Consumer Energy Report is now Energy Trends Insider -- Read More »

Posts tagged “climate change”

By Robert Rapier on Nov 28, 2011 with 66 responses

Pipelines and Tar Sands: Cure the Disease Not the Symptoms

Not everyone has the time or inclination to read through a 4,000+ word article, but I felt like the complexity of the issues involved in the controversial Keystone XL pipeline warranted that. In this article I will summarize the key points of the arguments I made in the original, while highlighting where my views diverge from those of the protestors. If you want to see a more in-depth discussion of these issues, please refer to the original article: How I Would Decide the Keystone XL Pipeline Issue Treating the Symptom Rather than the Disease The first issue is to clarify what the pipeline argument is really about. This isn’t really about a pipeline. As one reader pointed out, this is… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Nov 21, 2011 with 101 responses

How I Would Decide the Keystone XL Pipeline Issue

The following is a lengthy essay explaining why I would approve the Keystone pipeline despite finding myself on the side of those concerned over the negative environmental impact of tar sands development. I will debunk much of the misinformation going on in the pipeline debate and ultimately lay out my conclusions. I intend for this to be an alternative to the administration’s announcement to punt the decision for a later time, which I criticized heavily in a previous post. Tip of the Hat to McKibben and the Pipeline Protesters I have to hand it to Bill McKibben. Whether or not you agree with his position, take a look at what he accomplished. McKibben, an environmentalist and journalist, has been described… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Oct 10, 2011 with 57 responses

Why the Debate Over Global Warming is Academic

Steeling Myself For Inevitable Controversy I am currently in the middle of writing a chapter on global warming for my book. This actually marks the deepest I have ever delved into the science of global warming. My approach is to explain the science behind global warming; explain which parts of the science are definitely settled, but then also explain why some people have doubts. Of course this debate is so bitter on both sides that merely explaining why some people have doubts is bound to be characterized negatively by some who insist that there can be no doubts. But I can’t overly concern myself about that. I realize that my position is bound to be misrepresented by some. All I… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Sep 26, 2011 with 54 responses

When Agendas Trump Facts

Lessons Learned From a Recent Paper on Climate Change Actually, the lessons were learned from the media’s reporting — and the reactions to that reporting — of a recent paper on climate change. The paper I am talking about is a study by Tom Wigley, who is a senior research associate at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The title of the study is Coal to gas: The influence of methane leakage. To review, the study looked at the impact of replacing coal-fired power plants with natural gas-fired power plants. Natural gas emits far less carbon dioxide than coal per BTU of energy produced, and many therefore argue that natural gas is a good bridge fuel on the way… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Sep 12, 2011 with 74 responses

BOMBSHELL: Solar and Wind Power Would Speed Up, Not Reduce, Global Warming

Study: Coal-Fired Power Plants Emit Pollutants That Keep the Earth Cool (Note: I am amazed that I have to put such a disclaimer in here, but a note for the comprehension-impaired: This is not an article calling for more coal-fired power plants. It is an examination into how the media reported on a recent energy story). I had a tough time picking a good hyperbolic title for this one, because I had my choice of so many good ones. Last week a new study reported that replacing coal with natural gas might actually worsen climate change in the short term. The study was done by Tom Wigley, who is a senior research associate at the National Center for Atmospheric Research… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 21, 2011 with 40 responses

The SPR as a National Piggy Bank

I was strongly opposed to the recent decision to release oil from U.S. and international strategic petroleum reserves. I have covered the reasons for my opposition many times, but the single biggest reason I oppose these sorts of releases is that the fundamental reason for the existence of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) is to provide insurance in case of a supply emergency. Politicians who use the reserve in an attempt to influence gas prices so they can enhance their chances of reelection should be thrown in jail if a national emergency does occur and we find ourselves with a depleted reserve. I have also pointed out the irony that politicians who are deeply concerned about climate change are leading… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 3, 2011 with 115 responses

Book Review: Cracking the Carbon Code

Introduction In Cracking the Carbon Code, Terry Tamminen lays out his strategy for managing and reducing carbon emissions. He describes what California has done. He describes great strides that China has made. He describes his strategic meetings on the subject with President Obama prior to his election. He makes estimates on what the costs would be to regulate carbon dioxide (0.7 cents per kWH of electricity; 35 cents per gallon of transportation fuel). He talks about carbon markets that have sprung up around the world, and makes recommendations for how businesses can inventory and manage their emissions (e.g., he recommends that all businesses have a carbon manager to deal with each company’s carbon emissions). A Fundamental Disagreement But I read… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 19, 2011 with 151 responses

Beyond Emission Pricing – a Renewables Revolution in the True Sense of the Word

The following guest essay was written by Dr. Felix Mormann from Stanford Law School. Dr. Felix’s research focuses on the regulatory and policy challenges of climate change mitigation through sustainable energy solutions. Previously, Dr. Felix worked as a corporate and energy lawyer representing a major wind turbine manufacturer and advising clients on investment opportunities in renewable energy technologies. —————————- Beyond Emission Pricing – a Renewables Revolution in the True Sense of the Word Yes we can. Two years ago, scientists from Stanford University applied the mantra of President Obama’s 2008 campaign to renewable energy, when they published a plan to meet the world’s entire energy demand with wind, water, and sunlight by 2030 – using today’s technology. Similarly, the International… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 27, 2010 with 50 responses

The Missing Oil, Death of a Climate Bill, and French Engineering

The Missing Oil I just wanted to briefly touch on three energy stories that were in the news over the past week. The first is that the oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico seems to be slowing: BP Oil Spill: Clean-Up Crews Can’t Find Crude in the Gulf Thousands of small oil patches remain below the surface, but experts say an astonishing amount has disappeared, reabsorbed into the environment. “[It's] mother nature doing her job,” said Ed Overton, a professor of environmental studies at Louisiana State University. Experts stress that even though there’s less and less oil as time goes on, there’s still plenty around the spill site. And in the long term, no one knows what the impact… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jun 25, 2010 with 115 responses

The Climate Change Thought Police

I have taken grief from some readers at times for my position on the issue of Climate Change. I have always maintained that I am not an expert, and therefore I accept the scientific consensus on climate change. This is no different than my standard in many other fields in which I am not an expert. If I get a diagnosis from my doctor, I may get a 2nd opinion, but generally I must defer to the experts on the matter. They might be wrong, of course, but I simply don’t have the sort of training they do to get into the fine details of the diagnosis. I am a believer in peer review and the scientific method. Despite occasional… Continue»