Climate & Energy

Oz fest

Australia national government transforms; conservative party falls apart

UPDATE: Australia’s new government has ratified Kyoto. Wow. That was fast. Though we’ve mentioned them a couple of times in our news stream, I’m not sure I’ve fully appreciated just how seismic recent political changes in Australia have been. Not only was the Liberal (pro-business right) party defeated but according to John Quiggen it’s completely falling apart, with most of its prominent conservative power brokers quitting and their successors repudiating the far-right Howard line. The result is total realigment: After a thoroughly uninspiring election campaign, characterised by lots of me-too promises and fence-sitting, we have ended up with a political …

Celebrate good times, come on! No, seriously.

Greens need to learn how to celebrate their friends and their movement

I’ve run into a lot of sentiment along the lines of this comment thread — harumphing about how weak and insufficient the impending energy bill is — and it seems crazy and wrongheaded to me. I urge you to check out this post by Josh Dorner on the post-2000 history of energy bill negotiations. Remember what it’s been like. Since I started at Grist, I’ve been writing about a Republican president and Congress trying over and over again to pass energy legislation focused on drilling, mining, and doling out subsidies. Their greed and overreach were such that they bungled it …

Notable quotable

“We’re probably further ahead in actually doing something about greenhouse gases than most other countries.” – John Marburger III, chief science adviser to President Bush

Gristmill community chastised!

The global nature of global warming

This is my formal rebuttal to Brooke Coleman (director of the Renewable Energy Action Project), specifically to comments found in Tom Philpott's latest corn ethanol article. I'm using my access to the bully pulpit to pull it out of comments, like I did the last time a corn ethanol enthusiast joined the discussion. Welcome to the best environmental blog on the planet, Brooke. You don't seem to have a very high opinion of this community, but maybe you'll warm up to us. I don't speak for the whole community of course, I'm just one of the many who come here to learn and engage in reasoned debate. You seem to think that anything is better than oil. But believe it or not, in the real world, we sometimes have to pick between the lesser of two evils, at least until something better comes along. Plowing under the world's remaining grasslands and forests to grow industrial agrofuels dwarfs the damage done by oil spills. What happens when you take grain off the world food market and stuff it into American gas tanks? I'll tell you. Someone somewhere on this planet takes advantage of the high prices to plant more of it to fill the hole in the human food chain. Where is the arable land they need to do that? It is under an existing carbon sink or has another crop on it already. The second leading cause of global warming is deforestation. How hard is that concept to understand? Global warming is global. What we do here screws everybody.


The 100 most vulnerable nations have contributed least to climate change

Another short new briefing (PDF) from the International Institute Environment and Development (IIED), this one on the 100 countries most vulnerable to climate change: • Human-induced climate change is likely to have the heaviest impact on small low-lying island and coastal states, African nations, Asian mega-deltas and the polar regions. • The 100 most vulnerable countries have contributed the least to total global carbon emissions. • If the highest emitting nations fail to introduce strong mitigation measures, the most vulnerable countries will suffer catastrophic impacts over the longer term. This introduction is quite blunt and powerful: Well over a billion …

Energy bill back on track?

Pelosi says bill up for vote next week will contain CAFE, RFS, and RES

For days I’ve been hearing that some kind of deal is imminent on the energy bill. There was talk that the Renewable Energy Standard (RES) was going to get dropped, perhaps to be attached to some other bill, and that the production tax credit (PTC) for wind and solar was going overboard, along with rescinding subsidies to oil and gas companies. That would have left a pretty sad bill, notable mainly for a boost in CAFE and enormous subsidies to ethanol. Anyway, some qualified good news. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi now has a brief statement on her site alluding a …