Archived Jun 27 2009
United States - June 27
Click on the headline (link) for the full text.
Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage
Time Wastes Too Fast (a wonderful link)
Maira Kalman, And the Pursuit of Happiness (blog), New York Times
I would like to tell you EVERYTHING
about the silence around the Pyramids of Gaza
I would tell you all this because he was a Renaissance Man and would have been fascinated by all of these things. More han most people.
But ther is NO TIME, NO TIME, NO TIME.
If you want to understand this country and its people and what it means to be OPTIMISTIC and COPLLEX and TRAGIC and WRONG and COURAGEOUS, you need to go to his home in Virginia. MONTICELLO.
(25 June 2009)
Nothing to do with peak oil but a wonderful piece about Thomas Jefferson, with many drawings. Recommended by WaPo blogger Ezra Klein, who writes:
Because it's Friday and I want you to have a good weekend, I insist you look at this unbelievably wonderful link.
Bartlett votes against cap-and-trade
Paul West, Maryland Politics (blog) Baltimore Sun
Maryland congressmen break along party lines on cap-and-trade
... [Maryland Congressman Roscoe] Bartlett, who has crusaded for years on the energy issue, issued the following statement:
“I’ve never voted for a tax increase and that is the main reason why I could not support this bill. The Congressional Budget Office found this bill would force a massive redistribution of $1 trillion and increase federal government revenues by $24 billion. My constituents clearly understood that the cap and trade system in this bill is a gigantic hidden tax that they would end up paying. That’s why they were overwhelming opposed to it.
“I’m a scientist and I’ve studied this issue very carefully. I agree that emissions from burning fossil fuels pose a threat to our global environment by contributing to climate change. However, our dependence upon oil, especially imported oil poses a far graver and urgent threat to America’s economic prosperity and national security.
“It is a shame that the House majority chose to pursue a purely partisan process that produced a complex, convoluted, monstrosity of a bill. It grew by 600 pages in the past three days alone. It deserves to die from the weight of the games and back room deals. This bill is a monument to everything Americans hate about business as usual politics in Washington, DC.”
Actually, the CBO, whose analysis Bartlett cited, determined in a recent report that the House cap-and-trade legislation would cost the average American family about $165 a year.
The nation's wealthiest families would pay more. The nation's poorest families would actually benefit from the measure, by $40 a year, according to the recent CBO analysis.
Bartlett, of Frederick, is a leading spokesman for the "peak oil" movement, which maintains that most global petroleum supplies have already been tapped, or will be shortly. He is promoting a "green energy" event Monday in his district.
(26 June 2009)
Why do we allow the US to act like a failed state on climate change?
George Monbiot, Guardian
The Waxman-Markey climate bill is the best we will get from America until the corruption of public life is addressed
It would be laughable anywhere else. But, so everyone says, the Waxman-Markey bill which is likely to be passed in Congress today or tomorrow, is the best we can expect – from America.
The cuts it proposes are much lower than those being pursued in the UK or in most other developed nations
... The cut proposed by 2020 is just 17%, which means that most of the reduction will take place towards the end of the period. What this means is much greater cumulative emissions, which is the only measure that counts. Worse still, it is riddled with so many loopholes and concessions that the bill's measures might not offset the emissions from the paper it's printed on. You can judge the effectiveness of a US bill by its length: the shorter it is, the more potent it will be. This one is some 1,200 pages long, which is what happens when lobbyists have been at work.
There are mind-boggling concessions to the biofuels industry, including a promise not to investigate its wider environmental impacts.
... Even so, I would like to see the bill passed, as it at least provides a framework for future improvements. But why do we expect so little from the US? Why do we treat the world's most powerful and innovative nation as if it were a failed state, rejoicing at even the faintest suggestion of common sense?
You have only to read the comments that follow this article to find out. Thanks to the lobbying work of the coal and oil companies, and the vast army of thinktanks, PR consultants and astroturfers they have sponsored, thanks too to the domination of the airwaves by loony right shock jocks, the debate over issues like this has become so mad that any progress at all is little short of a miracle.
(26 June 2009)
Recession brings 'Las Vegas dream' to an end
Andrew Clark, Guardian
Bursting skywards in the middle of America's gambling capital, seven glittering towers are nearing completion. The lavish $11bn (£6.7bn) CityCenter complex will boast a casino, four hotels, luxury apartments, a fire station and even an on-site power station. But its timing could hardly be worse.
A joint venture between the casino operator MGM Mirage and Dubai World, the vast CityCenter development in Las Vegas is the biggest privately funded construction project in the US. It is billed as "a city within a city" and it will sit between the Bellagio's dancing fountains and the fake Manhattan skyline of New York New York.
The doors of the first tower will open in October. But critics wonder who will fill CityCenter's 7,000 hotel rooms and apartments. Las Vegas is mired in a recession of epic proportions and CityCenter's parent company, MGM, is toiling under $14bn of debt.
Donald "D" Taylor, head of Las Vegas's Culinary Union, which represents 60,000 hotel workers, says: "We, basically, have had a boom here for 20 plus years. Nobody has ever experienced a downturn before. We've been hit hard."
... After a quarter of a century of phenomenal growth, Las Vegas has come to a shuddering halt. The seemingly endless supply of gamblers has dried up.
(26 June 2009)
Story needs an excoriating comment from James Howard Kunstler. -BA
Hansen of NASA Arrested in Coal Country
Andrew C. Revkin, Dot Earth, New York Times
James E. Hansen, the NASA climate scientist who has become an outspoken campaigner against coal burning, was among 29 protesters arrested as they intentionally crossed onto the property of Massey Energy, the biggest company conducting mountaintop mining in West Virginia. Dr. Hansen and the others, including Ken Hechler, 94, a former congressman, and the actress Darryl Hannah, were cited for trespassing and released, said Nell Greenberg, a spokeswoman for the Rain Forest Action Network, whose executive director was also arrested.
In a statement distributed by the Rainforest Action Network, Dr. Hansen said:
I am not a politician; I am a scientist and a citizen. Politicians may have to advocate for halfway measures if they choose. But it is our responsibility to make sure our representatives feel the full force of citizens who speak for what is right, not what is politically expedient. Mountaintop removal, providing only a small fraction of our energy, should be abolished.
Dr. Hansen has said for years that growing reliance on coal, far more so than oil, is the biggest threat to the global climate. As a result, he has strongly criticized the climate bill that is facing a vote by the full House of Representatives on Friday
(23 June 2009)
Related report from Waging Nonviolence