Climate & Energy

Chickens coming home to roost

Hope they don’t want any corn

What? A sharply hotter climate and abundant CO2 aren't good for field crops? But, but ... the coal lobby Greening Earth Society said they would be! Fitting: the photo accompanying this story in The Detroit News shows a huge trailer of corn being deposited at an ethanol plant.

15 Green Cars

The greenest way to get around? On your own two feet, of course, or on a bicycle, unicycle, skateboard, or public transit. But if you still find yourself in need of a car, these are some of the best green options on the market. If we zoomed right past your favorite eco-friendly auto, tell us in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Courtesy of Toyota via Wieck Toyota Prius The best-selling Prius is synonymous with “hybrid” in many minds, and with good reason. More than 750,000 have been sold worldwide, and it’s the greenest mainstream car on …

Cane: the cellulosic Godfather

A new series pivots around ethanol

Randomly, last night I caught the debut episode of the new CBS series Cane. It’s about the Duque family, a Cuban-American clan in both the sugar and rum businesses in South Florida. At the outset of the show, the Duque’s long-time rivals, the Samuels — a drawling family of white Southerners — offer to buy up their sugar fields, claiming that the sugar business is slow and the real action is on the rum side. "We’ll do sugar; you do rum." Family patriarch Pancho (Hector Elizondo) turns them down. Why? Because his adopted son and heir to the business Alex …

Explain climate change to Little Stevie

A call for suckers

Little Stevie Milloy’s outfit is offering $100,000 to the person who can "prove, in a scientific manner, that humans are causing harmful global warming." Fine print: This exciting opportunity will cost you $15. Think of it as a sweepstakes, only with Ed McMahon peer-reviewing articles on particle physics, and nobody winning. Now, the phrase "prove in a scientific manner" should tip you off that a childhood of eating paste has left Little Stevie fighting this war with a pea shooter. Epistemological category mistakes aside, however, he’s a clever scamp. For years he’s bamboozled Exxon out of money with the promise …

Nuclear physicist says nukes are not the answer

And he should know what he’s talking about

Someone with a lot of experience in advanced reactor technologies says nukes are not worth pursuing as we contend with peak oil and climate change.

Must-read from RealClimate

The latest skepticism, debunked

Not that anyone but a denier or two believed that some microscopic revision in a few years of temperature data meant the theory of human-caused global warming was even slightly undercut -- but progressives need to know all the rebuttals. I emailed Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate about this -- I'm sure I wasn't alone -- and he put together a very nice debunking post. As Gavin writes, "there is clearly a latent and deeply felt wish in some sectors for the whole problem of global warming to be reduced to a statistical quirk or a mistake." Sad.

Interview with Thomas Casten, part one

The world’s expert on recycled energy discusses … recycled energy

All across the nation, factories and power plants are wasting energy — lots and lots of it. If that energy could be captured and put to good use, greenhouse gas emissions could be substantially reduced, at a profit. Thomas Casten has been proclaiming this good news for almost 30 years now. Not only that, he’s been trying to make it happen, starting and managing a series of profitable companies, founding and consulting for nonprofits, writings reports, articles, and a book, and testifying before Congress. Despite becoming a nationally known energy expert and a successful businessman, he has often played the …

Geez, All We Got Was Karl Rove’s Resignation

Governments ruffled by climate kerfuffles in England, Australia A couple of government climate kerfuffles have broken out: In Britain, a leaked briefing paper says the country won’t meet a European Union target of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020, and suggests lobbying other nations for a more flexible interpretation of the goal or using “statistical interpretations” to shine things up. Written for government ministers by what is now the Department for Business, Enterprise, and Regulatory Reform, the memo says the best Britain can hope for is 9 percent by 2020, and even that would be a challenge. Officials and activists …

Oopsy Daisy

Alaskan study says 2 million gallons of oil, seawater spilled over 10 years Did you hear about the 2-million-gallon spill in the Alaskan tundra? No, you didn’t, because it happened slowly, from different sources, over the course of 10 years. A study by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation says spills on the North Slope between 1995 and 2005 included a 994,400-gallon splash of seawater, which can kill tundra plants; during the same time, 349,274 gallons of seawater-oil-gas slop and 103,397 gallons of crude oil also found their way onto the fragile landscape. In all, operators reported 4,481 spills. Whoops! …

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