Skip to content Skip to site navigation
Grist List: Look what we found.


Comments

South Pacific islands are in water crisis

Man, Tuvalu just can't catch a break. The island nation is getting slowly submerged by climate-related sea level changes -- and now, in addition to having too much water, they have not enough water. Tuvalu and nearby Tokelau have declared water emergencies because of fresh water shortages; they're relying on bottled water for drinking, but some areas have no more than a two-day supply. Samoa is starting to ration water as well. Maybe they can get some from Fiji. The water shortage comes from a recent drought -- rainfall has been low for the past six months to a year. …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

Critical List: E.U. could ban tar-sands oil; solar industry ‘a real mess’

Yesterday, an E.U. commission got behind environmental standards that could keep tar-sands oil from being used in Europe. Another nuclear reactor in Japan shut down. Clean energy investments can only go so far in keeping China's emissions down. The country will meet its environmental goals in the short term, researchers say, but it’s growing too fast for its emissions to stay manageable for long. Investors see the solar industry as "a real mess." The government want to take fries -- wait, all potatoes -- away from our kids. (Okay, only on some days.) The potato industry is responding by touting …

Comments

Jerry Brown wishes we could treat clean energy like we treat stuffed lions

California Gov. Jerry Brown (whose full first name is Edmund, who knew) has reached across the aisle for the sake of dead mountain lions. Now he'd like to gently suggest to the California senate that things like clean energy might be almost as important.

Comments

German state minister: The Kochs are ruining U.S. renewables

Ever wonder why Germany has a robust renewables economy, while the U.S. keeps claiming it's not achievable? Here's a theory from Franz Unterskeller, German state minister for the environment, climate, and energy: We don't have the situation like you have in the U.S., where you have this Koch brothers. Also, "we believe in climate change," adds Frithjof Staiß, managing director of the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research. The heavily industrialized German state of Baden-Württemberg is aiming to decarbonize its economy by 2050. According to Unterskeller, that's possible in Germany because, unlike the U.S., there's a "broad consensus in society" that …

Comments

How climate change denial lets the fuel industry run politics, in one handy chart

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the climate change denial machine. Two sociologists, Riley E. Dunlap of Oklahoma State and Aaron M. McCright of Michigan State, have analyzed the patterns of influence and disinformation that power climate change denial in the United States. Some of their findings: No component of the denial machine is untouched by the fossil fuels industry. And by powering that central echo chamber, corporate interests and the fossil fuel industry have been able to strongly influence American politics. Nonetheless, it is reasonable to conclude that climate change denial campaigns in the U.S. have played a crucial role in …

Comments

U.S. might meet its climate targets — by accident

How bad is the economy? So bad that we might actually meet our greenhouse gas emissions targets, laid out in 2009 at Copenhagen, by accident. Here's a chart, produced by Shell Oil's climate change advisor, explaining it visually. On the left is how much greenhouse gases we pumped into Mother Nature's climate hole in 2005. The second column shows the effects of our massive recession. (For example: America's use of oil has dropped to the point that we now use the same amount we used in 1996.) The third column shows an impending wave of retiring coal-fired power plants. If …

Comments

Germany has so much wind energy, they'll pay you to take it

How much will switching to renewables raise your utility bill? How about NEGATIVE ALL OF IT? In Germany, wind and solar projects have regularly been generating so much surplus energy that utilities are paying consumers to take it off the grid. High winds -- although not that high, only 15 mph -- led to negative-price wind energy for nine hours on July 24, bringing Germany's total to 31 hours of below-zero-cost energy this year.  The companies hate this, obviously. Bloomberg's reporting about the phenomenon is all "OH GOD WIND CAUSES ECONOMIC DOOM": The gross margin at a coal power plant after …

Comments

World's second tallest structure will power 100,000 homes a day with hot air

If a clean energy project in the Arizona desert goes forward, the second tallest structure on Earth will be a 2,600-foot solar updraft tower, which could last 80 years and generate 200 MW of electricity each day -- using only hot air. (Insert your own joke about how we could power Cleveland with Bill O’Reilly.) The tower works on the principle that hot air rises. In this case, it rises through the tower, turning turbines as it goes. The tower uses no water, and it works pretty much all the time, unlike wind and solar projects. (At night, the ground …

Comments

Take a video tour of UMD’s prize-winning Solar Decathlon house

The Chesapeake Bay's sad state has yielded on positive result: the bay ecosystem inspired the  University of Maryland's "WaterShed" house, which won the Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon over the weekend. You can take a tour of the house above. WaterShed features solar panels, a green roof, a rain harvesting system, solar thermal water heating, sink and shower water filtration, "constructed wetlands" instead of gardens, and an indoor waterfall (!) that helps control humidity. It won the architecture competition and received a perfect score on "energy balance." It also came in second on market appeal. And unlike some of the …

Comments

Coal energy drink keeps you going — until it all runs out

Brought to you by the comedians at the Renewable Energy Accountability Project.