Climate & Energy

Crooked talk

McCain’s gas-tax holiday plan is at odds with his new climate strategy

Sen. John McCain made a climate speech Monday in which he argued that doing something about climate change is a "test of foresight, of political courage, and of the unselfish concern that one generation owes to the next." His timing is curious. "Ignore that man behind the curtain," his speech seemed to be saying. "You know, the man who is beating up on Sen. Barack Obama for refusing to support his gas-tax holiday proposal; the one who will be making it easier for Americans to consume greater amounts of carbon-rich fossil fuel." Of course, it is hard to ignore the man behind the curtain.

Like oil and vinegar

Dems and GOP agree to stop filling Strategic Petroleum Reserve

The Senate today approved legislation to temporarily suspend deliveries to the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, by a vote of 97-1. The measure was inserted as an amendment to a flood insurance bill, and was opposed …

Gasoline demand explained

Why it took us so long to internalize the rise in gas prices

With gas at $3.50 a gallon in April, the U.S. mainstream media is replete with stories of drivers abandoning SUVs, hopping on mass transit, and otherwise cutting back on gasoline. Yet a year or two ago, when pump prices were approaching and even passing the $3.00 "barrier," the media mantra was that demand for gasoline was so inelastic that high prices were barely making a dent in usage. Which story is correct? I lean toward the more "elastic" view, and here I'd like to share some of the data that inform my belief. I've been tracking official monthly data on U.S. gasoline consumption for the past five years and compiling the numbers in this spreadsheet. You'll find that it parses the data in several different ways: year-on-year monthly comparisons (e.g., March 2008 vs. March 2007), three-month moving averages that smooth out most of the random variations in reporting, and full-year comparisons that allow a bird's-eye view. Here's what I see in the data:

Voters' Voices: West Virginia

Talking with voters in the Mountain State

This is the first in a series of dispatches from Melinda Henneberger, who's talking to voters around the U.S. about their views on the environment and the election. Photo: Wignut Huntington, W.Va. -- Door-knocking for Barack Obama in a state where he expects to get stomped today has been kind of thankless for Pam Wonnell, a nurse and old friend of mine who moved here from Illinois last year for her husband's job in coal mining: "I am not feeling the love" while phone canvassing or standing on front porches watching the people inside pretend not to be home. "But I'm not quitting, 'cause I'm a fighter, like Hillary," she says, and laughs at her own joke. "Isn't that Hillary-ous?" Canvassing with her in her hilly, aerobically "butt-busting" neighborhood on the eve of the Democratic primary, though, one surprise is the can't-wait-for-November enthusiasm for Obama among ... Republicans? Hmm. Another is that even -- or perhaps especially -- in this coal-mining state, where billboards along I-64 scream, "Yes, Coal" and "Coal Keeps the Lights On," voters say they want to hear candidates talk more about the environment, not less.

Nukes to me

More on the nuclear portion of McCain’s big climate speech

What’s the deal with John McCain’s nuclear love affair? It’s a question on many people’s minds after the candidate’s big climate speech yesterday. While McCain has argued repeatedly that he’s opposed to subsidies for the …

How's that for an incentive?

Drink beer, fight climate change

Many efforts to fight climate change involve some kind of sacrifice. This invention, however, merely requires the drinking of lots and lots of beer. I see it as a game-changer in the debate over the best way to incentivize a solar market.

McCain's answers

A Q&A on John McCain’s climate platform, issued by his campaign

The following is a Q&A on John McCain’s climate platform, released on Monday by the McCain campaign. I’m posting it here because it gets into more detail than any other published material I’ve seen. —– …

And I would have gotten away with it, if it wasn’t for you meddling kids!

One thing you frequently hear from nuclear proponents is that nuke plants would pencil out fine if not for all those pesky safety regulations, NIMBYs, lawsuits, protests, and other political ephemera. If we could just …

The renewable energy beneath our wings

Bush DOE says wind can be 20 percent of U.S. power by 2030 — with no breakthroughs

The Bush administration has signed off on a stunning new report [PDF], "20 Percent Wind Energy by 2030: Increasing Wind Energy's Contribution to U.S. Electricity Supply." I am working on a big wind article for midweek, but here are the key conclusions of what is easily the most comprehensive and credible report released on wind power in a decade:

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