Climate & Energy

The 'intensity' scam

APEC’s draft plan to reduce GHG intensity will do nothing to curb emissions

Reports coming out of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit say that a draft statement on climate change from the Pacific Rim nations is on the way. Early reports, however, contain this nugget: To strike the accord, negotiators agreed to set a target to reduce "energy intensity" -- the amount of energy needed to produce economic growth, Al-Farisi said. Australian Prime Minister John Howard previously called for reducing energy intensity 25 percent by 2030. A Southeast Asian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that goal was included in the draft. This is, as I blogged about before, a huge scam. Greenhouse-gas intensity is the emissions per unit economic output. Multiply this quantity by the size of the economy and you get total greenhouse-gas emissions. Historically, greenhouse-gas intensity has declined all by itself as the world's economy has evolved from manufacturing (which takes a lot of energy) to services (which take less), and as equipment has naturally become more efficient. Over the past few decades, U.S. greenhouse-gas intensity has declined somewhere between 1 and 2 percent per year without any government policies. Based on the historical data, the target of decreasing our greenhouse gas intensity by 25 percent over 23 years is essentially a do-nothing target. We would expect such a decrease to occur naturally. And given such a modest decrease in intensity, we can still expect emissions to continue to grow rapidly -- and hence climate change will continue unabated. If this is indeed their target, it should be clear that the leaders of the APEC nations are not making any legitimate effort to head off the risk of climate change.

Al Gore will pen a solutions-focused sequel

Al Gore is writing another book — and you can bet that climate change is shakin’ in its boots. The Path to Survival, a solutions-focused …

Notable quotable

From a Washington Post article about the transcendent potential of switchgrass: But such efforts [to persuade farmers to grow switchgrass] have hit a snag: Scientists …

Global warming can breed terror

John Edwards links climate crisis and national security

In a major speech today on national security, presidential candidate John Edwards talked about how fighting the climate crisis is an integral part of battling terror (it also requires less duct tape): Finally, we must achieve energy independence. If we reduce our reliance on oil from instable parts of the world, Middle Eastern regimes will finally diversify their economies and modernize their societies. And fighting global climate change will reduce global disruptions that could lead to tends of millions of refugees and create massive new breeding grounds for desperation and radicalism.

Update on PG&E's ClimateSmart Offset Program

On how electric utilities should become carbon neutral

Since my first post dissing PG&E's offset program, I've had phone calls with PG&E, NRDC, members of PG&E's ClimateSmart External Advisory Group, plus a call with a forestry expert who consults with those who oversee the van Eck forest, which is featured on the "Our Projects" page of the ClimateSmart website. I have four basic conclusions:

More inconvenience

Coming Gore book to spell out climate solutions

Gore to pen a sequel: The Path to Survival will be published next spring to coincide with Earth Day on April 22. According to the …

Turns out toxic heavy metals are, um, toxic

EPA determines coal waste raises cancer risk

The waste from burning coal — coal combustion products, or CCPs, like coal ash and boiler slag — contains toxic heavy metals like mercury and …

Coal is the enemy of the human race: Architecture2030 edition

New full-page ad makes the case against coal

Ah, this kicks ass! The group Architecture2030 is putting a full-page ad in the next issue of the New Yorker. You can download the PDF …

Big Oil gets OK from Australian state for multi-billion-dollar LNG project

A major energy venture on Western Australia’s Barrow Island is one step closer to reality after getting a green light from state environmental officials. Chevron, …