Thursday, August 2, 2012

The World Will Not Need Liquid Fuels in 20 Years

In the July 23, 2012, edition of CQ Weekly, on page 1483, Randy Udall, brother of Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), is quoted as saying, regarding the potential for development of environmentally unsound oil shale development, “underlying it is this question that everyone is asking: ‘Well, where is the world going to get its liquid fuels 20 years from now?’” The truth of the matter is: there is no reason we should be using liquid fuels 20 years from now.

Thanks to the work of Mark Jacobson, of Stanford, and Mark Delucci, of UC Davis, we know it is possible to power the entire global economy without carbon-based fuels, by 2030, using technologies already in existence, and in use, in 2009. We also know it is possible to do this without spending more than we will have to spend to upgrade and maintain the existing energy infrastructure, designed to deliver fossil energy to consumers and industry.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

James Hansen Pushes Fee & Dividend in NY Times Piece

From James Hansen’s landmark article in today’s New York Times: a resounding endorsement of Carbon Fee and Dividend:

"We need to start reducing emissions significantly, not create new ways to increase them. We should impose a gradually rising carbon fee, collected from fossil fuel companies, then distribute 100 percent of the collections to all Americans on a per-capita basis every month. The government would not get a penny. This market-based approach would stimulate innovation, jobs and economic growth, avoid enlarging government or having it pick winners or losers. Most Americans, except the heaviest energy users, would get more back than they paid in increased prices. Not only that, the reduction in oil use resulting from the carbon price would be nearly six times as great as the oil supply from the proposed pipeline from Canada, rendering the pipeline superfluous, according to economic models driven by a slowly rising carbon price."

Spread the word. Ask those you know who care about the environment, the security of our democracy, and the future of our families and communities, to read this article and to share it: nytimes.com/2012/05/10/opinion/game-over-for-the-climate.html

Friday, November 11, 2011

Obama Suspends Tar Sands Pipeline Project, Pending Review

Amid intense and gathering pressure from the grassroots to the state government of Nebraska, to a national coalition of activist organizations, tens of thousands of demonstrators and an intensifying drumbeat from leading scientists, Nobel laureates and concerned public officials, Pres. Barack Obama this week ordered the suspension of the Keystone XL pipeline project. The pipeline would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf of Mexico, for export to other nations, and would run through some of the most sensitive and important fresh water systems in the US. 

The pipeline’s potential threat to the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest fresh water fossil aquifer in North America, and the source of water for most of the agriculture in the Great Plains—”breadbasket to the world”—, sparked grave concern among scientists, environmentalists, farmers and public officials in the region. The state of Nebraska, including its Republican governor, had fought for the project’s rejection, as it could cause serious lasting contamination to the sensitive Sand Hills region, the Ogallala Aquifer and other fresh water systems. 

Questions had been raised as to the legitimacy of building an oil pipeline to run through such a sensitive area, and about the environmental risk review being conducted by a consulting firm whose top client is the pipeline operator itself. 

There is no known way to close off a leak or clean up a spill in an underground aquifer, and the same operator had a record 12 oil spills from another, simpler pipeline, in just one year, in 2010. The catastrophe stemming from BP’s inability to close the Macondo well, when it blew out 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, has worried public officials that no project with high risk of contamination could go forward without a proven plan for response and cleanup. 

The decision to call for a fully independent, entirely fresh review of the project puts the decision off till at least the year 2013, and many believe such costly fossil fuel projects may be untenable by then, especially if the environmental review turns up a more skeptical assessment of the project’s safety for environmental and human health. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Energy Prices Constant for 5 Decades, Oil Out-of-control Expensive

Americans pay about the same as they did in 1960 for most forms of energy, says this infographic produced by the home energy audit folks at WellHome. Except for oil, which is now on average even more crazy-expensive than it was during the oil crisis of the 1970’s, when people were ready to bash each others’ heads in to be next in line at what few stations still had fuel to sell. That’s not reflected as much in the price of gas as you might expect, in part because the scale of this graph minimizes swings in gasoline prices, and also because there isn’t a one to one relationship between oil and gas prices. (Gas is also influenced by the costs of refining it and getting it to market.)

Continue reading at Grist.org…

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 Friday, July 8, 2011 Thursday, July 7, 2011 Tuesday, July 5, 2011 Friday, May 20, 2011

Carbon Emissions Overload, by the Numbers

Coal requires 83 pounds of fuel to generate 1 million BTU, which produces 227 pounds of CO2 emissions.

Wood requires 156 pounds of fuel to generate 1 million BTU, which produces 195 pounds of CO2 emissions.

Oil requires 52 pounds of fuel to generate 1 million BTU, which produces 164 pounds of CO2 emissions.

Natural gas requires 50 pounds of fuel to generate 1 million BTU, which produces 117 pounds of CO2 emissions.

According to the Energy Information Administration, the US economy produced/consumed 100.1 QUADRILLION BTU in 2008. (1 quadrillion is 1 billion times 1 million. That 0.1 is 100 TRILLION BTU.)

There are roughly 3,400 BTU to one kiloWatt-hour, in case you’re counting…

Saturday, February 19, 2011