Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Fossil Fuels

Comments

Taste of things to come: Texas drought to shut down power plants

Hey, you know what's wild about Texas turning into a gigantic desert thanks to climate change? I mean besides the fact that this makes it basically Kuwait-on-the-Rio-Grande? Many of the state's power plants, which rely on fresh water to produce electricity, could be shut down by the lack of water. The current drought provides us a window on what's to come: A number of Texas power plants may need to cut back operations or shut down completely if the state’s severe drought continues into the fall, an official with Texas’ main transmission manager told FuelFix. If the state’s drought continues …

Comments

The New York Times thinks the tar-sands pipeline sucks. Here’s why.

The New York Times has come out with an editorial position on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and it’s unusually definitive, considering that we still have news media trying to represent “both sides” of the climate change “debate.” Here’s how they break it down. Canada and the U.S. want to build a pipeline thousands of miles long from Canada to Texas, to carry bitumen from the tar sands to refineries where it can be turned into fuel. On the one hand, this seems like a good idea: As long as we're stuck with oil, why not buy it from …

Comments

Why Michele Bachmann thinks she can get gas under $2 a gallon

Michele Bachmann isn't crazy -- she's just horribly misinformed. At least in this particular instance: When Bachmann promised that if she became president, gas would be under $2 a gallon, her statement was entirely consistent with the voodoo alternate energy universe she and countless right-wing conspiracy theorists happen to inhabit. The only reason I even know this is that I've occasionally had run-ins with this alternate plane of reality, in which otherwise rational people truly, fervently believe that America has enough oil within its borders to last the country for centuries, but a liberal cabal led by the EPA is …

Comments

Bachmann promises $2 gas, unicorns

When I was in the fourth grade I took a lot of crap for not voting for Ty for class president, because he said he would give us double recess and free ice cream. I found those claims doubtful, and also Ty was kind of a dick, so I didn't vote for him, but everyone else did and they made fun of me. What I'm saying is, if you believe Michele Bachmann's claim that she can get gas back under $2 a gallon, then you should break out your Bieber tee and your juice box, because you are essentially an …

Comments

Mark Ruffalo wants you to fight the tar sands

Winsome actor and activist Mark Ruffalo does just about the best job possible explaining the proposed tar-sands pipeline and how you can help fight it in Washington, D.C., starting Aug. 20. Watch his quick video primer below. (Do it if only to watch a scruffily tousled Mark speak from the heart. Sigh ... ) Got a dial-up connection? Hate watching ruggedly handsome Sundance-darlings-cum-Earth-advocates? No matter. Here are four disturbing reasons why you should fight the tar sands: The proposed Keystone XL pipeline runs from Alberta, Canada to Texas.TransCanada's 1,700-mile-long Keystone XL pipeline will stretch across the continent, from Alberta to …

Comments

After North Sea oil spill, Shell plans to continue Arctic drilling

The recent North Sea oil spill could be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Arctic drilling.Cross-posted from Climate Progress. Last week, Shell reported a ruptured oil pipeline in the North Sea, where it spilled around 750 barrels of oil. The leak was fixed over the weekend, but Shell has been quiet about exactly what happened, only saying it "responded promptly to the incident." Compared to last year's 5-million barrel gusher in the Gulf, this latest leak is very small and was contained quickly. Shell says it was able to contain and monitor the problem with the …

Comments

Trucks and buses get efficiency standards for the first time ever

President Obama has announced the first ever emissions standards for trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles. They'll be shooting for a 9 to 23 percent reduction in fuel consumption by 2018, depending on the type of vehicle. Big rigs will need to achieve approximately a 20 percent reduction, for example; garbage trucks will need more like 10 percent. It might not feel this way when you go on a long road trip, but trucks are only a small percentage of the vehicles on the road. They drive way more than family cars, though, and spend more time idling. Plus, they're super …

Comments

Tar-sands emissions could negate all other Canadian carbon cuts

A report from Canada's environmental agency predicts that the rise in greenhouse-gas emissions associated with mining tar-sands oils will be more than double the decrease in the country's emissions from other sources. Environment Canada said in its emissions trends report that the country could avoid 31 megatons in emissions by 2020. Most of those savings come from switching out natural gas for coal in electricity generation. But in that same period, emissions from tar-sands oil could rise by 62 megatons, the report said. By 2020, 12 percent of all of Canada's emissions could come from tar-sands mining. At these rates, …

Comments

Solar-powered oil field runs on sunshine, irony

Put on your coal-fired vegan anti-irony helmets, because Oman is building a solar-powered oil field. Not because it will make them feel good or help them tamp down their emissions (I mean, this is oil they're digging up) but because it makes economic sense. Basically, Glasspoint Energy is using the solar panels to make steam, which can help extract “heavy” oil from old fields. It’s like using a knife to get the last bits of ketchup out of the bottle … if the knife were made out of anti-ketchup.  Glasspoint Energy's solar installations are super cheap, even flimsy. Sourced locally, …

Comments

Want to save energy? Stop wasting water

Turns out one of the single biggest sources of energy use in your home doesn't even show up in the electricity section of your utility bill.  In California today, just delivering water accounts for 20 percent of the state's energy consumption. It takes power to gather water, purify water, and distribute water, especially in places like southern California where water is piped hundreds of miles to supply Los Angeles' sprawling demands. On the flip side, producing power requires a great deal of water. Nothing in this country, aside from agriculture, uses more water than power production. So if fresh water …