Climate & Energy

Coal is the enemy of the human race: Begging the question edition

You can’t begin an argument about coal’s future by assuming coal’s future

I swear, I don’t mean to just rant about stupid coal articles every day. But people keep writing stupid coal articles. I’m like Pavlov’s dog at this point — they say stupid things, I bash them. Good boy! The latest is this interview in Wired’s Planet Earth blog with Jeremy Carl, who researches how to clean up coal. Consider the very first bit of the intro: Coal is dirty. But coal is driving the U.S., Chinese and Indian economies. And therefore, coal is not going away. Yeeeaaargh! That makes no goddamn sense! "Humanity uses a lot of coal; therefore, humanity …

U.S. Capitol buys carbon offsets

As part of an ongoing greening plan, the U.S. Capitol is buying $89,000 worth of carbon credits to offset the 30,000 tons of greenhouse gases emitted annually by the antiquated coal plant that provides it with power. The Government Accountability Office plans to publish a review of the carbon-offset industry in April; some members of Congress asked House Chief Administrative Officer Daniel Beard, who will cut the offset check to the Chicago Climate Exchange, to hold off until the GAO report is published. Beard chose to go ahead, but also says that shutting down the coal plant is a priority …

'Global Warning: The Security Challenges of Climate Change'

New report examines the impact of climate change on national security

John Podesta and Peter Ogden of the Center for American Progress have written a chapter titled "Global Warning: The Security Challenges of Climate Change," for a report called "The Age of Consequences: The Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Global Climate Change." They describe their work as follows:

The Zen parable of peak oil awareness

Disturbing news is more likely to be ignored

An interesting post on the phenomenon encountered by peak oil "doomers" in trying to explain their dour views to those that are unaware: But if the purpose of the peak oil movement is to spread awareness and ultimately spur action, then telling uninformed people news which radically challenges their worldview may cause them simply to tune us out. In this regard, the worse the news is, the less likely people are to want to hear what we have to say or to believe it if they do listen.

Carbon tax vs. cap-and-trade, part kajillion

No carbon reduction program is a silver bullet

Something about NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg’s arguments for a carbon tax struck me as a little too glib, too pat. Barack Obama’s energy advisor Madhuri Kommareddi does as good a job as anyone of explaining why, arguing that a cap-and-auction system beats a carbon tax on the merits: Why this system instead of carbon tax? What’s important to note is that we’re implementing a 100% auction of cap-and-trade credits. This has the same effect as carbon tax — because it raises the costs of polluting and everyone has to pay. The benefit of this is that it’s more flexible and …

An exciting bill people are talking about

I give you RCESA: Two members of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, U.S. Reps. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), today introduced legislation in the House that would make renewable electricity produced in rural areas available to urban energy users. Specifically, their Rural Clean Energy Superhighways Act would improve electricity transmission from rural areas with significant renewable energy potential, while spreading the cost of construction, maintenance and operation of infrastructure throughout a region, to all beneficiaries. Promising sources of renewable energy often are located in remote areas – like oceans, plains and volcanoes – where …