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All This Progress is Making Us Woozy

Massachusetts to join Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative after all Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D), reversing a decision by predecessor Mitt Romney (R), has announced that his state will join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a now eight-state pact that seeks to cut Northeast emissions beginning in 2009. "We want everyone to know that Massachusetts will not stand on the sidelines," said Patrick, who thinks RGGI -- which will use a cap-and-trade system to cut emissions 10 percent from current levels by 2019 -- can generate up to $125 million a year to spend on conservation and renewable energy. Romney and …

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Capsize Does Matter

Beached British cargo ship leaks oil, shipping containers, motorcycles A damaged British cargo ship beached off the country's coast is leaking oil, losing containers full of toxic materials, and threatening a World Heritage Site. On a happier note, it's provided a beachcombing bonanza, with items including BMW motorcycles, exhaust system parts, and wine barrels washing ashore. Boggled bobbies are handing out claim forms to scavengers ("Um, fell off the back of a lorry!"), while coast guard authorities work to pump out the more than 3,000 tons of oil that remain in the MSC Napoli's so-far-intact fuel tanks. More than 200 …

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Watch

The Energy Star Alliance is running a public service announcement profiling a fictional family powering their house with static electricity. It's a pretty funny commercial; I wish I knew the ad firm that did it.

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Eh, why bother

Of course not. That would release CO2, and we'd have to buy an offset or plant a tree or something. I jest, of course. The reason this comes up is a flaming debate going on right now. Over on the weather channel blog, Heidi Cullen asks: If a meteorologist can't speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn't give them a Seal of Approval. (FYI: AMS is the American Meteorological Society.) Marc Morano, the high-strung Inhofe staffer, responded on the EPW blog: Broadcast meteorologists (TV weatherman) skeptical of climate alarmism have -- up until now …

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They Grow Up So Fast

Corporations join green groups to push for U.S. climate action Quivering under the bed was an option, but 10 major corporations have bravely formed a coalition with four U.S. green groups instead, calling for a national limit on carbon emissions. Their aim is a 10 to 30 percent cut over the next 15 years, using a cap-and-trade system that would allow over-emitters to buy credits from those who fall under the cap. The United States Climate Action Partnership, which wins today's kinda-clever acronym award, includes heavy-hitters like GE, BP, Alcoa, and Duke Energy. Such companies are motivated by fears of …

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A Speechwriter Behind Every Bush

Content of State of the Union speech remains a mystery -- kind of Will President Bush crack down on climate change in his State of the Union address? The world may never know -- until, of course, he gives the speech next Tuesday. Mutterings that the administration would embrace a cap-and-trade carbon-reduction scheme were flatly denied by White House spokesflack Tony Snow this week: "If you're talking about enforceable carbon caps, in terms of industry-wide and nationwide, we knocked that down. That's not something we're talking about." Bush's stubbornness is unpopular with, um, nearly everyone. European Commission President José Manuel …

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Gloom and Doom With a Sense of Doomed-er

Doomsday Clock ticks to 11:55 p.m., thanks in part to climate change Cue ominous music: We're edging closer to annihilation, according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists' famed Doomsday Clock -- a symbolic measurement of how close civilization stands to ultra-mega-doom, or "midnight." Yesterday, the group pushed its famed ticker two minutes forward to 11:55 p.m., adding climate change to its traditionally nuke-based calculations for the first time. "When we think about what technologies besides nuclear weapons could produce such devastation to the planet, we quickly came to carbon-emitting technologies," says Executive Director Kennette Benedict. The clock has been adjusted …

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Enviros delighted with House Democrats’ energy bill

"I can't find anything wrong with it. Really, there is no catch. It's all good." Is the sun setting on some oil industry tax breaks? Photo: iStockphoto Let the record show that these contented words were spoken by an environmentalist -- Jim Presswood, a top lobbyist for the Natural Resources Defense Council to be exact. He's talking about the CLEAN Energy Act of 2007, introduced on Friday, which would repeal billions in tax breaks for the oil and gas industry and steer the resulting funds toward energy efficiency and renewable energy. It's jarring to hear such a positive assessment from …

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An account of one scientist’s testimony

On Friday, I participated in a briefing on Capitol Hill on the use of science in policy debates. Other panelists were Don Kennedy, editor-in-chief of Science magazine, Juliet Eilperin, environment reporter for the Washington Post, and David Goldston, formerly chief of staff of the House Science Committee and now a lecturer at Princeton. In my presentation, I made two points that will not surprise long-time readers. First, I argued that the scientific assessment process is the best way to determine what the scientific community thinks about a particular scientific issue. The key to my argument is that credible scientific advice …

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There are some good ones

DR: Let's talk legal issues. I can see the analogy between cigarettes causing lung cancer and burning oil causing asthma. You have a reasonably distinct causal chain. You can reasonably point to knowledge on the part of the oil companies. But when it comes to global warming, you have a long and tenuous causal chain, and ambiguous knowledge on the part of the bad actors. It's a kind of second-order externality. Do you think these global warming suits against, say, car companies are winnable? And if they are, don't you then open up half the industries in the country to …

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