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Coal bashing: good, and good for you

This week’s coal-sucks update

I just realized it's been almost a week since I've published a coal-bashing post! This cannot stand. I'll have to dig back a bit ... ah, here we go: a new study from the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center (CEIC) concludes that investing in plug-in hybrids would be much more sensible, in terms of both GHG emissions and energy security, than commensurate investments in liquid coal. Notes the study, "duh." No, wait, that was me. Here's a juicy pull quote (emphasis mine): It can be seen that gasoline derived from CTL plants with no CCS could increase GHG emissions from …

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BS green

Given the surge of interest in climate and energy, it's no surprise that a lot of BS -- rainforest-screwing biodiesel, everyone-screwing liquid coal, etc. -- is getting passed off as "green" and bellying up to the public trough. Glenn Hurowitz calls out some of the more egregious offenders.

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Me, on the radio

You know you wanna listen

Yesterday, I was on radio show called Earthbeat, discussing the presidential candidates and their views on climate and energy. You can read about it here, or download the one-hour mp3 here.

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Carbon offsets: now with data!

A new report with numbers and stuff

Our discussion of carbon offsets has been rather hand-wavey -- lots of intuitions and moral judgments and gut feelings flying around. This obviously offended the gods of wonkitude, who have now seen fit to deliver unto us a report on the voluntary carbon credit market, containing some sweet, sweet numbers and graphs. The report was done by market analyst types at New Carbon Finance (in London) and Ecosystem Marketplace (in D.C.), and is based partly on "a wide ranging survey with responses from over 70 organizations involved all stages of the supply chain from developers, aggregators, developers and retailers, and …

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Here’s wishing you plentiful petroleum

I give you Trilby Lundberg, publisher of the Lundberg Survey of gas prices: I'm hoping that consumers will see through the rhetoric about consuming less, demanding less, as faulty. It is not a given that consuming less will be good for our economy or for our personal freedom. It is not even established for our environment that we [should] deprive ourselves of gasoline for our personal mobility as well our commerce. And to suppose that it is good to do that, and pretend that we have consensus and put our heads together to deprive ourselves of this great product that …

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Deader Than Ever

Biofuels could contribute to historically big Gulf of Mexico dead zone Still think corn-based biofuels will save the world? Here's another piece of the no-they-won't puzzle: Researchers say more intensive farming of more land in the Midwestern U.S. -- in part a result of the push for more corn production -- could contribute to the largest-ever "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico this summer. The zone is created when fertilizer and other runoff find their way down the Mississippi River and into the gulf, encouraging algae to grow. The algae's decay process sucks up all the available oxygen, leaving …

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Cheney energy task force ... revealed!

Pretty much what you thought it was

Six years and a protracted legal battle later, The Washington Post has finally gotten its hands on a list of who met with Dick Cheney's Energy Task Force in 2001. Turns out it's a bunch of oil and gas execs. Shocking. This is my favorite 'graph from the story: The task force issued its report on May 16, 2001. Though the report was roundly criticized by environmental groups at the time, some energy experts say that in retrospect it appears better balanced than the administration's actual policy. Sigh. Here's the full list.

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Carbon credit allocation

All the kids are talking about it

Today in Greenwire, Darren Samuelsohn rightly notes that the big -- and by big we're talking multi-billions of dollars -- question around a cap-and-trade system is how the credits are initially allocated. Do you give more to utilities with lots of coal plants, because they need help transitioning to a low-carbon future? Do you give more to utilities with gas and hydro, to reward their low-carbon ways? Do you auction them all? Some mix? You can be sure lots of utility lobbyists are rapidly becoming experts on the subject. You need a subscription to read the article, so here's a …

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It ain't natural

What global warming could do to national parks

The National Parks Conservation Association released a new report last week, "Unnatural Disaster" (PDF), which explores the impact of global warming on national parks, and as you'd expect, the news is pretty grim. From the intro: The gradual, accelerated warming of our planet will have disastrous consequences for America's national parks. Glaciers in the national parks of Alaska as well as North Cascades and Mount Rainier National Parks will continue to disappear; Joshua trees will no longer exist at Joshua Tree National Park; and a rising sea will drown Everglades National Park and portions of historic sites such as Colonial …

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Benefits of large-scale energy storage

A shock absorber for the grid to enhance efficiency, reliability, and security

In their July 16th piece on solar energy technology in The New York Times, Andrew Revkin and Matthew Wald wrote that, "With more research, the solar thermal method might allow for storing energy. Currently, all solar power is hampered by a lack of storage capability." They are certainly right. In fact, a lack of storage capacity hampers a lot of things. While there's been a lot of talk about coupling energy storage to solar (and wind) power, there are additional reasons for addressing our lack of storage capability. In fact, storage technologies can act as a "shock absorber" for the …

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