Coal is the climate’s Public Enemy No. 1. The use of natural gas has helped to ensure that the coal problem has not become even worse. Without natural gas, we would use more coal for space heating and for many more industrial processes than is currently the practice. Without natural gas, our reliance on coal for … Continue reading »
A modern equation for energy
The global energy landscape continues to change as more and more renewable energy sources and diversified energy systems become a substantial component of the energy infrastructures across the world. Given the onset of these new energy systems, the overarching return of diverse energy sources will become a more and more important factor in the future design … Continue reading »
The futility of an international climate treaty
Call it Kyoto Syndrome, but each year for the past few decades we hear hopeful things about the upcoming negotiations for the “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.” These discussions usually take place in some far-flung world capital, but they seem to always result in a nothing sandwich. In 2009, President Obama embarrassed himself … Continue reading »
Does the Keystone XL pipeline matter?
Many people who have studied the issue tell me that the Keystone XL issue is mostly symbolic, because the Alberta oil sands are going to be used one way or another. But I’m having some second thoughts because of arguments made (here) by Berkeley economist Max Aufhammer. He’s a pretty hard-headed analyst, not given to flights … Continue reading »
Is demonizing ‘big carbon’ a strategy or a cop-out?
Are we really being tricked, bullied or seduced into burning fossil fuels? That seems to be the message behind two arguments made recently by prominent advocates for climate action: we should blame the producers of fossil fuels for the failure to make progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Union of Concerned Scientists made a splash last … Continue reading »
Fossil fuels’ future role in the electricity system
If you put aside their environmental impacts, fossil fuels are wonderful for generating electricity. They are cheap, reliable, and currently in abundant supply. But the environmental drawbacks are considerable, and the most serious one is their contribution to climate change. To deal with climate change, do we need to adopt an attitude of unremitting hostility … Continue reading »
A side-by-side comparison of Romney and Obama on energy and environment
I’ve put together a table of language from the issues sections of the official campaign websites dealing with energy and environment. I decided to use the candidate’s own language to avoid interposing my own views on the issues. Please keep in mind that the table uses their language, not mine. Not surprisingly, the candidates frame … Continue reading »