Climate & Energy

The price of oil will go ... down

We have $100-a-barrel oil due to speculation and fear

As this Foreign Policy article points out, there is no fundamental rationale for the current prices; oil should be between $40-$60 a barrel, but because of speculation and fear the price has been driven up much higher. The peak oil people love to say "I told you so" when the price goes up. What are they going to say when the price goes down? I expect crickets.

Database on world’s 50,000 power plants launched, Florida coal plant scrapped

The Center for Global Development, a think tank in Washington, D.C., launched a database Wednesday (with maps!) containing all sorts of useful information on over 50,000 of the world’s power plants, quantifying their CO2 emissions as well as the energy they produce, their locations, and more. (It’s more exciting than it sounds.) For instance, power plants account for 40 percent of U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions and the power sector itself is responsible for about 25 percent of world carbon emissions. According to CGD, there are 9,190 power plants in the U.S. that together spew 2.79 billion tons of CO2 each year. …

Learn more about what's killing us

Three new sites track individual power plants and your connection to them

Three excellent new sites went up in the last few days, all related to the single biggest source of CO2 emissions in the world: power plants. CARMA contains "the world’s most detailed and comprehensive information on carbon emissions resulting from the production of electricity." You can track power plants in any zip code or any part of the world, see how much CO2 they emit, and how they rank relative to other plants. Here are some tips to get you started using the site. Fascinating stuff. The Sierra Club’s coal plant tracker "lists every new proposed coal-fired power plant in …

One movement

Chatting with Revkin

NYT author discusses recent story on climate ‘centrism’

On Tuesday, NYT environment reporter Andy Revkin published a piece called “Challenges to Both Left and Right on Global Warming.” The following day, I wrote a highly critical response: "Centrist dog food." With typical graciousness, Revkin offered to discuss the piece, so I took him up on it and we fired up a Skype chat. Here is the transcript: David Roberts: Thanks for doing this. Andy Revkin: So I’m always more eager to search for points of agreement than difference. Seems best way to progress. So what do we agree on related to the range of voices out there in …

Tracking Lieberman-Warner: A friendly spin?

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA): "This bill provides billions of dollars for coal. It's like a Manhattan Project for coal." Noted without comment.

Midwestern governors sign greenhouse-gas reduction pact

The governors of six Midwestern states and the premier of Manitoba signed on to the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord yesterday, the first such multistate program in the U.S. Midwest. For those of you keeping track at home, along with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the Northeast and an agreement among West Coast governors, about 48 percent of the U.S. population is now represented in some form of regional GHG reduction program. The Midwest agreement commits Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Manitoba to setting up a regional cap-and-trade system for trading emission credits. Credit trading would begin …

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:

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