Climate & Energy

China’s renewables sector booming, study says

China’s renewable-energy sector is growing substantially despite the simultaneous growth of its famous dirty-energy sector, according to a study by nonprofit The Climate Group. While …

DOE and EPA say Obama's right, Limbaugh's wrong

More oil can be found in your car than offshore

How much oil can be found in Americans' cars -- through more efficient driving and better vehicle maintenance? Using current numbers from the Bush DOE and EPA, the answer appears to be some 2.5 to 3 million barrels a day -- 20 times what could be found if we ended the congressional moratorium on offshore drilling (see "The cruel offshore-drilling hoax") and three times the oil we are likely to find in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (see "Opening ANWR cuts gas prices two cents in 2025"). These savings would quickly lower Americans' annual fuel bills perhaps $700 a year, whereas drilling might save them about $12 a year in 20 years. But let me begin at the beginning. Obama, as everyone knows, has presented detailed national strategies to reduce oil consumption as part of his climate plan months ago. Now the right wing is all agog at some remarks Obama made yesterday about what individuals can do: We could save all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling if everybody was just inflating their tires and getting regular tune-ups. You could save just as much. Limbaugh said: This is unbelievable! My friends, this is laughable of course, but it's stupid! It is stupid! … Avoid jackrabbit starts, keep your tires properly inflated, there's a list of about ten or twelve these things. I said if I follow each one of these things I'll have to stop the car every five miles, siphon some fuel out, for all the fuel I'm going to be saving. This is ridiculous…. Who has filled his head with this stuff? Actually, it is probably the Bush administration's own Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency that has filled him with that stuff. Let's do the math.

The nukes of hazard

French independent nuclear commission reports four malfunctions in four plants in 15 days

Just when you thought it was safe to build 45 new nuclear plants by 2030 as John McCain wants, comes this word from France's Independent Commission on Research and Information on Radiocactivity (CRIIRAD): "In less than 15 days, the CRIIRAD has been informed of four malfunctions in four nuclear plants, leading to the accidental contamination of 126 workers," CRIIRAD head Corinne Castanier told Reuters in an interview ... But the conservative francophile said last year, If France can produce 80 percent of its electricity with nuclear power, why can't we? McCain seems to forget we are a much, much larger country than France. Heck, we already have more nuclear reactors than they do. To achieve McCain's goal, we'd need 500 to 700+ new nuclear reactors plus five to seven Yucca mountains, at a cost of some $4 trillion. Not to mention the soaring electricity bills Americans would have to suffer through, with electricity from new nukes projected at some $0.15 a kilowatt hour -- some 50 percent higher than current national rates -- not even counting transmission (or reprocessing). The only thing scarier than the radioactivity hazard of nuclear power is the economic hazard.

A profit without honor

ExxonMobil rakes in record cash, spends only 1 percent on alternative energy

ExxonMobil broke its own record for the highest quarterly earnings in U.S. history, reporting $11.7 billion in profits for the second quarter. And as ABC …

Oil companies’ continued record profits tick off Democrats, consumers

Major oil companies reported ginormous second-quarter profits this week, irking consumers and fueling harsh rhetoric from congressional Democrats. ExxonMobil reported a record-breaking profit of $11.68 …

EPA OKs giant coal plant on Navajo land in New Mexico

After more than four years of deliberation, the U.S. EPA has bestowed an air permit to a proposed 600-acre coal plant on Navajo land in …

Hot, hot heat

By century’s end we can expect extremely high surface temperatures

Sure glacier melt, sea level rise, extreme drought, and species loss get all the media attention -- they are the Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Barack Obama of climate impacts. But what about good old-fashioned sweltering heat? How bad will that be? Two little-noticed studies -- one new, one old -- spell out the grim news. Bottom line: By century's end, extreme temperatures of up to 122°F would threaten most of the central, southern, and western U.S. Even worse, Houston and Washington, D.C. could experience temperatures exceeding 98°F for some 60 days a year. The peak temperature analysis comes from a Geophysical Research Letters paper [PDF] published two weeks ago that focused on the annual-maximum "once-in-a-century" temperature. Researchers looked at the case of a (mere) 700 ppm atmospheric concentrations of CO2, the A1b scenario, with total warming of about 3.5°C by century's end. The key scientific point is that "the extremes rise faster than the means in a warming climate."

The world is full of crashing oil barrels

Ads from Sierra Club and MoveOn hit McCain over energy policy

“Big Oil companies have our economy and politics in a choke hold,” says a new TV ad released today by the Sierra Club Political Committee. …

Obama: 'Save the drama'

New Obama ad responds to McCain’s Britney ad

Barack Obama is hammering back after John McCain ran an ad comparing him to Britney Spears. In a new ad of his own, Obama accuses …