Oil

Critical List: Biofuels kinda suck, biomass kinda sucks, Toys ‘R’ Us embraces solar

The Fish and Wildlife Service has promised to evaluate the endangered status of 251 species in the next six years, if only so those pesky enviros will be quiet for a bit. The country's largest rooftop solar-energy field will be installed in New Jersey, at a Toys "R" Us distribution center. No word on when the Barbie Dream House will go green, though. Three senators released a bill that would cut subsidies to oil companies. Don't pat yourself on the back for flying on a plane that uses biofuels: If the fuel comes from palm oil grown on land converted …

Oil

A battle for the Earth’s last remaining frontier

In the Arctic Ocean, Big Oil is taking bigger risks than ever before.Photo: U.S. Geological SurveyThere are clear signs that a new Arctic oil rush has begun. Earlier this month, Shell submitted plans to the U.S. government for new drilling in the icy waters off Alaska’s north coast, and now a Scottish company has won permission to take a similar gamble near Greenland. Tomorrow, Hillary Clinton will fly to the picturesque town of Nuuk in Greenland to discuss how spill response equipment might work in one of the world’s most extreme and beautiful environments. I can save her the trip …

Saudi Arabia scrambling to get off own oil, build 5 gigawatts of solar power by 2020

What do you do when you're basically a giant welfare state whose stability depends on keeping the money tap open, yet your population is set to double and your electricity consumption to triple by 2032? If you're Saudi Arabia, the answer is build renewable energy as fast as you can. The first volley is a goal of 5 gigawatts of solar power by 2020. That's an enormous amount of generating capacity to build in just 9 years — fully a third of Germany's entire installed base. The idea is that replacing the country's current energy mix with renewables will free …

Critical List: House Republicans demand offshore drilling; climate change eating away at food supply

The House voted yesterday to fast-track new offshore drilling lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Virginia. Look for $0.99 gas within a few weeks. As a group, the drilling bill's primary sponsors raked in more than $8.8 million in donations from the oil and gas industry. Climate change is damaging the world's food supply, according to a new study by Stanford researchers. Over the past 30 years, they found, corn production dropped nearly 4 percent and wheat production dropped 5.5 percent. President Obama will tour an Indiana plant that makes hybrid vehicle technology this …

How to profit from the coming ecopocalypse

While a quarter of Americans have a net worth of zero, Jeremy Grantham controls a hedge fund worth $107 billion, and he has a message for the world: Resource scarcity, peak oil, and climate change could mean big bucks for those who can get out ahead of the disaster. Well, okay, not BIG bucks — just nonzero bucks. "Our goal should be to get everyone out of abject poverty, even if it necessitates some income redistribution," Grantham says in his latest quarterly letter. Hippie! But even that level of success, he argues, will depend on us reconfiguring our expectations to …

Oil

The House wants to drastically expand offshore drilling

Additional drilling is not a solution to our problems; it is a way to create new ones.Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. This week, the House could vote on three bills to expand offshore oil and gas drilling. It is remarkable enough that the House would take up such measures before Congress has done a thing to make drilling safer. But what is truly astounding about these bills is that they would actually make the system that governs offshore drilling weaker than it was before the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. This is legislation that should give pause even to …

Students successfully rally to juxtapose Exxon arch-nemesis with Exxon CEO as commencement speaker

The CEO of America's largest and most profitable company is invited to be the commencement speaker at one of the country's oldest technological universities — you would think everyone would be pumped! But no, the students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute responded to the secret deal to bring the head of WPI mega-donor Exxon Mobile to campus by launching a protest. Improbably, they won. Now, on the same day that Exxon Chief "Rex" Tillerson comes to their school, students will be allowed to hear an alternate address by Big Oil arch-nemesis Richard Heinberg, senior fellow at the Post Carbon Institute. It …

Oil

Now that we’ve killed Osama bin Laden, let’s kill oil

The U.S. military’s killing of Osama bin Laden is a huge victory in the war against terror and on behalf of a safer, freer world. But if this is to be the beginning of the end for al Qaeda and repressive governments everywhere, we have to make it our national mission not just to hunt down terrorist leaders, but also to wipe out the single greatest source of their money and power: oil. From the beginning, Osama bin Laden’s rise was made possible by oil money. He acquired the millions of dollars that allowed him to start and finance al …

Green Cars

Chamber of Commerce and auto dealer group lose last-gasp lawsuit to stop clean cars

Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. The federal court of appeals in Washington today rejected the last legal attack on California’s landmark greenhouse-gas standards for new cars built in model years 2012-16.  The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sought to overturn EPA’s waiver giving California the green light to set its greenhouse-gas standards. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson granted California the waiver in June 2009, reversing her predecessor’s unprecedented attempt to block California’s program.    The appeals court ruled that neither NADA nor the chamber had demonstrated injury necessary to support their standing. NADA had …

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