Climate & Energy

Tonight’s climate-less Democratic debate: Brought to you on behalf of ABEC

I looked through the transcript, and as far as I can tell there wasn’t a single question about climate change in tonight’s Democratic debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. This is the fourth CNN debate sponsored by coal front group Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC). Not one of the four has contained a question on climate.

Flipflopping on FutureGen

Bush drops mismanaged ‘NeverGen’ clean coal project

For those remaining seven or eight three or four people who still buy the Bush rhetoric that he cares about global warming and is committed to addressing the problem with new technology, Exhibit 435C for the prosecution is the just-canceled "clean coal" project called FutureGen. [Amusing anecdote for FHA (Future Historians of America): I once had a boss at the U.S. Department of Energy who practiced repeating "clean coal" in front of a mirror so as not to break out smiling when uttering that oxymoron.] Yes, I know Bush said as recently as Monday (in the most vetted of all presidential speeches), "Let us fund new technologies that can generate coal power while capturing carbon emissions." But he wasn't lying or flip-flopping or anything. He didn't say, "We are funding new technologies ..." or "Anyone who actually meant what they said would keep funding new technologies ..." Give the guy a break. He said, "Let us fund new technologies ..." He was imploring Congress for help in a "Let my people go" vein. Yes, two months ago, "administration officials were calling it a 'centerpiece' of their strategy for clean coal technologies," but centerpieces are largely decorative, no? This is sort of a setback for those who believe coal gasification combined with carbon capture and storage could be a major global warming solution. I say "sort of" for two reasons. First, the program was being horribly mismanaged: "The idea of FutureGen makes complete sense," Dr. Moniz [undersecretary of energy during the Clinton administration] said. However, a study he helped direct concluded earlier this year that the FutureGen project was badly structured, with confusion about whether it was a research project or a demonstration. Among its problems, he said in a telephone interview on Friday, was that it has "a cast of thousands" ...

Warming oceans lead to more frequent hurricanes, says study

A new study published in Nature weighs in on the effect-of-climate-change-on-hurricanes debate, postulating that a warming north Atlantic has made hurricanes stronger and more frequent.

Global warring redux

New report compares military and climate spending

The Institute for Policy Studies has a new Foreign Policy in Focus report out: "The Budget Compared: Military vs. Climate Security." As you’d expect from the name, it’s a close look at how federal dollars are allocated for military vs. climate protection, and as you’d expect from, you know, being awake, there’s an enormous disparity. It’s pretty astonishing nonetheless. Here are the reports major findings: • FINDING: For every dollar allocated for stabilizing the climate, the government will spend $88 on achieving security by military force. • FINDING: The government is allocating 99% of combined federal spending on military and …

Bill Clinton goes nuclear

Former prez helped a rich guy get uranium-mining rights in Kazakhstan

From Wednesday’s New York Times: Late on Sept. 6, 2005, a private plane carrying the Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra touched down in Almaty, a ruggedly picturesque city in southeast Kazakhstan. Several hundred miles to the west a fortune awaited: highly coveted deposits of uranium that could fuel nuclear reactors around the world. And Mr. Giustra was in hot pursuit of an exclusive deal to tap them. Unlike more established competitors, Mr. Giustra was a newcomer to uranium mining in Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic. But what his fledgling company lacked in experience, it made up for in connections. Accompanying …

Jake Tapper is a hack

Campaign reporter misrepresents Clinton, responds to correction with pissy snark

So Jake Tapper — the very model of the modern gossip-obsessed campaign reporter — goes to see a Bill Clinton speech and returns to write a blog post: "Bill: ‘We Just Have to Slow Down Our Economy’ to Fight Global Warming." Ha! Finally the dirty liberals admit it! They want to destroy the economy! The post ended up on Drudge, from whence it made the usual rounds of the dingbatosphere. Only Tapper was full of shit. As the Clinton campaign rushed to point out, Tapper yanked the quote out of context — a context in which Bill Clinton was making …

Testing Sebelius

Kansas dirty-energy advocates make their play to allow coal plants

The fight over coal plants in Kansas has taken another turn. State legislators have introduced a new law that they say is "fair to both sides." That characterization could not be more comical. First of all, the bill was crafted in secret by four legislators who are members of the Kansas Electric Transmission Authority and support building the coal plants. No environmentalists were invited to the table, but the plants developer, Sunflower Electric Power, "had input into the legislation." Nice. The bill would allow the plants to be built with some weak restrictions on CO2 emissions: "the new plant would …

The bright side of the demise of TV programming

Hollywood writers strike a blow for the climate

Okay, you're annoyed you can't watch 24, or a full season of House or The Office -- and yes, The Daily Show is kind of lame these days. But on the bright side, as a U.K. Times headline notes: Viewers turned off by Hollywood writers strike 'may never switch TV on again.' Yet, as is so typical of the MSM, they completely missed the real story: the connection to global warming. Turning TVs off equals using less electricity equals emitting less carbon dioxide. How much less?

Here comes the sun

California and New Jersey have high numbers of PV installations

The following essay is a guest post by Earl Killian. ----- Cooler Planet looked at the solar photovoltaic (PV) installation data from the California Energy Commission and made it visual to show just how it is growing. A static view of their data is at the right, but go to the site and move the slider to see the growth from only 1,675 grid-connected photovoltaic installations in 2002 to 29,628 installations in 2008. According to SolarBuzz: In 2006, 112 megawatts of solar photovoltaics were installed in the US Grid Connect market, up from 80 megawatts in 2005. Demand was led once again by California, which accounted for 63% of the national market. Notwithstanding funding program bottlenecks, New Jersey saw very strong growth in 2006, representing 17% of the national market. Why would California and New Jersey, with only 12 percent and 2.9 percent of U.S. population respectively, account for such a large fraction of PV installations? Perhaps incentive programs (most recently the California Solar Initiative and the New Jersey Clean Energy Rebate Program) and other policies are working. Internationally, Germany (8.8 x U.S. in 2006 MW installed) and Japan (2.6 x U.S.) (PDF) are the leaders in PV installations, with California a "distant third" (PDF) according to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Most places where PV is economic have some combination of the following (but usually not all):