Climate & Energy

You say you want a revolution ...

‘Major discovery’ from MIT unpractical, and ignores present advances in solar baseload

I have gotten bombarded by too many people asking me if the story headlined above is true. It isn't. Not even close. Science magazine, which published the supposedly "major discovery" by MIT's Daniel Nocera, headlined their story, "New Catalyst Marks Major Step in the March Toward Hydrogen Fuel" ($ub. req'd). Doh! But who needs a major step towards hydrogen? And Science seems to be having problems with the laws of physics, as we'll see. I thought I had explained this to Scientific American, but given their puff piece -- the findings "help pave the way for a future hydrogen economy" -- I obviously failed. Let me try again. MIT had the sexier headline on unleashing the solar revolution. Too bad that headline isn't accurate for two mains reasons: The solar revolution already has been unleashed, and if it hadn't been, this technology wouldn't do the trick even if were near commercial, which it isn't. MIT reports:

Follow your money

The breakdown of Big Oil’s record-breaking profits

Record Big Oil profits from record oil prices and taxpayer subsidies -- where does all your money go? With ExxonMobil's report of a $11.68 billion haul in the second quarter of 2008, the world's top five oil companies are now on track for more than $160 billion in profits this year ... I know what you are thinking: Surely, Big Oil will take those staggeringly immense and almost immoral profits from the suspiciously fast rise in oil prices -- along with the $33 billion in taxpayer-funded subsidies you're going to give those politically powerful and remarkably greedy companies over the next five years (see here) -- and invest in both new drilling and new energy technology. No it won't, no it won't, and stop calling me Shirley. In fact, the AP reports:

Stardom?

NYT Magazine swoons for Pickens

From the most recent New York Times Magazine: As a Texas oilman and major contributor to the Republican Party, you've just launched yourself, at 80, into green stardom by devising an energy plan that relies mainly on wind power. Green stardom. All you have to do is mention wind turbines to make the eyes of dirty hippies glaze over in delight.

Going rates

How much does it take to buy a protest on the floor of the House?

Here’s another interesting chart (via Josh Nelson via Open Secrets) showing the amount of oil and gas contributions to the House Republicans now engaging in …

<em>Now</em> they're ready

The history of House Republicans on energy in the 110th Congress

As you contemplate the House Republican spectacle today, wherein they protest the "Democrat five-week vacation" in the face of high gas prices, keep a few …

A handshake at a knife fight

Should Obama consider compromise on drilling?

Obama is taking lots of heat for his softening on offshore drilling. I have mixed feelings. On one hand, it’s extremely important to get the …

All about water?

ZapRoot takes on the Pickens plan:

California climate skirmish

Los Angeles utility starts to squawk as it stares down a $700 million carbon bill

Regulators have won praise for speed and thoughtfulness with which they have laid the groundwork for implementation of A.B. 32, the landmark bill that aims to bring California's greenhouse gas emissions down to 1990 levels by 2020. But even within a single state, climate change legislation creates winners and losers, and regional tensions are starting to show. California's climate plan consists of a slew of new efficiency standards, regulations, and reduction measures -- as well as a cap-and-trade system to place a lid on total emissions. It's the cap-and-trade system that is part of the present pushback. At issue in particular are the long-term contracts that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) has entered into for coal-based electricity. Although coal has kept L.A.'s electricity some of the cheapest in the state, the utility will have to pay enormous sums for carbon allowances under the new law. It's always instructive to unpack some of the distortions that surround the politics of climate change legislation. Officials from L.A. seem to be trying out three different angles in their resistance to the bill. The first is that the steep cost of the allowances will divert money away from energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

Crush into you

Crusher credit: one of many savvy short-term solutions

In case you missed it, noted economist Alan Blinder made the case for a crusher credit in the NYT last week. The idea is to …