Climate & Energy

Sen. Joe Lieberman endorses Sen. John McCain for president

Used-to-be-Democrat-but-now-Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) has angered Democrats by endorsing Republican Sen. John McCain for president. The two men have similar views on the war in Iraq (pro) and terrorism (anti), but Lieberman says his endorsement was also for McCain’s commitment to the environment and fighting climate change. The two joined their names to pen the first Senate bill calling for mandatory greenhouse-gas reductions back in 2003, along with various iterations which have all failed to pass the Senate. Lieberman was the Democratic Party’s nominee for vice president back in 2000, running alongside a presidential candidate named Al Gore. Huh, …

The U.S. Congress, always willing to be shilling

The terrible omnibus bill

Rumors began circulating late last Friday -- as the Senate was passing the much-weakened energy bill -- that some terrible provisions had made their way into the omnibus spending package, which will likely face votes in both bodies by the end of the week. Now comes word from Friends of the Earth that "the omnibus spending bill expected to come before the House of Representatives tonight and the Senate tomorrow directs $20.5 billion in loan guarantees to nuclear power and $8 billion to the coal industry, with language that includes potential subsidies for the production of coal-to-liquid fuels."

Why did Dems bargain down the energy bill?

Lots of people wonder why Reid and Senate Democrats were so willing, almost eager, to bargain the energy bill down to the point where it was a mere nubbin of its former robust self. Why not draw a line in the sand and force Republicans to take a stand against clean energy? This story from Roll Call (sub rqd) sheds quite a bit of light on the matter: Looking to pivot away from futile yearlong attempts to end the war in Iraq and increase domestic spending in the first half of the 110th Congress, Democratic leaders will dispatch Members home …

Watch more Fox News!

FutureGen on at 5:00 p.m. Central, tonight

Fox News is doing a special report on the FutureGen project and -- rather remarkably -- couldn't find anyone to argue that $6500/kW coal-fired power coupled to a hydrogen plant is a dumb idea. Then along came Grist, and this crazy blogger who thinks FutureGen is dopey. The interview was last Friday; they're running the coverage tonight, in advance of tomorrow's decision on whether Illinois or Texas will "win." (Nice plug for Grist here, eh? Apparently, nowhere else in the world can you find someone who won't sing the praises of this particular boondoggle.) Now to see whether I look as smart as I think I am after editing ... UPDATE: Watch the segment here.

Financing green building and retrofits

A public policy silver bullet that’s available to fight global warming today

Steve Heckeroth’s piece "Solar is the solution" has been recommended all over the green blogosphere, first by Robert Rapier, I think. It’s great reading, but I wanted to hone in on one thing he mentions — a piece of public policy that has been woefully under-hyped. To wit: with today’s technology, we know how to make new buildings net energy generators, and we know how to retrofit existing buildings to reduce their energy consumption by well over 50%, in some cases 90-95%. We just need someone to pay for it. That, however, turns out to be the rub. An investment …

Get in the van

It’s not whether we can beat climate change with today’s tools, but whether we can get moving

Tyler Hamilton ran across some elaborate, multibillion-dollar plans for a carbon capture and sequestration network in Canada, geared around enhanced oil recovery. Naturally it was asking the government (read: Canadian taxpayers) to assume the bulk of the risk. Naturally it won’t be done for well over a decade. Then he ran across something else: Then I read about a new law passed in Germany that, among other things, will require all new homes built in the country to get 14 per cent of their energy from renewables. The law is primarily targeted at home heating, whether for space heating or …

Where do we go from here?

The Bali meeting, and the lessons learned

It's important, this time, to draw conclusions, and to do so publicly. Because Bali has taken us -- barely and painfully -- over a line and into a new and even more difficult level in the climate game we'll be playing for the rest of our lives. In fact, it's not too much to say that, with the realizations of the last year and their culmination at the 13th Conference of Parties, the game has, finally, belatedly, begun in earnest. First up, we knew going into Bali that if the old routine continued without variation, we'd really be in trouble. The timing of this meeting alone made this clear. Here we were, after the skeptics, after the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report, after Gore's (and the IPCC's) Nobel Prize. We know now how grave the situation is. So it's with great relief that I'm able to say that, judging at least by Bali, the game has indeed changed -- except, of course, for the United States.

Sea-level rise this century could be twice IPCC’s predictions, says research

If you thought the predictions of sea-level rise by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were bad, you should probably stop reading. Researchers publishing in brand-new journal Nature Geoscience say the oceans could surge twice as high this century as the IPCC’s predictions, or some 64 inches. So, um, let’s hope they’re wrong.

The Great Carnac I ain't

Assessing my predictions from last year

At the end of last year, I made 20 predictions for 2007. As a pundit in good standing I am, of course, unaccountable for my predictions. (How do you think we all stay employed?) Nonetheless, it’s worth looking back and seeing how the predictions panned out, drawing sweeping conclusions from the things I got right while minimizing and excusing the things I got wrong. Let’s see how I did! Al Gore will a) win an Oscar, b) announce that he is not running for president, c) continue his efforts at grassroots movement building, and d) announce plans for a sequel …

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