Climate & Energy

Bittman on meat

In case you’d forgotten, industrial meat is a friggin’ nightmare

It’s a little weird that no one on Gristmill has yet pointed to Mark Bittman’s stellar NYT piece on the environmental ravages of industrial meat. …

Why are American automakers special?

The Big Three attempt to persuade other states of the danger of fuel efficiency standards

Automakers are ramping up their PR effort to persuade states not to adopt California’s auto emission standards, which they fear will survive the Bush administration’s …

Green group and Chinese dam owners will work together to address eco-impact

The company that owns China’s problem-stricken Three Gorges Dam is expected to sign a pact with The Nature Conservancy to conduct a feasibility study on …

Why a climate bill in 2008? Part I

On letting the perfect be the enemy of good climate legislation

David Roberts has argued for waiting until 2009 to pass a climate bill. Environmental Defense is pushing hard for a bill this year, and I appreciate his invitation to explain why. We agree that the political landscape in 2009 will be much like today's as far as climate change legislation goes: we'll have the same interest groups, a similar Senate line-up, and a crowded national agenda that threatens to divert politicians' attention. David outlined these challenges nicely a couple weeks ago, and we see things pretty much the same way. So where do we part ways? The bill in play right now, the Climate Security Act, isn't perfect. Many think that if we wait until after the election, we can do better. Or maybe not. We've been here before.

Biz to gov: no, you first

Despite all the hype about the greening of the private sector, the big businesses of the world largely don’t rate climate change as a top …

Fact checking the union: Clean energy and global warming

A closer look at the SOTU’s energy claims

Last night, as President Bush stepped to the well of the House floor to deliver his final State of the Union address, at least one thing was clear -- this president is a big fan of recycling. Unfortunately, I am not talking about the plastics and glass in my bottle bill, but the retooling of old rhetoric on global warming and our energy future. Here is my attempt to inject a little reality into the old Bush rhetoric rolled out in the State of the Union: Bush claim: "To build a future of energy security, we must trust in thecreative genius of American researchers and entrepreneurs andempower them to pioneer a new generation of clean energy technology. Our security, our prosperity, and our environment allrequire reducing our dependence on oil." Reality: President Bush threatened a veto on the tax portion of the recently-passed energy bill, which included major incentives for a new generation of clean energy -- incentives that would have heralded a new era in green technology development. The Bush veto threat also killed the Renewable Electricity Standard which would have required that up to 15 percent of our electricity be generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2020. He also opposes any mandatory cap-and-trade bill that would unleash the technology to meet the climate challenge by setting a price on carbon emissions.

Will peak oil force the localization of agriculture?

Stuart Staniford says no. Sharon Astyk says yes. Jeff Vail also says yes.

California considers “feebate” bill to make polluting cars more expensive

California is pursuing new ideas to reduce vehicle emissions in the state after the U.S. EPA denied the state a waiver it needed to implement …

<em>No Hair Shirt Solutions to Global Warming</em>: Now available free online!

Book shows we can meet hard targets in stopping climate change

As the climate crisis grows worse, many people question whether we can phase out human greenhouse-gas emissions before an irreversible feedback cycle begins. As a belated New Year's present for 2008, I want to offer for free the full text of my book Cooling It! No Hair Shirt Solutions to Global Warming, to increase optimism. We not only have the technical capability to phase out fossil fuels over the course of 30 years, we can eliminate 94 percent of emissions within 20. The cost is close to zero: between savings from efficiency and renewable sources that are more expensive than fossil fuels (but not that much more expensive), the market cost will balance out to around what we pay now. That is before we gain benefits from less pollution and less climate chaos. A lot of people worry (and rightfully so) not about the technical solutions, but about the politics of implementing them. They are right to do so; but the fact that we are missing huge opportunities for efficiency gains -- even at current prices -- shows that there is a political opportunity as well as a political danger. Let the people of the U.S. and the world understand the great opportunities green technology offers for better living and real wealth creation for the vast majority. The old story that the Chinese character for "crisis" is composed of the characters for "danger" and "opportunity" is false -- but the metaphor is too good to drop. You can download the entire book as a single file (or chapter by chapter) here.