Saturday, December 26th, 2009
When the founder of the Whole Earth Catalog embraces nuclear power, genetically engineered crops, and geoengineering schemes to cool the planet, you know things have changed in the environmental movement. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Stewart Brand explains how the passage of four decades — and the advent of global warming — have shifted his thinking about what it means to be green.
Stewart Brand helped shape the environmental consciousness of the 1960s and ‘70s with his Whole Earth Catalog, which became a bible of the counterculture and the back-to-the-land movement. An eclectic compendium of information and “tools” for innovative, environmentally friendly living, the Whole Earth Catalog reflected Brand’s ecological and technological interests, foreshadowing the rise of the San Francisco Bay Area’s computer and green cultures.
Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009
The US EPA and Duke Energy have reached a settlement in another New Source Review enforcement action.
Duke Energy, one of the largest electric power companies in the nation, will spend approximately $85 million to significantly reduce harmful air pollution at an Indiana power plant and pay a $1.75 million civil penalty, under a settlement to resolve violations of federal clean air laws, the Justice Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. The settlement also requires Duke to spend $6.25 million on environmental mitigation projects.
The agreement, filed in federal court in Indianapolis, resolves violations of the Clean Air Act’s new source review requirements found at the company’s Gallagher coal-fired power plant in New Albany, Ind., located directly across the Ohio River from Louisville, Ky. (more…)
Thursday, December 17th, 2009
A new report from Pike Research of Colorado says the addition of carbon capture systems to power plants will add 50% to 70% to the cost of creating electricity for existing and future plants.
The report, titled “Carbon Capture and Sequestration: Drivers and Barriers, Technology Issues, Key Industry Players, Market Analysis and Forecasts,” adds that such increases in costs will be initially underwritten by governments but gradually passed on to ratepayers.
Sunday, November 15th, 2009
For years now, many members of Congress have insisted that cutting carbon emissions was difficult, if not impossible. It is not. During the two years since 2007, carbon emissions have dropped 9 percent. While part of this drop is from the recession, part of it is also from efficiency gains and from replacing coal with natural gas, wind, solar, and geothermal energy.
The United States has ended a century of rising carbon emissions and has now entered a new energy era, one of declining emissions. Peak carbon is now history. What had appeared to be hopelessly difficult is happening at amazing speed.
For a country where oil and coal use have been growing for more than a century, the fall since 2007 is startling. In 2008, oil use dropped 5 percent, coal 1 percent, and carbon emissions by 3 percent. Estimates for 2009, based on U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) data for the first nine months, show oil use down by another 5 percent. Coal is set to fall by 10 percent. Carbon emissions from burning all fossil fuels dropped 9 percent over the two years.
Thursday, October 29th, 2009
A new advertising campaign was launched by the Sierra Club recently as part of their Campuses Beyond Coal Campaign, designed to show that while college students accept all manner of filthy things, some are just too dirty – like coal!
The long-term aim of the campaign is to successfully shut down or replace campus coal plants. The ad campaign targets schools in 11 states that are currently reliant on coal fueled power sources.
Check out one of their cool little clips below.
Tuesday, July 7th, 2009
Transitioning away from coal-production towards cleaner forms of energy is a major concern shared by environment-conscious governments and citizens all over the world. Communities across the globe are suffering from coal-based pollution, and clean energy sources need to be developed – and implemented – to provide for a sustainable future. What are the obstacles in building a clean energy future, and how do we transition away from sources of energy that are harmful to nature and health? The United Nations COP15 Climate Change Conference taking place in Copenhagen this year will address climate change issues like these.
While only government representatives can participate in the Climate Change Conference, you might have the opportunity to be part of this event. Focus the Nation, a US non-profit organization, is offering young climate leaders with fellowships that allow them to present their ideas to the international communities participating in the Climate Treaty negotiations. If you are between 18-29 years old and live in a coal-producing or coal-consuming community, you can participate in “Coal and the Road to Copenhagen: The Focus Roots Fellowships.” What you need to do is come up with an innovative, creative idea to accelerate your community past coal.
Wednesday, June 24th, 2009
NASA climate scientist James Hansen and 30 other demonstrators were arrested in West Virginia while protesting the practice of mountaintop-removal coal mining, which Hansen says President Obama must ban as the U.S. weans itself off fossil fuels. Hansen; actress Darryl Hannah; Michael Brune, executive director of the Rainforest Action Network; and Ken Hechler, a 94-year-old former congressman, were among those arrested as they blocked traffic on a highway in front of a Massey Energy coal plant in Sundial, West Virginia.
Monday, June 8th, 2009
The internecine battles in the green community are growing in number: there’s pro-renewable versus open space; the anti-hydro crowd; and the nukes or no nukes debate. Add the fight over clean coal, which the Boston Globe editorial staff weighed in on yesterday.
We know from his comments earlier this year that Al Gore essentially sees clean coal as a shell game, and he is being borne out at least in part by the larding of Waxman-Markey with billions to placate coal state legislators.
But, the Globe editorial touches on an interesting geopolitical/economics quandary. The US and Europe may be pushing toward carbon reduction reforms; but, it is the largest and fastest growing emitters in Asia that pose the greatest threat to the planet and are projected to negate even the most ambitious Western reduction estimates.
So, clean carbon technology might be the liar’s lie that Gore claims it is for US energy production, but what about the possibility of developing technology to export? Do we have an obligation to invest in clean coal research for the greater good even if its not in our future?
Wednesday, May 6th, 2009
Just when you thought the future was in carbon capture and sequestration (and that’s true), comes more information from the “new EPA” under Administrator Lisa Jackson and President Barack Obama.
The agency, which has already begun the process of regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, is now going after runoff.
It seems the same scrubber technology that’s helping clean up power plant emissions creates toxic residue that’s stored in ponds or flushed to waterways. The target of concern is selenium, which can accumulate in fish tissue like mercury.
Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
Last week the EPA proposed that carbon dioxide be considered one of six greenhouse gases which endanger the public health and welfare of US citizens. Well, it’s about time! The EPA is now seeking public comment on the proposed ruling, which consists of two parts: that the six greenhouse gases contribute to a litany of climate-related problems, and that motor vehicle emissions send four of those gases into the atmosphere. What could this mean for CO2-intensive energy sources, and what are some implications for clean energy?