Category: Energy

Washington Examiner Defends Light Bulb Misinformation… with More Misinformation

By The Intersection | July 22, 2011 10:00 pm

by Jon WinsorLight Bulbs

The Washington Examiner’s Ron Arnold is a bit perturbed that anyone is calling out the misinformation campaign about the “incandescent light bulb ban.” So he’s trying to turn the tables:

Time claims: “Philips and other manufacturers are already making more efficient incandescent bulbs.” That’s short of an outright lie but it’s way beyond hogwash. What Philips is making is halogen lamps, which are incandescent alright, but complex electronic circuit devices about as close to an ordinary incandescent lamp as a third-degree burn, which you can efficiently obtain from a halogen lamp.

To all appearances it works just like an ordinary incandescent bulb, and looks almost the same (see upper right). If there are any weird, “complex electronic circuit devices” (CECDs), you can’t tell by looking at it.

Arnold continues:

Philips’ 36-page “product information” manual, shows on page 23 that their “Clickline” halogen lamp operates at temperatures as high as 480 degrees Fahrenheit (on the contacts), and 1,650 degrees F. (on the bulb). All aren’t that hot, but not by much. By the way, aluminum melts at 1,220.58 degrees Fahrenheit.

1,650 degrees F on the bulb? Melts Aluminum? Now you’ve got me scared. Only, not:

MORE ABOUT: Light Bulbs

Romney Plays to His Denialist Base: “I Don’t Think Carbon Is a Pollutant”

By The Intersection | July 21, 2011 10:39 pm

by Jon Winsor

Last month we praised Mitt Romney for taking a brave stand, if not a full-throated one, supporting the overwhelming weight of climate science. He was immediately pounced on by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santorum–while standing alone from the other GOP presidential contenders in talking seriously what scientists have said in unambigiously large numbers.

Meanwhile, the unapologetic Tea Party candidate Michele Bachmann has taken the lead in Iowa by 13 points. To be fair, Romney has decided not to compete in Iowa. But Bachmann has made a name for herself by proposing things like abolishing the EPA, and no doubt Romney has taken notice.

In a recent town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire, Romney took his own swipe at the EPA:

The key statement: “I don’t think carbon is a pollutant in the sense of harming our bodies.” Read More

MORE ABOUT: mitt romney

The Department Of Energy Could Use A Little Emotion In Its Energy Conservation Campaign

By The Intersection | July 19, 2011 5:15 pm

This is a guest post by Jamie L. Vernon, Ph.D., a research scientist and policy wonk, who encourages the scientific community to get engaged in the policy-making process

The Department of Energy has released a new series of public service announcements designed to motivate the public to save energy.  They’re calling it a consumer education campaign and running with the slogan:

“Save Money By Saving Energy”

The campaign currently features two videos that “educate” the public on the obvious point that saving energy puts money in your pocket.  While I applaud the effort, I wonder if they’ve chosen the best approach.  It is logical to assume that saving money, especially during these difficult economic times, might be a motivator for behavioral change.  However, I’m not sure that an appeal to logic is the most effective strategy.

A common theme here at The Intersection is the greater effect that emotional appeals will have on voters and consumers. Granted the campaign was created pro bono by Texas-based advertising agency GSD&M, but that seems all the more reason they could have chosen a different, more scientifically-informed tact.

The videos are informative as you can see here:

But, will it effect behavioral changes? Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Conservation, Energy

The Light Bulb Wars: Lots of Heat, Very Little Light Coming from Conservative Talk Radio

By The Intersection | July 16, 2011 12:24 am

by Jon Winsor
Filament

Conventional incandescent light bulbs are tremendously inefficient. Only about 10% of the energy used to power the light bulb actually goes to producing light, and the remaining 90% is emitted as heat. And it’s easy to see why. An incandescent bulb filament relies on the fact that it’s a poor conductor of electricity. It’s essentially the same concept used by inexpensive space heaters. So doubtless, the technology could be improved—the same way that many appliances have been improved by efficiency standards over the years.

At least that was the way Fred Upton (R – MI) was thinking when he helped craft a provision of the Energy Independence and Security Act (ESIA), which was signed into law by George W. Bush in 2007with support from manufacturers, who have since invested millions in retooling their factories. The provision didn’t choose “winners and losers” as far as light bulb technology goes. Incandescent bulbs were fine, as long as they met the standard. Under the law, as the Christian Science Monitor reported,

…general-purpose light bulbs must become about 30 percent more energy efficient. Different bulb classes face different deadlines, all between 2012 and 2014. The old Edison bulb gets killed on January 1, 2012. But more-efficient incandescent bulbs, which use only 72 watts to give the same output as an old 100-watt Edison bulb, will still be sold.

While Edison bulbs today are about 30-50 cents apiece, updated versions cost $1.50. But the latter pay for themselves in energy savings in about six months.

