Climate & Energy

Robust SOTU debunkery

Wow, if you want a full-meal-deal debunking of the SOTU, point your browser over to ThinkProgress. They’re dismantling the poor thing line by line. There’s the section on energy: Bush said: "Let us fund new technologies that can generate coal power while capturing carbon emissions. Let us increase the use of renewable power and emissions-free nuclear power. Let us continue investing in advanced battery technology and renewable fuels to power the cars and trucks of the future." FACT — BUSH AND ALLIES HAVE RAKED IN MILLIONS FROM COAL INTERESTS: During the 2000 campaign, the Bush campaign received more than $2.8 …

SOTU desultory liveblogging

Blah blah blah. You know, the guy uses so much flim-flammery, so many deceptive code words, so many feints and misdirections, it’s almost like he’s speaking a different language. I have utterly lost the ability to hear it the way an Average Voter might. My brain translates it automatically. Now he’s on the clean energy bit. Next steps — funding clean coal! Fund renwables and nukes. Fund batteries and auto technologies. Create a fund to fund the fund overseas. Funding! Funding! Never, ever regulation! Whoa — an agreement that would “eventually reverse the growth of greenhouse gases.” Must include all …

Sebelius backing down?

New ‘air of cooperation’ between Kansas state gov’t and coal companies

This evening, Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius will give the Democratic rejoinder to Bush’s SOTU speech. There has been quite a bit of speculation — here on Grist, among other places — about Sebelius’ possible fitness as a VP candidate. Via Ezra, this actual Kansan blogger throws cold water on the notion. Particularly concerning: Her appointee, Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Rod Bremby (a friendly acquaintance/source of mine), rejected two proposed coal plants on global warming grounds. Indeed, that action is the one that seems to have sparked the most recent round of praise for her. Except, whoops, it …

Intel replaces PepsiCo as biggest U.S. buyer of alternative energy

Tech giant Intel has announced that it will buy 1.3 billion kilowatt hours of renewable energy credits a year, making it the biggest U.S. buyer of alternative energy. Previous record-holder PepsiCo is bumped into second place with a purchase of 1.1 billion kilowatt hours annually — but if Pepsi’s advertising is to be believed, every sip gets them closer.

Auctioneering

An account of a House hearing on auctioning permits under cap-and-trade

Last Wednesday, the House Global Warming Committee held a hearing on "auctions and revenue recycling in cap and trade," which took a close look at the advantages of auctioning (rather than giving away) pollution permits under a cap and trade system, and what might be done with the revenue. I didn’t manage to watch the hearing, but as always it has been ably summarized by the mysteriously monickered The Cunctator, publisher and editor of Hill Heat. If you’re looking for a just-the-facts account of action on Capitol Hill around climate and energy, you need to bookmark the site immediately. I’ve …

Sen. Ted Kennedy endorses Obama

Influential Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), whose family has long been friendly with the Clintons, has nonetheless endorsed Barack Obama for president. Included among Ted’s reasons: “With Barack Obama … we will make the United States the great leader and not the great roadblock in the fateful fight against global warming.” Kennedy is the brother of late President John F. Kennedy; JFK’s daughter, Caroline, also announced her support for Obama.

White House SOTU energy BS preview

Right on time, here’s the White House’s "State of the Union 2008" statement on "Increasing Our Energy Security And Confronting Climate Change." It more or less confirms everything I said here. It touts the energy bill and the Major Economies Meetings, and trumpets the wonders of clean coal, nuclear power, and sweetheart neoliberal trade deals.

USDA food-safety czar: Ethanol waste causes tainted beef -- and that's okay

Let cows eat vaccines along with distillers grains

In December, a study came out suggesting a link between distillers grains — a waste product of the corn-ethanol process — and a spike in cases of beef tainted with the deadly E. coli 0157 virus. You see, the government-mandated ethanol boom has dramatically pushed up corn prices. To cut costs, feedlot operators have been substituting cheap distillers grains for pricey corn. Thus in the past year or so, we’ve seen an explosion in use of distillers grain as livestock feed, especially for cows. When I heard about the possible E. coli 0157 link, I put two and two together …

The health externalities of coal

A while back I commented on a post over at Common Tragedies, an excellent environmental economics blog of recent vintage. As is my inimitable style, my comments were hastily written and full of wild generalizations. One had to do with the health externalities of coal burning, which I alleged were extensive. Recently, an email to the post’s author came to my rescue: I’m just commenting on your last note. You shouldn’t be so dismissive of the health effects from eliminating coal. Asthma is only one small health effect of PM, SOx, and NOx. The National Association of Clean Air Agencies …

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