Climate & Energy

Screwing with the planet, but on purpose this time

Geo-engineering: cooking up solutions just like nature used to make

Geoengineering may be an awful idea for reversing the warming effects of climate change, but it sure makes for a sweet subject of satire, à la this retro-style informational video. Like they say, “If you can’t fix the problem, techno-fix the problem!” After all, technology will save the world. Because we know everything there is to know about the planet and all. Not to mention what happens when we mess with it. So, instead of cleaning up and trimming the world’s energy glut, let’s focus on dumping SO2 into the atmosphere to stop global warming. We probably wouldn’t get literally …

Cape Wind comments

Agency holds hearings for Massachusetts wind project, extends comment period 30 days

Heads up! The Minerals Management Service is extending the public comment period on the draft environmental impact statement for Cape Wind for an additional 30 days, until April 21. Leave your loving or loathing feedback here or attend one of four hearings this week in Mass. and give your opinion in person: Monday, March 10, West Yarmouth Tuesday, March 11, Nantucket Wednesday, March 12, Martha's Vineyard Thursday, March 13, Boston There's sure to be a "festive" atmosphere at each of these events! Plan on hearing about more guerrilla theater by Cape Wind proponents, all dressed up like Kennedys for a fine day of yachting on Nantucket Sound.

Monday linkfest

My browser’s getting crowded. Time for a link dump! Yes! magazine has an entire issue devoted to climate change. There’s tons to see, with good pieces from Bill McKibben and Peter Barnes, but I particularly liked this hopeful rundown of solutions. It’s odd that I love reading about solutions but I don’t write about them much. Not sure why that is. Remember how the Bush administration spent 7.5 years battling and thwarting binding carbon emissions treaties and then said, less than a year from the end of Bush’s term, that it was open to such a treaty? Good times. Ed …

E.U. report warns of increased security threats due to climate change

A new report from the European Union’s two top foreign-policy officials warns of a wide range of security threats that will be caused or exacerbated by climate change. The report echoes the concerns of earlier U.S. and U.K. reports, warning of “significant potential conflicts” over energy resources, climate-related mass migration, economic instability, and more. A growing rich-poor and north-south divide is forecast in the E.U. report, caused by resentment over richer countries having released far more climate-changing greenhouse gases and poorer countries bearing the brunt of the effects. The thawing Arctic is another potential flashpoint, according to the report, as …

Southern Baptist leaders urge action on climate change

Photo: iStockphoto Over 40 prominent Southern Baptist leaders released a statement Monday urging action against climate change, asserting that “the time for timidity regarding God’s creation is no more.” The declaration is a notable departure from a statement released after the denomination’s 2007 annual meeting that questioned human impacts on climate change. “We believe our current denominational engagement with these issues have often been too timid, failing to produce a unified moral voice,” the new declaration says. “Our cautious response to these issues in the face of mounting evidence may be seen by the world as uncaring, reckless, and ill-informed. …

Crude oil at $130 this year? And $150 next year?

Rising cost of oil pushes value of the dollar down

Bloomberg reports: Crude oil may reach a record $130 a barrel this year because pension funds are investing more in commodities, said Pierre Andurand, the chief investment officer of BlueGold Capital Management LLP, a hedge fund ... "Next year, oil may rise even further to $150 a barrel." Okay, this is a hedge fund guy who is betting the ranch on oil and probably doing his part to drive up prices. But at the end of the day, this is an issue of fundamentals -- supply and demand: Oil companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc are finding it tougher to replace their findings and are drilling for harder-to-reach deposits while energy demand and crude prices surge to records. Another little-discussed factor in the run-up of oil prices is the run-down of the dollar, and with it, U.S. living standards compared to the rest of the world. Thank you so much, President Bush!

The greening of the global south

Drawing actual conclusions about the international challenge

Here's something novel: a well-informed and honest article from a significant British magazine (Prospect) that looks hard at the core political challenges of global climate stabilization and then draws some conclusions. And it's written by Simon Retallack, who knows his way around both the climate policy debate and the climate movement.

Yet another perk of energy-efficient buildings

Car plant cuts energy costs $627,000 with two-month payback — with DOE help

Economic models greatly overestimate the cost of carbon mitigation, in large part because economists simply don't believe (and hence don't model) that the economy has lots of high-return energy efficiency opportunities. In their theory, the economy is always operating near efficiency. Reality is very different than economic models. I have never visited a factory or commercial buildings that didn't have huge energy-saving opportunities, many of which also increase productivity. I wrote a book several years ago with a hundred real-world case studies: Cool Companies: How the Best Businesses Boost Profits and Productivity by Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Studies that model such real-world savings, like the 2007 McKinsey & Co. report, find deep emissions reductions are possible at low net cost to the U.S. (and world) economy. Government has an important role in enabling these energy savings. The office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, which I used to run, has lots of (underfunded) programs that deliver savings every day. One typical example showed up in my inbox yesterday, from the Industrial Technologies Program:

Blocking state leadership on global warming

Johnson made a decision that should have belonged to Congress

Last week, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson published the official explanation of his decision to deny a waiver of preemption for California's program to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from vehicles. Robert Sussman, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, has a very good discussion of the misguided reasoning Johnson uses. The bottom line: The role of state programs under a comprehensive climate change framework may be a legitimate subject for debate by Congress as it writes legislation. But Johnson's job wasn't to make policy judgments that belong to Congress. It was to apply the law. He failed in that responsibility. Although his decision will probably be undone, it will regrettably divert precious time and energy from the urgent task of slowing global warming.

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.

×