Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Climate & Energy

Comments

Voluntary actions didn’t get us civil rights, and they won’t fix the climate

Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Strange but true: Energy-efficient light bulbs and hybrid cars are hurting our nation's budding efforts to fight global warming. More precisely, every time an activist or politician hectors the public to voluntarily reach for a new bulb or spend extra on a Prius, ExxonMobil heaves a big sigh of relief. Scientists now scream the news about global warming: it's already here and could soon, very soon, bring tremendous chaos and pain to our world. The networks and newspapers have begun running urgent stories almost daily: The Greenland ice sheet is vanishing! …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

Comments

Post-Labor Day link dump, the first

A gaggle of URLs

I've been off work since Wed., so a ton of stuff has accumulated in my browser. As I would prefer to start Autumn '07 blogging with a clean slate, I hereby give you a Gargantuan Post-Labor Day Linkapalooza. Here we go! Illustration by Victor Juhasz for Rolling Stone A while back, the indispensable Jeff Goodell wrote a piece in Rolling Stone decimating "The Ethanol Scam." Bob Dinneen of the Renewable Fuels Association, a corn lobby group, has written a letter to the editor in response. It is a marvel of smug ad hominem attacks, distractions, and deceptions -- really a …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

Larry Craig's 'wide stance' on coal and timber

The disgraced senator’s real crimes go unpunished

In John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces, a lowly cop finds himself assigned to lurk in a public bathroom, on the lookout for "suspicious characters." Sen. Larry Craig bumbled into just that sort of trap, his tapping foot and now-infamously "wide" toilet stance dooming him to political infamy. There's no justice in entrapment, but there's ripe poetic justice in a stalwart of the gay-bashing GOP perishing from the very anti-gay fervor his party habitually stokes. Good riddance. But let's not forget that the good senator's real crimes don't involve sex acts among consenting, if closeted, adults. He used his …

Comments

CS BS

Coal insider reveals the truth about carbon sequestration

Does the coal industry really believe that carbon sequestration can make coal-fired power plants climate friendly? It's got legislators and even some green campaigners believing so. Given the coal industry's troubled relationship with the truth, perhaps some skepticism is warranted. The inimitable Sir Oolius points me to this post from M.J. Murphy. Murphy, obviously a masochist, overheard some intriguing things recently in the Climate Change Skeptics news group. Recently, CEI emeritus Myron Ebel was complaining to the group about sequestration -- he noted that it's expensive and unworkable at scale. Along comes Richard S. Courtney, long-time climate change skeptic, former …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

Teaching green

Lessons from Burning Man 2007

A man in a hardhat just dropped off his chicken for me to mind -- a Japanese Silkie who watched me with one surprisingly smart eye as I typed this post. I reassured her I was a vegetarian, and she seemed to relax. After a few minutes, the man in the hardhat returned, thanked me, and said he was off to find a blowdryer so he could give the little hen a bath. Playa dust has coated her feathers. If it had been Monday, I might have thought this strange. But it's Sunday, and along with nearly 48,000 other people …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

Comments

The future of coal

‘Clean coal’ is an oxymoron

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. Should we, the nation's beleaguered taxpayers, be required to spend billions of dollars on an oxymoron? The oxymoron in question is "clean coal," and in my view, the answer is "no." If coal is to have a future, the coal industry and its partners in the rail and electric power industries should pay for it themselves. Here are the reasons. First, while climate science is complicated, climate policy is simple. We need far lower levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which means …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

Coal is not the enemy of mankind when properly offset

Because voluntary offsets are never, ever like indulgences

In a prime example of how voluntary offsets fail to resemble indulgences: As someone who once sunk a shrimp boat as an act of civil disobedience, Diane Wilson was disappointed when two big environmental groups opted for a less-than risky alternative to blocking a new coal-burning power plant that's poised to blaze in her community of Calhoun County, Texas. If she had the time and resources, Wilson, a fourth generation fisherman and leader of the lonely environmental group Calhoun County Resource Watch, says she would have tried to "stop [the plant] dead in its tracks." Instead, the Sustainable Energy and …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

Hunting the white whale

Flawed new analysis purports to show that there’s no scientific consensus on climate change

If those opposed to action on climate change are like Ahab, the scientific consensus is their white whale. The reason is simple: as Frank Luntz's famous memo pointed out, if they can convince the general public that the science of climate change is uncertain, they can drag the debate over policy to a grinding halt. Thus, every so often, another argument emerges that purports to prove that scientific consensus on climate change does not exist. This week, it's a blast from the past: an analysis of the "Web of Science" that shows that no consensus exists and only a minority …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

Was this found on a stone tablet? Papyrus? Vellum? Handpress broadsheet?

W. Va. editorial says mining coal should be easier

This editorial is from 2007, not 1877: " First Things First: Let's Mine the Coal." Maybe there's something to the inbreeding jokes ... We can talk about windmills, solar panels and biomass, and they undoubtedly are in our future. But those energy sources cannot meet the nation's growing energy demands now or in the foreseeable future. Nuclear energy may take on an expanded role, but not everyone will welcome it. Our leaders must step up and tell the nation the truth: We need coal. It must remain a major source for electricity, and it certainly could and should be a …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

Smeg me

Pardon me a little gadget porn as I ogle these Smeg refrigerators, which have made it to the states at last. Despite the unfortunate name, it's on my Christmas list: They're extremely efficient, too: 305 kWh / year. I know, I know. If I was a real enviro I wouldn't refrigerate food.

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living