Climate & Energy

Should I wait or should I go now?

Is it important to push climate legislation through this year?

Now that Congress is back, there’s been a mini-flurry of stories about the prospects of climate legislation this year. See Politico here and here, a really superb analysis of Lieberman-Warner’s chances by Darren Samuelsohn (sub rqd), and another E&E story today on trade groups panicking. Politico‘s reporting is characteristically sloppy, but it does get at one interesting dynamic. Big green groups are somewhat at odds over climate legislation in the short term. On one end, Environmental Defense is pushing like gangbusters to get something done this year. They are all about bargaining and cajoling and wooing and keeping the issue …

The Fleiss is right

Former Hollywood madam to open wind-powered brothel

Heidi Fleiss. Ten things I didn’t know about former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss until I read this awesome Elle story: She’s a vegetarian. She calls herself a tree hugger. She owns 24 parrots. She runs a laundromat called Dirty Laundry in Pahrump, Nev. (Pahrump!) Her next business venture will be wind-powered. It will be a brothel. For women. (There go the blow-job jokes.) Called the Stud Farm. Where clients can "get a manicure, a pedicure, and a shag." Seriously!

Damage control

The widening war between activists and coal

According to AP, at least 48 coal plants are being contested in 29 states: From lawsuits and administrative appeals against the companies, to lobbying pressure on federal and state regulators, the coordinated offensive against coal is emerging as a pivotal front in the debate over global warming. Music to my ears. Naturally, the industry forecasts an apocalyptic future where ponies eat puppies and rainbows cry tears of blood: Industry representatives say the environmentalists’ actions threaten to undermine the country’s fragile power grid, setting the stage for a future of high-priced electricity and uncontrollable blackouts. Uncontrollable blackouts?! That would suck. You …

Canada announces new fuel-economy regs to match or exceed U.S. standards

At the Montreal International Auto Show, Canada’s transport minister announced the country will be setting new fuel-economy regulations that will match or exceed the U.S. fuel-economy standards signed into law in late December. The Canadian standards will be phased in starting in 2011 and by 2020, cars and light trucks sold in the Great White North will have to average at least 35 miles per gallon (or 6.7 liters per 100 kilometers). The country’s current vehicle average is about 27 mpg. British Columbia and Quebec have expressed interest in exceeding the new requirements by adopting California’s embattled standards, which would …

Why Vinod Khosla is very wrong

A pragmatic view of cellulosic biofuels

So Vinod Khosla is not happy with with my recent attack on his (willful) ignorance, "Khosla blows his credibility dissing plug-ins." Gristmill has given the billionaire a platform to defend himself, but he just spouts even more nonsense in the bizarrely titled post, "Pragmatists v. environmentalists, part I": I have been accused of dissing hybrids. I was mostly discussing Prius-type parallel hybrids and all the support they get, when one can get the same carbon reduction by buying a cheaper, similar-sized and -featured car and buying $10 worth of carbon credits. I was objecting to greenwashing (powered by a large marketing machine) that suggests hybrids can solve our problems ... Corn ethanol, which has been heavily maligned in the mainstream media, reduces carbon emissions (on a per-mile-driven basis) by almost the same amount as today's typical hybrid ... The Prius is the corn ethanol of hybrid cars ... Seriously! This is like one of those newspaper puzzles: Can you spot all the errors?

NASA declares 2007 second-warmest year on record, NOAA says it’s fifth-warmest

NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies has declared 2007 the second-warmest year on record, tying with 1998 for the title. 2005 remains the hottest, according to the agency. Researchers said, to no one’s surprise, that the greatest warming occurred in the Arctic. “As we predicted last year, 2007 was warmer than 2006, continuing the strong warming trend of the past 30 years that has been confidently attributed to the effect of increasing human-made greenhouse gases,” said James Hansen, director of GISS. But in case you’re not comfortable with second-warmest, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration came out with its …

Cellulosic ethanol: It might be a bust

Thus spake Chairman Peterson of the House Ag Committee

David already pointed to it, but it bears repeating: House Ag Committee Chairman Colin Peterson, a tireless champion of ethanol and any other big-ag project he can get his mits on, has declared that cellulosic ethanol could well never “get off the ground.” At best, he declared, cellulosic ethanol stands at least 10 years away from commercial viability (exactly what cellulosic boosters have been saying for three decades). Wait a minute. Ethanol’s champions have long claimed that we should indulge corn-based ethanol its obvious weaknesses, because the corn-based brew is a mere bridge fuel to the real environmental panacea: cellulosic …

Myth me?

Alberta premier heads to D.C. to preach the virtues of tar sands

Kevin Grandia has the skinny on Alberta (it’s in Canada) Premier Ed Stelmach’s visit to D.C. to shill for tar sands and to fight "the myth that the environmental cost of the oilsands is too high." Below is Stelmach with a very perspicacious polar bear:

Another desperate addict

Bush asks Saudi king to open oil spigots

The president who said "America is addicted to oil" now begs the Saudis for another fix. Like some binge-drinking, pill-popping starlet -- is there any other kind? -- the president is prostrate before his top foreign "dealer," begging for more, even at the risk of public humiliation: The Saudi oil minister, however, waited only a short time before announcing that oil prices would remain tied to market forces -- a direct slap at Bush. Wow! When even your dealer won't sell you more, you have got a real problem. Just one hour later, though, "President Bush made a private visit to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah to again ask him to open the spigots."

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