Both presidential candidates may be loathe to utter the words "climate change" on the campaign trail, but best-selling author Jonathan Franzen (of the recent eco-minded books Freedom and Farther Away) still thinks you should go with Obama, despite the indisputable: "There’s no whitewashing the fact that his presidency hasn’t been a green one."
Our opportunity to elect a genuinely green President was in 2000—an opportunity torpedoed (this really bears repeating) by the Green Party candidate. Voters who care strongly about the environment have already let the perfect be the enemy of the good, with calamitous results. If you’re one of those voters, please ask yourself: Can we afford to do it again?
The US Navy has a problem. Its ships often stay at sea for months on end far away from home. To keep its fleet of ships, boats and aircraft running, a fleet of 15 oil tankers roams the globe acting like floating gas stations. According to the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) nearly 600 million gallons (2,700 million litres) of fuel were delivered to Navy vessels in 2011. …
One of the most interesting lines it is pursuing is a plan to generate jet fuel from a source that is abundance wherever the fleet is: seawater.
Jet fuel, along with all other common fuels, is a hydrocarbon. As the name suggests, these are chains of hydrogen and carbon atoms. In theory if you can combine those two elements in the correct way you can produce a fuel. It turns out that seawater is a good source of both ingredients – it contains hydrogen in the H20, and a lot of dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2). It also has the advantage of occurring in abundance - and for the Navy - close to the action.
Here's a funny expression for you: "green tar sands." You will be forgiven if you assume that the only way tar sands could be green would be if you mixed in a healthy dose of food dye and/or were given tinted glasses from the lost-and-found at Studio 54.
A group of investors is a bit more optimistic. Not "clean coal"-never-gonna-happen optimistic, but actually, you know, optimistic. Their argument: tar-sand extraction -- boon to Alberta and bane of Keystone XL pipeline protestors -- could be greener.
A group of 49 investors with more than $2tn under management is launching an initiative on Monday to put pressure on companies operating in the Canadian oil sands to improve their environmental performance.
The investors accept that the production from the oil sands of Alberta is going to rise, but want companies such as BP, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil and Total that are active there to curb their greenhouse gas emissions and water use.
They argue that environmental impacts could create a significant threat to future earnings, for example if production has to be curbed as a result of water shortages, or regulations on greenhouse gases make the oil sands uncompetitive.
So that's good, I guess? But there's a pretty big "oh, by the way" missing here.
Newspaper candidate endorsements are an anachronism, a relic of a time during which readers didn't have access to the internet, didn't have an entire world of research and rhetoric at their fingertips. The Knoxville News Sentinel admitted as much earlier this year, when it announced that it would no longer endorse a candidate for the presidency. After all, they "have no sources of information that every other citizen does not have as well." That doesn't stop most newspapers. Most papers still see endorsements as a responsibility -- and an opportunity to establish their own importance.
We decided to survey the endorsements that have been given to date (by newspapers with circulations of 100,000 or more) to assess the extent to which those endorsements address issues of concern to Grist readers; specifically, the environment and energy, and food. (In case you're curious, the endorsements, like the polling, show a generally even split.)
Guess what? They rarely, rarely did. The only time food came up in any editorial was as part of the phrase "food stamps," used in editorials bashing the president. "Climate" came up every so often -- but more regularly when used in conjunction with "business." "Climate change" was mentioned twice -- twice! -- in the 21 endorsements we looked at.
Earlier this month, a suburb of Dallas experienced something unusual. Earthquakes. Tiny, subtle earthquakes, but earthquakes nonetheless. It didn't take long for a geologist from the University of Texas to draw a correlation to wastewater wells drilled for nearby fracking. Nor has it taken long to draw similar correlations elsewhere.
It's not only injecting wastewater (well, water mixed with other chemicals, including known carcinogens) into the ground that can result in earthquakes. So can drawing too much water out.
Farmers drilling ever deeper wells over decades to water their crops likely contributed to a deadly earthquake in southern Spain last year, a new study suggests. The findings may add to concerns about the effects of new energy extraction and waste disposal technologies.
Nine people died and nearly 300 were injured when an unusually shallow magnitude-5.1 quake hit the town of Lorca on May 11, 2011. It was the country’s worst quake in more than 50 years, causing millions of euros in damage to a region with an already fragile economy.
Using satellite images, scientists from Canada, Italy and Spain found the quake ruptured a fault running near a basin that had been weakened by 50 years of groundwater extraction in the area.
This time last year, peanut prices had more than doubled following sustained hot weather, resulting in a nearly 40 percent bump in the price of a jar of conventional peanut butter. Now the U.S. is poised to harvest its biggest annual peanut crop to date: 6.1 billion pounds.
Every morning, I get an email from the news site Politico called "Morning Energy," a collection of daily news items sponsored (daily) by America's Natural Gas Alliance. Because I am a loyal subscriber, yesterday afternoon I (and every other loyal subscriber) received an invitation to a special event in Washington next month: "Energy & the Presidency: The Shift from Campaigning to Policymaking." Hm.
Join POLITICO to break down the energy issues that have shaped the election and what they mean for the future of energy policy.
David Brooks took time out of his busy pretending-to-be-Mitt-Romney schedule to bash green energy. The piece is here; you can read it if you want, I guess. But reading it will probably count against your monthly limit of free Times articles, so, you know.
Addressing climate change by pricing carbon -- an idea Brooks supported then and supports now -- was a bipartisan project in 2003. It became a partisan project because Al Gore thought it was important enough to make a documentary about. Republicans began opposing efforts to price carbon, in part because they hate Al Gore. That left funding renewables research as the only avenue for those worried about climate change. Funding renewables research means funding some projects that won’t work out, and some that might make Al Gore rich. This led to bad publicity that tarnished the whole program.
And here's how Klein dismisses it:
The passivity of Brooks’s conclusion is astonishing. This isn’t a story of overreach, misjudgements, and disappointment. It’s a story of Republicans putting raw partisanship and a dislike for Al Gore in front of the planet’s best interests. It’s a story, though Brooks doesn’t mention this, of conservatives building an alternative reality in which the science is unsettled, and no one really knows whether the planet is warming and, even if it is, whether humans have anything to do with it. It’s a story of Democrats being forced into a second and third-best policies that Republicans then use to press their political advantage.
It’s a story, to put it simply, of Democrats doing everything they can to address a problem Brooks says is real in the way Brooks says is best, and Republicans doing everything they can to stop them. And it’s a story that ends with Democrats and Republicans receiving roughly equal blame from Brooks.