Well, that’s not happening anytime soon.
But the wonks at the Center for a New American Security who write about energy and climate change issues have devised their own drinking game for tonight’s State of the Union Address. And they surely wouldn’t mind getting wasted:
Rule #6: If the President deploys the words “climate change,” chug your drink.
So I’m curious to hear what climate skeptics think of James Delingpole’s shocking admission that he doesn’t have time to read peer reviewed climate science papers. (I think he said this with a straight face, too.) Delingpole said he relies instead on the “peer to peer” review that happens everyday on climate blogs. Well, no news there, I suppose.
But about those time-sucking peer reviewed journal papers. Anybody got a problem with Delingpole’s cavalier dismissal of them? I mean, it’s not like he’s a journalist, or something, right?
P.S. Go here for links to the BBC Science under Attack documentary.
This might be true:
The United States continues to slumber while a catastrophe lies in wait. Increasing numbers of analysts and policymakers are warning of another super price spike for oil and the likelihood of “peak oil” more generally.
But I wish the author good luck with this:
It is time for public discussion of this issue to reach the same prominence as climate change. Indeed, many solutions to these “twin crises” are the same because reducing petroleum dependence will ameliorate peak oil and climate change.
One way to kickstart such a conversation on peak oil would be for President Obama to mention it tonight during his State of the Union Address.
You can stop laughing, now. Yeah, I know: that’s as likely as him delivering a 2 minute call-to-arms mini-speech on climate change. (But I still half-expect something on green jobs and energy security. Hey, the guy’s gotta throw a bone after throwing Browner out the door.)
And even then, the discussion would be over by Friday, supplanted by the start of week-long Super Bowl hype.
What might trigger a national conversation on peak oil? Well, everybody knows what that would be, right?
It’s the bridge that everyone seems eager to build, from the oil & gas industry and Texas high-roller Slim Pickens to liberal think tanks and brainy MIT experts. Yes, I’m talking about that dreamy natural gas bridge to a “low-carbon future.”
Hold on a minute, reports Pro Publica, or you might get a serious case of buyer’s remorse in a couple of decades:
The United States is poised to bet its energy future on natural gas as a clean, plentiful fuel that can supplant coal and oil. But new research by the Environmental Protection Agency””and a growing understanding of the pollution associated with the full “life cycle” of gas production””is casting doubt on the assumption that gas offers a quick and easy solution to climate change.
It’s good to see some serious reporting penetrate all the star dust that’s been waved around the past few years. And lest our memories are so short that we can’t remember the hype over biofuels and some of its unintended consequences, Abrahm Lustgarten’s Pro Publica story lays out the potential Let’s Make a Deal booby prize for natural gas:
…if it turns out that natural gas offers a more modest improvement over coal and oil, as the new EPA data begin to suggest, then billions of dollars of taxpayer and industry investment in new infrastructure, drilling and planning could be spent for limited gain.
“The problem is you build a gas plant for 40 years. That’s a long bridge,” said James Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy, one of the nation’s largest power companies. Duke generates more than half of its electricity from coal, but Rogers has also been a vocal proponent of cap-and-trade legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
Rogers worries that a blind jump to gas could leave the country dependent on yet another fossil resource, without stemming the rate of climate change.
“What if, with revelations around methane emissions, it turns out to be only a 10 or 20 percent reduction of carbon from coal? If that’s true,” he said, “gas is not the panacea.”
Rogers, it turns out, has the best quote in the piece, a bit further down:
In the 60′s we put a needle in one arm””it was called oil. If the shale gas doesn’t play out as predicted, and we build a lot of gas plants in this country, and we don’t drill offshore, we’re going to be putting the needle in the other arm and it’s going to be called gas.
If that happens, then a highly touted bridge will become famous for the addiction it prolonged.
In 2003, Christine Todd Whitman resigned as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). She lasted two years. In the Washington Post, a top EPA official–who had resigned a year earlier–lamented:
Christine Todd Whitman’s tenure at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ended last month much the way it began, amid controversy over the Bush administration’s unwillingness to craft an effective response to global warming.
During Whitman’s stormy two-year tenure, Colin Powell, another moderate Republican in an Administration dominated by conservatives, called Whitman (who came with widely lauded green credentials and a belief that global warming was real) a wind dummy. (It was this kind of incident that likely contributed to Whitman’s decision to finally call it quits.) She would later tell PBS Frontline:
Colin and I each at different times felt we were sort of out there and not exactly in sync with all the thinking that was going on.
Fast forward to 2011 and it’s hard not see some striking similarities in the news that Carol Browner (Whitman’s predecessor at the EPA) is leaving her job as President Obama’s top energy and environmental adviser. She too only lasted two years. AP writes:
The departure of Carol Browner underscores that there will be no major White House push on climate change, given that such efforts have little chance of succeeding on Capitol Hill.
That the announcement comes on the eve of a State of the Union address unnerves some in Congress, reports Politico:
“This does strike me as a quiet kill, so to speak,” said a House Democratic aide who works on energy and environmental issues, including the 2009 cap-and-trade bill. “If there were a sacrificial lamb, it could have been on health care, financial issues, on a whole number of other things. But it’s the climate czar that’s going down.
“I don’t know the exact circumstances of it, but the circumstantial evidence, I think the timing is frankly fairly frightening,” the staffer added.
Browner’s office recently had come under scrutiny for politicizing the response to the Gulf oil spill. The commission set up by Obama to investigate the disaster said Browner misconstrued on national television the findings of a federal scientific report by saying most of the oil was gone. The White House later said she misspoke.
Browner’s office also has been criticized by the presidential panel for editing an Interior Department document in a manner that implied scientists supported the administration’s decision to place a moratorium on deep water drilling. The commission found no evidence that the change made was intentional, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar later apologized for the misunderstanding.
When you add it all up, it seems reasonable to ask: Did Browner, like Whitman almost a decade earlier, see the handwriting on the wall and head for the exits?