Climate & Energy

Up, up, and away: corn edition

Corn hits a new record — $6 a bushel

At the end of February, I blogged on a Fortune article that had the subhead "The ethanol boom is running out of gas as corn prices spike." That article noted: Spurred by an ethanol plant construction binge, corn prices have gone stratospheric, soaring from below $2 a bushel in 2006 to over $5.25 a bushel today. As a result, it's become difficult for ethanol plants to make a healthy profit, even with oil at $100 a barrel. Just six weeks later, we have an AP article with the subhead "Corn Prices Jump to Record $6 a Bushel, Driving Up Costs for Food, Alternative Energy." And it gets better worse:

Blankenship to reporter: 'You're liable to get shot'

Massey wins W. Va. Supreme Court case; not doing so well in public relations

A while back, a case against mountaintop-removal giant Massey Energy reached the West Virginia Supreme Court, which overturned a previous judgment fining the company. But then pictures turned up of Massey CEO Don Blankenship canoodling around the French Riviera with one of the court judges and two female “companions.” Oops. The court decided to re-hear the case, minus the offending judge. Then another judge, who had said that “the pernicious effects of Mr. Blankenship’s bestowal of his personal wealth, political tactics, and ‘friendship’ have created a cancer in the affairs of this court” — got bullied off the case by …

Mississippi town not enthusiastic about storing strategic petroleum

Richton, Miss., is the lucky town picked as the fifth storage site for the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. To create space to store strategic petroleum, the Department of Energy will drain 50 million gallons of water a day for five years from the Pascagoula River to dissolve underground salt caverns, pumping the resulting brine through likely-to-leak pipelines over fragile wetlands and dumping it into the Gulf of Mexico. (The DOE assures that this all will be done in an “environmentally friendly” manner.) In the face of public outcry, the DOE will hold a second round of public meetings next week; …

Asking the right question

The implicit assumption in Pielke Jr.’s Nature commentary

Can we beat global warming with existing technology? I said here that "nobody believes" we have the technology available today to tackle global warming. Gar responded: yes, someone believes it, namely me. Lindsay Meisel from the Breakthrough Institute responded: yes, lots of enviros seem to believe it, and no, it’s not true. Thinking more about this, it strikes me that that the question itself is deceptive. It’s no wonder people seem to be talking past each other trying to answer it. As phrased, the question implicitly assumes that climate change is a technological problem. More honestly phrased, the question RPJr …

Matt Drudge's misleading mashup bolsters right-wing fantasy World

Drudge hijacks headlines to sell global warming denial

From the Think Progress Wonk Room. Atop the Drudge Report right now: Do the stories behind these headlines tell the tale that global warming alarmists have "hijacked" the political debate despite a "lack of natural disasters" and no global warming "since 1998"? No.

Wow

This is the kind of article where you’d really like to be able to see the full text!

On the Ball: Swiftly running out of good sports headlines

Sports continue to ‘go green’

It’s everyone’s favorite time: sports roundup time! And our sport-by-sport structure worked so well last time, perhaps we should try it again. Basketball: Three of the four teams in the NCAA Final Four — UCLA, North Carolina, and Memphis — are signatories to the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. Get with the program, Kansas! Golf: Thirty-four Marriott golf courses will become Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries by the end of 2008. Baseball: Japan’s professional baseball league is aiming to reduce carbon emissions by, um, shortening games by 12 minutes. PETA, not pacified (are they ever?), is urging Japanese stadium …

Global temps may drop this year but, alas, world still warming

Brace yourself for climate-change-denier delight, as the World Meteorological Organization is expecting global temperatures to drop this year thanks to a strong La Niña. But, of course, says WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud, “When you look at climate change you should not look at any particular year. You should look at trends over a pretty long period and the trend of temperature globally is still very much indicative of warming.” You know, lest your friendly neighborhood skeptic needs reminding.

Boosts for renewable energy get another go-round in the Senate

Wind- and solar-boosting folk are crossing their fingers that new Senate legislation will succeed in extending renewable-energy tax credits set to expire at the end of 2008. The Clean Energy Tax Stimulus Act is framed as an economic boon: “If both houses of Congress don’t pass a bill and the president doesn’t sign it into law soon, we will start to see as much as $20 billion of anticipated investment in 2008 delayed or cancelled and more than 100,000 jobs lost,” warns cosponsor Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). The bill has bipartisan support, in large part because, unlike previous failed legislation, it …

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