Climate & Energy

Study: No fuel economy and safety trade-off

We can have both

A new study entitled "Sipping Fuel and Saving Lives: Increasing Fuel Economy without Sacrificing Safety" notes: The public, automakers, and policymakers have long worried about trade-offs between increased fuel economy in motor vehicles and reduced safety. The conclusion of a broad group of experts on safety and fuel economy in the auto sector is that no trade-off is required. There are a wide variety of technologies and approaches available to advance vehicle fuel economy that have no effect on vehicle safety [and vice versa]. The study by the International Council on Clean Transportation concludes that "Technologies exist today that can improve light-duty vehicle fuel economy by up to 50 percent ... with no impact on safety." The study has two noteworthy figures. The first shows that higher-fuel-economy vehicles [green] are some of the safest while low-fuel-economy vehicles [red] are some of the least safe vehicles driven today -- large, heavy trucks and SUVs. Click to enlarge. The second figure lists technologies available today that can improve fuel economy with no impact on safety and lists technologies that can improve vehicle safety with little or no effect on fuel economy. Click to enlarge. The study is conservative in the sense that it doesn't even consider plug-in hybrids, which can significantly increase fuel economy with no impact on safety at all. It is well worth a read. This post was created for, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

New Jersey gets ambitious

Plans to make huge cuts in greenhouse gases

Well it would be nice to know how they plan to do all this, but these certainly are ballsy goals out of New Jersey: • Reduce greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020 (a 13 percent drop) and 80 percent below current levels by 2050. • Regulators have one year to measure current and 1990 emissions and recommend a plan for meeting the 2020 goal. By 2010, they must have a plan for reaching the 2050 target. • To protect electric suppliers, the state will adopt measures to keep customers from buying power from out-of-state producers who don’t face greenhouse …

Renewable energy: not flaccid

Quite engorged, actually

I can’t believe the world’s private investors have joined up with those silly, unrealistic anti-nuke fruitcakes! Renewable energy has moved out of the fringe and into the mainstream, with investors worldwide pouring $71 billion of new capital into the sector in 2006, up 43 percent from the previous year, and more is expected, a U.N. report said Wednesday.

UK nukes may go flaccid

Gov’t doesn’t want to pay for them

Looks like the public teat is closing up shop: The government will not subsidise new nuclear power plants, so if the private sector does not provide the huge investments needed, the country will have to do without, the minister responsible for energy said on Thursday. The Labour government sees nuclear power as one of the most effective weapons in the fight against climate change and in efforts to reduce the country’s growing dependence on imported fossil fuels. But that does not mean it will pay for or build nuclear plants. “The government is not going to build a single nuclear …

French nukes may go flaccid

In the summer heat

Global warming is going to make things hotter. Nuclear power plants need lots of cool water to operate. When it gets hot, the cool water gets used up quickly. You do the maths.

Arguing from authority

Articles about climate skeptics

Even while rejecting the authority of the most comprehensive and reviewed scientific document on any subject, namely the IPCC report, one of the most common climate delusionist tactics is the argument from authority. Whether it is Alexander Cockburn responding to George Monbiot or some anonymous person on some blog, everyone has some personal "scientist" friend who assures them the rest of the world has gone mad. When an argument from authority is invoked it is perfectly legitimate to then examine said authority's, um ... authority, to see if there is really a good reason we should take their word over the word of ... well, just about everybody who would know.

The trouble with RPS

Mixing up paths and goals

RPS legislation (which seems to have recently died in the Senate, although could conceivably be reintroduced on amendment) is well-intended, but poorly constructed. Roll the clock back 100 years, and assume you're the legislator tasked with figuring out how to get the population to go West. Which do you choose: (a) the Homestead Act, giving people land as soon as they prove that they can get there and cultivate it, or (b) a tax rebate to anyone who hitches five white horses to a Conestoga wagon and takes Route 66 west?

James Connaughton: The Bush era personified

Lies, more lies, and still more lies from the head of CEQ

Tim Dickinson’s Rolling Stone piece on the Bush administration’s coordinated attempts to stifle action on global warming is now online, and it’s worth a read. (Also worth checking out: the accompanying multimedia slideshow.) Lots of it will be familiar to long-time readers, but it’s nice to see it pulled together into a single (extraordinarily damning) narrative. One guy who plays a big role in the story is James Connaughton, the ex-dirty-energy lobbyist Bush brought in to head up the Council on Environmental Quality. Side note: speaking of the CEQ, savor this: Prior to joining the Cabinet, [ex-EPA administrator Christie Todd …

The energy bill

After many years of trying, we’re moving in the right direction at last

I'm a bit bleary eyed after midnight votes, and about to do an event in Boston on the energy fight, but I wanted to come back here to Gristmill to tell you how good it feels to have gotten something good done in the Senate instead of just stopping bad things from happening. A year ago I was battling to stop drilling in ANWR. Last night, finally -- after years of battling and five years after we introduced the Kerry-McCain legislation to raise fuel efficiency standards -- we actually accomplished things in the Senate that will improve the environment. This is something that never would've happened with Bill Frist as the Majority Leader. But with Harry Reid leading the Senate, we were able to finally pass the first significant rise in CAFE standards in over a generation.

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