Climate & Energy

Notable quotable

“Environmentalism isn’t a communist plot.” – Colorado resident Dave Peterson, on the polarization of opinion on new state rules for oil and gas production

A one-legged man in a butt kickin' contest

Gingrich’s further explications of green conservatism do not inspire confidence

The more I see of Newt Gingrich’s "conservative environmentalism," the less impressive it seems. The guy’s offering run of the mill, crony capitalist conservatism with a shabby green paint job. The two top-tier public policy …

Assault and battery

Chinese workers pay for our cadmium-battery habit

In the last 20 years, the United States has essentially dismantled its industrial base, moving production of consumer goods south to Mexico and east to Asia. This has not only dramatically lowered the cost of …

Pragmatists v. environmentalists, part III

Hybrids and biofuels: The road ahead

Many people make the mistake of comparing apples to oranges. One has to compare futures to futures and current status to current status. All technologies improve, but some improve more than others. The Prius gets 46 mpg, while a similar-sized Toyota Corolla gets 31 mpg. One of our investments (Transonic) is trying to make an engine that (if it works!) can be placed in a Prius to produce a vehicle that will have lower carbon emissions than the hybrid Prius at below $1,000 in marginal cost. Other efficient engine efforts abound. If battery technology efforts like Seeo (one of our investments), EEstor, silicon nanowire batteries (or similar efforts that others have funded and many we are evaluating) are successful, we will get the same effect (better petroleum mpg) with a plug-in -- if we can also clean up our grid at the same time! From my perspective, if I have to pick between a 5-10 times lower cost/performance battery and a cleaned-up electrical grid in the next 5-10 years (or even 20-25 years), or pick cellulosic fuels in 50 percent more efficient ICE engines, I consider the latter lower risk and significantly more probable. I am confident that cellulosic biofuels without significant land-use impact or biodiversity impact can achieve costs of $1.25/gallon in less than five years and below $1.00 per gallon in 10 years (more details on that, especially on land use / biodiversity and sources of biomass, in a upcoming paper). At this price point, the technology will be adopted broadly and rapidly worldwide, even if oil prices decline substantially.

Dem debate in Nevada

Well, the Dem debate in Nevada this evening was largely an excruciating affair, thanks to the world-historical vapidity, ignorance, and pettiness of moderators Tim Russert and Brian Williams. Before you do anything else, go read …

The 'Inhofe 400' Skeptic of the Day

Today: George Waldenberger

In previous editions of the "Inhofe 400," we found some skeptics who were completely unqualified and others who are qualified but not actually skeptical. Today's "skeptic" falls into the latter category. He is meteorologist George Waldenberger. In response to his inclusion on the list, George sent an email to Inhofe's staffers that began: Marc, Matthew: Take me off your list of 400 (Prominent) Scientists that dispute Man-Made Global warming claims. I've never made any claims that debunk the "Consensus". You quoted a newspaper article that's main focus was scoring the accuracy of local weathermen. Hardly Scientific ... yet I'm guessing some of your other sources pale in comparison in terms of credibility. You also didn't ask for my permission to use these statements. That's not a very respectable way of doing "research". Wow. He doesn't leave much to the imagination. A few thoughts.

Green in sheep's clothing?

Pro-warming Romney has sham slam on McCain

Think Progress has the whole story, but I'll repeat it here, since, tragically, it may represent the shape of things to come in climate politics for many years, making it hard for Republicans to do the moral thing on climate: Last weekend, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) slammed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for supporting "radical climate change legislation," and "pushing for a massive new energy tax." Romney is using an anti-environment front group, the American Environmental Coalition (AEC), to attack McCain. Last week, AEC co-chair George Landrith said: When it comes to climate change, John McCain and Al Gore are far too much alike for my comfort. John McCain has been sponsoring legislation for the past several years that would give Al Gore much of the regulatory control and power he sought when he and Bill Clinton tried to get America to sign on to the UN's Kyoto global warming treaty ... When listening to John McCain, it would seem that evangelicals should remember the biblical warning found in St. Matthew 7:15 to "beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." Sad. And quoting the Bible, too! [Note to Romney/AEC -- You need a more plausible metaphor: McCain may be many things, but he's no sheep.]

Court justice frolicked with coal exec while fraud case was pending

When found guilty of fraud and penalized $50 million by a West Virginia jury, coal company Massey Energy appealed to the state Supreme Court — and won in a 3-to-2 decision. Now a motion has …

The Antarctic ice sheet hits the fan

Antarctic shrinking much faster than expected

The global warming deniers (and the rest of us) just can't catch a break: Vast areas of the Antarctic ice sheet -- which has 10 times as much ice as Greenland -- is losing mass much faster than anyone expected. And the rate of ice loss has quickened in the last decade. In fact, 2007's ice loss was 75 percent higher than 2006's. Jeez, it's almost like ... I don't know ... the whole friggin' planet is melting, and we are to blame! If only we had a group of scientists who would, like, report regularly on the impending catastrophe and explain to us how to avoid it ... As the Washington Post reports:

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