Natural Gas

Your tax dollars subsidize the sh*t out of coal

If you're a fan of a certain dried-leaves-boiled-in-water-related political party, you might believe that renewable energy is the recipient of huge amounts of government largesse, and that the first thing we should do once we get our guy or gal into office is slash all that wasteful spending. But wait! It turns out coal gets way, way more subsidies for electricity generation.

Climate & Energy

Humanity's energy dilemma in three easy charts

According to a new report from BP, our current energy path leads to catastrophe, and it's hard to even envision a scenario in which catastrophe is avoided.

Is natural gas becoming a cover for the same old dirty fossil fuels industry?

One of the great ironies of the transition to renewable energy is that it's going to require a great deal of fossil fuels to build all those wind turbines, solar panels, and smart grids — because we simply don't have enough renewables already in the mix to bootstrap them up to the level we need to continue even a semblance of our 21st century civilization. So why not make that transition with the "cleanest" fossil fuel available, goes the argument — namely, natural gas. So far so good. But lately, in op-eds in places like The New York Times and …

Natural Gas

Mark Ruffalo wants you to stand up to hydrofracking

Actor Mark Ruffalo, who lives in a rural New York town on the Delaware River with his family, is not one of those celebrities who parachutes into a random political cause and starts ignorantly pontificating about solutions. He has been actively involved with efforts to keep potentially disastrous hydrofracking practices out of New York State for three years, and he knows his stuff. He’s even co-founded his own initiative on water quality, Water Defense. Now Ruffalo has banded together with some other famous friends, including Ethan Hawke and Zoe Saldana, to make a new video, “I Love My New York …

Climate & Energy

Three energy developments that are changing your life — and not in a good way

This essay was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom’s kind permission. Here’s the good news about energy: Thanks to rising oil prices and deteriorating economic conditions worldwide, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that global oil demand will not grow this year as much as once assumed, which may provide some temporary price relief at the gas pump. In its May “Oil Market Report,” the IEA reduced its 2011 estimate for global oil consumption by 190,000 barrels per day, pegging it at 89.2 million barrels daily. As a result, retail prices may not reach the stratospheric …

Natural gas ‘golden age’ requires government regulation

Natural gas will provide 25 percent of global energy by 2035, up from 21 percent now, according to a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), a Paris-based organization that studies and advises on energy issues. The IEA's report asks if the world is entering a "golden age" of natural gas and answers, more or less, "yes." (Although it seems possible that the organization framed the question that way only to create the perfect acronym for their analysis, which the report calls "The Golden Age of Gas Scenario," or GAS Scenario. Oooh, recursive!)   Natural gas' share in the energy …

Critical List: John Bryson’s green credentials; biodegradable cups end as methane

John Bryson, Obama's new pick for commerce secretary, is a dyed-green-in-the-wool environmentalist (he co-founded NRDC), who's taken a swing through the corporate world. The U.N. carbon market shrunk for the first time since it was founded in 2005. Who's to blame? The U.S. Senate, of course! (Well, among others, but we have the most fun pinning stuff on the Senate.) The Keystone pipeline is spilling Canadian oil all over states like North Dakota and Kansas. Okay, this time, you CAN blame Canada. More bad weather news: As the Missouri River floods in South Dakota, evacuating residents are being told they …

Renewable Energy

How to get to a fully renewable power system

How can we scale up the clean and phase out the dirty?What’s it going to take to substantially ramp up the amount of renewables in the electricity system? There are many nerdy discussions of that question on the interwebs, but lemme try to talk about it in reasonably non-nerdy language. There’s a certain amount of demand for electricity that is steady and reliable. Above that, there are fluctuating “peaks” of demand each day, usually evening, when everyone gets home and starts watching TV and running the dishwasher, or in hot areas, the afternoon. For that steady core of demand, we …

Pro-fracking ad accidentally reveals dangers of fracking

ExxonMobil has been running full-page ads that make underground hydraulic fracturing operations — the same ones responsible for massive environmental problems all over the U.S. — look about as threatening as a World Book encyclopedia illustration of a water pipe. The ads highlight the multiple layers of steel and concrete used to protect shallow aquifers. Too bad this casing fails regularly, according to ProPublica, leading to multiple accidents in the American Northeast, as well as Colorado and Ohio. The ad also falsely implies that these layers of protection extend the full length of the well — turns out that they don't. That's …

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