Finally, A Small But Significant Victory, Courtesy of the Senate

Yes – and it was about bloody time – the Senate finally held up at least a small part of its bargain with the American people: to protect the public health and the environment.

First, a little context: What you see on the left is the flaring of natural gas from oil rigs, in this case in Iraq.  It is a problem all over the world though. Flaring is but one part of the problem of how “fugitive” natural gas greatly exacerbates the climate crisis.   There is an awful lot of anthropogenically produced methane in the world that escapes into the atmosphere every year: about 7.13 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2013 according to the excellent Climate Access Indicators Tool (CAIT) of the World Resources Institute.  That was about 15% of the total of all the greenhouse gases produced that year, including those from land use changes like deforestation. Continue reading


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KXL – RIP

Obama rejects KXL

It’s been a few months since I’ve been on the air.  There is absolutely no better news I could come off my sabbatical with than that the Keystone XL pipeline project is dead. President Obama this morning announced the US rejection of the application.  There is enormous significance in this on several levels: Continue reading


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Great Minds Against Tar Sands Development

before and after tar sandsI am sorry to say I’ve been off the air for too many weeks.  It’s been a busy Spring, culminating in a week-long trip to Berlin with my graduate students to take a live and in-color look at German clean tech.  I will be following up here with some reporting on that.  Great stuff!  Stay tuned.  Plus there’s other news on which I will add my two cents, including the recent G7 talks and the upcoming encyclical from Pope Francis. Continue reading


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Peak Carbon?

Well, maybe not Peak Carbon yet, but it was a pretty hopeful signal that the International Energy Agency sent on March 13th in announcing Global energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide stalled in 2014.  The IEA noted “…that efforts to mitigate climate change may be having a more pronounced effect on emissions than had previously been thought.” Continue reading


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Norway Gets It! Deutsche Bank Gets It!

end of fossil fuelsAl Gore called them “subprime carbon assets.”  More and more banks, companies, countries, pension funds, universities, churches, and many others are beginning to understand the considerable investment risks in the constellations of fossil fuel companies.  The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), the world’s biggest and most efficient sovereign wealth fund, last week jettisoned 32 coal mining companies, 5 tar sand producers, 2 cement companies and 1 coal-based electricity generator from its $850 billion portfolio.  The Guardian quotes a GPFG rep here:  “Our risk-based approach means that we exit sectors and areas where we see elevated levels of risk to our investments in the long term.” Continue reading


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Keystone → Veto

KXL rally NYC outside Koch theatreI went to a cool little rally last evening here in New York City.  We were standing across from the David H. Koch theater at Lincoln Center to say “No!” to the KXL.  We were there, of course, because the Koch Brothers have been the principal funders in recent years of any number of reactionary organizations, including Americans for Prosperity and ALEC, not to mention the Tea Party itself.  Of course, they have a serious vested interest in the Canadian tar sands.  By the time I left, we had a good 200 or so people out on a cold night.  The excellent folks at 350NYC organized the rally and we knew that there were scores more across the country at the same time. Continue reading


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Demand Destruction

us losing oil addictionWhile we’re waiting for our brothers and sisters in Lima to come up with a template for agreement in Paris next year, here’s a great story from Bloomberg about the demand destruction for oil.  (See my post, “Houston, You’ve Got a Problem,” for some background.)  If we keep on this trajectory for reducing greenhouse gases, an international treaty will be useful, certainly, but not essential. Continue reading


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Blockbuster Paper on Major Emitters

guardian major emittersThere is a characteristically excellent story from The Guardian on a blockbuster paper that’s just come out in one of the premier science journals, Climatic Change.  The Guardian reports that “The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests.” Continue reading


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