Climate & Energy

Can't vs. shouldn't

It’s time to stop accepting the claim that we ‘can’t’ switch to renewable energy

This started as a response to Michael Tobis in this thread, but seemed worthy of moving to its own post. Photo: pcesarperez Michael said: "I started by defending sequestration on the grounds of the conventional …

The coming carbon-sequestration era

Reporting from a coal hearing of the House Select Cmte. on Global Warming

If you dream of a near future in which coal mines are abandoned, coal workers are employed in emerging green energy fields, coal executives are feeding at the trough of welfare assistance (and not corporate welfare), and China and India are all too happy to buy our clean technologies at a healthy price ... well, then it's good you didn't attend this morning's hearing of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Climate Change. I'll be posting a few entries here detailing the most significant ground Markey's hearing covered. But the nickel version is that, though everybody from the governor of Wyoming to the wonks at the Center for American Progress think a cap-and-trade program is inevitable, they also think that many, many billions of dollars in subsidies for carbon capture and sequestration technology will be crucial to any greenhouse-gas reduction strategy. Which is to say that I had a rollicking and hilarious morning!

Ted Stevens, climatologist

Alaskan senator invents new theory of global warming

Ted Stevens, the Republican senator whose vacation home was recently raided by the FBI, and who made over $800,000 from a shady real estate deal last year, has come up with a brand-new theory of global warming. He told a NBC reporter in Alaska: We're at the end of a long, long term of warming, 700 to 900 years of increased temperature, a very slow increase. We think we're close to the end of that. If we're close to the end of that, that means that we'll start getting cooler gradually, not very rapidly, but cooler once again and stability might come to this region for a period of another 900 years. This was Stevens' way of telling the villagers of Shishmaref, which is being washed away by rising waters despite the Army Corps of Engineers' construction of massive sea walls, that they're on their own. It'll be interesting to see if the denialists at Planet Gore, so quick to attack anyone who dares make an issue of global warming, will leap to the defense of Stevens' claim, which as far as scientists can tell, appears to be a personal fantasy.

CTL hearing report

My testimony to Congress on liquid coal

Here's the inside skinny on yesterday's liquid coal hearing before the House Science & Technology Committee. It was four on two (NRDC's David Hawkins and me vs. the other witnesses). You can read my testimony here and all the witness statements here -- not that I would recommend doing so unless you are a serious liquid-coal junkie like me. About 10 members of Congress were there at any given time -- about evenly split on how they view liquid coal. The ranking Republican on the full committee, Ralph Hall from the great state of Texas, interrogated me at length -- trying to get me to say that I was anti-fossil fuel, that I was pro-tax (or that a cap-and-trade system was the same as a tax), and that I never offered any solution to the global warming problem. I think I held my own.

Four cents a kilowatt-hour

The high price of electricity deregulation

In David Cay Johnston's NYT article "A New Push to Regulate Power Costs," he writes about the fact that many states are rolling back their deregulatory initiatives. The main reason, he says, is price. Ahh, price. That magic number at the nexus of supply and demand. The problem with price in electricity markets is that it is not determined by supply and demand, as in a free, deregulated market -- even in those states where there was, supposedly, deregulation. In fact, we've long argued that deregulatory initiatives, as they were designed and implemented, had nothing to do with what most people understand as "deregulation" at all. Johnston points out that retail price controls, artificially induced competition on the wholesale side, and same old-same same-old metering does not a free market make. As Peter Van Doren of the Cato Institute says, "Just calling something a market does not make it a market."

A setback for Yucca Mountain nuke dump as judge denies water to project

A federal judge poured cold water on the U.S. government’s plans to build a nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain in Nevada this week — or, more accurately, he left the feds high and dry. …

Penguin populations in trouble, climate cited as one cause

Photo: iStockphoto First, the good news: there’s an International Penguin Conference! Who knew? Now, the bad news: at said conference, taking place this week in Tasmania, a team of researchers has reported that the world’s …

Take this box and check it

Japan offers Micky D’s as reward for climate change promises

Today, in Japan: A Japanese government website crashed Wednesday as people raced to take up an offer of a half-price McDonald’s hamburger in exchange for pledging to fight global warming. … People were asked to …

Climate can't wait for techno-fixes

A guest essay from Jan Lundberg

This is a guest essay from Jan Lundberg, who is, at press time, on the Climate Emergency Fast promoted by Mike Tidwell’s organization. It is a response to Tidwell’s recent piece in Grist, "Consider Using …

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