The oil sands can’t be sustainable

May 31, 2012

Disturbingly often, Canadian politicians describe how they intend to develop the oil sands “sustainably”. Whenever they do this, they demonstrate that they don’t especially care if they are expressing themselves in a sensible way or describing a cogent idea. It’s just a rhetorical way to try and respond to the concerns of environmentalists without actually […]

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How the oil sands are like cancer

May 30, 2012

The Athabasca oil sands are like a tumour growing in a human body. A tumour is very successful in a certain way. These cells divide rapidly and can keep growing forever as long as they are provided with food and oxygen. Ultimately, however, a tumour grows to the point where it starts to threaten the […]

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Mountain Justice activism in West Virginia

May 24, 2012

More civil disobedience against coal: Five people boarded an empty coal barge at the Quincy Docks operated by Kanawha River Terminals in Chelyan, W.Va. and locked themselves to the boat with a banner stating “Coal Leaves Cancer Stays”. The barge was immobilized for three hours, until police removed them by 1:00 pm. Those arrested were […]

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Blocking coal trains in White Rock, BC

May 3, 2012

On May 5th, NASA climatologist James Hansen and others say they will be blocking BNSF coal trains from passing through White Rock, British Columbia. They say that they will be blocking coal trains only, allowing other freight and passenger trains to pass. Hansen has posted a letter (PDF) about this on his website, addressed to […]

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Governor Kitzhaber questioning coal exports

April 29, 2012

This is encouraging: Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is calling for a ‘sweeping review’ of coal exports from his state. Reducing fossil fuel exports seems like a promising strategy for limiting the total quantity of fossil fuels burned by humanity.

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EIA information on shale gas development in the US

April 28, 2012

As pointed out on Twitter by University of Alberta professor Andrew Leach, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has some interesting maps and animations available online showing the development of unconventional gas in the United States. For example, here is an animation of the development of gas wells in the Barnett Shale between 1981 and […]

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Stabilizing emissions doesn’t solve the problem

April 16, 2012

This article demonstrates a common mistake in thinking about climate change: Recession rebound didn’t hurt environment – Report shows greenhouse gases stable in 2010. Keeping emissions stable harms the environment very badly. The climate change problem is the accumulation of greenhouse gas pollution in the atmosphere. Humanity continues to add tens of billions of tonnes […]

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Nuclear uncompetitive in the marketplace

April 1, 2012

In a survey on nuclear power written for The Economist, Oliver Morton does a good job of explaining one of the reasons why nuclear power is unlike any other form of electricity generation: In liberalised energy markets, building nuclear power plants is no longer a commercially feasible option: they are simply too expensive. Existing reactors […]

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Options for energy storage

March 31, 2012

One challenge with renewable forms of energy like wind and solar power is that the power output from such facilities is intermittent. One way to address the problem is to store power from times when it is being produced in excess for use at times when the quantity demanded is high. This article describes a […]

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EPA power plant CO2 standards

March 27, 2012

Potentially big news: “Proposed new [EPA] emissions standards would limit carbon dioxide produced by new power plants, which would probably prohibit construction of any coal-fired facilities“

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