Climate & Energy

<em>No Hair Shirt Solutions to Global Warming</em>: Now available free online!

Book shows we can meet hard targets in stopping climate change

As the climate crisis grows worse, many people question whether we can phase out human greenhouse-gas emissions before an irreversible feedback cycle begins. As a belated New Year's present for 2008, I want to offer for free the full text of my book Cooling It! No Hair Shirt Solutions to Global Warming, to increase optimism. We not only have the technical capability to phase out fossil fuels over the course of 30 years, we can eliminate 94 percent of emissions within 20. The cost is close to zero: between savings from efficiency and renewable sources that are more expensive than fossil fuels (but not that much more expensive), the market cost will balance out to around what we pay now. That is before we gain benefits from less pollution and less climate chaos. A lot of people worry (and rightfully so) not about the technical solutions, but about the politics of implementing them. They are right to do so; but the fact that we are missing huge opportunities for efficiency gains -- even at current prices -- shows that there is a political opportunity as well as a political danger. Let the people of the U.S. and the world understand the great opportunities green technology offers for better living and real wealth creation for the vast majority. The old story that the Chinese character for "crisis" is composed of the characters for "danger" and "opportunity" is false -- but the metaphor is too good to drop. You can download the entire book as a single file (or chapter by chapter) here.

Massey watch

WV Supreme Court to get out of bed with Blankenship, reconsider his case

A while back, loathsome mountaintop-mining outfit Massey Energy was hit with a $50 million judgment in a West Virginia court, in a ruling that they had illegally driven other area mining companies out of business. …

House carbon offsets 'a waste of taxpayer money'

Funds for offsets shouldn’t reward past environmental behavior

If you must buy carbon offsets, caveat emptor -- in particular, don't buy them from the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). That is the point of a terrific front-page article in the Washington Post: "Value of U.S. House's Carbon Offsets Is Murky, Some Question Effectiveness of $89,000 Purchase to Balance Out Greenhouse Gas Emissions." Yes, it is nice to be quoted above the fold in any major newspaper -- the quote in the headline is from me -- but the reason I think the article is important is that the reporter took the time to track down the offset projects the taxpayer money went to. The results are not encouraging. I am not a fan of offsets -- and certainly wasn't a fan of the House buying offsets from the CCX in the first place. But I was surprised by the overall lameness of the specific projects and utterly shocked to read the words of CCX CEO Richard Sandor (a man I have a fair amount of respect for):

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …


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 …

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 …

Got 2.7 seconds?

We've devised the world's shortest survey to find out what kind of actions our readers are taking. You know you want to.