GLEICK: … My judgment was blinded by my frustration with the ongoing efforts — often anonymous, well-funded, and coordinated — to attack climate science and scientists and prevent this debate, and by the lack of transparency of the organizations involved.
The broader tragedy is that his decision to go to such extremes in his fight with Heartland has greatly set back any prospects of the country having the “rational public debate” that he wrote — correctly — is so desperately needed.
A good recap for what has happened so far and how KXL has become so politicized.
The amount of adds for ‘clean energy’ relating to KXL or natural gas development has definitely skyrocketed in the last few months. Almost every news station I watch on TV has a good does of energy companies explaining how economically beneficial the project/s will be, and how they won’t do it if the project isn’t safe.
I think the problem is that there is a huge need in many ways for the project, but the thing that perhaps isn’t getting as much publicity is the number of cases that are springing up about the negative side effects of the projects (although I’ll say more so that’s in regard to Hydrofracking, for now).
I personally would like to see more deliberation about what exactly each thing will do - what will KXL do, what are the jobs that will be made, where is the new route - Nebraska state government was able to get Transcanada to adjust the route. But cut out the flamboyance, the exhaggeration of job numbers, and don’t pretend like there aren’t any risk.
I think what Americans are most hungry for, deep down, is to be treated like adults who are willing to listen to serious situations and understand the world is a complex place — not appeasing to histrionics of any broad sense of ideology. I actually would like the energy companies themselves to be more open about the risks, and not just talk about the benefits. And I wish the government was more unified in presenting energy challenges and opportunities to the public, as opposed to making it seem like some choice about what or who to believe is ‘right’. There isn’t an easy answer to any of this, so nobody should act like there is.
Michael Giberson’s review of Graetz’s book below. Perhaps I’ll review it someday, too…
Michael Graetz’s The End of Energy is a fascinating run through 40 years of U.S. energy policy making. Engaging and at times even entertaining if you are at all interested in energy issues. In Graetz’s telling it is mostly a story of 40 years of failure, though he notes a few successes along the way.
I absolutely loved that the first chapter began with President Nixon’s decision to impose wage and price controls on August 15, 1971. If you think that wasn’t energy-policy relevant, then read that chapter (the publisher will let you read it free). Just note that the Arab oil embargo just over two years later caused barely a hiccup in U.S. oil imports; the gas lines and shortages were mostly due to the remaining Nixon oil price regulations. (Yet, 40 years later we still blame OPEC!)
An uncertain international gas market, an unpredictable regulatory environment with more stringent emission goals and decreasing natural gas reserves over time all point to the growing need to continue developing renewable technologies.
“Effective use of renewables, namely wind and solar, are still many years away,” Jacoby says. “How we tap into those resources and effectively work them into our electric grid still needs to be figured out. To get us there we need a robust R&D program so we’ll have renewable energies up and working effectively later in future decades when emissions regulations are stricter, and gas reserves are depleting.”
Shale might provide the flexibility to meet reduction targets at lower costs today, making it a strong “bridge” in the short term to a low-carbon future. But the report concludes that we can’t let “the greater ease of the near term … erode efforts to prepare a landing at the other end of the bridge.”
I personally would be surprised if KXL was not created, in some form or another… but I think this editorial is asking for a more honest and open energy dialogue within the US, which is what I would like to see
The Republicans’ claim that the pipeline will create tens of thousands of new jobs — 20,000 according to House Speaker John Boehner and 100,000 according to Jon Huntsman — are wildly inflated. A more accurate forecast from the federal government, one with which TransCanada, the pipeline company, agrees, says the project would create 6,000 to 6,500 temporary construction jobs at best, for two years.
The country obviously needs more jobs. Mr. Obama needs to lay out the case that industry, with government help, can create hundreds of thousands of clean energy jobs without incurring environmental risks — by upgrading old power plants to comply with environmental laws, retrofitting commercial and residential buildings that soak up nearly 40 percent of the country’s energy (and produce nearly 40 percent of its carbon emissions) and promoting growth in new industries like wind and solar power and advanced vehicles.
By even the most conservative estimates, the power plant upgrades required by the new rule governing mercury emissions are expected to create about 45,000 temporary construction jobs over the next five years, and as many as 8,000 permanent jobs as utilities install pollution control equipment. And while the projects are new and the numbers tentative, the Energy Department predicts that its loan guarantee programs could create more than 60,000 direct jobs in the solar and wind industries and in companies developing advanced batteries and other components for more fuel-efficient cars….