Climate & Energy

News from the Googleplex

Is Google betting on a carbon tax?

Google Inc. has a new project, "Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal." Google is preparing to bet megabucks, mega-engineers, and its cutting-edge reputation on its ability to propel solar thermal power, wind turbines, and other renewable electricity up the innovation curve and under the cost of coal-fired power, Reuters reported Tuesday. "Our goal is to produce one gigawatt [1,000 megawatts] of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal. We are optimistic this can be done in years, not decades," said Larry Page, Google's cofounder and president of products, according to Reuters. To which we at the Carbon Tax Center say: Good luck, and don't forget to hire the lobbyists. You're going to need them to help win a carbon tax, because without the tax, your goal of renewable energy cheaper than coal is likely to remain out of reach.

Averting our eyes

A guest essay from climate scientist James Hansen

The following is an essay distributed by email to a number of friends and journalists by pioneering climate scientist James Hansen. It is a response to controversy generated by his testimony before Iowa’s utility board, …

Heat waves take a toll on Australian fruit bats

Climate change has, ahem, taken a swing at bats. Unable to deal with scorching heat waves, thousands of Australian fruit bats have flapped their wings, panted, drooled — then dropped dead. Which begs the question: …

Will the energy bill bail out ethanol?

The corn industry hopes Congress will pull its fat out of the fire

I used to love to start my writing day by taking a poke or two at the corn-based ethanol industry — you know, the biggest greenwash ever. Photo: mrobenalt These days, the debunking of corn …

The job-creating answer to global warming

A new report lays a road map for creating green jobs while fighting the climate crisis

A major new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) provides a detailed roadmap for avoiding catastrophic global warming and restoring our energy security, while maintaining economic development. The report, "Capturing the Energy Opportunity: Creating a Low Carbon Economy," is by CAP's John Podesta, Kitt Batten, and Todd Stern. It is well worth reading, and I say that not because I am a senior fellow at CAP, but because the 88-page report lays out the most comprehensive set of plausible job-creating climate/energy policies I have seen. The authors understand the scale of the problem: The challenge we face is nothing short of the conversion of an economy sustained by high-carbon energy -- putting both our national security and the health of our planet at serious risk -- to one based on low-carbon, sustainable sources of energy. The scale of this undertaking is immense and its potential enormous. The urgency of this issue demands a president willing to make the low-carbon energy challenge a top priority in the White House -- a centerpiece not only of his or her energy policy but also of his or her economic program -- to produce broad-based growth and sustain American economic leadership in the 21st century. This task is so encompassing it will demand that the incoming president in 2009 reorganize the mission and responsibility of all relevant government agencies -- economic, national security, and environmental. The report explores the crucial steps needed to meet the challenge:

White courtesy phone, paging Homer Simpson

Necessity is the mother of invention … and some really bad ideas

Mein Gott. I was so hoping that this article was from The Onion or something. Porta-nukes will power oil-shale melters, because there's just no topping the American spirit -- the willingness to take a truly abysmal idea (oil shales) and make it worse:

No second helpings on gas

Per-person gas consumption has decreased in the last year

On the heels of the year's biggest travel week, some interesting news: Consumers purchased an average 9.32 million barrels of gasoline a day in the week ended Nov. 23, down 1.7 percent from the same week last year ... It was the fifth consecutive week that demand at the pump dropped compared with a year earlier. The price [of gas] was 38 percent higher than a year earlier. That's right, population rose, but gas consumption fell, year-over-year. Measured per person, that's a decline of about 3 percent -- not huge, but still noteworthy. So does this mean that higher prices are starting to take a bite out of our appetite for fuel? That a slowing economy is making consumers tighten their belts? Either way, as long as it isn't a temporary blip in the data, it's a trend worth paying attention to.

Not that coal has any undue advantage

Coal industry sponsors another presidential debate

Tonight’s CNN/YouTube debate for the Republican presidential candidates is, like the previous CNN debate for Dems, brought to you by the coal industry. From ThinkProgress: Sponsorship of tonight’s debate appears aimed at influencing Florida Gov. …

What folks are saying about the upcoming Bali talks

Representatives from nearly 200 nations will gather in Bali, Indonesia, next week to discuss what’s to be done about this whole climate-change thing once the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. So what’s the word on …

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