Climate & Energy

Emissionaries wanted

Check out Oregon PeaceWorks’ ‘5% solution to the climate crisis’

Oregon PeaceWorks, a venerable peace and social justice organization based in Salem, Oregon, has adopted a program of action to intended to help head off the next resource war(s). It's called the "5% Solution to the Climate Crisis," and it makes explicit the link between a chaotic climate and the natural follow-on consequences, which can be summarized as "All four horsemen of the Apocalypse."

It's bloomin' idiotic

Can words describe how bad corn ethanol is?

Well, maybe my words can't describe how bad corn ethanol is, or Mayor Bloomberg's, or those of top scientists, but I think I have found someone's words that do: Opus's from Bloom Country. First, however, the lastest grim news from Fortune: "The ethanol boom is running out of gas as corn prices spike." Yes, "plans for as many as 50 new ethanol plants have been shelved in recent months." Why? Spurred by an ethanol plant construction binge, corn prices have gone stratospheric, soaring from below $2 a bushel in 2006 to over $5.25 a bushel today. As a result, it's become difficult for ethanol plants to make a healthy profit, even with oil at $100 a barrel. If you can't make money with oil at $100 a barrel, you are not much of an alternative fuel. But I know what you're thinking -- if corn ethanol is so bad, what's wrong with plants being scrapped? Well, the corn ethanol business is here to stay. The corn ethanol mandate from the most recent energy bill requires doubling supply from current levels. Fortune explains what that means:

Oh hell yes

More here.

Efficiency, anyone?

Power plants’ costs doubled since 2000

According to a new index by Cambridge Energy Research Associates: The cost of building a U.S. power plant has risen 130 percent since 2000, and 27 percent in the 12 months to October 2007 alone. CERA's Candida Scott explains most of the implications:

Letter in TAP

Green advocates urged to be reasonable

In last month’s print edition of The American Prospect, Chris Mooney had an article called "This will mean the world to us," about what a new president and Congress could and should do on climate change. The editors asked me to write a letter in response, which is in this month’s issue. It’s semi-on the web here, but I think you have to be a subscriber to read it. Here’s the full, pre-edited version: Dear editor, In his otherwise astute survey of the political landscape around climate change, Chris Mooney takes a puzzling tone toward the advocates and activists who …

A sea of stats

Even more numbers to illuminate the vast ocean

Perhaps because it was released the same week as Ben Halpern and colleagues' excellent human impacts map, the new U.N. report "In Dead Water" has been met with little fanfare. It's too bad, because the report is a natural complement to the scientists' graphic illustration of the intersection between humans and the seas. "In Dead Water" takes a big-picture look at the five primary threats facing the oceans: pollution, climate change, overfishing, invasive species, and habitat loss. You can download the report here (PDF); I plucked out some of its major findings in an oceanic ode to the Harper's Index. With apologies to Lewis Lapham:

Slacker credits

This is from the very funny daily web comic Joy of Tech:

Climate skeptic tries to throw cold water on global warming, gets all wet

From an article titled "Cold Water on 'Global Warming'" (paraphrased): My climate change prediction is that no one outside of our own inner circle of discredited charlatans and industry shills will want to sit around and watch The Great Global Warming Swindle reruns for three straight days, even if it is at the Times Square Marriott. Once my prediction comes true, I can blame it all on the liberal media.

Daylight wastings

Daylight saving time wastes energy, study says

I have been asked this question about daylight saving time many times. I have long believed it was not an energy saver -- even though that is how it is typically justified. Turns out there is quantitative proof. For those who are interested in this relatively obscure issue -- I doubt Congress would change DST on the basis of this or any other study -- you can read a very good article in the Wall Street Journal. "Springing forward," as we will do March 9, "may actually waste energy":

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