Climate & Energy

U.S. could get 20 percent of energy from wind by 2030, says DOE

Wind power could meet 20 percent of U.S. energy demand by 2030, according to Energy Department calculations, even though currents currently provide a mere 1 …

McCain's offsets

What would the use of carbon offsets mean for McCain’s climate policy?

To me the most striking element of McCain’s just-released carbon cap-and-trade plan is that it would, at least at the outset, allow regulated entities to …

BRIC douse

McCain waters down language on climate dealings with China & India

The original text of John McCain’s Monday climate speech raised the specter of economic penalties for developing countries if they don’t join international climate efforts, …

The world at 350

A last chance for civilization

This essay was originally published at TomDispatch, and is reprinted here with Tom’s kind permission. —– Even for Americans, constitutionally convinced that there will always …

More Kentucky coal pandering

Obama airs new coal-themed TV ad; Clinton talks up coal too

The Obama campaign is running TV ads in Kentucky touting the candidate’s commitment to the coal industry, along the same lines as a flyer the …

The transit surge is working

Despite increased ridership, we need more funding as well as support for our trains

Paul Krugman ponders the reason that conservatives are so enamored of the idea that speculators are driving up the price of oil: The odds are that we're looking at a future in which energy conservation becomes increasingly important, in which many people may even -- gasp -- take public transit to work. I don't find that vision particularly abhorrent, but a lot of people, especially on the right, do. And indeed -- gasp -- according to an article in The New York Times, "Gas Prices Send Surge of Riders to Mass Transit":

Blustery irony

Anti-wind McCain delivers climate remarks at foreign wind company

Conservative presidential candidate Sen. John McCain chose a clever but ultimately hypocritical location for his big climate speech. I hope the media aren't fooled by his ironic choice of wind turbine company Vestas as the backdrop, but I have little doubt they will run enticing photos and videos of wind turbines. McCain, however, does not deserve to be linked to such images. I would title the speech "Not the man for the job" (see "No climate for old men"). Let's be clear: Conservatives like John McCain, or more accurately, conservatives including John McCain, are the main reason McCain has to go to a Danish wind turbine manufacturer to give a climate speech. With the major government investments in wind in the 1970s, the United States was poised to be a dominant player in what was clearly going to be one of the biggest job-creating industries of the next hundred years. But conservatives repeatedly gutted the wind budget, then opposed efforts by progressives to increase it, and repeatedly blocked efforts to extend the wind power tax credit. The sad result can be seen here:

Fuzzy math

How much will it really cost to address climate change?

One of the consistent claims made by those opposed to policies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions is that the cost will be prohibitive. I have always been somewhat suspicious of this claim, however. When I started graduate school in 1988, the Montreal Protocol had just been signed. It required industrialized countries to significantly reduce the production of chlorofluorocarbons within a decade or so (the exact schedule of production reduction depended on the particular molecule). At the time, there were all sorts of apocalyptic claims being made about the costs and impacts of the Montreal Protocol: It will bankrupt us, it will force us to give up our refrigerators, millions of people in Africa will starve because of lack of access to refrigeration, etc. In the end, none of this was true. The cost of compliance was so low, in fact, that I'll bet most of you didn't even realize it when our society switched over from chlorofluorocarbons to the replacement molecule, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, in the mid-'90s. A few days ago, I came across a nice article from 2002 in The American Prospect by Eban Goodstein on this question of cost estimates:

Fast facts about cities, climate change, and sustainability

Less than 1: Percent of the earth’s surface covered by cities (1) 75: Percent of global energy consumed by cities (2) 80: Percent of global …