Climate & Energy

Bush administration will offer oil leases in prime polar-bear habitat

The U.S. Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service plans to offer offshore oil and gas drilling rights to 29.7 million acres of Alaska’s Chukchi Sea. The area is home to one of two U.S. polar bear …

Paging Nordhaus and Shellenberger

Please, can we lay off the calls for sacrifice in the face of climate change?

This New York Times editorial says a bunch of stuff that I agree with, in a way that doesn't seem helpful at all: The overriding environmental issue of these times is the warming of the planet. The Democratic hopefuls in the 2008 campaign are fully engaged, calling for large -- if still unquantified -- national sacrifices and for a transformation in the way the country produces and uses energy. The term "sacrifice" gets bandied about a lot, mostly as a way to lend moral seriousness to arguments about climate change. Are you merely paying lip service to the issue, or are you willing to lay down the hard truths? Of course, no one really knows how much sacrifice will be required. Economic projections of the cost of dealing with climate change put the value somewhere around "not terribly much." But who knows? It's hard to make predictions, especially about the future. The bigger problem is that the term "sacrifice" misrepresents the process. Decarbonizing involves millions of consumers and businesses making billions of small consumption decisions in response to price signals, just as they do every day.

Automaker lawsuit against Rhode Island can go forward, and more vehicle news

If news of states suing the EPA merely whets your appetite for vehicle-emissions news, here’s more: Firstly, a federal judge has ruled that a lawsuit from automakers seeking to prevent Rhode Island from regulating vehicle …

China, coal, and the U.S. economy

More evidence that we’re exporting massive carbon emissions

Last month, President Bush signed into law an energy bill most remarkable for its timidity with regard to climate change. According to sometime Gristmill contributor Peter Montague of Rachel’s Democracy & Health News, the 2007 …

Survey says ...

Two thirds of likely caucus voters in Iowa think conservation more important than coal

Iowa Interfaith Power & Light, the Iowa Farmers Union, and Plains Justice have just completed a survey (PDF) in advance of tomorrow's caucuses. Short version: Iowans think that we've squandered chances to do something meaningful about energy, and that it's time we started to do so before building new coal plants. The executive summary is below the fold, but it's worth having a look at the whole presentation.

California, 15 other states, and five nonprofits sue EPA over waiver decision

California has made good on its promise to sue the U.S. EPA over the agency’s refusal to allow the state to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from vehicles, and 15 other states have made good on their …

Landowner hopes to mine mother lode of uranium in Virginia

A 200-acre plot of earth in Virginia is not the unassuming farmland it appears. It harbors what is thought to be the largest deposit of uranium in the U.S. — 110 million pounds of the …

The 'Inhofe 400' skeptic of the day

Gwyn Prins and Steve Rayner on climate change

Today's members of the "Inhofe 400," Gwyn Prins and Steve Rayner, do appear to have expertise on climate change policy. Prins is the professor and director of the Mackinder Centre for the Study of Long Wave Events at the London School of Economics, while Rayner is professor and director of the James Martin Institute for Science and Civilization at the University of Oxford. As such, they are different from those that I have previously highlighted (here and here), who were true skeptics of human-induced climate change, but didn't have the credentials or credibility in the climate change arena to be considered "experts." So Prins and Rayner have credibility in their area of expertise, but are they actually skeptics? The first sentence of the executive summary of their report, "The Wrong Trousers," (PDF) says: We face a problem of anthropogenic climate change, but the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 has failed to tackle it. I would say that Prins and Rayner do not doubt the reality of human-induced climate change.

Japan leads G8 in 2008, will focus on climate change

A new year means a new country takes over leadership of the Group of Eight rich nations, and in 2008 it’s Japan. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has promised to make climate change a top priority, …

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