Climate & Energy

Kunstler meets Colbert


Dems poised to unveil their gas plan

Proposal to curb prices not likely to include ‘gas tax holiday’

Congressional Democrats are expected to announce their plan to counter the rising cost of gasoline as early as next Wednesday, and despite the pressure Sen. …

Has global warming stopped?

Climate change must be examined over decades, not years

There has been a lot of nonsense written about the lack of much if any warming over the last few years. It's not a new argument -- in fact, I blogged about it here -- but like an axe-wielding psycho from a cheap horror flick, it just keeps coming back. At times like this, it is always useful to look at the data. The figure below shows the temperature anomalies (relative to the 1961-1991 average) from 1850 to 2007. The data are the Hadley HadCRUT3v analysis.

Oil hysteria, part 2

Are low gas prices an inalienable right?

I'm listening to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) talk to Thom Hartmann on Air America. Sanders is arguably the best senator in decades, and understands, as he just explained, that we need to transform our energy system toward renewables. But he also said something to the effect that "we have to get gas prices back down." I can't blame him -- particularly in his state of Vermont, rural people are getting slammed by high gas prices, because they have to drive long distances. His main explanation of high prices (with which Thom Hartmann, an important progressive radio talk show host, seems to agree) is based on 1) oil companies ripping us off, 2) speculators pushing up the price of oil, and 3) OPEC keeping a lid on production. While all of those are certainly a problem, and a windfall profits tax that Sanders advocates is certainly in order, if the Senate's most progressive voice is not discussing the problem that the supply of oil is beginning to decline, then I don't see how carbon pricing is going to fare well. In the long run, people will get hysterical as their oil expenditures increase, as I argued in what I will now call Part 1 of what may become a series on oil hysteria. We need to push a mandate on turning the American car fleet into an all-electric fleet, and we need to construct a national high-speed rail and light rail network.

Fox Nukes

McCain touts gas-tax holiday as well as ‘long-term solutions’

McCain on the long-term solution to dependence on foreign oil: Nuclear! Despite what those “extremist environmental organizations” tell you. And despite the fact that only …

Right to bare legs

Today, No Pants Day will undoubtedly spark dialogue about climate change

Arguably, a far superior cousin to Earth Day: No Pants Day. It may seem to be an innocuous, juvenile ritual devoid of underlying political intentions, …

Ducks per gallon

Tar sands are hardly ‘environmentally responsible’

Alberta's tar sands got yet another huge black eye this week when as many as 500 ducks died after simply landing on a giant pond full of highly toxic oil sands tailings. Only five were said to have survived their toxic plunge. A member of a Canadian environmental watchdog group described the water found in the ponds as follows: Drinking a glass of water from a tailings pond would be like drinking a diluted glass of oil or gasoline. Whether the bitumen is cooked in situ while still underground or scraped off, carted away, and processed elsewhere -- either process requiring both huge amounts of energy and water -- millions of tons of global warming pollution are produced and nearly unfathomable amounts of toxic wastewater and tailings are left behind. Indeed, it is estimated that producing one barrel of oil from tar sands requires between 2 and 4.5 barrels of water. Last year alone, the Alberta tar sands industry was permitted water withdrawals totaling a staggering 119.5 billion gallons.

Veto override fails in Kansas; embattled coal plants remain dead

Two new coal-fired power plants will not be built in western Kansas due to a failed attempt to override the governor’s veto. The coal-plant saga …

Skeptics lie; news at 11

DeSmogBlog uncovers Heartland lies

The right-wing Heartland Institute has been making a big fuss about "500 Scientists with Documented Doubts of Man-Made Global Warming Scares." Five hundred skeptical scientists? …