Energy & Environment

Energy & Environment

Nuclear reactor disaster — the question nobody is asking

All weekend, I'm checking the stories of radiation leaks from the damaged reactors in Japan. The science of what constitutes a partial meltdown is complicated, and it's clear that reporters, even those who specialize in nuclear energy issues and who are interviewing experts with Ph.D.s and top-of-the-line credentials, are unsure of the extent of the damage and danger..

As I read Thomas H. Maugh’s excellent Q-and-A in this morning’s Los Angeles Times, I wondered, Why didn't anyone think to stockpile charged batteries — in multiple facilities to keep them safe and dry — to be used as a tertiary power backup, to keep the reactors cool.


Obama’s war on energy

Rising gas prices are the elephant in the room that no one is talking about. With 87 octane gasoline now around $3 a gallon throughout the country, we can expect to start seeing increased prices for the delivery of goods and services, as UPS, FedEx, railroads and even airplanes feel the fuel cost pinch.

Unfortunately these skyrocketing prices are only the tip of the iceberg as Obama engages in an unprecedented war on American-produced energy.


Another poll shows narrative on climate change is dead wrong

Last week a campaign spending analysis documented the unchecked and mostly undisclosed spending by shadowy front groups on energy-related advertising designed to influence the 2010 congressional midterm elections. That report found that these shadow front groups are spending big — more than $68.5 million on energy-related ads alone.

Now along comes a new poll, the latest in a string of public and private polling that demonstrates that these front groups are just dead wrong when it comes to climate and energy policy and that voters are not motivated to vote against climate and energy supporters.  


Climate-change witchcraft

Republican Senate candidates may or may not agree on the science behind witchcraft, but they are united in disbelief in the overwhelming science that demonstrates manmade causes to global climate change. Increasingly, these candidates are doing their best to boil a witch’s stew of doubt by attacking the veracity of science and scientists.

Emerging from the campaign trail is the notion that vulnerable House Democrats are “losing” their races due mostly to their vote in favor of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES). Let’s ignore the fact that the election isn’t over yet and drill down on the false pretense that the ACES vote or support for addressing our energy security and climate change is unpopular with voters.


House Republicans go green, recycle decades-old ideas as new

The “Pledge to America” is settling in. There has been lots of media interest — who could resist that great photo-op at the hardware store with the Republican leadership jacket- and tie-less in their starched white dress shirts as they rolled out these new ideas?

So far, the best take I’ve seen was Jon Stewart’s on the Sept. 23 “Daily Show.” If it weren’t funny, it would make me cry. Take five minutes and watch it here.


How far will Big Oil go for profits?

Disturbing news about just how far Big Oil will go for profits:

Think Progress’s Josh Dorner released an analysis of recent lobbying disclosure documents filed by the Big Oil companies that outlines the industry’s lobbying of Congress and the administration on the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act in order to protect and pad their already record-setting profits.

Coming on the heels of recent reports about BP’s alleged role in seeking the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the convicted bomber of Pan Am flight 103, in order to score more profits through oil concessions in Libya, this news is another startling example of how far Big Oil will go for profits — even if it means putting national security, indeed global security, at risk.


Tight calendar for Congress

The Hill's A.B. Stoddard answers viewer questions about the possibility of Congress moving on energy and immigration measures.


Dealing with the BP disaster

Yes, a congressman apologizing on camera to BP was obnoxious, and calling the White House meeting with BP executives a “shakedown” was provocative. One hundred forty-four Republicans in the House had called it a “Chicago-style shakedown.” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), every liberal’s demon mouth, called the $20 billion a “redistribution of wealth fund.” Even liberal New York Times columnist Frank Rich referred to it as a “down payment of blood money.” White House adviser and tactician Rahm Emanuel told an ABC Sunday talk show that the president “forced” BP to set up the fund, The Washington Post reports.


BP: Too big to fail?

Maybe it's from all those years of driving on the wrong side of the road. It's hard to say.

What's certain is that BP continues to make every conceivable misstep in its handling of the Gulf oil spill. If Tuesday's concessions to the White House checked Americans' ill will ever so slightly, hostility toward the oil giant resumed in even higher gear after BP CEO Tony Hayward's dismal performance before a congressional subcommittee Thursday.