Coal, the savior

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

I have finally found a legitimate use for coal, which I've consistently derided as evil crap whose only supporters are coerced by direct economic benefit. I don't claim much cleverness in my "discovery," since others have understood it for a while:

Coal is a bargaining chip, or, as Kenneth Green, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, puts it, "a universal fig leaf."

In a story in Scientific American, he is quoted as saying,

What the alternative looks like

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

Tom Friedman's column yesterday was filed from Costa Rica, perhaps the globe's best example of how to prosper without exploiting native resources.

You're no doubt familiar with Costa Rica's many wonders, both natural and governmental. In a country roughly the size of West Virginia, it has rainforest, an active volcano, and both Caribbean and Pacific shores. It has decades of stable, democratic leadership, a literacy rate above 90 percent, and protects more than a quarter of its land for conservation.

What's the alternative?

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

A week ago Friday, David Frum was among the guests on Bill Maher's HBO show, and one of the topics they skirmished on was energy. Frum talked about how expensive wind and solar are, which he said precludes moving toward them.

Maher's response was right on: So what's the alternative? Business is great and we all die? Unfortunately, the conversation went elsewhere, and Frum never responded, but that's an answer I'd really like to hear from the other side.

They'll probably just ruin it anyway

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 


The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M - Th 11p / 10c
The Ever Spending Story
Daily Show Full Episodes Economic Crisis Political Humor


One of this week's "Daily Show" outrage clip packages referenced duplicity in Congress, quoting solons (about 5 minutes in) complaining on how unfair some rule is and then showing how they defended the same rule years before, when their party ruled.

I didn't see it until after I read the summary of the Waxman/Markey climate bill introduced on Tuesday, but I think it helps explain, at least in a spiritual sense, why I haven't been able to muster much enthusiasm for what appears to be a very good starting point.

The bill has four sections, focusing on clean energy, energy efficiency, global climate change, and the transition away from current practices, and I like what it tries to accomplish, despite the sham funds for coal-related carbon capture and sequestration, which is just pouring money down a dry hole, as far as I'm concerned.

I know it's about pluralism, and understand that that money is going to buy the support of coal-state representatives. At least the nuclear lobby is less powerful, and less geo-centric, so they didn't need to pander to them, too; the bill doesn't even mention the word.

So why don't I love it? I think it's bullshit fatigue. 

Oct. 24

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

I suspect this isn't the last time you'll hear Oct. 24 in a conversation about global climate change. it has been designated by a worldwide consortium of activists who want to send a message to the politicians who'll gather six weeks later in Copenhagen for the final round of talks to replace the Kyoto accords as the world's declared intentions to address global climate change.

State picks two zero net energy projects

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

The state has decided to move ahead with two of the three zero net energy projects recommended last week by the Zero Net Energy Task Force.

I reported previously that the governor had asked for one such recommendation, and that the task force had recommended three, in Westborough, Danvers, and Lowell, so this step is both a doubling of the state's original commitment and short of the panel's recommendation. 

The Westborough project is the headquarters of the Department of Fish and Game's Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. It is about 34,000 gross square feet.

LEED controversy

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

Note: I wrote a follow-up to this post. It's here.

I mentioned NESEA’s public forum Tuesday night in advance of it, but haven’t been able to report on it until now. It was, depending on your outlook, a spirited discussion, a rant, or a mugging. The topic was Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, the green-building rating system administered by the US Green Building Council. It is, without doubt, the winner thus far in the race to establish a nationwide standard for green building. Others exist, but there’s really only one in the public consciousness, which includes the actions by more than a dozen municipalities to incorporate LEED standards into building codes. The question was, does it warrant its status? Judging from occasional hoots and shouts from the crowd of about 200, and a couple pointedly angry comments during the audience portion of the event, a good portion would have answered no.

Coal rally at State House

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

Mass. Power Shift is leading a rally against coal, and for renewable energy, on the south steps of the State House tomorrow, Saturday, from 3-4 p.m. 

The specific issue is a resolution in the legislature calling for the federal government to power America with 100 percent clean electricity within 10 years. Speakers will include resolution sponsors Sen. Marc Pacheco and Rep. Frank Smizik, as well as student and community environmental leaders. 


Subscribe to RSS - Politics