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OpenMarket: Energy and Environment

  • Democrats talk while the planet sizzles

    November 21, 2006
    The Republicans in Congress in recent years have held few hearings on global warming. But whenever they did, a long line of Democrats on whatever committee was holding the hearing would remark, always emphatically and often angrily, that the time for hearings was long past. The debate was over, we now knew that global warming was the greatest threat ever to face humankind/planet Earth, and that the Congress needed to act decisively immediately. So now that the Democrats have won House and Senate majorities, we can expect immediate action, right? Perhaps not a vote to ratify the Kyoto Protocol--even Senator Kerry recognizes that Kyoto is a dead duck--but at least votes on the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act within the first few hours or days of the 110th Congress. Alas, I'm sorry to have to report that the backsliding has begun even before the new Congress has been sworn in...
  • The Real Inconvenient Truth: "either one sided, misleading, exaggerated, speculative, or wrong"

    November 21, 2006
    In what is hopefully not a larger trend of turning PowerPoint presentations into cinematic features, Al Gore's shockumentary An Inconvenient Truth hits DVD shelves today. Paramount is making a big deal of the release, even going so far as to partner up with perennial corporate bogeyman Wal-Mart to push distribution. Sure we expected the inevitable co-marketing agreement with Ben & Jerry's, but Wal-Mart? The alarmists really must be desperate if they're willing to hold their nose and work with the Great Satan of Bentonville. Of course, we couldn't let this event go by without a response, and our own Marlo Lewis has long been working late into the night to craft not just a book-length...
  • We must all aspire to live in squalor

    November 20, 2006
    The enormously clever British environment minister David Miliband is very concerned that Kyoto appears to be falling apart because developing nations aren't willing to do their bit (note that Miliband is concerned that the ex-colonies are being led astray by evil Arabs, a fascinating subtext). Of course, we could have told him that. Anyway, Mr Miliband did a bit of sight seeing whilst in Kenya:
    During his visit to Kenya, Mr Miliband saw how climate change will affect the poorest nations hardest even though they account for a tiny proportion of carbon emissions. In the north of the country, he met nomadic tribespeople suffering from drought, and spent a morning in a slum in the middle of Nairobi where one million people live in 2 sq km.
    I can only assume he approved of...
  • The climate is just like Bambi

    November 17, 2006
    The Los Angeles Times today has a story by Robert Lee Hotz that reports on a new scientific article reviewing what's going on with the Arctic climate. The team finds that the Arctic has been warming up, but that there are now some signs that it may be starting to cool down. There is nothing remarkable in this. The Arctic does get warmer when ocean currents and winds push more warm air from the lower latitudes into the Arctic, and it cools down when the ocean current and wind patterns change and start pushing less warm air northwards. What is astonishing is how one of the scientists who did the research describes what they found. According to the LA Times story:
    "This is a region that is fighting back," said lead author Jacqueline...
  • NOAA's Ark: A Report That Includes Two of Every Conclusion

    November 17, 2006
    There's a new study on the Arctic and global warming released by NOAA, and the results are, well, mixed. The Los Angeles Times reports:

    An international team of scientists reported Thursday that rising temperatures are steadily transforming the Arctic -- warming millions of square miles of permafrost, promoting lush greenery on previously arid tundras and steadily shrinking the annual sea ice.

    Yet the researchers also found new patterns of cooling ocean currents and prevailing winds that suggested the Arctic, long considered a bellwether of global warming, may be reverting in some ways to more normal conditions not seen since the 1970s.

    So global warming is both radically altering...

  • John McCain Wants to Be One of the Cool Kids

    November 16, 2006
    Sen. Inhofe continues telling it like it is on the subject of climate change, this time in Nairobi at the (take a deep breath) UNFCCC COP-12/MOP-2. The Reuters story contrasts Inhofe with John McCain, who, according to environment correspondent Deborah Zabarenko, is worried that our current policy "makes the United States unpopular with Europeans." I'd hate to think what else is on his agenda if making us popular with the Europeans is his goal. Why not strangle the economy and start rationing energy? If we don't, Luxembourg's environment minister might be rude to John McCain...
  • Junk Food Blogging

    November 16, 2006
    Sandy Szwarc, a registered nurse, certified culinary professional, CEI friend, and all around good person, recently started a blog on the science of food -- especially so called "junk food." On her blog, you can read all about "the science that mainstream media doesn't report and how to critically think about the junk they do that's not fit to swallow." You can also read some of the pieces she's written for CEI here and here. Happy blogging, Sandy. http://www.junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/
  • Power Lies

    November 16, 2006
    The lede of this Washington Post article ["Loudoun Excluded From Utility Route"] is jarring to me:
    Dominion Virginia Power has excluded most of Loudoun County as a potential route for a power line in northwestern Virginia, putting to rest fears that steel lattice towers and high-voltage cables would slice through parts of the county with deep natural and historic significance.
    We're supposed to feel "fear" because of pretended offended aesthetics? What about the "historical significance" of electric power itself? Iain Murray's oped ["What Will We Do When America's Lights Go Out?"] on the sorry shape of our electricity infrastructure-- unwieldy...
  • Is DailyKos a tool of big oil?

    November 15, 2006
    Some may think that; we couldn't possibly comment.
  • Beyond Petroleum?

    November 15, 2006
    Today's Washington Post carries a full-page ad by BP boasting that the company, which calls itself “beyond petroleum,” is “investing up to $8 billion over the next ten years in solar, wind, natural gas and hydrogen to provide low carbon electricity.” “By 2015,” the ad continues, “we estimate that our business will eliminate CO2 emissions by 24 million metric tons a year. It's a start.” Let's put this in perspective. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), world CO2 emissions in 2004 totaled 27,043 million metric tons. EIA projects that world CO2 emissions will increase to 33,663 million metric tons by 2015. So BP is investing $8 billion to eliminate 7/100ths of 1% of annual CO2 emissions in 2015. Instead of...

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