Climate & Energy

I am pretty sure you are not aware of this

October is Energy Awareness Month

October is Energy Awareness Month. What's more, October first got this designation from the first President Bush in 1991. Why do I know this? Because the only people I have ever met who know about Energy Awareness Month are people who have worked at the Department of Energy. I'm going to change all that with this blog post, which will probably double the number of people aware of Energy Awareness Month. Don't worry, though, the DOE has made it easy to take action: To help you customize your energy awareness program, You Have the Power campaign artwork is available for you to download from the images [on this website]. This is my favorite downloadable poster. Click on the image for animation -- I could watch it for hours. And yes, since you ask, the energy savings from walking one or two flights of stairs instead of using an elevator is humongous -- easily equal to those cancelled Kansas coal plants. Easily! (Although if there are other people waiting for the elevator, then it was going to run anyway, but don't go all techno-nerd on me -- it is the thought that counts!)

This urban life

Even the greenest suburbs can’t touch low urban emission rates

Last Sunday, the Washington Post published a piece by Joel Kotkin and Ali Modarres which sought to debunk the ideas that dense urban areas are greener than their suburban counterparts and that encouraging dense growth …

Low-budget Bjornography

George Will’s latest column tests the limits of self parody

George Will pulls off a real triple axel of hackery in his latest column, taking the Stepford flimflam of Bjorn Lomborg and ladling on a glutinous serving of his own pinkie-raised pomposity. Rarely has such …

Over the moon for cow power

Methane from Vermont dairy farms to provide electricity for utility customers

Central Vermont Public Service is laying claim to one of the fastest-growing renewable energy programs in the country: its customers can now choose to receive all, half, or a quarter of their electrical energy through the Cow Power program, which digests cow manure at participating dairy farms, captures the methane, and uses that to power generators. CVPS customers pay a premium of 4 cents per KWh, delivering another revenue stream for farmers, who are paid 95 percent of the market price for all of the energy sold to CVPS.

The ridiculous and the sublime

From denying climate disruption to denying a coal plant permit application

Who knew Kansas and Oklahoma could be so far apart? Worlds apart. From an interview with Inhofe: [Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.)] also co-authored an article for the Energy Law Journal on "Energy and the Environment: The Future of Natural Gas in America." In the interview, this self-described "one-man Truth Squad" provides a frank and candid account of the evolution of his position on global warming, from believing that manmade gases are the cause of climate change to advocating against the reduction of man-made gases at great costs. Inhofe also provides in the interview four points in rebuttal to the global warming issue as presented in what he described as Vice President Al Gore's "science fiction movie.". Against this: Kansas denies a coal plant's permit application -- because of CO2 concerns!

Geo-engineering remains a bad idea

Climate change mitigation strategy could actually damage the planet

Earl Killian sends me this WSJ op-ed: "Thinking Big on Global Warming" (subs. req'd.). He sees some good news in it -- the WSJ "published a non-denier [opinion] piece." Yes, but geo-engineering is one of the delayers' sexiest strategies -- holding out the promise of a pure techno-fix that doesn't require all those annoying regulations needed to completely change our energy system. The conservative (duh!) authors of the WSJ piece embrace trying to "develop capabilities for increasing the fraction of sunlight that is reflected outward by the upper atmosphere back into space." They claim: "We know it would work because it happens naturally all the time." Yes, volcanoes spew out aerosols that cool the Earth, but I have previously debunked aerosol geo-engineering. The authors seem unaware of a major study that finds "doing so would cause problems of its own, including potentially catastrophic drought." And, of course, this strategy allows unfettered ocean acidification, and as noted recently, "when CO2 levels in the atmosphere reach about 500 parts per million, you put calcification out of business in the oceans." So we might temporarily stave off superheating the planet, but still bring ruinous climate change and destroyed the ocean ecosystem! The authors claim: Do not try to sell climate geo-engineering to committed enemies of fossil fuels. Although several geo-engineering options appear to be highly cost-effective, ideological opposition to them is often fierce. Fashionable blogs are replete with conspiracy theories and misinformed attacks. Who are these enemies of fossil fuels? I don't know such people. I know enemies of greenhouse gases. I am one of those. But we tend to like natural gas, and many of us would be okay with coal if you added permanent carbon capture and storage. Greenhouse-gas mitigation avoids catastrophic global warming with high confidence and few negative side effects (and, indeed, many positive side effects). No one has proposed a geoengineering plan that meets either of those two tests.

Another skeptic zombie killed, probably not for the last time

More on the nine ‘errors’ in Gore’s movie

As I said in my earlier post on the subject, there’s less than meets the eye to the story of the British judge that found nine "errors" in An Inconvenient Truth. Turns out they weren’t …

In the pack

Environmental Defense responds on Lieberman-Warner support

The following is a guest post from Tony Kreindler of Environmental Defense. ----- Glenn Hurowitz writes that Environmental Defense has "abandoned other green groups" by voicing support for climate change legislation introduced last week by Senators Joe Lieberman and John Warner. "Environmental Defense is once again destroying the unity of the environmental movement by endorsing this bill now despite some major weaknesses," he says. For the record, Environmental Defense has not endorsed the Lieberman-Warner bill, America's Climate Security Act. We've certainly praised parts of it we think work well, and we've given the authors what we think is well-deserved credit for making a serious attempt to get comprehensive climate change legislation passed in this Congress. We've also said we will work to strengthen the bill, particularly to achieve the deeper long-term emissions reductions scientists tell us we need to avoid a climate catastrophe. We may do that differently than some, but we will do it. Has Environmental Defense broken from the pack? All environmental groups have specific views on the bill's strengths and weaknesses, which can't fully be captured in the following quotes, but let's take a look at what some other environmental groups had to say about the bill:

Coal is the enemy of the human race: Survey says edition

New poll finds public wants renewables over coal

And the bad news for coal / good news for humanity just keeps rolling in. According to a new poll (PDF): 75 percent of Americans — including 65 percent of Republicans, 83 percent of Democrats …

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