Climate & Energy

Policies in need of Californication

All green eyes turn to the West Coast

Popularized by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the term "Californication" actually refers to the surge of Californians migrating up the West Coast following the opening of a major highway. In this context, we're hoping we can Californicate the state's climate change and energy policies to the rest of the Union. Since the 1970s, California has kept its per capita energy use at a level rate, using primarily energy efficiency programs. Over time and with minimal spending, the cost of electricity under the programs is 1.4 cents per kilowatt-hour. That's an outstanding rate compared to traditional or even carbon-free energy sources. I discuss California's unique route in Chapter 7 of Hell and High Water, but you can access the information from the California Energy Commission or this PowerPoint with graphics. When our country gets serious about addressing climate change and energy dependence, we need active national attention and proliferation of California's policies. A good start is Paul Krugman's editorial in the New York Times from earlier this year. You need a Times Select subscription, but it is included below because it's too good to miss:

Plus, He Made That Boat Sink

Leonardo DiCaprio brings climate-change film to Cannes A year ago, Al Gore spread the climate-change message at the Cannes Film Festival. Now it’s Leonardo DiCaprio’s turn. The former boy wonder produced, co-wrote, and narrated The …

Coal Is the Enemy of the Human Race

New BP, Rio Tinto venture plans three “clean coal” plants Last week, oil giant BP announced a new “clean coal” partnership, and it’s already spewing big plans. With Rio Tinto, the world’s third-largest mining company, …

With this misguided notion, I thee wed

Green weddings are no better than white ones

It’s not exactly news — Umbra made the point in her column on green weddings a couple of months ago, and others have no doubt said it — but a piece in Salon today on …

Charcoal agriculture: not ready for prime time

We haven’t quite figured it out yet

JMG and I were both too optimistic. We both thought charcoal agriculture was ready to play a limited but real role in controlling global warming. Burn some high carbon biomass, turning it into charcoal that will stay stable for thousands of years; add it to soil, which builds tilth and structure; you have just sequestered some carbon and improved agriculture at the same time.

I’m not sure if a rock concert is the answer …

… but I’m pretty sure “burning all the oil” isn’t.

Planet Gore Disinfotainment Watch: Utterly misrepresenting research

Keeping an eye on the ‘wingers

(Part of a series of posts keeping an eye on Planet Gore, the National Review blog devoted to obfuscating on climate change.) New research finds low cost for tackling climate change. But not when that research is reported by Planet Gore. Sterling Burnett recently authored a classic example of PG's disinfotainment. He writes: Has the media completely lost objectivity and the search for the "truth" with regard to the issue of global warming. The latest reason that made me ponder this question arose with the "non-story" of the recent reports by MIT and the CBO detailing the substantial costs and regressive nature of the costs that are estimated to arise if any of the current domestic proposals restricting carbon emissions to combat global warming are enacted. Despite the best efforts of Senator James Inhofe, among others, to get these studies publicized, I have barely seen a mention of the findings of either of these reports in the mainstream media. He goes on to say, "it has surprised me how economic and science reporters have also ignored the MIT and CBO reports." The same week I read this, however, I saw a science news article on the MIT report ("Damn you, Science magazine," as Jon Stewart might say). The article requires a subscription, but I have copied the key figure below:

Back room jostling over climate legislation

Expect a lot of it

As I mentioned the other day, MarketWatch is doing a big series of articles on business and climate change. This one gets right to the heart of why we’re hiring a D.C. reporter. Now that …

All so predictable

Corn ethanol bubble stretched thin

Expect the venture capitalists who started this pyramid scheme to quietly jump ship, leaving those who came in last holding the steaming bag. This article is behind the Wall Street Journal subscription wall and I can't post the whole article, though I would certainly like to. Several excerpts follow: Earlier this year, Mr. Chambliss introduced a bill calling for even greater ethanol use, though with one striking difference: The bill caps the amount of that fuel that can come from corn. Turns out Georgia's chicken farmers hate corn-based ethanol; Georgia's pork producers hate corn-based ethanol; Georgia's dairy industry hates corn-based ethanol; Georgia's food producers hate corn-based ethanol; Georgia's hunters hate corn-based ethanol. And all that means Mr. Chambliss has had to find a new biofuels religion. (Thanks again, KO!)

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