Climate & Energy

Moore rules on greenhouse gas emissions

Georgia judge finds that coal plant must obtain emissions permit from state EPA

The AP has the bombshell news. A judge has finally used the Supreme Court decision that carbon dioxide is a pollutant: The construction of a coal-fired power plant in Georgia was halted Monday when a judge ruled that the plant's builders must first obtain a permit from state regulators that limits the amount of carbon dioxide emissions. Read Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore's ruling [PDF]. What did the judge find?

Anti-science conservatives must be stopped

New global warming denier article in Salon

That's the title of my new article in Salon. I had proposed "The political fight of the century," but the editors wanted a stronger headline -- and subhead: Americans must not allow global warming deniers to block the policies needed to avert catastrophic climate change. Our future is at stake. Now that the relevant science is settled -- namely that failing to quickly embrace strong greenhouse gas reduction policies would be the greatest act of self-destruction in human history -- the fight to save a livable climate will indeed be the greatest political fight of our times. As the piece concludes:

Electable energy

The importance of elections for a renewable energy economy

This article in Business Week is both a fascinating read and a perfect illustration of why national leadership is so essential for a sustainable energy future. Many environmentalists (including myself) believe that electricity generated through clean renewable sources can power not only most of our homes and industry, but also our transportation sector through plug-in cars and buses. There is little doubt that the solar and wind capacity exists, but the major obstacle is a lack of transmission lines to transport the energy from the deserts or the wind farms to the large urban areas where most power is used. This is where the federal government has to step in. First, these transmission lines are incredibly expensive, and it is unlikely that power companies will foot the bill themselves for a national grid; the total cost is in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Second, and no less important, is the fact that the siting of these lines is very cumbersome and filled with extensive red-tape, which means that it takes many years to get them off the ground. An administration that helps to both finance such a grid and to streamline the siting process is desperately needed if we are going to make serious strides in the share of renewable energy in our national energy mix. This type of work would employ hundreds of thousands of people, stimulate many local economies, and vastly upgrade America's domestic energy capacity thereby making us more energy secure. Of course, it would also help us to greatly reduce our carbon footprint. This is why elections matter so much. Eight more years of doing next to nothing on the energy front may leave America's economy and world standing so damaged that we may not be able to recover. While both political parties have their share of bad ideas and are beholden to special interests, I trust much less the party which has spent the past decades demonizing government at every turn.

The power of the state

State energy news update

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Kari Manlove, fellows assistant at the Center for American Progress. ----- On Wednesday (June 25th), Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed a historic piece of energy legislation that advances Florida one step closer to establishing a cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Florida is the first state in the Southeast to adopt a law of this nature. While Crist has prevented new coal plant construction and while this article describes a handful of solar thermal projects in Florida, Joe has followed and described some attempts by companies in Florida to pursue nuclear, encouraged by the governor. Other state progress is happening in New Hampshire, whose Governor John Lynch just recently signed his state on to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. In other power plant-related news in states, Virginia is mid-showdown over the future of coal in the state, an issue which has left a huge divide between northern Virginia and southern Virginia. Unfortunately, the latest coal plant in Virgina has unanimously won approval (on the condition that another coal plant start to burn natural gas). Still, this is a state to keep an eye on. In terms of coal, but also in the upcoming presidential election (see this 2007 example of the changing political orientation). Finally, all has been quiet on the Kansas front. But it's worth keeping in mind that every single Representative and Senator is up for re-election in November. So once the new pieces are set, it will literally be an entirely different game. This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Landmark ruling halts Georgia coal plant on basis of CO2 emissions

A Georgia coal plant cannot go forward until it receives an air-pollution permit limiting its carbon-dioxide emissions, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings …

15 green books you can actually read at the beach

Green books that are fun to read? What a novel idea. So maybe you’ll finally have a chance to catch up on some reading this …

Is 450 ppm politically possible? Part 6

What the Boxer-Lieberman-Warner bill debate tells us

No, 450 is not politically possible today. Okay, that was clear before. But the debate over the Climate Security Act made it clear that it won't be politically possible anytime soon, for two reasons: The vast majority of conservatives have not budged an inch on climate science even in the face of now overwhelming direct scientific observation and a much deeper and broader scientific understanding of the dangerous impact of unrestricted human greenhouse gas emissions on the climate. Equally important, conservatives now have a very potent political issue to beat back advocates of an economy-wide cap-and-trade system -- high gasoline prices. And gasoline prices are probably going to be much higher over the next few years (see "Must read CIBC report: $7 per gallon gas by 2010"). That is one reason I would leave transportation out of an economy-wide cap-and-trade, but that will be the subject of another post. I live-blogged the debate at the time. Here are the highlights -- or, rather, lowlights -- from the GOP side that make clear just how far conservatives are from understanding climate reality:

White House tries to keep EPA from showing how greenhouse gases could be regulated

The White House is trying to block the U.S. EPA from releasing a document that shows how the Clean Air Act could be used to …

Climate skeptics say the darndest things

Did I say darndest? I meant stupidest

From Deltoid, Tim Lambert provides this exchange between Tim Flannery (climate realist) and Adam Shand (climate skeptic) from an Australian TV show: Tim Flannery: No one can predict the weather three months ahead, that's absolutely true. But if I asked you if January next year was likely to be warmer than June this year, what would you say? Adam Shand: I'd have no idea! TF: You'd say yes because that's what we always see. Summers are warmer than winter. And in terms of predicting general global trends, that exactly the sort of science that we're doing. It's not like predicting the weather on a certain day three months out, it's like predicting whether January is likely to be warmer than June. AS: But that's just an assumption, we sort of assume that summer is hotter than winter.