Energy

Effect Measure

Category archives for Energy

Only the ducks are dead

BP has this great reputation for being an environmentally friendly and responsible company. I know it because their incessant television ads tell me it’s true. The ones that flank the national news stories about their horrendous safety record of explosions and worker deaths or their catastrophic oil spills. Those ads. When something happens they start…

We don’t usually think of power outages as an important cause of poisoning but it is. Electrical power has become such a necessary part of basic needs — think of light at night and refrigeration — that if it is interrupted for more than a few hours people will turn to gasoline powered generators to…

Subways, phones and the price of things

When my mother died last year at the age of 103 it ended a life that went from the Wright Brothers first flight through to the internet. That’s a lot of change to accommodate, but she did it pretty well, although there were things she could not get used to. One of the things that…

Will Big Coal get its ash kicked?

One tradition of News Years Day in the US is the college football bowl game. When I was young I always watched the Rose Bowl (my state university was in the Big Ten league), but I have gotten away from it and don’t expect to be glued to the TV today. But there will still…

A new refrigerant with a good backstory

The fact that EPA has just approved a safer and more environmentally sound refrigerant is amazing news in itself. But the story behind this new product is even more amazing. The material, called HCR-188c, is a hydrocarbon blend of common materials (among them ethane, propane, isobutene, normal butane) that have no ozone depleting potential and…

Dems dump Dirty Air Dingell

John Dingell (D-MI), longtime Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has done some good things in his time, but overall he’s been a net minus. When Henry Waxman (D-CA) toppled him from his perch today my feeling was an uncharitable, Good Riddance. The vote in the Democratic Party caucus was close but not…

One door closes, another one opens

The US election is over. Now comes the battle over what it means. The right wing of the Democratic Party aside, it seems pretty clear this was one of the periodic “realignment” elections that are of historic significance. Obama’s base, overwhelmingly the progressive heart of the Democratic Party, is a powerful coalition of the younger…

Annals of McCain-Palin, I.: the energy expert

That anyone would think — much less say — as John McCain did of Governor Palin that she “knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America” means either McCain is one of the stupidest people in America (doubtful, since the competition is too strong); or that he doesn’t mind…

McCain wants to go full speed ahead for nuclear power (that’s a maverick’s way of dealing with climate change?) and Obama seems to feel friendly to it, too, as long as the waste disposal issue can be solved, satisfactorily (which it doesn’t seem it can be, but that’s another story). Everyone agrees that nuclear power…

Oil on troubled waters

There’s a lot of concern about the environmental effects of drilling for oil off the US coast, but I don’t buy it. Yes, I know it won’t produce any meaningful amount of oil, ever, and no oil at all for years. But that’s a technicality. Politically it’s a compelling idea and even though it won’t…