Climate & Energy

Why more drilling is not the answer

Conservative arguments to the contrary are intellectually bankrupt

Originally posted at the NDN blog. Of the various false solutions being proposed to the current oil shock perhaps none is more disingenous than the idea that it can be solved by drilling in the Alaskan wilderness and along the Outer Continental Shelf. This is the idea that the right wing media, recently John McCain, and now President Bush have been pushing as a cure-all for soaring oil prices. Since many Democrats oppose this drilling, the next false logical step is to say Democrats are to blame. This was the thrust of President Bush's energy proposal yesterday, one that only highlights the intellectual dishonesty and partisanship of this failed administration. Is more drilling the answer? No, for three reasons.

Well, when you put it that way ...

Rasmussen poll biased on offshore drilling

Rasmussen Reports did a poll that they tout as showing "67 percent Support Offshore Drilling." Given the biased way they did the poll (details here), I'm surprised the number was so low. The first question they asked: "How concerned are you about rising gas and energy prices?" Pretty much everybody is concerned. Duh. But in a flawed poll, almost a push poll, the point of the first question is to get people thinking about about the pain of gasoline prices, rather than, say, the coastal environment or global warming. Second question: "In order to reduce the price of gas, should drilling be allowed in offshore oil wells off the coasts of California, Florida, and other states?" I kid you not. That was the question. And Rasmussen is supposedly a serious polling firm. I'm just surprised that only 67 percent answered that loaded question "yes."

You know things are getting bad …

… when even China is raising fuel prices.

Flood money

Midwest woes a boon to fertilizer companies

The recent Midwestern floods have caused all manner of misery: Burst levies, lost homes, ruined crops, higher food prices, a gusher of agrichemicals and god …

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 350.org

Bill McKibben spoke about 350.org 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, 350.org may be tagged as too expansive, missing a sharp political point. I agree with Lorna Salzman's concerns, but I do not think 350.org 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 350.org, 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."