Climate & Energy

Damn these women and their superpowers!

How does Jane Fonda keep defeating the U.S.?

Full disclosure: I was born in 1981, and as far as I can recall I never masturbated to a picture of Jane Fonda. Too much information, I know. But what else can I do? An eternity ago (September) the guys who brought you Freakonomics brought you this little gem, blaming Jane Fonda for America's CO2 emissions. Seriously:

Elephants in the room

Greenpeace India points out the obvious

The taxi driver that took me from the Bali airport to my hotel in Nusa Dua, the secure "green zone" where the climate negotiations are taking place, didn't speak much English. Just well enough to say, haltingly, that he was "too stupid" to have a better job, he didn't drink, and he was very depressed because he was lonely, but too poor to get married. Oh, and that the Westin, where I was not staying, was the "best" place. Very "luxury." Very "Western." Now, about a week later, I've been in lots more cabs. I can report that Third World beach resorts are very strange places. And that the negotiations are running in their usual courses: bitterness, bad faith, recriminations, pulling teeth, and rising tension. The Bush people, despite promises to play a constructive role, are making destructive interventions in a number of working groups. But the Bush people aren't what they used to be. And -- hope against hope -- the developing world is rising to the occasion.

U.S. blocking agreement on emissions goal at Bali conference

Defying all predictions, the United States delegation at the United Nations climate conference in Bali, Indonesia, appears to have successfully blocked agreement on specific emissions-reduction targets so far. Europe and many developing nations have called for cuts of 25 percent to 40 percent by 2020 to avoid the effects of catastrophic warming, but in the face of U.S. opposition to anything meaningful, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today that setting specific targets now “may be too ambitious.” The lead U.S. negotiator implied that targets, if they were allowed, might lead to — gasp! — actual cuts. “The reality in this …

U.S. and allies are, as expected, stick-in-the-muds at Bali conference

Bali update: The latest draft of negotiations is said to still contain text saying that developed nations should cut emissions by 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. The U.S., Japan, Canada, and Australia are against said provision, non-binding as it is; it will likely be removed by the end of the week, as final guidelines must be unanimous. The European Union has been pushing a goal of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Fahrenheit, but is highly unlikely to get that into a final document. United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon has arrived in Bali to preside …

Offshore wind

This exciting story about offshore wind in Britain reminds me that I meant to link a while back to a fascinating post on offshore wind by Jerome Giullet, who works in the industry. At the bottom are links to a bunch of other posts he’s done on wind. As he says, "Wind is free, clean, indigenous, and available today." Go educate yourself.

Is the competence of CBS News overblown?

Presidential candidates answer dumb question about global warming

I have complained a number of times — even on CNN! — that the mainstream political press is ignoring the issue of global warming, particularly in the context of the presidential race. Well, it seems CBS News finally decided it was time to address the issue, as part of its "Primary Questions" series, which asks 10 questions of each of the candidates. What question did they choose? "Is the global warming threat overblown?" Oh. My. God. Will you please just kill me? Have you ever heard CBS ask, "Is the terrorist threat overblown?" "Is the Social Security solvency threat overblown?" …

It <em>is</em> easy being green

Michael Gelobter argues that the hair-shirtists need to give it a rest

Ask "how can we break our addiction to fossil fuels and stop global warming?" and climate, renewable energy, and peak oil advocates reply in unison: it's going to be hard. They do couch their warnings in beautifully written and, for the most part, evocative essays on the difficulty and loss involved in weaning ourselves from dinosaur fuel. They express significant melancholy for the (wayward?) ways of wanton energy use and thoughtless environmental destruction we leave behind. But underneath it is always the the hair-shirt: in the creed of those not motivated by greed (lefties), nothing worthwhile could ever be easy. There are two problems with the "anti-easy" argument: It's wrong, and it's bad political strategy.

Pity West Virginia

The backlash against coal has not made it to the halls of power in WV

There are some heartening recent stories from the land of Coal Backlash. Portland-based PacifiCorp is giving up on new coal plants entirely — not for environmental reasons but for economic ones. (Lesson: coal isn’t cheap.) Missouri is probably the most hostile state for climate activists. It ranks among the top five states for emitting CO2, its emissions are growing faster than any other state’s, 85% of its power comes from coal, it is 46th out of 50 state in terms of conservation programs, its citizens are generally poor and in dire need of jobs, and its entire political class is …

Al Gore is so wrong

There is no comparison between Chinese and American GHG emissions

Al Gore's Nobel Prize speech, as reported by the NY Times: ... he singled out the United States and China -- the world's largest emitters of carbon dioxide -- for failing to meet their obligations in mitigating emissions. They should "stop using each other's behavior as an excuse for stalemate," he said. Much as I love him, Gore's sentiment here is far too generous to the good ol' U.S. of A. There is simply no fair comparison with China. We're not equally responsible for the problem. Not even close.