Climate & Energy

Colbert on gas prices and oil profits

(thanks LL!)

Break up with your utility company ... or get dumped

Millions of Americans may not be able to afford heat or power this year

So, I spent almost $2,000 today ... to fill up our oil tank. We heat primarily with wood, but we use oil as a backup system to keep the pipes from freezing and occasionally on days when we're going to be out for an extended period. Our hot water is also heated with oil. For whatever reason, most oil heat in the U.S. is in the Northeast, mostly in towns beyond gas lines like mine. I suspect today's purchase may well be the last tank of heating oil we ever buy. Unfortunately, that's not true for most Americans.

Polar-bear listing would hurt the poor, says industry

If the U.S. Interior Department decides that polar bears are endangered, litigation will be immediate from a group arguing that bear protection will “result in higher energy prices across the board, which will disproportionately be …

Timothy LaSalle of Rodale on the surprising climate benefits of organic farming

Organic methods: good for carrots and for the climate. The Rodale Institute, founded by organic farming visionary J.I. Rodale, is one of the nation’s leading organic-farming research and advocacy organizations. Today, Rodale sits on a …

Gearing up for an eco-week

McCain kicks off series of environmental events with address in N.J.

John McCain gave a campaign speech in New Jersey today in which he touched on environmental issues and talked up his record in that area. “There is no doubt our environment is globally challenged,” McCain …

Coal is the enemy of the human race: Criminal negligence edition

Mining accidents and deaths cause a flurry of press coverage and then fade into our collective memory. But for a moment, let’s think back to those horrific weeks last year as we waited to find …

Life after coal

We can’t wait for new nukes, so what do we do now?

Suppose the leaders of this country were wise enough to put a moratorium on traditional coal (the most urgent climate policy needed, as discussed here)? How will we meet our steadily growing demand for carbon-free power over the next decade? And to get on the 450 ppm path, we don't just need to stop U.S. emissions from rising -- we should return to 1990 levels (or lower) by 2020. Nuclear Nuclear is an obvious possibility, beloved of conservative Francophiles like McCain and Gingrich, but energy realists understand that it is very unlikely new nuclear plants could deliver many kilowatt-hours of electricity by 2018, let alone affordable kwh. Indeed, back in August, Tulsa World reported: American Electric Power Co. isn't planning to build any new nuclear power plants because delays will push operational starts to 2020, CEO Michael Morris said Tuesday ...Builders would also have to queue for certain parts and face "realistic" costs of about $4,000 a kilowatt, he said ..."I'm not convinced we'll see a new nuclear station before probably the 2020 timeline," Morris said. And that in spite of the amazing subsidies and huge loan guarantees for nuclear power in the 2005 energy bill (see here).

U.S. fails to be climate leader because of war, says Obama

The war in Iraq is one reason the U.S. is such an environmental laggard, Barack Obama said in a CNN interview Thursday. “I think the way we have run this war in Iraq has … …

Portrait of an oil-addicted former superpower

How rising oil prices are obliterating America’s superpower status

The following was originally published on Tom's Dispatch, which has graciously permitted us to use it here. ----- Nineteen years ago, the fall of the Berlin Wall effectively eliminated the Soviet Union as the world's other superpower. Yes, the USSR as a political entity stumbled on for another two years, but it was clearly an ex-superpower from the moment it lost control over its satellites in Eastern Europe. Less than a month ago, the United States similarly lost its claim to superpower status when a barrel crude oil roared past $110 on the international market, gasoline prices crossed the $3.50 threshold at American pumps, and diesel fuel topped $4.00. As was true of the USSR following the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, the U.S. will no doubt continue to stumble on like the superpower it once was; but as the nation's economy continues to be eviscerated to pay for its daily oil fix, it, too, will be seen by increasing numbers of savvy observers as an ex-superpower-in-the-making. That the fall of the Berlin Wall spelled the erasure of the Soviet Union's superpower status was obvious to international observers at the time. After all, the USSR visibly ceased to exercise dominion over an empire (and an associated military-industrial complex) encompassing nearly half of Europe and much of Central Asia. The relationship between rising oil prices and the obliteration of America's superpower status is, however, hardly as self-evident. So let's consider the connection. Dry hole superpower The fact is, America's wealth and power has long rested on the abundance of cheap petroleum. The United States was, for a long time, the world's leading producer of oil, supplying its own needs while generating a healthy surplus for export.

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.

Sure!  
×