Climate & Energy

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Industry groups lobby against climate legislation

If you want to get some sense of what Lieberman-Warner — or any piece of climate legislation — is in for when it hits the floor of the Senate, have a look at what its …

Prius smackdown, round two

High gas prices make hybrids look even better

A couple of years ago, I ran some numbers trying to figure out which was the better buy for the planet -- a biodiesel Jetta or a hybrid Prius. And I came to the tentative, but perhaps counterintuitive, conclusion that the best buy was ... wait for it ... a Toyota Corolla. The Corolla, you see, was thousands of dollars cheaper than the Prius (the runner-up), even after I accounted for all the savings on gas from driving a fuel-miser. And if you were a green-minded consumer -- someone whose top priority was reducing climate-warming emissions, say -- you could probably put those thousands to better use somewhere else. Depending on the circumstances, I figured that lots of other investments -- power-sipping appliances, say, or a furnace upgrade, or home insulation, or even donations to a worthy cause -- might all count as "better buys" than a brand-new Prius. But with recent gas-price spikes, I wondered if my earlier calculations were still holding true. And I've got to admit it: if you're in the market for a new car, a Prius is looking better and better all the time.

Cloture vote fails in Senate

Reid will have to decide whether to trim back the bill to get it through

As expected, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid held a cloture vote this morning, trying to force a vote on the energy bill. It failed 53-42. There isn’t much time left this session. Reid has two …

Cap-and-trade through musical chairs

A quick, easy-to-follow introduction to the basics of cap-and-trade legislation

Holmes Hummel, a Stanford PhD and Congressional Science Fellow for Rep. Jay Inslee, has put together two PowerPoint presentations, one brief, one longer. She says: "These overview pieces are for The Curious & Concerned, a …

Bali conference continues

The news from Bali: When the U.S. Senate Environment Committee approved a bill calling for a mandatory cap in U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions, some in Bali took it as a sign that the U.S. was budging …

U.S., avoiding action at current climate meeting, announces new climate meeting

President Bush has announced a climate-change meeting in Hawaii next month for 17 of the world’s major greenhouse-gas emitters to talk about setting goals for curbing emissions. The meeting is a follow-up to an anticlimactic …

Tracking Lieberman-Warner

Edwards reacts

John Edwards is the first leading candidate to respond to the advance of the Lieberman-Warner bill:

Interesting Kiwi story about anti-windfarm sentiment

Apparently being in the antipodes doesn't change how people see wind farms:

How will we feed ourselves?

What a fossil-fuel free agriculture might look like

At some point in the future, humanity will have to produce its food without the help of fossil fuels and without destroying the soil. In a well-researched and succinct new essay, "What will we eat as the oil runs out?", Richard Heinberg analyzes the main problems with the global agricultural system, and proposes a solution: a global organic food system. Heinberg lays out four major dilemmas of the current system: The direct impacts on agriculture of higher oil prices: increased costs for tractor fuel, agricultural chemicals, and the transport of farm inputs and outputs ... the increased demand for biofuels ... the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events caused by fuel-based greenhouse gas emissions...[and] the degradation or loss of basic natural resources (principally, topsoil and fresh water supplies) as a result of high rates, and unsustainable methods, of production stimulated by decades of cheap energy. He then goes into more detail concerning these four horsemen of the agricultural apocalypse, and shows how, even now, these crises are leading to a decrease in global food production. Later in this post I will propose a thought experiment solution, based on Heinberg's solution of a fossil fuel-free agriculture: