Jason Mraz sings the praises of a simpler life

Jason Mraz is strumming up support for sustainability. Jason Mraz may still be the geek in the pink, but these days, the pop-rock-rhymer is hoping to distance himself from his cigarette-puffin’, girl-chasin’ past and move …

Slip of the tundra

CO2 released from disappearing permafrost must be factored into climate projections

What is the point of no return for the climate -- the level of CO2 concentrations beyond which catastrophic outcomes are virtually unstoppable? No one knows for sure, but my vote goes for the point at which we start to lose a substantial fraction of the tundra's carbon to the atmosphere -- substantial being 0.1 percent per year! As we saw in my last post, frozen away in the permafrost is more carbon than the atmosphere currently contains (and much of that is in the form of methane, a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide). What is the point of no return for the tundra? A major 2005 study ($ub. req'd) led by NCAR climate researcher David Lawrence found that virtually the entire top 11 feet of permafrost around the globe could disappear by the end of this century.

Stop the presses!

A report put together by the National Coal Council finds that coal is essential and it’s not going anywhere and reducing coal use would mean the widespread death of puppies and cute children but the …

The best offense is a good Defense

House passes Defense authorization bill, includes various climate-related elements

The House passed ($ub. req’d) the defense authorization bill for 2009 last night, and there were several climate and energy-related components included. One amendment modifies part of last year’s energy bill that forbids federal agencies …

How clean is clean coal?

A video on the great coal myth

The new but already-going-gangbusters Washington Independent has teamed up with the also new and also gangbusters American News Project to put together a video called "How clean is clean coal?" Good stuff:

The permafrost won't be perma for long

More carbon in the Arctic than previously thought

The tundra is probably the single most important amplifying carbon-cycle feedback. None of the IPCC's climate models, however, include carbon emissions from a defrosting tundra as a feedback. Yet, as NOAA reported last month, levels of methane (a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2) rose last year for the first time since 1998, which may be an early indication of thawing permafrost. So it seems like a good a time for a review and update of what we know. The tundra or permafrost is soil that stays below freezing (32 degrees F) for at least two years. Normally, plants capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis and slowly release that carbon back into the atmosphere after they die. But the Arctic acts like a freezer, and the decomposition rate is very low. The tundra is a carbon locker. We open it at our own risk.

Ignoring climate change will cost U.S. big bucks, says group

Doing nothing in the face of climate change would cost the U.S. $1.9 trillion a year (in today’s dollars) by the turn of the next century, says a new report from green group NRDC. That …

The Will to disbelieve

Conservative pundit correctly recognizes the radical implications of the polar bear decision

This ran on earlier today. George Will is far from the only middle-aged Boomer pundit who spends his time shadowboxing Dirty Hippies on the Washington Post editorial page, but his Thursday column is a …