environment

New Climate Report Misses Point on US Cities

The doubtful claim that low density US cities impose a cost to the economy of $400 billion is countered by their being the most affluent in the world. Nine of the top 10 cities in GDP per capita are in the US and more than 70% of the top 50.  read more »

What Conservatives Can Teach Liberals About Global Warming Policy

Over the last decade, progressives have successfully painted conservative climate skepticism as the major stumbling block to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Exxon and the Koch brothers, the story goes, fund conservative think tanks to sow doubt about climate change and block legislative action. As evidence mounts that anthropogenic global warming is underway, conservatives’ flight from reason is putting us all at risk.  read more »

Fracktivists for Global Warming: How Celebrity NIMBYism Turned Environmentalism Against Natural Gas

Over the last year, celebrities such as Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Robert Redford, Mark Ruffalo, Mario Batali, Scarlett Johansson, Alec Baldwin, and Matt Damon have spoken out against the expansion of natural gas drilling. “Fracking kills,” says Ono, who has a country home in New York. “It threatens the air we breathe,” says Redford.   read more »

Gas Crushes Coal

Coal electricity declined by 12.5 percent in 2012, mostly driven by the switch to natural gas, which increased by almost the exact same amount (217 terrawatt-hours) as coal declined (216 TWh), according to new annual numbers released by the US Energy Information Administration.

Wind electricity increased as well — by about one-tenth (20.5 TWh) as much as gas. Solar increased a little more than one-hundredth as much as gas (2.5 TWh).  read more »

Uniting a Fractured Republic: Innovation, Pragmatism, and the Natural Gas Revolution

Over the last four years, emissions in the United States declined more than in any other country in the world. Coal plants and coal mines are being shuttered. That's not from increased use of solar panels and wind turbines, as laudable as those technologies are. Rather it's due, in large measure, to the technological revolution allowing for the cheap extraction of natural gas from shale. By contrast, Europe, with its cap and trade program, and price on carbon, is returning to coal-burning.  read more »

Congratulations to America: Huge Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction

Congratulations to America. According to the US Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions were reduced 526 million tons from 2005 to 2011. This is no small amount. It is about the same as all the CO2 emissions in either Canada or the United Kingdom. Only five other nations emit more than that.  read more »

German Renewable Power: Making Sustainability Unsustainable?

Der Speigel reports that Germany's rushed program to convert to renewable energy is already imposing an economic burden. Part of the problem is the inherent instability of power produced by renewable sources such as wind and solar:  read more »

Rio-20: Eradicating Poverty Takes Precedence Over "Green Economy"

The world's largest English language newspaper, The Times of India reports that the Rio 20 Summit has agreed with India that "eradicating poverty should be given the highest priority, overriding all other concerns to achieve sustainable development."   read more »

Counting Trees in San Diego

Recently, I came across “Taking Inventory of County’s Trees” in the San Diego Union Tribune, an article that describes Robin Rivet’s “ambitious effort to map every urban tree in San Diego County”. Rivet is an urban forester-arborist at the Center for Sustainable Energy California and she ”aims to quantify the value of all local trees and make a statement about a huge but often underappreciated resource.” My concern is that this article may be alerting San Diegans to more regulations, costs and loss of property rights coming our way.  read more »

Why Emissions Are Declining in the U.S. But Not in Europe

It wasn't that long ago that the U.S. was cast as the global climate villain, refusing to sign the Kyoto accord while Europe implemented cap and trade. 

But, as we note below in a new article for Yale360, a funny thing happened: U.S. emissions started going down in 2005 and are expected to decline further over the next decade, while Europe's cap and trade system has had no measurable impact on emissions. Even the supposedly green Germany is moving back to coal.  read more »