Climate & Energy

Consider Sidr

Sidr, a massive tropical cyclone, is going to hit Bangladesh-Indian border within 24 hrs

Over the past several days, I've monitored reports of Sidr, a Tropical Cyclone churning its way up the Bay of Bengal. The forecasting models are based almost entirely on satellite imagery, and earlier in the week the computer models were telling forecasters it would weaken as it headed north. It hasn't: THE CURRENT FORECAST CALLS FOR A LESS-PRONOUNCED WEAKENING PRIOR TO LANDFALL THAN THE PREVIOUS FORECAST DUE TO THIS ENHANCED UPPER LEVEL OUTFLOW. THE TRACK REASONING HAS NOT CHANGED SINCE THE LAST FORECAST. THE STORM IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TRACKING NORTHWARD UNTIL MAKING LANDFALL IN WESTERN BANGLADESH... Word from news reports and business colleagues in Bangladesh is that the response has been a bit delayed, but is now in full swing. The problem is that they have literally millions of people to evacuate from low-lying land over inadequate infrastructure. While Bangladesh is no stranger to cyclones, I believe we are seeing the impacts of climate change -- and so too do the people of Bangladesh.

Stupid idea, on so many levels

Expensive coal + hydrogen = ?

As follow-up to my post yesterday: There is now a bidding war emerging for the FutureGen clean coal plant, targeted to cost $6500/kW. Texas and Illinois are fighting to win this fantastic prize. If they get it, they'll ensure they can keep burning coal, but will do it in a plant that is absurdly expensive. As a fringe benefit, they'll generate hydrogen (aka, a fuel that no one is presently demanding for their vehicles), on the off chance that if a market arises they can sell it. Goodness knows they'll need it if the coal plant is ever going to pencil out. Presumably, this is a better idea than investing in more cost-effective renewable/cogen/efficiency projects that would actually produce a product people want. See an article from Restructuring Today, "Illinois works hard to win FutureGen clean coal/hydrogen plant" ($ub req'd), below the fold:

Wayne Rogers is no Alan Alda

Fox News disses Clinton climate plan

I suppose no one should be shocked that Fox had a five-against-one (Greenpeace's John Passacantando) panel to savage Hillary Clinton's terrific climate and energy plan. The video is worth watching to see just how much some conservatives hate the strategies that are crucial to avoiding catastrophic global warming: I was surprised to see that Wayne Rogers of M*A*S*H fame has morphed into another Fox wacko. He labels Hillary's plan "idiotic," calls her a "crazy person" and mocks her -- I kid you not -- for putting forward "an aggressive, comprehensive energy efficiency agenda ... by changing the way utilities do business."

Stupid idea, on so many levels

Expensive coal + hydrogen = ?

As follow-up to my post yesterday: There is now a bidding war emerging for the FutureGen clean coal plant, targeted to cost $6500/kW. Texas and Illinois are fighting to win this fantastic prize. If they get it, they'll ensure they can keep burning coal, but will do it in a plant that is absurdly expensive. As a fringe benefit, they'll generate hydrogen (aka, a fuel that no one is presently demanding for their vehicles), on the off chance that if a market arises they can sell it. Goodness knows they'll need it if the coal plant is ever going to pencil out. Presumably, this is a better idea than investing in more cost-effective renewable/cogen/efficiency projects that would actually produce a product people want. See an article from Restructuring Today, "Illinois works hard to win FutureGen clean coal/hydrogen plant" ($ub req'd), below the fold:

What should I ask the presidential candidates?

Leave suggestions in comments

Below you saw the details of Grist’s upcoming presidential forum with Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Dennis Kucinich. Each candidate will come out, speak for about 10 minutes about the challenge of climate change, and then answer questions from me and Mary Nichols (of CARB). Naturally I have some questions in mind, but I’d love to hear from you: what do you think I should ask the candidates? Leave your ideas in comments.

