Climate & Energy

Kucinich, Clinton, and Edwards on climate and energy

Grist presidential climate forum: full transcript and video

Last week, I offered my impressions of the candidates at our presidential forum on climate. Now the complete transcript (PDF) and full video are available. Make your own judgments and share your own impressions in comments. (This video will be permanently available here.) You can embed the videos on your own site: If you’d like to embed the full (four segment) video player, use the following code: <iframe width="520" scrolling="no" frameborder=”0″ src="http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1321305880&quot; height="587"></iframe> Or you can embed the videos individually by clicking “menu” on the appropriate video and choosing “code.” Copy the resulting code and paste it into your site.

Hamsters for baseload power

Innovative idea may reduce renewable energy costs

A study done at Stanford and published in the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology is described by its lead author, Cristina Archer, this way: ... each in a separate cage with a treadmill. At any given time, some hamsters will be sleeping or eating and some will be running on their treadmill. If you have only one hamster, the treadmill is either turning or it isn't, so the power's either on or off. With two hamsters, the odds are better that one will be on a treadmill at any given point in time and your chances of running, say, your blender, go up. Get enough hamsters together and the odds are pretty good that at least a few will always be on the treadmill, cranking out the kilowatts. The combined output of all the hamsters will vary, depending on how many are on treadmills at any one time, but there will be a certain level of power that is always being generated, even as different hamsters hop on or off their individual treadmills. That's the reliable baseload power. Read the whole story here at Mongabay. Oh, wait a minute. My bad ...

Environmentalism and the future of coal, part two

Jeremy Carl looks at ways to clean up coal

This is part two of a guest essay from Jeremy Carl, a Research Fellow at the Stanford University’s Program on Energy and Sustainable Development. (Part one is here.) —– So if coal is going to be a major part of our energy system for the foreseeable future, what should we do about it? First, some of coal’s problems may be solved in unexpected ways through sharp regulation and smarter R&D. Several boiler manufacturers are attempting to design C02 scrubbing retrofits for power plants. Greenfuel is doing the same with an emissions-to-biofuels strategy. Figuring out a way to capture significant portions …

Denier bites the dust

Australian prime minister goes down to decisive defeat

Global warming takes down its first major political victim: Conservative Prime Minister John Howard suffered a humiliating defeat Saturday at the hands of the left-leaning opposition, whose leader has promised to immediately sign the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. Why the stunning loss? A key reason was Howard's "head in the sand dust" response to the country's brutal once-in-a-thousand year drought. As the UK's Independent reported in April: ... few scientists dispute the part played by climate change, which is making Australia hotter and drier ... Until a few months ago, Mr Howard and his ministers pooh-poohed the climate-change doomsayers. You can read about Howard's lame attempt to change his position rhetoric on global warming here.

Asking the wrong questions

An alternative view on biofuels, from a Briton in Sudan

I've just discovered a great blog maintained by Clive Bates, a self-described "selfless public servant, amateur chef, novice mountaineer, lawless cyclist, overweight runner and occasional optimist." He is being modest: he's the former head of ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) in the UK and more recently the Head of Environmental Policy at the UK Environment Agency. Over the last two years, Bates has written extensively and persuasively on a wide range of topics, particularly on environmental and energy policies, and climate change. In his latest post, about biofuel policy, Bates states: Instead of asking how to reduce transport emissions from road fuel substitution, we should be asking how to make use of land to tackle climate change in the most effective way possible. In coming up with the biofuels targets, policy-makers have asked, and answered, the wrong question. It's not hard to see why ... transport policy-makers have to find transport policies. The results: waste, damage and lost opportunities to do better ... He starts off:

OK, I'm demanding debate

Search for local climate skeptic in Texas proves fruitless

Awhile back, I ran across the web site demanddebate.com (hat tip: Michael Tobis). The thrust of the website is that everyone should demand debate about climate change instead of gullibly accepting the Gore/alarmist view. Their slogan is, "I'm more worried about the intellectual climate." I am teaching a "intro to atmospheric science" class and had been trying to find a skeptic to come talk to the students. So I hit the contact button on the web site and asked: I would be interested in having an expert from your group come speak to my atmospheric sciences class. Unfortunately, I don't have any money to support travel, so I'm hopeful that you have someone local to the area (we could probably pay for mileage to/from Houston, Austin, Dallas, or other local cities). Thanks! I didn't expect to get a response, but Steve Milloy himself e-mailed me back: Hi Andrew, Can't think of anyone offhand. But will think about it. BTW, you could always show them The Great Global Warming Swindle. We also have a YouTube video: http://youtube.com/watch?v=XDI2NVTYRXU Steve I found that unsatisfactory, so I e-mailed back:

Asian countries sign on to vague climate pact

Leaders of 14 Asian countries, along with Australia and New Zealand, have signed onto a climate pact that says — well, nothing in particular, really. Maybe it’s the thought that counts, but setting specific goals for addressing a rather important global crisis would count for a hell of a lot more. In our humble opinion.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be efficiently lit

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is up; once it’s lit on Nov. 28, we can no longer deny that The Holiday Season is in full swing. We can, however, ogle the tree guilt-free, as the towering evergreen will be lit by energy-efficient LED bulbs and powered in part by solar energy.

Dream of hydrogen car goes down in flames

Full-cell company bought by Daimler and Ford

Ballard -- the Canadian fuel-cell company that once hoped to be the "Intel Inside of the hydrogen car revolution -- has sold off its automotive fuel-cell business to Daimler and Ford. You can listen to a good CBC radio story on it, which includes an interview of me (click on "Listen to the Current," Part 2). You can read Toronto Star columnist Tyler Hamilton on the story here. A Financial Post post piece headlines the story bluntly: "Hydrogen highway hits dead end: Ballard's talks with potential buyers is admission that dream of hydrogen fuel car is dead: analyst." The story has a keen interpretation of the sale's meaning from Research Capital analyst Jon Hykawy:

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