Tuesday, April 6th, 2010
(Reuters) – For the first time in 10 years Americans are more likely to say the United States should give more priority to developing oil, natural gas and coal than to protecting the environment, according to a poll on Tuesday.
The poll was conducted a few weeks before President Barack Obama announced he would open offshore oil drilling in some parts the U.S. East Coast, Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.
Half of 1,014 U.S. adults, who were surveyed March 4-7 by Gallup, said the country should give more priority to developing and producing the fossil fuels. (more…)
Thursday, January 7th, 2010
BEIJING (Reuters) – Cities across eastern and central China are rationing power for industry and urging residents to limit gas use after a wave of icy weather sent energy demand soaring while straining supplies of coal that were already tight.
Much of China’s manufacturing and farming heartland shivered on Wednesday under snow, sleet and unusual cold that drove south after dumping big snowfalls on Beijing and much of the country’s north in past days.
Daytime temperatures in Shanghai and across the nearby coastal provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang skidded close to 0 degrees Celsius (32 F), and many areas inland were hit by snow or sleet, according to meteorological departments. (more…)
Saturday, December 26th, 2009
The headline on Tuesday’s editorial in Investor’s Business Daily – “Get the Frackin’ Gas” – is both clever and on the mark. The publication gets into trouble, however, when the body of its editorial veers into mischaracterizing ProPublica’s reporting on the environmental risks that need to be dealt with to produce the huge amounts of natural gas available underground in the United States.
Our reporters, led by Abrahm Lustgarten, have researched and written more than 50 stories on the subject over the past 18 months and are as expert on the topic as anyone in America.
Here is what is beyond dispute: The gas is highly desirable as a fuel, because it burns relatively cleanly and produces less greenhouse gas per unit of energy than oil or coal. There is lots of it obtainable within the U.S. using an enhanced version of an old drilling technology, called hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” – much more than was widely supposed just a few years ago. That means using natural gas to power cars and electrical generation doesn’t require sending huge sums abroad, weakening the dollar and strengthening countries that aren’t particularly friendly to ours – Russia, Iran and Venezuela among them.
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.
Tuesday, December 8th, 2009
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The recession has slashed U.S. output of planet warming gases and puts the country on track to reach President Barack Obama’s short-term emissions goal, but cutting the pollution further will take more effort as the economy recovers.
“Losing weight by starving is different than shedding pounds through exercise,” said Kevin Book, an analyst at ClearView Energy Partners, LLC.
He said as the economy recovers electricity demand should rise, pushing up emissions from that sector. That will require the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China to move faster to low-carbon sources like renewable energy if Obama’s short-term goal is to be met, he said.
Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009
This seems to be the Finnish response to RMI’s Amory Lovins’ “Hot Showers and Cold Beer.” I arrived in Helsinki about 10 hours ago, though thanks to an airport worker’s strike and a spirited bout of jet lag, I’m only now getting to walk around the city. I have yet to get my vitamin D for the day, the weather was foggy and rainy when we arrived, and the sun set predictably early at around 4PM, which meant that my three hour nap killed any possible exposure, and I won’t lie, I feel it.
From my research in preparation for this trip, Finland has made some impressive commitments to both the environment and stimulating clean tech initiatives. What it doesn’t have in sun resources for much of the year, it makes up for in tremendous water, biomass and commitment to pursuing technological solutions. Thanks to the Finnish government’s interest in promoting the country’s clean energy leadership – and me winning a spirited game of rochambeau (rock-paper-scissors) with my colleagues for the chance to accept their invitation – I will spend the next three days visiting Finnish clean tech companies and organizations. (more…)
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.
Wednesday, October 7th, 2009
Global emissions of carbon dioxide will drop 3 percent in 2009, including a 5.9 percent decrease in the United States, as a result of the economic recession, according to energy forecasts.
A decrease in industrial activity accounts for three-quarters of the global emissions decline, the International Energy Agency reported at United Nations climate talks in Bangkok. The rest of the decline is the result of nations switching to renewable energy sources and nuclear power.
In the U.S., coal demand will likely drop 9 percent this year as electricity demand slips and more states switch to natural gas in the face of stiffer government oversight of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Economic recovery would likely reverse the trend, and the agency predicts a 1.1 percent increase in CO2 emissions in 2010.
Thursday, October 1st, 2009
Article appearing courtesy of Yale Environment 360.
The Obama administration has announced it will use its regulatory powers to limit CO2 emissions from 14,000 major sources, a move that puts pressure on Congress to pass a climate bill and signals to other nations the U.S.’s willingness to slow global warming.
Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (at left), said her agency would begin regulating CO2 as a pollutant at coal-burning power plants, refineries, and big industrial complexes, which account for 70 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
The EPA will initially use its authority to force these emitters to employ “best available technology” to implement energy-efficiency measures and reduce emissions, but eventually the agency could place emissions caps on these facilities.
“We are not going to continue with business as usual,” Jackson said. “We have the tools and the technology to move forward today, and we are using them.”
Sunday, September 27th, 2009
The United States has entered a new energy era, ending a century of rising carbon emissions. As the U.S. delegation prepares for the international climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December, it does so from a surprisingly strong position, one based on a dramatic 9 percent drop in U.S. carbon emissions over the past two years and the promise of further huge reductions.
Prominent among these carbon-cutting initiatives are stronger automobile fuel-economy standards, appliance efficiency standards, and the potential to heat, cool and light buildings with carbon-free sources of electricity.
On the supply side are efforts supporting the development of U.S. wind, solar and geothermal energy resources.