Patrick J. Kiger

Blogger for the National Geographic Channel. I have written over the years for numerous print publications, ranging from GQ and Mother Jones to the Los Angeles Times Magazine, and for a variety of news websites. I also am the co-author with Martin J. Smith of "Poplorica: A Popular History of the Fads, Mavericks, Inventions, and Lore that Shaped Modern America," and "Oops: 20 Life Lessons from the Fiascoes That Shaped America," both published by Harper Collins. I have appeared as a guest on numerous radio and TV programs, including NPR's "Talk of the Nation" and Fox News Weekend. In my spare time, I'm a student of kung fu (brown sash level) and a movie and pop music buff. You can read more of my work at www.patrickjkiger.com

Natural gas emits significantly less carbon dioxide than either coal or gasoline when burned, but its ability to help reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions has been questioned. In the latest contribution to the debate, a study published this week by Duke University researchers concludes that switching to abundant shale gas as an energy source is…

The U.S. Department of Energy has been counting on leftover residue from corn cultivation—such as  stalks and cobs—as an abundant future source of renewable clean energy, and touted it as a potential goldmine for farmers as well. But University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) researchers may throw a damper on those plans, with a newly published study…

Comments Off on Milestone IPCC Climate Report Shifts on Biofuels

In a newly issued document, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has shifted position on biofuels, for the first time acknowledging that they may have negative impacts that take away from their value in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Working Group II contribution to the IPCC’s report, Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability ,…

Alternative energy company KiOR, which aimed to lead the nation into a future in which fuel manufactured from wood chips, grasses and other plant materials would replace petroleum, now faces dire financial difficulties that may threaten the company’s future. (See earlier story on KiOR: “Beyond Ethanol: “Drop-In Biofuels Squeeze Gasoline From Plants.”) In a March…

Comments Off on Simple Fixes Could Plug Methane Leaks from Energy Industry, Study Finds

Almost all of the climate-affecting methane leaks from the oil and gas infrastructure could be reduced at relatively little expense, often by simply tightening bolts or replacing worn seals, suggests a new study by the Boston-based Clean Air Task Force released today. (See related story: “Green Fracking? 5 Technologies for Cleaner Shale Energy.”) The report…

A massive winter storm hit much of the U.S. Tuesday, dumping heavy snowfall along the East Coast and sending temperatures plunging from 15 to 30 degrees below normal from the Mid-Atlantic region to the upper Midwest. But in addition to causing school closings and disrupting highway traffic, frigid winter weather has far-reaching effects on energy…

A recent post on the U.S. phase-out of 40- and 60-watt low-efficiency incandescent light bulbs, which became official January 1, elicited a lot of response from readers.  Many commenters were critical of the ban, dictated by legislation passed in 2007 by Congress and signed into law by then-President George W. Bush.  (See related post: “U.S.…

The incandescent light bulb has been around since the late 1800s, but the venerable technology’s dominance seems just about over.  On January 1, 2014, in keeping with a law passed by Congress in 2007, the old familiar tungsten-filament 40- and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs can no longer be manufactured in the U.S., because they don’t…

Back in 2008, when drivers pulling into gas stations in their full-size SUVs stared in shock at prices of $4 and up for a gallon of regular, it seemed as if we were heading into an austere future in which fuel would be increasingly scarce and brutally costly. But the energy apocalypse for consumers that…

Conventional wisdom says that if you put solar panels on your roof in the Northern Hemisphere, you should point them within 30 degrees of true south to generate the most energy in the course of a year. But a new study by Pecan Street Research Institute, an Austin, Texas-based research and development organization, suggests that…