Energy

Sorting out the wheat from the chaff of new energy ideas, while paying close attention to energy-efficiency and conservation.

Why, nine years later, Keystone XL’s fate is still in limbo

pipeline

It’s nine years and counting since the Keystone pipeline was first proposed and TransCanada is still waiting for presidential approval to build the line. An environmental assessment report from the US State Department that landed in January would seem to move TransCanada’s hopes forward, but the pipeline’s ultimate fate is still very much in limbo. The State Department concluded that the … [Read more...]

Business leaders urge Obama to act for clean energy

solar panels sky

When it comes to climate and energy, some business leaders are catching on, even in the United States. On January 21, a report authored, in part, by over 100 academics, energy experts, government officials, and business leaders called upon the president to address climate change by taking measures that do not require congressional approval. Spearheaded by the Center for the New Energy … [Read more...]

Big oil companies find it harder to turn a buck

gas station on a red sky

Judging by pump prices, drivers might think oil companies were rolling in profits that only move higher. Lately, though, the big boys in the global oil industry are finding that earning a buck isn’t as easy as it used to be. Royal Dutch Shell, for instance, just announced that fourth quarter earnings would fall woefully short of expectations. The Anglo-Dutch energy giant warned its quarterly … [Read more...]

West Virginia chemical disaster: Coal keeps the water off

Coal Keeps the Water Off iPhone Case.

Enjoy these two hastily assembled images which, during the January 2014 chemical spill in Charleston, West Virginia, put the lie to the merits of coal. Meanwhile, upstream, the corrupt US Congress continues to gut environmental protections, continues to take money from Big Energy, and continues their feckless disregard for the good of the nation. Wake up call, anyone? Use these images as … [Read more...]

The curse of slavery, the curse of oil

Still from "12 Years A Slave"

Against all odds, a film based on a 150-year-old, almost forgotten book has generated international acclaim and is positioned to sweep multiple Oscars categories. The recently-released film 12 Years A Slave is based on the autobiography of the same name by Solomon Northrup, a free black man who lived in New York state with his wife and two children before the Civil War. (Download the text of … [Read more...]

Is oil-by-rail boom an accident waiting to happen?

oil train

Tick, tick, tick. The countdown to another rail accident is already on. A 90-car derailment recently in Alabama is only the latest in a series of train wrecks unfolding across North America.The next one, as promised by a dangerous combination of lax regulations and booming traffic, is just around the bend.Fracking may be paving the way towards energy independence for North America, but that … [Read more...]

Fukushima and climate: The earth community in hospice

Fukushima decontamination worker

To be in a body is to hear the heartbeat of death at every moment. -- Andrew Harvey As I write these words in early November, 2013, humanity is confronting an unprecedented and horrific challenge which it may or may not survive. I’m referring to two uncanny realities about which we are not being told the unmitigated truth. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant which suffered a … [Read more...]

The downside of higher U.S. energy exports

oil tanker

Critics of TransCanada’s Keystone XL project often argue that Canada should reap the full benefits of its natural resources, rather than exporting its petroleum riches south of the border. Head to the U.S. and, ironically, you can hear the same discussion. Much of America’s new found oil wealth is being shipped abroad, which is worrying Americans who figured they had a Made-in-the-USA solution to … [Read more...]

Japan greenlights ‘perilous’ cleanup at Fukushima’s Reactor 4

Fukushima sign

Removal of 1,300 spent fuel rods deemed "humankind's most dangerous moment since Cuban Missile Crisis" Regulators with Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority gave the final OK Wednesday for the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to begin to remove the 1300 spent fuel rods from the badly damaged Unit 4 pool, thus initiating a decommissioning process which anti-nuclear … [Read more...]

Gulf of Mexico: “There is no life out there”

NWS employee on Gulf beach

The Gulf Oil spill is old news, right? 2010? Over and done with. The seafood industry has recovered. tourists are back, BP has kept its promises to make things right. We know that because that’s what the incessant BP commercials on television are telling us. BP seems to believe its own commercials, because it announced in June that it and the Coast Guard were ending regular patrols of the Gulf … [Read more...]