Climate & Energy

The latest in Congressional maneuvering

Dems try to advance climate and energy bills; Repubs work to block them

As usual, Darren Samuelsohn is the best source on the maneuvering inside Congress on climate and energy, and as usual, he’s trapped behind a pay wall, so as usual, I do my humble best to drag his reporting out into the light. Here he is on the latest with Lieberman-Warner. In short, conservative Republicans, led by Inhofe, are complaining that there hasn’t been enough time for them to lie and demagogue study the bill. They want to hear from some right-wing think tankers hard-working businessmen about the economic apocalypse that awaits us if we so much as think about reducing …

Big news

The ocean carbon sink is saturating

The long-feared saturation of one the world's primary carbon sinks has apparently started. The BBC reports, "The amount of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the world's oceans has reduced." After 10 years and more than 90,000 ship-based measurements of CO2 absorption, University of East Anglia researchers reached this stunning conclusion: CO2 uptake halved between the mid-90s and 2000 to 2005. The BBC writes: "Scientists believe global warming might get worse if the oceans soak up less of the greenhouse gas." Sigh. Note to the BBC, you don't need a double hedge: If you're going to just say "might get worse" you surely can drop "Scientists believe." Frankly I doubt you can find many, if any, reputable scientists -- or even the few remaining deniers -- who would say that if the ocean sink saturates, global warming won't get worse. I would probably phrase it this way: Global warming will accelerate if the oceans soak up less of the greenhouse gas. The researchers say, "it is a tremendous surprise and very worrying because there were grounds for believing that in time the ocean might become 'saturated' with our emissions -- unable to soak up any more." Why is that bad news?

I read PDFs so you don't have to, part kazillion

A new sustainable development report from an international panel — only sexy and exciting!

The InterAcademy Council, a group representing 150 scientific academies around the world, has just issued a new report: "Lighting the Way: Toward a Sustainable Energy Future." I know what you’re thinking: hot damn, a long-ass new PDF! The report, commissioned by the governments of Brazil and China, "lays out the science, technology and policy roadmap for developing energy resources to drive economic growth in both developed and developing countries while also securing climate protection and global development goals." Andy Revkin’s got a summary in the NYT, but the main thrust is a call for doubling of public and private research …

New report makes suggestions for sustainable energy future

Coal is the enemy of the human race, but don’t take our word for it: 15 national science academies pooh-pooh the evil black rock in their new report “Lighting the Way: Toward a Sustainable Energy Future.” The report also rah-rahs solar and wind power and energy efficiency, and is warily supportive of nuclear energy and cellulosic biofuels.

Coal isn't cheap

Don’t believe the power company hype about coal’s low price

This just in from Restructuring Today ($ub req'd): Sunflower Electric, of the recent Kansas decision not to allow an electric permit because of CO2 concerns, has argued that the decision was a bad idea because it will drive up power prices. But their math is wrong. Here's a partial excerpt from the RT story: A decision by the Kansas Department of Health & Environment to deny a coal power plant permit would mean higher power bills for some. That's "an absolute certainty," Sunflower Electric Power told us Friday. How much higher? At today's prices the firm could pay 1.5¢ for coal versus 8¢ for natural gas. Uh, no. But this is a mistake that is aggressively and frequently made by our electricity generators.

California wildfires continue to rage

In case you haven’t heard, there are some crazy fires going down in southern California. At the time of this posting, some 400,000 acres have burned, igniting more than 1,500 structures, including some 1,000 homes. An estimated 700,000 people have been evacuated; two have died. The White House has declared a state of emergency, and health officials are urging children, the elderly, and the sick to stay indoors to avoid breathing in soot particles. Guess we’ll get an answer to the question we posed last year: “Could a Western wildfire be the country’s next Katrina?” Um, we meant it rhetorically.

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