Politics

EPA refuses to warn homeowners about asbestos exposure from insulation

If you happen to be reading through the U.S. EPA website — which you no doubt do every day — you might come across a warning that some 35 million homes nationwide contain insulation processed …

He's even lazy about pandering

Fred Thompson half-heartedly justifies flip-flop on ethanol

Ol’ Fred Thompson has decided that ethanol’s great after all, even though he voted against subsidies as an allegedly-small-government conservative in the Senate. Why, Fred? We know it can’t be a craven pander to Iowa …

For Pete's sake -- or Pete's seat

What will Sen. Pete Domenici’s retirement mean for the environment?

The last post I wrote evaluating the environmental impact of a supposedly done-for senator was about Larry Craig. So much for that. But while Sen. Wide Stance (R-Idaho) is sticking around for now, Sen. Pete …

Fighting global warming from space

Hillary lays out science proposals

Today, in an address to the Carnegie Institution for Science (timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Sputnik), Hillary rolled out her science agenda. After some strong rebukes to the Bush administration for its "war on science," she offered this course of action: Expand human and robotic space exploration and speed development of vehicles to would replace the space shuttle. Launch a space-based climate change initiative to combat global warming. Create a $50-billion strategic energy fund to research ways to boost energy efficiency and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Comply with a legal requirement that the executive branch issue a national assessment on climate change every four years. She would also expand the assessment to reflect how U.S. regions and economic sectors are responding to the challenges posed by climate change. Name an assistant to the president for science and technology, a position that was eliminated in the Bush White House. Re-establish the Office of Technology Assessment. Sounds pretty good, even if it's disconcerting that the space-based climate change initiative appears higher up than boosting energy efficiency. Let's hope that was just a hat tip to Sputnik.

Could Domenici be succeeded by a green builder?

Senator Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) has announced he won’t run for reelection. Could he be replaced by already-declared Democratic candidate Don Wiviott, a builder known for energy-efficient properties?

Responsible development of fossil fuels?

The energy department’s strategic unconventional fuels fantasy

The DOE's Strategic Unconventional Fuels Task Force has issued its surreal final report: Responsible development of America's oil shale, tar sands, heavy oil, coal, and oil resources amenable to recovery by carbon dioxide injection, by private industry, supported and encouraged by government actions to reduce uncertainties and stimulate investment, could supply all of the Department of Defense's domestic fuels demand by 2016, and supply upwards of 7 million barrels [a day] of domestically produced liquid fuels to domestic markets by 2035. Seriously. How does the Task Force explain how one can have "responsible development" of resources to an extent that would spell certain doom for the climate?

Senate may soon vote on U.N. Law of the Sea Treaty

The U.S. Senate may soon vote on whether or not to ratify the United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty, an agreement between some 150 countries that lays out the basic rights and responsibilities that …

Debunking Shellenberger & Nordhaus: Part II

Breaking the technology breakthrough myth

Do we need "disruptive clean-energy technologies that achieve non-incremental breakthroughs" to solve the global warming problem, as S&N (and Lomborg, and Bush, and his advisors) argue? Let's hope not -- for the sake of the next 50 generations. Why? Two reasons: Such breakthroughs hardly ever happen. Even when they do happen, they rarely have a transformative impact on energy markets, even over a span of decades. Consider that solar photovoltaic cells -- a major breakthrough -- were invented over 50 years ago, and still comprise only about 0.1 percent of U.S. electricity (and that amount is thanks to major subsidies). Consider that hydrogen fuel cells -- a favorite technology of the breakthrough bunch -- were invented more than 165 years ago, and deliver very little electricity (and what little they do deliver comes only because of major subsidies) and no consumer transportation. Consider fusion -- 'nuff said! I know this seems counterintuitive, when we see such remarkable technology advances almost every month in telecommunications and computers. But it's true -- and I will explain why in this post.

Greenland’s melting ice offers new mining opportunities, could fuel independence bid

Even while Greenland’s melting ice is slowly destroying the viability of subsistence hunting, it offers new economic opportunities that could ultimately fund the island country’s bid for independence from Denmark. Diamond hunters from North America …

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