Politics

Barack Obama is not serious about global warming

That’s what his support for CTL shows

The LA Times has a long story about the growing conflict over coal-to-liquid (CTL) fuel. This is the most important paragraph in the piece, though it is inexplicably buried at the bottom: A new study has concluded that turning coal into liquid fuel yields 125% more carbon dioxide than producing diesel fuel and 66% more than gasoline. If the carbon dioxide is captured and permanently stored, liquid coal emits 20% more greenhouse gas than diesel but 11% less than conventional gasoline, according to the study to be released next week by Argonne National Laboratory, a research arm of the Energy …

The dots

An energy consultancy firm says that state ownership and resource nationalism are the big threats to global oil supply. In other news, Russian President Vladimir Putin this week obliquely compared U.S. foreign policy to that of the Third Reich.

Friday Never Felt So Right

Interior officials messed with science, say witnesses at House hearing Think you’ve had a rough week? Imagine how the U.S. Interior Department feels. This week saw a heated House hearing in which activists and former officials testified about Interior’s nasty habit of meddling with science. “This is an agency that seems focused on one goal: weakening the law by administrative fiat, and it is doing much of the work shrouded from public view,” said Natural Resources Committee Chair Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.). Witnesses including former Fish and Wildlife head Jamie Rappaport Clark said politics had led to manipulation of research …

Excuse Us While We Pick Our Jaws Up Off the Floor

Canadian bureaucrat fights charges over leaked climate document This week’s hottest eco-scandal comes from Canada. For real! Where else would Mounties descend on a federal office to arrest an anarchist-leaning, punk-drumming bureaucrat for allegedly leaking a climate document to activists and the press? We swear on our stack of Celine CDs: this happened Wednesday at the Environment Canada office in Ottawa. Jeff Monaghan, 27, who’s worked at the agency for four years, was released but still may face charges; yesterday, he described the arrest as a “witch hunt” and an attempt to “bully public servants whom [the agency], in a …

State emissions registry

When I interviewed Terry Tamminen about (among other things) California’s experience putting together a climate plan, he stressed the importance of putting together a comprehensive inventory of GHG sources: We had pretty good knowledge of emissions from the utilities sector, but it was poor in terms of the agriculture sector, the cement sector, etc. We had to sharpen our inventory to actually start imposing things and knowing if they work. We’re encouraging other states to use some of the technical assets out there in the non-profit and academic world to help them do robust inventories. Tamminen said he intended to …

UN Secretary-General appoints climate envoys

I haven’t been keeping very close tabs on this, but apparently new(ish) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon — who is determined to make climate change a priority — has named three Special Envoys for Climate Change. What’s a Special Envoy, you ask? Good question. I searched in vain for answers, and all I found is this: The Special Envoys will solicit the views of national leaders, including those who are key actors in the climate change negotiations. “The work of the Special Envoys will assist the Secretary-General in his consultations with Governments and other key stakeholders on how he might facilitate …

Where there's muck there's brass

A bill to subsidize making biogas from cow manure

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) has just submitted a bill in the Senate that would establish federal tax credits, loans, and loan guarantees to encourage production of "biogas" from cow manure. Three Republicans are co-sponsoring the bill: Senators Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Wayne Allard of Colorado, and Larry Craig of Idaho. A similar bill has been introduced in the House. As described by an article in the Omaha World-Herald, the legislation would "help ease America's addiction to fossil fuels by encouraging a renewable resource." Here we go again.

Newt Gingrich's 'green conservatism'

It’s not an alternative, it’s a subset

Newt Gingrich has a new book out called A Contract with the Earth, which purports to outline a "green conservatism." For a summary, you can check out this brief op-ed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I approached it with an open mind — eagerly, even. There’s nothing I would like more than for a vibrant green conservatism to join the debate over the best way to accomplish green goals. That would be an enormous step forward from the current situation. Unfortunately, the op-ed is a rather vaporous string of cliches. Here’s the nut: We emphatically reject as ineffective the liberal environmentalists’ …

Thursday is link day

So much goodness you could waste a day

Every since my Brooklyn vacation, I’ve been behind and struggling to catch up. You know what that means … a link dump! Enjoy. In the course of joining the wonkosphere’s call for a carbon tax, Fareed Zakaria comes very close to repeating my slogan: Understanding the causes and cures of global warming is actually very simple. One word: coal. Coal is the cheapest and dirtiest source of energy around and is being used in the world’s fastest-growing countries. If we cannot get a handle on the coal problem, nothing else matters. Speaking of coal, turns out making it clean is …