Posted by pfairley on December 28, 2012
The Arctic is melting faster than predicted. Is now the time to shut down the low-carbon nuclear power plants in France — the 20th Century’s staunchest proponent of nuclear energy? Is natural gas produced via hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ a gift that is buying time for a transition to renewable energy or a curse that reinforces fossil fuel dependence? Will carbon belching heavyweights such as the U.S. and China ever get serious about cleaning up their energy systems?
Such questions are top order in France, whose President kicked off a Grand Débat on energy this month. The national debate launched by François Hollande, the Socialist who put Nicolas Sarkozy out of work six months ago, could well set France on a path to put nuclear power out to pasture. It could also lift France’s current moratorium on fracking.
No surprise then that France 24‘s English network dedicated one of its year-end debates to Energy in 2013. Your editor was honored to be at the table, along with:
Part One focuses on the what, why and why nots of fracking to produce shale gas and shale oil. Part Two backs out to consider the fate of nuclear and renewable energy in a ‘fracked’ world awash in cheap oil and gas.
Posted in Climate Change, Climate Science, Climate skeptics, Energy Economics & Policy, Energy Efficiency, Energy politics, Energy vision, Environmental Journalism, Media, Natural gas, Nuclear Power, Nuclear safety, Renewable Energy, Shale gas, Solar energy, Wind power | Tagged: fracking, france, France 24, Francois Hollande, hydraulic fracturing, Natural gas, nuclear energy | Leave a Comment »
Posted by pfairley on January 26, 2010
“Once again, Bob won’t get the job.” That was the definitive prediction this weekend by Automotive News, the industry’s journal of record, on GM vice chairman Robert Lutz’s chances of being named CEO [link may require subscription]. Yesterday they were proven right when GM’s acting CEO, GM chairman Ed Whitacre, announced that he would continue permanently in the position. What they got wrong, however, was why Lutz was unfit for the top job.
Automotive News let Lutz speak for himself, arguing that at 78 years old he was too “geriatric” for an ailing automaker in need of rejuvenation. That logic flies in the face of Whitacre’s logic that what GM needs most, after ousting two CEOs in 2009, is stability. After all, Lutz has served in top product development and marketing roles for GM since 2001, and previously held top jobs at Chrysler and Ford.
What makes Lutz the wrong man at the wrong time is that he rejects the intensifying concerns for sustainability that now drive automotive markets and innovation worldwide. At the Detroit Auto Show last week Lutz held forth on climate science with the Sydney Morning Herald, explaining that Earth is being cooled by a dearth of solar flares rather than warmed by greenhouse gases from cars and other fossil fuel-burners:
“All I ever say is look at the data, look at the empirical evidence…Katrina was six years ago and we have yet to have the next hurricane.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Climate Science, Climate skeptics, EVs, Hybrid vehicles, Plug-in hybrid, Transportation | Tagged: bob lutz, Chevy Volt, EVs, general motors, GM, plug-in hybrids, Robert Lutz | Leave a Comment »
Posted by pfairley on February 17, 2009
Opponents of the theory of anthropogenic climate change are hard at work via Internet forums making a last stand against the present societal momentum to address our impact on global climate and, specifically, to reduce the carbon footprint of our energy systems. Midland, MI-based multimedia producer, cartoonist, and alternative energy enthusiast Peter Sinclair is returning fire, nugget-for-nugget, with his new YouTube-distributed video series, Climate Denial Crock of the Week.
Each episode of Crock answers one of the climate denial “hobby-horse arguments” with five minutes of science-based, semi-professionally produced video. The Vikings star in this week’s episode, Medieval Warming?, which explodes the notion that Earth was warmer in the Middle Ages:
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Climate Change, Climate Science, Climate skeptics | Tagged: Climate Change, Climate skeptics, energy, environment, Environmental Journalism, global warming, Greenman Studio, Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition, Peter Sinclair | 2 Comments »
Posted by pfairley on January 13, 2009
In response to CNN’s termination of its science/tech/environment unit and continued questioning of anthropogenic climate change, personal friend Peter Offenhartz wrote me to comment that while CNN’s move is “impossible to understand,” the continuing controversy over climate change is less perplexing.
In his email, Offenhartz suggests that part of the problem lies with the climatology community, which has not excelled at simplifying their models’ main results so that ordinary people can understand them. “The evidence is not so hard to understand as most people seem to think,” he writes. Offenhartz, a physical chemist, makes his case by offering the informal lecture on climate change that he’s been sharing socially in recent weeks. His explanation highlights the idea that rising CO2 matters most where water vapor concentrations are low: (emphasis Offenhartz) Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Climate Change, Climate Science, Climate skeptics | Leave a Comment »
Posted by pfairley on January 8, 2009
CNN axed their entire science, environment and technology unit in December, as documented by the Columbia Journalism Review. The Society of Environmental Journalists (disclaimer: I serve on the board of directors) joined three other journalism groups on a letter to CNN’s leadership protesting this “short-sighted” move “at a time when science coverage could not be more important in our national and international discourse.” Unfortunately, further developments suggest that we can expect further occular dysfunction from the media majors in general and CNN in particular.
This week CNN anchor Lou Dobbs gets the silliness award for devoting prescious broadcast minutes to a poorly documented rehash of climate change skepticism, putting sunspots and natural cycles in the climate change driver’s seat rather than anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. See the video clip below, immortalized by progressive media watchdog group Media Matters’ County Fair blog:
The deterioration of science reporting threatens to spread as other major media outlets follow suit with budget-slashing bloodletting. Joel Makower, a pioneer in reporting on sustainable business, made that point last month in a discouraging post entitled Are Environmental Journalists an Endangered Species?. Makower sees the cuts at CNN as just one example of a “devestating” trend, noting the recent loss of senior journalists at Fortune magazine, The Weather Channel, and the Los Angeles Times.
The likely result is that fewer reports on the environment (ie energy according to the IPCC, which Dobbs ignores) will run. As Makower points out, those that do run will be delivered by generalist reporters scrambling to get up to speed on complex topics:
I hear from such reporters every week: general-assignment reporters from newspapers and broadcast stations around the U.S., niche trade magazines, and others seeking comment or context on a story they’re covering. I can tell you unequivocally that the nature of their questions reveals a high degree of ignorance. I’m happy to bring them up to speed, but it’s a slog.
One of the few bright spots is the New York Times, where the environment team is still growing. However, given that the paper recently announced plans to re-mortgage its headquarters building to make up for slumping ad revenues, one wonders how long the leadership will last.
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This post was created for Energywise, IEEE Spectrum’s blog on green power, cars and climate
Posted in Climate Change, Climate Science, Climate skeptics | Tagged: CNN, energy, Environmental Journalism, Lou Dobbs, New York Times, SEJ | 3 Comments »