The Solar Energy Industries Association commissioned a poll of American voters and -- guess what? -- American voters like solar!
The industry advocacy organization released the results of its poll today for an obvious reason: to argue that voters support government investment in solar energy, which they do, generally, and to encourage Congress to enact policies supporting solar. Solar solar solar, we want solar!
Before we undermine the findings -- which we will -- let's look at the findings.
Energy is an important issue!
Everyone loves solar!
There were other findings, too, which are about solar and how solar is great. And I'll jump in here to note: It is! It is great! But SEIA doesn't really help itself (or the industry it represents) here.
About 10 years ago, the Ohio State University was not great for your lungs. I am not only referring to the exhortations of fans cheering the football team to intermittent success over the loathsome Michigan Whoevers, but to the on-campus power plant that ran on coal and oil.
In 2001, the McCracken Power Plant -- located just west of the heart of campus, about two blocks from the main library -- switched from natural gas to coal and oil. Natural gas costs were skyrocketing at the time, and the university moved to dirtier fuel sources to save money. In 2007, after years of fighting with the EPA, it switched back.
It's the sort of article that responsible citizens should carve out 30 minutes to read. For the first time that I've seen, it walks through how Romney governed -- and how, halfway through his first and only term in office, he began to rejigger his positions with an eye toward the presidency.
What's most notable, and most of interest for the average Grist reader (if I may be so bold), is how Romney reversed (or, if you will, substantially amended) his position on the environment. His 2003 declaration that coal plants kill people gets the press during this election, but his 2004 outline of a comprehensive plan for combatting climate change was probably a high-water mark.
According to one of a half-dozen environmental officials with whom I spoke (and all of whom insisted on anonymity so they could speak candidly about their experiences), the governor sat through more than 20 hours of briefings on the climate-change plan: “We went through about 80 measures. He left almost everything in, and the things he took out weren’t because they were ideologically off-base but because they weren’t well thought out.”
A sentimental subtext underlay his conservationist outlook: his father’s company had produced one of the world’s first fuel-efficient cars. And when discussing the global dimensions of climate change, the governor displayed a level of humaneness that fellow congregants in his Mormon church often saw but that his current presidential campaign has been at pains to highlight. Two environmental officials recall him saying: “I think the impacts of this are going to be large. We in the Western world may have the money to work our way out of the problem. But what are poor people in Bangladesh going to do?”
The agency said in a Thursday statement that Chevron paid the 35.1 million real ($17.3 million) fine last week for 24 of 25 irregularities detected. The statement did not provide details on the irregularities.
Some 155,000 gallons of crude are thought to have been released in the November 2011 spill.
The agency said it granted Chevron a 30 percent discount because it paid the fine on time and did not challenge it.
$17.3 million is a lot of money -- at least to poor schlubs like you and me. To Chevron? Eh, not so much.
Optimists look at the Great Barrier Reef and see it half-full of coral.
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has lost more than half its coral cover since 1985, according to a new study published Monday. The loss has been spurred by a combination of factors including hurricanes, coral-eating starfish and coral bleaching.
The paper, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the most comprehensive survey of a reef system over such a long period. The researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science found that reef cover fell from 28 percent to 13.8 percent over the past 27 years, with two-thirds of the decline occurring since 1998.
Pessimists are in the corner, sobbing and/or catatonic.
Here’s an update on when New York will decide whether to allow fracking: No one knows when New York will decide whether to allow fracking. The New York Times:
A few months after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was poised to approve hydraulic fracturing in several struggling New York counties, his administration is reversing course and starting the regulatory process over, garnering praise from environmental groups and stirring anger among industry executives and upstate landowners.
Ten days ago, after nearly four years of review by state regulators, the governor bowed to entreaties from environmentalists to conduct another study, this one an examination of potential impacts on public health. Neither the governor nor other state officials have given any indication of how long the study might take.
To whom does the Times give the credit? Hippies and Hollywood!
The developments have created a sense in Albany that Mr. Cuomo is consigning fracking to oblivion. The governor has been influenced by the unshakable opposition from a corps of environmentalists and celebrity activists who are concerned about the safety of the water supply. The opponents include a number of people close to the governor, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a longtime environmental activist in New York whose sister is the governor’s ex-wife.
Proponents of fracking are -- wait for it! -- disappointed in the governor's decision. The Times quotes some of them, but it's nothing new.
Finland may phase out the use of coal in energy production by 2025, the first European country to do so, Economy Minister Jyri Haekaemies said.
Government subsidies and taxes seek to boost the use of renewable energy and cut fossil fuel use by 2020, according to the national climate and energy strategy drawn up by the former government in 2008. The policy document will be revised and updated by the end of this year, Haekaemies said. …
Finland imports all of its coal, mainly from Russia and Poland. During the past 15 years, Finland has shipped in an average of 5 million metric tons of coal annually. Imports of the mineral cost 70 million to more than 300 million euros ($388 million), according to the Finnish Coal Info association’s website.
The really exciting news is that the United States will become the second country to phase out coal. That is, if all of the other countries merge into one giant super country and make a long-term commitment to using coal forever.
For two generations, the electricity generated [at the GenOn power plant in Alexandria, Va.] helped power the post-World War II economic boom across the land. It provided a good living for thousands of employees and good profits for shareholders.
An unmistakable landmark, the plant’s five short smokestacks identified the Alexandria riverfront as much as the George Washington Masonic Memorial does from a hill near the King Street Metro station.
Those stacks also pushed untold tons of air pollution into the skies over the District, Maryland and Virginia, marking the plant as the largest single source of air pollution in the Washington region.
That's it, in summary. It provided cheap power and polluted like hell; now it's dead. The end.
Who does GenOn blame for the closure? Not Obama, unless "Obama" is a brand name of natural gas.
It's not as glamorous as cocaine or diamonds, but the illegal logging industry has become very attractive to criminal organisations over the past decade. A new report finds that up to 90 per cent of tropical deforestation can be attributed to organised crime, which controls up to 30 per cent of the global timber trade.