Paul Birkeland

Paul Birkeland

Posts by This Writer

9 years 9 months ago

It was the best of announcements; it was the worst of announcements. It was the summer of our future; it was the winter of our distant past.

The President announced this week that he is opening 167 million acres of previously restricted offshore areas for oil exploration. The general understanding is that this was a necessity to bring conservative Democrats and a handful of moderate Republicans on board with climate change legislation now being pushed through committee in the Senate. Thus it is the first step into a future where the right to disgorge exhaust into the air...


9 years 9 months ago

Sometimes the death of a "good thing" is a good thing. Let's talk about the cap and trade legislation.

Cap and trade sure seemed like a good thing. What's not to like? Cut emissions using a market-based approach that was shown to be effective by a Republican administration over 20 years ago to reduce airborne sulfur dioxide that was destroying forests in the Northeast.

The NY Times reports that cap and trade is now dead, and the climate bill likely to be introduced in April probably won't even mention it. That bill is likely to be an...


9 years 10 months ago

I like to do a check on Carbon Capture and Storage (CC&S) technologies every now and again. Lately I can't shake the feeling that they're just another part of the <a href=" http://www.justmeans.com/-Dynamics-of-Biofuels/6229.html">"Dream,"</a> a grand vision that will make it possible somehow that we will not have to change anything we are doing. The more I read about CC&S (also known as Carbon Sequestration), the more it seems like a niche technology. Consider...


9 years 10 months ago

There's little secret that last year's meeting to address climate change in Copenhagen was a poorly organized, dismal failure. The participants have now, however, all submitted their plans as required to reduce their impact on the global climate. The delusion and deception continued.

In the deception column put China's statement that it will cut carbon intensity by 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020. Sounds great, doesn't it?...


9 years 10 months ago

In a recent post, <a href =http://www.justmeans.com/-Dynamics-of-Biofuels/6229.html>The Dynamics of Biofuels</a>, I wrote, "The proper vision is that biofuels will be a critical part of the post-Peak Oil infrastructure. But they won't be a panacea. Indeed, aircraft and heavy equipment will likely never run on batteries. The energy demand is just too high....


9 years 10 months ago
How can salmon benefit from our energy savings?

In a recent post, <a href = "http://energy-emissions.blogspot.com/2010/03/nominal-egg.html">A Nominal Egg</a>, I wrote that in order to maximize the effectiveness of our electricity conservation efforts, we needed to make sure that the electricity we saved did not just end up on the open market where it would actually lower prices for others and ENCOURAGE them to use it. I advocated that...


9 years 10 months ago

There are only two kinds of technology predictions I trust. The first is an explicit prediction that comes from an engineer over a beer. The second is implied by something that happens in public for a different reason. I've recently read several things that implied a serious arrival of the electric car at long last. Here's what I've found.

...


9 years 10 months ago

In the 1970s, the United States offered generous incentives for the installation of solar water heaters in anticipation of ever rising energy costs, as well as a sense that national security was threatened by the need to import so much oil. The industry took off. Manufacturers, suppliers, installers, all invested in factories, training, and marketing. Hundreds of thousands of solar water heaters were installed, especially in the booming Sunbelt from Florida to California.

Shortly thereafter oil was discovered in the North Sea, easing the global price of...


9 years 10 months ago

The President recently unveiled a loan guarantee program for nuclear power plants, and there is rising clamor in some quarters to "go nuclear" to meet our energy demands. They tell us that nuclear is now safer than it ever was before, and that it is clean energy.

I'm a big believer in the Follow-The-Money School of inquiry, and I'd like the nuclear industry to show me that they are safe and clean by rejecting two Government programs that state emphatically that nuclear power (at least the uranium-powered kind) is actually dangerous and dirty.

First of all, I'm already...


9 years 10 months ago

Word is out that the Senators leading the effort to establish a national cap and trade system for emissions are backing down, proposing instead an industry-by-industry catalog of caps to impose by regulation. This isn't as broadly based as it needs to be in order to be effective, and is generally seen as a victory for the oil and coal industries.

It's not all gloom though. In an earlier blog post, <a href="http://www.justmeans.com/Cap-Trade-Massachusetts/7259.html">...


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