Don't buy Gingrich's view of environmentalism, or his new book

Anti-environment, anti-technology Gingrich tries to rewrite history

If you look up the word "Orwellian" on Wikipedia -- "An attitude and a policy of control by propaganda, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past" -- there should be a picture of Newt Gingrich's new book, A Contract with the Earth. Instead of wasting time reading a whole book of disinformation, you can just read this interview in Salon, "Give Newt a chance" -- it is definitely all the Newt that is fit to print. To cut to the chase, readers of this blog will not be surprised that a conservative pretending to care about the environment adopts the anti-regulation, pro-technology approach suggested by GOP strategist, Frank Luntz, and popularized by his protege, George Bush. You may be surprised that Newt calls himself an environmentalist, given that he co-authored and then worked to enact the anti-environmental Contract with America. Oh, but Newt now claims: I don't think that the environment was a central focus of the Contract With America. I don't think that it was bad for the environment. I don't know of a single thing in the Contract that was bad for the environment. I think Salon had to pause in the interview at that point to allow Newt to douse the flames that began engulfing his trousers.

Global warming and political will

The Lieberman-Warner bill is not strong enough to do the job

Bernie Sanders. As a member of both the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the Energy and Natural Resources Committee it is my view that the time is long overdue for Congress to go beyond deal making and "politics as usual" in addressing the crisis of global warming. The droughts, floods and severe weather disturbances our planet is already experiencing will only get worse, potentially impacting billions of people, if we do not take bold and decisive action in the very near future. While the Lieberman-Warner cap and trade bill is a step forward, it goes nowhere near far enough in creating the policies that the scientific community says must be developed if we are to avert a planetary catastrophe. It is also lacking in paving the way for the transformation of our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies. Here are some of my concerns with the Lieberman-Warner bill: First, virtually all of the scientific evidence tells us that, at the least, we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050 if we stand a chance to reverse global warming. Lieberman-Warner, under the very best projections, provides a 66 percent reduction. Second, this legislation allows major polluters to continue emitting greenhouse gases for free until 2036. In fact, old-fashioned dirty coal burning plants could still be built during this period. That's wrong. The "right to pollute" should not be given away for up to 24 years. Further, in calculating emission reductions, the bill relies much too heavily on "offsets," a process which is difficult to verify and which could significantly undermine the actual emissions caps. Third, this bill provides a massive amount of corporate welfare to industries which have been major emitters of greenhouse gasses while requiring minimal performance standards and accountability. According to a report by Friends of the Earth, the auction and allocation processes of the bill could generate up to $3.6 trillion dollars over a 38 year period. While a large fund exists in the bill for "low carbon technology," there is no guaranteed allocation for such important technologies as wind, solar, geo-thermal, hydrogen or for energy efficiency. But, there is a guaranteed allotment of $324 billion for the coal industry through an "Advanced Coal and Sequestration program" and $232 billion for the auto industry for "Advanced Technology Vehicles." The time is late, and if Congress is serious about preventing irreversible damage to our planet because of global warming we need to get moving in a bold and focused manner. And we can do it.

Global warming and America's energy future

Grist to sponsor first presidential candidate climate and energy forum

Haven't had your fill of the energy and environmental platforms of the presidential candidates? On Sat. November 17 at 2pm PST, Grist will be sponsoring the first-ever candidate forum focusing on the issues of energy policy and climate change, in Los Angeles. It will be webcast live on this page. All major presidential hopefuls were invited; Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich have agreed to attend. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will introduce the evening, Living on Earth host Steve Curwood will moderate, and questions will come from panelists Mary Nichols of the Calif. Air Resources Board and David Roberts of Grist. The event will be presented in partnership with the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, California League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, Center for American Progress Action Fund, NRDC Action Fund, and the Presidential Forum on Renewable Energy. Registration is full, but click here to get on the waiting list. You never know.

E.U. Parliament approves plan to require airline emissions reductions

A European Union plan to bring the airline industry into its carbon-trading market has just passed the E.U. Parliament, angering many airlines, the United States, and other countries. Parliament voted to require steeper emissions cuts than the E.U. Commission’s relatively weaker airline plan. Under the amended version, by 2011, all airlines flying within or into the E.U. would be required to reduce their emissions 10 percent below their 2004-2006 average or buy credits from other airlines that came in under the target. The proposal must now get approval from E.U. country governments and E.U. ministers before it can become law. …

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