Archive for December 1st, 2010

How Partisan is Climate Denial?

By Chris Mooney | December 1, 2010 3:18 pm

I wasn’t done with Sherwood Boehlert’s recent, sad Washington Post oped yet. I just did a much more comprehensive take over at DeSmogBlog, where I’m going to be contributing more frequently–explaining why Boehlert is wrong about the Reagan administration’s environmental science record, and how this error partly underscores how overwhelmingly partisan the climate debate now is:

Poor Sherry Boehlert. On the one hand, his example proves that Republicans today canstill support mainstream climate science. The issue will never be 100 percent partisan until there isn’t a single Republican who cuts against the grain, and with old school moderates like Boehlert around, that will never happen.

Nevertheless, the issue is overwhelmingly partisan, as we can see both from the composition of Congress, and also from polling data showing that political party affiliation is a leading predictor of a person’s views on global warming in the U.S.

Furthermore, we are where we are today because of a long history in which the U.S. Republican Party has drifted farther and farther away from the scientific community. That history starts with the party’s icon, Ronald Reagan, and proceeds through many other party leaders up to the present.

So just how partisan is global warming denialism? At this point, the answer is: very. And how much does that have to do with our failure to address the problem? A lot.

You can read the full length DeSmogBlog piece here.

Solar To Equal Fossil Fuel Cost Within Decade?

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | December 1, 2010 3:17 pm

Picture 13For a while, I’ve been hearing that the cost of renewables will soon be equal to that of traditional fuels, with solar leading the way. Meanwhile, renewable prices have continued to decrease while oil, coal, and nuclear have risen consistently.  So it’s interesting to see this article at Bloomberg:

The cost of generating power by capturing the sun’s energy will fall about 10 percent a year in the next decade until it equals the expense of producing electricity by burning fossil fuels, a BP Plc official said.

As conventional fuel prices rise and solar power falls, generation costs may reach parity in as little as five years for some fossil energy sources, Vahid Fotuhi, Middle East director of BP Solar, said at a conference in Abu Dhabi yesterday. Solar power costs about 20 cents a kilowatt-hour now, he said.

* * * *

Solar power expenses are declining as technology improves, the speakers said. Fossil fuel costs may climb with oil prices that are expected to rise to an average of $94.50 a barrel in 2012 and to $102.13 a barrel in 2013, according to the weighted average of estimates from 35 analysts compiled by Bloomberg.

Neat, no? Read the full article at here.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Energy

Secretary Chu Invokes Sputnik to Spur Us on in Competitiveness and Energy Innovation

By Chris Mooney | December 1, 2010 11:39 am

See here, video courtesy of “Planet Foward”:

What do people think? The Sputnik analogy comes up frequently in connection with where we stand now in science and innovation, vis a vis the rest of the world.

Is it a fair analogy?

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Energy, Politics, Science Workforce
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