Greenland on the rocks, renewable energy gets stiffed again
Greenland, we hardly knew ya: Like a Hollywood marriage, Greenland gets so much more attention when it breaks up. Yesterday, during a congressional briefing on the massive iceberg that broke away from Greenland last week, scientist Richard Alley of Penn State warned that in the next decade we could reach a tipping point in global warming beyond which the ice mass of Greenland could no longer survive. That ultimately could mean cities like New Orleans would join Atlantis under the sea. Suzanne Goldenberg has the story in The Guardian.
Here’s a slice of irony: That free-floating iceberg four times the size of Manhattan could become a threat to oil platforms in the Atlantic.
Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), chair of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, suggests the breakaway ‘berg could serve as a new home for climate-change deniers.
You never give me your money: Yesterday, President Barack Obama sealed the deal on a $26 billion bill designed to save the jobs of 300,000 teachers, police officers, firefighters, and others. To help cover the cost, the Senate had chopped $1.5 billion from a fund to provide loan guarantees for renewable energy.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says the White House has promised to restore the funding. But as Stephen Power points out in The Wall Street Journal, $2 billion was hacked from that same fund last year to pay for Cash for Clunkers and it still hasn’t been paid back.
Any Portugal in a storm: While the U.S. approaches renewable energy in starts and stops, Portugal’s clean-energy plan is sailing, as Elisabeth Rosenthal reports in The New York Times. The country now gets about 45 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, up from just 17 percent five years ago.
Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates pushed through the policies behind the energy makeover. For that, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi once mockingly offered to build him an electric Ferrari. Says Socrates:
I’ve seen all the smiles — you know: It’s a good dream. It can’t compete. It’s too expensive. The experience of Portugal shows that it is possible to make these changes in a very short time.
Wise man, that Socrates.