These bulbs also last about 50% longer, and households were expected to save $100 to $200 per year under the new standards. Not to mention the power plants that wouldn’t need to be built, the gains in US energy independence, and the gains in US jobs (the Guardian reports that presently no US factory manufactures the old 100 watt light bulbs).

Enter Rush Limbaugh.

Read More

Ancient Echoes from the Mediterranean Resonate with Modern Climate Fight

By The Intersection | May 9, 2011 12:21 pm

This is a guest post by Jamie L. Vernon, Ph.D., an HIV research scientist and aspiring policy wonk, who recently moved to D.C. to get a taste of the action

Well, today Chris is somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea. For those who aren’t aware, he is on the Center for Inquiry Travel Club Cruise with the likes of Joyce Salisbury, Lawrence Krauss and Phil Plait.  I can only imagine the discussions they are having as they travel across seas that were once the battlegrounds for control of ideas and thought in the world. Most often those conflicts occurred between religious and scientific views, which in many cases is not very different from what is occurring today.

The cruise will be visiting ports of call in Italy and the Greek Islands, places where no man or woman can visit without reflecting on the scientific history that began there.

Will Phil Plait take a late night stroll on the upper deck to catch a glimpse of our galaxy as it passes overhead? If so, will he think about the fact that our galaxy, the study of which has forced massive changes in religious thought, ultimately bears its name because of the story of a jealous Greek goddess?

Hera, the wife of Zeus, is said to have spilled the milk from her breast when she forced Herecles, the child born of one of Zeus’ adulterous escapades, to stop suckling. The spilled milk appeared in the sky and became known as the Milky Way.

Will Lawrence Krauss catch a glimpse of a star from his balcony and remember that if not for Copernicus’ observation that the universe does not revolve around the Earth but rather the Earth revolves around the Sun, if not for this observation, the Scientific Revolution may never have occurred?

Will Chris Mooney pace along the main deck and ponder the challenges Galileo faced after he developed the scientific methods to prove Copernicus’ theory of heliocentrism? Read More

Carbon's Value

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | April 12, 2011 9:28 pm

“You know something’s valuable when it gets stolen.” An interesting video from Bloomberg:

MORE ABOUT: carbon

U.S. Liberals on Nuclear: "It’s Complicated."

By Chris Mooney | April 5, 2011 12:22 pm

Conservatives have long alleged that liberals and environmentalists have knee-jerk negative views of nuclear power, and twist science to support this prior ideological commitment.  Indeed, they’re making the allegation right now. Expecting as much, I hazarded a few weeks back that Fukushima might be a test case for whether a leftwing tendency to reject nuclear power based on an overblown sense of its risks is really a problem in the present.

It’s certainly true that since then, we have since seen a lot of anxiety and fear–much of it whipped up by the media, which in its frantic coverage has imparted a very skewed perception of the dread-to-risk ratio in the current case. By far the worst display of this phenomenon was Nancy Grace.

It’s also true that many liberals who opposed nuclear power in the 1960s and 1970s seem to be reliving much of that era. And there has been, from some on the left, clear exaggeration of the dangers of nuclear radiation and the amount of deaths (past and future) attributable to Chernobyl–Helen Caldicott being the prime example that I’ve seen so far.

However, I don’t see much evidence–though I’m willing to be convinced–that many on the U.S. left are making claims like Caldicott’s. Read More

U.S. Now Trails Both Germany and China in Clean Energy Investment

By Chris Mooney | March 29, 2011 8:02 pm

Via Joe Romm, I see that our nation’s competitive disadvantage in clean energy investment is getting even more…disadvantageous.

Each year, Pew does a report to survey this booming global industry. Last year, the report (covering developments in 2009) found that we’d slipped behind China, “the world’s clean energy “superpower–but this year, the report (covering developments in 2010) finds that we’re now also behind Germany, which is racing ahead in rooftop solar installations.

Overall, China saw $ 54.4 billion in clean energy investment in 2010, Germany saw $ 41.2 billion in investment, and the U.S. saw $ 34 billion. Our unfavorable political and policy environment, of course, is a key factor in driving this outcome.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Energy, Environment

Fukushima "Explainer" for Children

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | March 20, 2011 11:34 pm

Andrew Revkin‘s posted this amazing “explainer” for kids on what’s happening at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan:

Noticed via @lilliloquy on Twitter (and her blog): “Unique way to explain the situation in Fukushima..” She’s not kidding. The English translation of the animation includes: “Everyone jumped as Nuclear Boy let out a big bang… Did he just poo?? We measured the stinky level around Nuclear Boy…

(Subbed) Nuclear Boy うんち・おならで例える原発解説 (by GenkiRadio)

What do readers think?

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Energy, Environment
MORE ABOUT: fukushima, Japan, nuclear

The Fast-Moving Nuclear Story Meets an Unscientific Press Corps

By Chris Mooney | March 14, 2011 9:16 pm

I was on The Alonya Show tonight, on the RT network, discussing events in Japan and what the coverage says about the media’s scientific literacy:

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Energy, Media and Science
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