Frankenstorm

You can find scores of dramatic graphics from this monster storm that’s just blasted a path up from the Caribbean, come ashore at the most densely populated portion of the United States, and is now powering through Pennsylvania.  You can judge the immensity of the storm from satellite images or see how it has done billions of dollars of damage.  Scores of people will have died as a result of Sandy when we’re all done.  You don’t need me to tell you that the Caribbean and the East Coast have just been well and truly hammered. Continue reading

Inside the Climate Wars

Frontline has produced pretty consistently terrific programs over the years.  I use both Hot Politics and Heat in my classes on climate change and on energy and the environment.  Another blockbuster program, Climate of Doubt, hit the airwaves this past week on PBS.  It looks very closely at the industry that has grown up around climate change denialism.  It pinpoints the fact that many millions of dollars have been spent by the likes of ExxonMobil and the Koch Brothers to fund this industry.  It documents the havoc that this disinformation campaign has caused. Continue reading

The Power of We

This is international Blog Action Day and the theme, the Power of We, is especially applicable to environmental action and sustainability.  The idea of a “power” in mathematics means that you increase something’s value – but exponentially.  So, for example, 33, is not just three times three, but it is three times three, three times.  3 x 3 = 9 x 3 = 27.

That’s, in a very real sense, what you get with environmental action.  Continue reading

Lightweighting Vehicles

The demand destruction of oil for transportation, as I wrote recently, is in train.  (See Houston, You’ve Got a Problem.)  One of the key factors in this trend is the electrification of light-duty vehicles.  In order to fully realize this potential, though, it will be necessary for automakers to significantly reduce the weight of their cars and trucks.

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Germany’s Energy Transition

I’ve written about Germany’s remarkable transition to renewable energy a number of times.  I had the opportunity to hear Jochen Flasbarth, the President of the Federal Environment Agency of Germany, speak about this last April.  I followed up with the stunning news in June that Germany had, for one day, supplied half of its power from photovoltaic.  The Germans continue to set the pace for the rest of the world. Continue reading

“The winds that will be howling at all hours”

William Wordsworth would have had us wonder at the power and beauty of nature.  It is now, finally, becoming apparent that we are getting that message.  Instead of drilling and digging for our power, with all of the attendant environmental nightmares that accompany that, or fissioning it, a manifestly dangerous and wasteful process, we are learning how to work with nature and its bounty.  As the late Barry Commoner would’ve said, we are finally “making peace with the planet.”

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