Climate & Energy

Well, when you put it that way ...

Rasmussen poll biased on offshore drilling

Rasmussen Reports did a poll that they tout as showing "67 percent Support Offshore Drilling." Given the biased way they did the poll (details here), I'm surprised the number was so low. The first question they asked: "How concerned are you about rising gas and energy prices?" Pretty much everybody is concerned. Duh. But in a flawed poll, almost a push poll, the point of the first question is to get people thinking about about the pain of gasoline prices, rather than, say, the coastal environment or global warming. Second question: "In order to reduce the price of gas, should drilling be allowed in offshore oil wells off the coasts of California, Florida, and other states?" I kid you not. That was the question. And Rasmussen is supposedly a serious polling firm. I'm just surprised that only 67 percent answered that loaded question "yes."

You know things are getting bad …

… when even China is raising fuel prices.

Flood money

Midwest woes a boon to fertilizer companies

The recent Midwestern floods have caused all manner of misery: Burst levies, lost homes, ruined crops, higher food prices, a gusher of agrichemicals and god know what else flowing into streams. One way to soothe …

The Grand Ostrich Party

Conservative heads increasingly buried in sand

Andrew Sullivan reads this Jim Manzi post (Conservatives are going to win on climate change! By doing nothing!) and says he’s on board. He then proceeds to blow my freaking mind: The key will be …

OMG, CNN actually reports

Major news network exposes McCain’s energy contradictions

Does not compute: Only thing is, they keep saying, “this shows how tricky it is for McCain.” What it also shows, one might think, is that McCain is willing to lie and change his positions …

350 or bust

The 350ppm challenge to U.S. environmental organizations and the importance of McKibben’s

Bill McKibben spoke about recently at the Jamaica Plain Forum. Coming on the heels of recent talks by Ross Gelbspan, also at the JP Forum, and Jim Hansen, in Lexington, Mass., Bill's talk completed a trifecta of area appearances by climate action patriots. My friend Andrée, who attended all three events, said: "Hansen has the reserve of a scientist, and the certainty of someone who knows he is right. McKibben is just like his writing -- philosophical, wry and funny, and Gelbspan ..." she paused ... "Gelbspan is a mensch." Like McKibben himself, may be tagged as too expansive, missing a sharp political point. I agree with Lorna Salzman's concerns, but I do not think can or should try to be all things. McKibben and the Step It Up crew have set out a tremendous undertaking, trying to do in very short order what U.S. environmental organizations and funders -- with thousands of staff, millions of members, a billion+ in assets, and decades of lead time -- never attempted. Those who believe it is high time we turn our institution to the purpose for which is was created have a great deal of heavy lifting to do, and those efforts will be strengthened by, for these reasons:

Hunters’ group sues Interior Dept for drilling’s impacts on wildlife

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a coalition of hunting, fishing, and conservation groups, is suing the U.S. Interior Department over the impacts of gas drilling on wildlife in southwestern Wyoming. Some 1,000 natural-gas wells puncture …

Nuclear deterrence

Lovins and Sheikh defend their work in ‘The Nuclear Illusion’

This is a guest essay from Amory B. Lovins and Imran Sheikh of the Rocky Mountain Institute. ----- David Bradish, in a post on the blog of the Nuclear Energy Institute, criticizes our methodology used to derive micropower's output in "The Nuclear Illusion" (PDF). As Mr. Bradish notes in hypertext, our methodology is online here (PDF), and our micropower database is posted and documented here. Here's our point-by-point response to his critique: "With the exception of nuclear, the data for the chart aren't actual generation numbers. RMI collected the capacity and capacity factor data for the other sources to calculate the generation." For many generation types, only capacity and capacity factor data are available. That's partly because the data often come from surveys of production or installation, typically based on unit-by-unit data from vendors or their trade associations. Data on measured output are rarer because they're normally collected by national energy authorities that often don't count small and non-utility units or don't consistently record the type of unit. Then those output data are added up, with many gaps, to estimate global totals. We used all the reliable capacity data we could find using bottom-up industry data covering most main countries, though with notable gaps we described. Then we calculated output using capacity factors that Mr. Bradish agrees are reasonable (other than cogen -- see below). Finally, where possible, we compared calculated output to estimated output from other sources to verify that our calculations were realistic. If more generation data were available, we'd be glad to learn about them so we can apply them to our analysis. But so far, measured global generation data are available only for nuclear, though some specific jurisdictions do track other sources too. "The problem with the 83 percent [Non-Biomass Decentralized Co-Generation] capacity factor is it is twice as high as what it should be."

Oil drilling = oil spilling

How greens and Democrats can win the energy debate

If the pro-environment Republican wasn't already dead, I think this week killed him. John McCain, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, President Bush, and many others threw overboard one of the last policy planks Republicans (at least in coastal states) used to show that they're pro-environment too by calling for a massive offshore drilling program. As chronicled in this excellent article by Politico's Charles Mathesian and David Mark, it's a politically risky move for Republicans: although national polls show some support for more oil drilling, there's also zealous support for keeping coasts and beaches clean in many coastal states. What's Florida Republican senator Mel Martinez to do, for instance, during his next election campaign after gas price anxiety fades (most likely) and his opponent can waive around this quote to cast doubt not only on his green cred, but also his general trustworthiness and strong leadership: "I'm trying to clarify my position," said Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.). "In Florida today most voters probably want more drilling." Meanwhile, although the Democratic leadership is expressing opposition to the Bush-McCain drilling plan, they're not exactly showing a lot of rhetorical backbone on it: Afraid to make the argument against offshore drilling on environmental grounds, they're instead going for the "We're for oil drilling too, but just not as much as Republicans" argument that has built them such a loyal and enthusiastic skeptical and tepid following among environmentalists.

Got 2.7 seconds?

We've devised the world's shortest survey to find out what kind of actions our readers are taking. You know you want to.