Climate & Energy

Oil hysteria, part 3

Congress scrambles for short-term solutions to counter oil prices

I was afraid of this. The irrationality being exhibited about the price of gasoline is on prominent display this week in Congress. According to the New York Times article "Congress feeling pressure for action on oil prices," some of the things being considered are 1) drilling, of course, 2) anti-speculation legislation, and 3) "incentives for renewable fuels," ergo, corn ethanol.

The long journey from denier to delayer

Bush hits the climate alarm snooze button at G8

The NYT's Andy Revkin dissed the G8 climate statement with the blog headline, "Rich and Emerging Greenhouse-Gas Emitters Fail to Set Common Long-Term Goal for Cuts." The headline of the NYT's article on the subject, however, is "Richest Nations Pledge to Halve Greenhouse Gas." The Grist story begins, "world leaders reached a landmark deal: agreeing to cut emissions in half by 2050," calling it a "significant step" for the Bush Administration, whereas NRDC's international climate policy director, Jake Schmidt, blogs, "Yup, Just as I Predicted ... No G8 Leadership!" What is going on? You can read the "G8 statement on climate change and environment" and decide for yourself. I think your reaction depends on whether you are a "glass is 90 percent empty" or "glass is 10 percent full" type of person and whether you judge the president on the relative basis of his dismal, pathetic, unconscionable climate record (in which case what he agreed to at the G8 was a big deal) or on an absolute basis of what needs to be done to avoid catastrophic climate impacts for the next 10 billion people to walk the earth (in which case what the G8 did was give a placebo to a diabetic -- a sugar-coated placebo, that is). The Guardian online asked for my commentary, "Ignoring the climate change alarm." Here are some excerpts:

Forbes on utility objections to combined heat and power

Forbes has a nice story about the historic barriers that electric utilities have thrown up to block efficient power generation. This is nothing new to those of us "in the trenches," but it is nice to see this topic aired from more visible podiums. It's worth the time to read for anyone who thinks that the only barrier to low-carbon generation is technological development.

Mine’s lighter than yours

When society embraces vehicle fuel efficiency as a goal, hordes of smart people converge on it and try to outdo each other. The same thing …


Conservative blogger thinks McCain is ditching cap-and-trade

Larry Kudlow of National Review seems to think that John McCain has dropped his support for cap-and-trade, after reading the Republican candidate’s policy pamphlet [PDF] …

Coal money talks, public ignores

Poll shows 86 percent of public wants a five-year halt on new coal plants

Shortly before the July 4 holiday, Opinion Research Corporation released a poll entitled "Opinions About Gas Prices and U.S. Energy Independence" [PDF] which shows -- drum roll please -- that the public, by a three-to-one margin, is either "very angry" or "somewhat angry" about gasoline prices. While gas prices grabbed the headlines, the poll also happened to ask a number of questions about coal, and the answers were both interesting and surprising: The percentage of people who said they opposed new coal plants was actually higher than the percentage expressing outrage over gas prices. When asked whether "America should commit to a five-year moratorium on new coal-fired plants," the response was:

Costly climate

The Freakonomists weigh in on the effects of warming

Manzian (as in Jim Manzi) climate policy skepticism stems in part from a fairly simple idea: The cost of legislation is unlikely to be justified …

You win summit, you lose summit

Not everyone jazzed about the G8 climate agreement

While G8 leaders are touting yesterday’s climate agreement in Hokkaido as “a significant step forward,” enviros and other world leaders are scoffing at the very …

Your city council could save the world

How local building codes can be adapted to meet the 2030 Challenge right now

Compared to cutting-edge technologies -- nanotechnology, coal with carbon capture and sequestration, biomimicry -- building codes seem downright stodgy and, dare I say it?, boring. Yet, much to the surprise of many, building codes are fast becoming the Titans in the battle against climate change. Able to fell with a single blow the giants on the other side of the battlefield -- out-of-control greenhouse-gas emissions, thoughtless energy consumption, and gross energy inefficiency -- building codes are beginning to look pretty darn sexy in their own right.