Climate & Energy

Post-Labor Day link dump, the second

Exploring the tubes so you don’t have to

Mo’ links! Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland Ohio recently passed a renewable portfolio standard that falls prey to the worst pitfalls of that particular policy mechanism: Gov. Ted Strickland wants to require that 25 percent of …

Mission Accomplished II

Bush lies misleads on global warming, again

The Prez has a long history of misleading the nation on climate change. Not unlike his father, who promised on the stump to be the "environmental president," Bush promised on the campaign trail in 2000 to reduce CO2 emissions, then promptly reversed this position once he took office. But that's in the history books. Last week, according to the Washington Post, he told an audience at a fundraiser in Washington state: Do you realize that the United States is the only major industrialized nation that cut greenhouse gases last year? One problem: that's, er, misleading at best. A spokesperson for the Council on Environmental Quality admitted so after the speech, saying that although the U.S. did slightly reduce energy consumption and thus emissions last year, it couldn't rule out the possibility that other nations did as well. "We are making sure the President is aware of that," the spokesperson said.

Voluntary actions didn’t get us civil rights, and they won’t fix the climate

Strange but true: Energy-efficient light bulbs and hybrid cars are hurting our nation’s budding efforts to fight global warming. More precisely, every time an activist or politician hectors the public to voluntarily reach for a …

Post-Labor Day link dump, the first

A gaggle of URLs

I’ve been off work since Wed., so a ton of stuff has accumulated in my browser. As I would prefer to start Autumn ’07 blogging with a clean slate, I hereby give you a Gargantuan …

Larry Craig's 'wide stance' on coal and timber

The disgraced senator’s real crimes go unpunished

In John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces, a lowly cop finds himself assigned to lurk in a public bathroom, on the lookout for “suspicious characters.” Sen. Larry Craig bumbled into just that sort of …


Coal insider reveals the truth about carbon sequestration

Does the coal industry really believe that carbon sequestration can make coal-fired power plants climate friendly? It’s got legislators and even some green campaigners believing so. Given the coal industry’s troubled relationship with the truth, …

Teaching green

Lessons from Burning Man 2007

A man in a hardhat just dropped off his chicken for me to mind -- a Japanese Silkie who watched me with one surprisingly smart eye as I typed this post. I reassured her I was a vegetarian, and she seemed to relax. After a few minutes, the man in the hardhat returned, thanked me, and said he was off to find a blowdryer so he could give the little hen a bath. Playa dust has coated her feathers. If it had been Monday, I might have thought this strange. But it's Sunday, and along with nearly 48,000 other people at Burning Man I've weathered two battering whiteouts of several hours each, and ingested some things I probably shouldn't have, and it was only after he'd walked away that I reflected back on the incident as unusual. That's what's great about this place: The Playa cracks your mind wide open. The spectrum of reasonable behavior widens. You question old prejudices and drop useless restrictions. Your mind frees up to learn. So what better place to learn new tricks for reducing our dependence on fossil fuels? For coming to understand -- in a visceral, tactile, immediate way -- what it means to produce and expend energy? This, I assume, is what the exhibits under the Man, in the Green Pavilion, were supposed to accomplish. There was a game you could play, in which you threw hacky-sacks at little boards painted with images of oil rigs and smoke stacks, hoping to knock them over. There was the "Single-Cell Solution," an exhibit by the Chlorophyll Collective, which takes up exhaust from biodiesel generators in fluid-filled tubes, feeds those nitrogen-rich emissions into a pond where it feeds algae. The algae can be used to make more biodiesel: A closed fuel cycle. A marvel. Why aren't we doing this on a large scale? What would it take?

The future of coal

‘Clean coal’ is an oxymoron

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. Should we, the nation's beleaguered taxpayers, be required to spend billions of dollars on an oxymoron? The oxymoron in question is "clean coal," and in my view, the answer is "no." If coal is to have a future, the coal industry and its partners in the rail and electric power industries should pay for it themselves. Here are the reasons. First, while climate science is complicated, climate policy is simple. We need far lower levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which means we must start decreasing emissions immediately. Our highest priority for taxpayer dollars should be the deployment of market-ready energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and the rapid development of those that are still in gestation. The "DOE and industry have not demonstrated the technological feasibility of the long-term storage of carbon dioxide captured by a large-scale, coal-based power plant," according to a December 2006 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report (PDF). And the U.S. Department of Energy doesn't expect to have demonstrated the feasibility for at least a decade. Meantime, solving the climate problem gets more expensive and complicated every year. Second, the rationale for large public subsidization of clean coal is specious. The argument goes like this: We have one hundred or more years worth of coal supplies and the stuff is cheap -- it exists, therefore we must consume it. But if ample supplies and low prices are the criteria, we should be investing all of our money in solar. We have a 4.5 billion year supply of sunlight, and it's free.

Coal is not the enemy of mankind when properly offset

Because voluntary offsets are never, ever like indulgences

In a prime example of how voluntary offsets fail to resemble indulgences:

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