The climate speech he should have given

Climate protest poster

At the end of June, President Obama gave his first major address on climate change to the nation. While many environmentalists jumped for joy, I found myself singularly unimpressed — the speech lacked any real sense of urgency, and it was mired in the same plodding, informative language that convinces few people of the seriousness of the problem, much less compels them to act. So I decided to … [Read more...]

A fork in the road on dirty energy

Photo: tarsandsaction/Flickr.

This article is taken from a response by James Hansen to an op-ed piece published by Joe Nocera in the New York Times on February 18, 2013, "How Not to Fix Climate Change."  There, Nocera writes "I believe the Obama administration should approve the Keystone pipeline, which would transport oil mined and processed from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. Like … [Read more...]

Climate change: Obama needs to turn talk into action


Something's been troubling me ever since I listened to President Obama's first post-reëlection press conference. Perhaps as a result of Hurricane Sandy, the now two-term president was finally asked a question about global warming, a topic conveniently avoided by both sides throughout the seemingly interminable campaign. The question came from New York Times White House correspondent Mark … [Read more...]

Women, energy, and voting


It was a pretty disappointing presidential campaign by the two major parties given that neither talked about my key issues — peak oil and global warming — with any passion or consistency. Both major parties seem content to avoid what are essentially the two toughest challenges today and going into the future. The issue behind all issues Yes, there's been plenty of red meat from both sides on … [Read more...]

Waste not, want not


If you take a long hard look at a landfill you’ll see both tremendous need (where do we continue to put all this waste?) and undertapped opportunity (how can we redesign, reuse, and repurpose to avoid the landfill altogether?) We’ve been exploiting natural resources at an unsustainable level for nearly a century to create material goods for our well-being and pleasure. Over that time we’ve … [Read more...]

Indian grid failure offers lesson to us all

US electricity at night

A Washington Post story yesterday about the (so far) two-day electricity blackout that affected 600 million citizens was a study in trying to find an answer to the acute predicament facing Mother India. Numerous officials are cited in the article, mainly scratching their heads, baffled over the cause of grid collapse. Yet one paragraph stood out for its more definitive take on the problem. Indian … [Read more...]

Cheap gas no reprieve from peak oil

2.99 gas

We think everybody needs to know about peak oil these days, when oil companies are trying to snooker the public into believing that today's cheap unconventional oil and natural gas will solve our energy problems for decades to come. Everybody should know why this is wrong. But not everybody is ready for either wonky analyses of oil depletion curves on the one hand or bleak warnings of the imminent … [Read more...]

The real reason the military is going green

Air Force cargo planes

Retired Brig. Gen. Steven Anderson calls himself  “an accidental environmentalist.” His epiphany about climate change started with a tactical problem. In 2006 and 2007, when he served as the military’s chief logistician in Iraq, he coordinated the transport of millions of gallons of fuel across the country to power everything from vehicles to the large compressors used to cool individual … [Read more...]

Seven myths used to debunk peak oil, debunked

Peak oil deniers embrace Hydra

Peak oil is a fact, not a theory. From US conventional oil production peaking in 1970 to global conventional oil production peaking in 2006 the figures are indisputable. Even institutions such as the International Energy Agency (IEA) and publications like The Economist that are not known for alarmism have admitted that oil production from conventional sources has peaked. So why are there … [Read more...]

Peak oil denial: How does this help?

boy with dunce cap

Whether or not peak oil is true cannot possibly be in doubt. Within anything other than a geological frame of time, oil is a finite substance. When it is burned, it is gone. Without stretching our brains very far, it is easy to conclude that anything that is finite and consumed will someday be gone. Peak Oil, then, is really an observation, not a theory. If only! What most four-year olds … [Read more...]