Climate & Energy

Misplaced priorities

Thoughts from a cellulosic ethanol agnostic

Photo: rsgranne and danipt via Flickr. "If America can win a race to the moon, we can win a race for a battery," Bill Clinton said last night on TV, stumping for Hillary. He also pointed out that if our cars got 100 mpg, the rise in fuel prices -- which is inevitable -- will have a much smaller economic impact. In short, he thinks America needs to get its shit together and start leading the world again with innovation. Easier said than done, in my opinion. We seem to be going backwards at present. All three of the remaining presidential hopefuls claim to be big supporters of corn ethanol. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as commercially produced cellulosic ethanol, so the following is based on an assumption that may never come to fruition. Imagine for a moment that the picture to the right, a power plant being fed a continuous supply of coal, is instead a cellulose ethanol refinery, and instead of coal in those cars, you have cellulose. Now, instead, assume it is a power plant again, but keep the cellulose in the train cars.

Ship pilot charged in San Francisco oil spill

The pilot of the ship that spilled more than 50,000 gallons of oil into the San Francisco Bay in November has been charged with criminal negligence, harming federally protected birds, and violating the Clean Water …

Sail-powered cargo ship returns home, wave-powered vessel sets off

A cargo ship partially powered by a gigantic kite-like sail has completed a 12,000-mile roundtrip voyage across the Atlantic. Captain Lutz Heldt, who says the ship used around 20 percent less fuel thanks to kite …

Climate change will make Ireland less green, says well-timed report

It’s St. Patty’s day — so you just knew someone would do a study on the impact of climate change on Ireland, didn’t you? Sure enough, the Irish American Climate Project has issued a report …

G20 climate meeting ends, accomplishing nothing

In case you’ve been wondering what happened at this weekend’s gathering of the G20 biggest-polluting countries, the answer is: pretty much nothing. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair formally announced his goal to eke out …

China, with emissions rising, urges developed countries to carbon diet

China’s greenhouse-gas emissions are rising far faster than expected, according to a new analysis to be published in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. Researchers estimate that by 2010, China may spew 600 million …

Peruvian Amazon under threat from oil exploration, illegal logging

There’s no better way to start off a Monday than with depressing news from the Peruvian Amazon, which is under threat from both fossil-fuel development and illegal logging. Despite protests from environmental and human rights …

Play with fire and you're gonna get ... offsets?

N.J. firefighters puttin’ out the flames of the planet

“We’d all be heroes if we quit using petroleum,” says the fictional firefighter played by Marky Mark in I Heart Huckabees, who memorably opted to ride his bike to fires rather than take the truck …

World’s glaciers melting rapidly, report says

The world’s glaciers are melting quite rapidly and will likely cause all sorts of environmental problems, according to data from the World Glacier Monitoring Service. The WGMS tracks the health of 30 “reference” glaciers throughout …

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