Climate & Energy

Obama energy fact sheet

The details on Obama’s just-released energy plan

Ah, here we go. Via the Obama campaign, I’ve got the fact-sheet on Obama’s just-released energy plan. The PDF is here, which I’ve translated to …

Heat shuts down Chicago marathon

Sweltering humidity and 88-degree temperatures forced yesterday’s Chicago marathon to shut down early for the first time in its 30-year history. One runner died, more …

Obama's energy proposal

Barack Obama reveals details of energy plan in speech today

Barack Obama is going to unveil the details of his energy plan today. I haven’t seen a copy of the speech or the plan yet, …

Obama will outline energy plan in New Hampshire

Barack Obama will outline his energy plan later today in a speech in Portsmouth, N.H. Expect him to laud cap-and-trade and energy efficiency, propose spending …

Sunday Linkfest

Brain food for your day of rest

Tabs, tabs, so many tabs open. Time for a whirlwind tour of my browser! Got a website? Here are 11 carbon-neutral hosting options. Environmental websites …

Cause for humility

Paul Gipe opens one of his books with a story about a big celebration of a new wind project in So. California that was marred when, a few hours beforehand, the turbine oversped and destroyed itself. An executive with the company building the project said something like, "I have some bad news and some good news. The bad news is that the wind turbine destroyed itself. The good news is that we didn't have to evacuate Los Angeles." Popped into my head when I read this: "Huge nuclear-safe containment to be built over the Chernobyl sarcophagus: The 'New Safe Confinement' will be an arch-shaped structure 105 metres high, 150 metres long and with a span of 260 metres."

Debunking Shellenberger & Nordhaus: Part IV

Why bother criticizing S&N?

The question has been raised: Why spend time "debunking" S&N when they seem to be well-meaning folks struggling for a genuine solution to global warming, unlike, say, Bjorn Lomborg? Aside from the fact that they are adding great confusion and misinformation to a critical debate, the answer is simple -- they aren't well-meaning. S&N spend far more time attacking the environmental community (and Al Gore and even Rachel Carson) than they do proposing a viable solution. Worse, they don't even attack the real environmental community -- they spend their time creating a strawman that is mostly a right-wing stereotype of environmentalists. S&N's core argument is that environmentalists only preach doom and gloom and sacrifice, and that solving global warming ... ... will require a more optimistic narrative from the environmental community. Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, like Silent Spring, was considered powerful because it marshaled the facts into an effective (read: apocalyptic) story ... In promoting the inconvenient truth that humans must limit their consumption and sacrifice their way of life to prevent the world from ending, environmentalists are not only promoting a solution that won't work, they've discouraged Americans from seeing the big solutions at all. For Americans to be future-oriented, generous, and expansive in their thinking, they must feel secure, wealthy, and strong. Gore has never promoted such an inconvenient truth -- they should read his book or listen to his speeches -- and indeed I don't know any major environmentalist or environmental group that has promoted such a message. Just spend some time on the climate websites for NRDC, Environmental Defense, the Sierra Club, and Greenpeace. They all support (most of) the same big solutions S&N do, they just don't think you get those solutions the way S&N do (i.e., a massive government spending program).

Never doubt that a small group ...

The threat from climate deniers

People forget that Margaret Mead's overused quote about small groups being able to change the world doesn't necessarily imply "in a good way." Here's an interesting interview to think about when you next read something from folks like the National Assn. of Manufacturers, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, or Bjorn Lomborg:

It's the efficiency, stupid

Water limits on power plants

From Greenwire today (sub req'd): water availability may limit new power plants. This is widely appreciated in the power sector, but doesn't get as much attention elsewhere. It's especially acute as our population growth moves south and west where we are especially water-limited. What's under-appreciated is that this is a story about efficiency. When two thirds of the fuel we burn in power plants is wasted as heat, and that heat is rejected in cooling towers (at least in coal and nuke facilities), any gain in energy efficiency is a reduction in water use. Given the huge gains available in efficiency, it ought to be central to this discussion. Also bear in mind that Clean Air Act compliance and carbon sequestration drive down the efficiency of coal plants, thereby increasing water use per MWh. Excerpts of the full article below the fold: