Climate & Energy

File under Epitaphs for Humanity

Wow: Here’s the back:

NRDC vs. me

Blogger Nathanael Greene takes on Philpott re: biofuels

The Natural Resources Defense Council evidently remains pretty sanguine about biofuels as a "solution to energy dependence and global warming." Over on the group’s Switchboard …

Sweet home Alabama Street

Small wind in urban settings

I never really thought much about small wind's potential as a significant source of a city's electricity supply. Windmills in a urban setting? I just don't see it. Didn't see it, that is, until I saw it. The other day I biked by 1303 Alabama St., in the Mission District of San Francisco. Softly -- very softly -- whirring overhead is a 1.9 kW Southwest Windpower Skystream windmill. The Choose Renewables resource estimator says that it's a class 3 wind site, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's actually higher. As any San Franciscan knows, the Mission can be very sunny and pleasant during a summer day, but on summer evenings, as the marine layer moves in, the wind just nukes over Twin Peaks and the South Mission/Noë area can be a wind tunnel. The result, I expect, makes for propitious economics. The house also has a 5 kW SunPower solar system. California's system peak is shifting later and later, which is being reflected in PG&E's tariffs. The old E-7 Residential Time of Use (which is being phased out) had a summer peak of 12 to 6 p.m. The new E-6 has a summer peak of 1 to 7 p.m., and a partial peak of 7 to 9 p.m. In practice, that means that as the solar system's production winds down in the early evening, the windmill steps in and produces electricity that would have cost up to 53 cents/kWh if bought from the utility. That's just a wonky way of saying that wind and solar are like peanut butter and chocolate: great on their own, but even better together.

Urgency and solvability: The "we" campaign

Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection unveils ambitious $300 million ad campaign

If you read Juliet Eilperin’s great rundown in the Washington Post, you know that today marks the launch of a massive PR effort from Al …

Son of global-warming denial

Similarities between the skin cancer and climate change ‘scams’

I was recently reading The New York Times and saw a fantastic ad: Recent research indicates that the benefits of moderate exposure to sunlight outweigh the hypothetical risks. Surprisingly, there is no compelling scientific evidence that tanning causes melanoma. Scientists have proven, however, that exposure to all forms of ultraviolet light -- both indoors and out -- stimulates the natural production of vitamin D. And research has proven that vitamin D protects against heart disease and many types of cancer, in addition to providing other important health benefits. If you go to their website, you can read all about it. The similarities between the "skin cancer" scam and the "global warming" scam are all too clear. First, according to this website, there is actually no evidence linking sun exposure with cancer. Amazing. I thought the epidemiological data nailed that connection decades ago. Boy, was I wrong! This is similar to the fact that there is no evidence linking carbon-dioxide emissions with climate change.

Cheap at any price!

More news from the world of cheap coal: Santee Cooper said Wednesday that the first phase of its proposed Pee Dee coal-fired power plant [in …

Snarkey Markey

Seeing through the EPA’s BS

Looking back at seven years of ever-looming -- yet constantly narrowly-averted -- GHG emissions regulations, it seems like it might have been a lot less painful to industry and damaging to the economy if the Bushies would have laid out a simple set of expectations early on and then just let us handle it from there. Even if the resultant regulations wouldn't have been nearly as stringent as most of us would have liked, industry might have benefited from the certainty. Preferring to keep us all waiting just a little longer, however, last Thursday Bush's EPA put off any possible whining about regulations until well into the next administration: ... Last year the Supreme Court ruled, contrary to the Bush administration's wishes, that greenhouse gases were a pollutant that came under the jurisdiction of the EPA. So the EPA's scientists took a look, and they concluded that, yes, greenhouse gases contributed to global warming and ought to be regulated under the Clean Air Act. The White House, of course, was not happy about this, so on Thursday EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson deep-sixed the scientific findings and opened up a "lengthy public comment period" to give corporate contributors the public a chance to weigh in on this. To which Rep. Markey (D-Mass.) adds: This cynical step by EPA to announce an "Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" in the coming months should be seen for what it is: an "Aspirational Notice of Procrastinational Rulemaking."

Blacking out the wild blue yonder

DOD panel calls out power grid disruption threat

Here's another good reason to fix a shaky and outdated power grid, from the Defense Science Board: keeping the Air Force flying during the next terrorist attack. The military focuses much of its efforts on avoiding global petroleum disruptions. But it has not thought much about power grid disruptions that could affect its own bases, the Department of Defense (DOD) group says in a report authored by former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger The board says "physical or cyber sabotage -- or even a simple capacity overload -- could devastate U.S. military and homeland security installations and have a frightening ripple effect across the country, leaving everything from sewage systems to border security controls paralyzed for weeks, perhaps months," ClimateWire reports ($ub. req'd, but free trial available). Investigators noted: "A long-term major power outage would have significant consequences for both DOD and the nation ... Unfortunately, the current architecture of the grid is vulnerable to even simple attacks."

The adaptation trap and the nonskeptical delayers (like Roger Pielke) -- Part 1

Pielke labels adaptation what is actually mitigation

The wheels may be falling off the media's climate discussion, if a recent L.A. Times piece is any evidence. The piece, "Global warming: Just deal with it, some scientists say," is really an article about not dealing with it. The L.A. Times, with the help of the delayer-1000 du jour, Roger Pielke, Jr., has brought to prominence (and fallen for) what I call the "adaptation trap": The adaptation trap is the belief that 1) "it would be easier and cheaper to adapt than fight climate change" [as the Times puts it in the sub-head] and/or 2) "adaptation" to climate change is possible in any meaningful sense of the word absent an intense mitigation effort starting now to keep carbon dioxide concentrations below 450 ppm. Sorry for the long definition, but as we'll see, the second part is especially critical in what has now become an important emerging policy debate, cleverly devoid of specifics. (Indeed, on his blog Pielke says he was misquoted and denies he believes the first part, which actually makes the LAT piece even lamer, as David shows). And being misquoted doesn't mean Pielke isn't very wrong anyway -- as we'll see at the end, Pielke is so confused about adaptation and mitigation that he takes the prize for the most backward analogy in the history of the climate debate, unintentionally proving just how wrong he is.