Climate & Energy

The Grand Ostrich Party

Conservative heads increasingly buried in sand

Andrew Sullivan reads this Jim Manzi post (Conservatives are going to win on climate change! By doing nothing!) and says he’s on board. He then …

OMG, CNN actually reports

Major news network exposes McCain’s energy contradictions

Does not compute: Only thing is, they keep saying, “this shows how tricky it is for McCain.” What it also shows, one might think, is …

350 or bust

The 350ppm challenge to U.S. environmental organizations and the importance of McKibben’s

Bill McKibben spoke about recently at the Jamaica Plain Forum. Coming on the heels of recent talks by Ross Gelbspan, also at the JP Forum, and Jim Hansen, in Lexington, Mass., Bill's talk completed a trifecta of area appearances by climate action patriots. My friend Andrée, who attended all three events, said: "Hansen has the reserve of a scientist, and the certainty of someone who knows he is right. McKibben is just like his writing -- philosophical, wry and funny, and Gelbspan ..." she paused ... "Gelbspan is a mensch." Like McKibben himself, may be tagged as too expansive, missing a sharp political point. I agree with Lorna Salzman's concerns, but I do not think can or should try to be all things. McKibben and the Step It Up crew have set out a tremendous undertaking, trying to do in very short order what U.S. environmental organizations and funders -- with thousands of staff, millions of members, a billion+ in assets, and decades of lead time -- never attempted. Those who believe it is high time we turn our institution to the purpose for which is was created have a great deal of heavy lifting to do, and those efforts will be strengthened by, for these reasons:

Hunters’ group sues Interior Dept for drilling’s impacts on wildlife

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a coalition of hunting, fishing, and conservation groups, is suing the U.S. Interior Department over the impacts of gas drilling …

Nuclear deterrence

Lovins and Sheikh defend their work in ‘The Nuclear Illusion’

This is a guest essay from Amory B. Lovins and Imran Sheikh of the Rocky Mountain Institute. ----- David Bradish, in a post on the blog of the Nuclear Energy Institute, criticizes our methodology used to derive micropower's output in "The Nuclear Illusion" (PDF). As Mr. Bradish notes in hypertext, our methodology is online here (PDF), and our micropower database is posted and documented here. Here's our point-by-point response to his critique: "With the exception of nuclear, the data for the chart aren't actual generation numbers. RMI collected the capacity and capacity factor data for the other sources to calculate the generation." For many generation types, only capacity and capacity factor data are available. That's partly because the data often come from surveys of production or installation, typically based on unit-by-unit data from vendors or their trade associations. Data on measured output are rarer because they're normally collected by national energy authorities that often don't count small and non-utility units or don't consistently record the type of unit. Then those output data are added up, with many gaps, to estimate global totals. We used all the reliable capacity data we could find using bottom-up industry data covering most main countries, though with notable gaps we described. Then we calculated output using capacity factors that Mr. Bradish agrees are reasonable (other than cogen -- see below). Finally, where possible, we compared calculated output to estimated output from other sources to verify that our calculations were realistic. If more generation data were available, we'd be glad to learn about them so we can apply them to our analysis. But so far, measured global generation data are available only for nuclear, though some specific jurisdictions do track other sources too. "The problem with the 83 percent [Non-Biomass Decentralized Co-Generation] capacity factor is it is twice as high as what it should be."

Oil drilling = oil spilling

How greens and Democrats can win the energy debate

If the pro-environment Republican wasn't already dead, I think this week killed him. John McCain, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, President Bush, and many others threw overboard one of the last policy planks Republicans (at least in coastal states) used to show that they're pro-environment too by calling for a massive offshore drilling program. As chronicled in this excellent article by Politico's Charles Mathesian and David Mark, it's a politically risky move for Republicans: although national polls show some support for more oil drilling, there's also zealous support for keeping coasts and beaches clean in many coastal states. What's Florida Republican senator Mel Martinez to do, for instance, during his next election campaign after gas price anxiety fades (most likely) and his opponent can waive around this quote to cast doubt not only on his green cred, but also his general trustworthiness and strong leadership: "I'm trying to clarify my position," said Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.). "In Florida today most voters probably want more drilling." Meanwhile, although the Democratic leadership is expressing opposition to the Bush-McCain drilling plan, they're not exactly showing a lot of rhetorical backbone on it: Afraid to make the argument against offshore drilling on environmental grounds, they're instead going for the "We're for oil drilling too, but just not as much as Republicans" argument that has built them such a loyal and enthusiastic skeptical and tepid following among environmentalists.

EIA to McCain: Drop offshore (drilling)

Offshore drilling will have no impact on oil prices through 2030

McCain has flip-flopped his position on offshore drilling, pandered to the oil companies, and embraced the exact same strategy endorsed by the man McCain is trying so hard to run away from -- President Bush. He must have a damn good policy reason: "Tomorrow I'll call for lifting the federal moratorium for states that choose to permit exploration," McCain said. "I think that this and perhaps providing additional incentives for states to permit exploration off their coasts would be very helpful in the short term in resolving our energy crisis." Short-term? If only the facts supported that position. If only the man who wants to be the next president bothered to check the analysis by the current president's own energy analysts.

No luv from Democratic guvs

McCain’s offshore drilling plan irks coastal state governors

The Obama campaign hosted a press conference this afternoon with Democratic governors to highlight opposition to John McCain’s call to end the moratorium on offshore …

A Springfield in his step

McCain goes to Springfield, talks up nukes and coal

John McCain followed up yesterday’s energy speech with more energy talk today during a roundtable at Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo. Today he focused …