Climate & Energy

Creeping toward productive conversation

Senate begins debate on Lieberman-Warner climate bill — sort of

After last night’s cloture vote, Senate Republicans asked for 30 hours before legislatively productive debate on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act could begin. That means …

Who's protecting us from the gays?

Conservative Christian group outraged that Congress is distracted by climate change

In today’s daily action alert from the Family Research Council, President Tony Perkins bemoans the fact that the Senate is wasting time talking about climate …

It actually doesn't fall on the plain ... or anywhere else

Spain experiencing severe drought due to climate change

Warming-driven desertification is spreading. Australia has gotten the most attention, but Spain is also turning into a desert. As Time reported: Spain is in the grip of its worst drought in a century as a result of climate change -- this year's total rainfall, for example, has been 40 percent lower than average for the equivalent period, and the country's reservoirs are, on average, only 30 percent full. The reservoirs serving Barcelona are only 20 percent full, and without significant rainfall, supplies of drinking water will likely run dry by October.

A taste of the fight ahead

GOP circulating at least 90 weakening amendments to Climate Security Act

Senate Republicans are already circulating at least 90 amendments that would weaken the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act. Here’s a complete list of those we know …

Train of thought

Rail and the coming changes in transport

National Train Day was marked this year on May 10, so it's not too incredibly late to mention two new books of note: John Stilgoe's Train Time: Railroads and the Imminent Reshaping of the United States Landscape that came out in the fall says that rail is "an economic and cultural tsunami about to transform the United States." Maybe that's a little grand, but rail is definitely on the ascendancy, since it can move people and freight at a fraction of the energy usage vs. petroleum. Also, Radio Ecoshock's March 28 edition of its useful weekly podcast had a recording (skip to minute 11 for the presentation) by authors Richard Gilbert and Anthony Perl at the launch event for their new book Transport Revolutions: Moving People and Freight without Oil. They are forecasting a grid-tied and electrified (increasingly from renewables) rail system among four revolutions coming in transport:

Notable quotable

Rogers: cap-and-trade without corporate giveaways like ‘mafia’

“This is just a money grab. Only the mafia could create an organization that would skim money off the top the way this legislation would …

Bright lights, big energy

Hybrid solar lighting: a solar retrofit for hot climates

A fascinating commercial application for solar energy in clear (or semi-clear) hot climates seems to not be getting the attention it deserves: hybrid solar lighting. You take a parabolic concentrator and focus some sunlight, optically split with plastic fiber into visible light and heat. Pipe the visible light through diffusers throughout the building. It saves lighting electricity, of course, but unlike skylights or conventional T8s, it adds almost no heat to the building. In a cooling climate it saves about a third as much in air-conditioning energy as it does in light.

Beam me down, Scotty

Can we shoot concentrated solar power down from space?

CNN takes a look an energy long shot that could change the game on climate change: space-based solar power. The idea is to launch satellites …

Nukes, part II: nuclear bomb

Bite-sized version of longer nuke study is on Salon

If you are looking for a shorter, more readable version of my study, "The Self-Limiting Future of Nuclear Power," I've got just the thing. Salon has published my article, "Nuclear bomb: Nuclear energy, the sequel, is opening to raves by everybody from John McCain to a Greenpeace co-founder. Don't be fooled. It's the Ishtar of power generation." As the article points out, back in May 2001, the Economist explained ($ub. req'd) that nuclear power had fallen out of favor because it simply was "too costly to matter." Today, nuclear power is nearly three times the price it was when the Economist wrote that.