Archives for August, 2011

A Return to $2 Gas?

It’s a new campaign pledge by Republican presidential hopeful Michelle Bachmann, but a close look at the history of U.S. gasoline prices indicates that turning the clock back to $2 gasoline would bring the nation back to some brief, and not- necessarily-prosperous eras. An interactive graphic developed by the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that…

What motivates people to save energy? This year, the Great Energy Challenge launched a project, the 360º Energy Diet, designed in part to tackle this very question. (Another round of the diet begins this fall.) For some people who joined, it was the idea of living a simpler, less wasteful lifestyle. Others liked the idea…

Micro Hydro: Volts for a Village in Bhutan

The small Himalayan nation of Bhutan is especially vulnerable to the impact of climate change, facing glacial lake outburst floods and dramatic shifts in rainfall patterns. Bhutan is nearly unique in the world as a carbon neutral nation, due to its limited industrialization and its dependence on carbon-free hydroelectric power. But it faces great challenges…

For a highly technical drilling technique, the controversy over “fracking” for natural gas has gained a lot of traction. In the past week, a federal advisory panel called for tighter restrictions and disclosure on the process. Meanwhile, House Democrats are pushing for tighter rules on companies using the process to drill for natural gas, and…

Comments Off on As Markets Dive, Clean Energy Stocks Hit by “Triple Whammy”

The stock market took a beating this week, after the rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded U.S. bonds—but clean tech stocks have been falling even faster than the market as a whole. Shares in clean energy companies have been hit by a “triple whammy”—producing too much capacity for the demand, problems with government debt, and…

Wanted: Natural gas industry volunteers. The job: Provide the data that will determine if your shale gas operations actually give off a lot more greenhouse gases than your industry “clean skies” image would suggest. That’s one of the main recommendations released this morning by a key U.S. advisory panel that the Obama administration established to…

Comments Off on Climate and Carbon Connections to the Current Economic Crisis

Among the many reasons for concern about the near future of the global economy, markets are looking at food price inflation in China as a factor that might increase the likelihood of a world recession. The world has actually been under a global food price inflation for a few years, mainly due to a sequence…

A city of 300 in Alaska is at the cutting edge of bioenergy. The Backstory It’s ironic. In resource- and fossil fuel-rich Alaska, Tanana residents are paying more than seven times the national rate for their electricity and are shipping in diesel fuel to heat their buildings and water. Probably the name Tanana (pronounced TAN-uh-naw)…

The price of crude oil is plummeting on world markets, but when do consumers get a break at the pump? The answer: It’s hard to say. Gas prices in the United States actually have risen steadily over the past several weeks, from an average of $3.63 per gallon (about 96 cents per liter) in late…

Comments Off on Message Indiscipline and a Missed Opportunity for Clean Energy

What wasn’t to dislike about the spectacle of this summer’s recently concluded budget battle? There was the impending economic disaster, the Full Monty on just how dysfunctional Congress has gotten, and the outsized role given by those operating on the political fringe. But for clean energy advocates, there was another reason to throw the remote…