Putting lipstick on the coal pig

When people argue that the use of coal and other fossil fuels is still cheaper than renewable energy they usually (and conveniently) fail to mention the external costs of fossil fuels that aren’t factored into the price of burning of these dirty fuels.

On the Wall Street Journal’s Environment Capital blog today there’s a great post explaining how:

“… fossil fuels remain cheaper because not all their costs are tallied—and that means pollution. Traditional power plants spew particulates into the air as well as carbon dioxide, but historically the cost of that pollution was not included in the pricetag for, say, operating a coal-fired plant.”

Read the entire WSJ post here:  AC/DC: What’s the True Cost of Electricity?

Political trickery keeping Kansas coal plans alive

If you thought the application to expand a coal-fired electricity plant in Kansas was dead, think again.

Big Coal and their political allies in the Kansas State legislature have introduced a slick new Bill that if passed will make it very difficult for the massive Sunflower Electric coal plant expansion to not go ahead.

Regular readers might recall our extensive coverage of the Kansas coal fight that started in late 2007 after the Kansas Department of Health and Environment became the first government agency in the United States to cite carbon dioxide emissions as the reason for rejecting an air permit for a proposed coal-fired electricity generating plant.

The Department of Health stated that greenhouse gas threatens public health and the environment.

The coal company who lost the bid, Sunflower Electric and their political allies in the Kansas Legislature fought like heck to overturn the ruling. Even coal giant Peabody Energy got into the mix, dropping some big bucks on a fake grassroots organization calling itself “Kansans for Affordable Energy.”

Scientists Link Climate Change and Wildfires

The tragic and deadly Australian wildfires are due in part to climate change. That was the message delivered today by several prominent researchers as Australians reel from their worst natural disaster in more than a century.

Unprecedented heat, high winds and drought contributed to the deadly conditions that have so far claimed more than 160 lives.

“It’s very clear, both globally and in Australia, there has been a warming trend since about 1950,” said leading Australian climate scientist Kevin Hennessy.

“In a nutshell we can say the heatwaves and the fires we’ve seen in Victoria recently maybe partly due to climate change through the contribution of increased temperature.

“Going forward, we anticipate there will be continued increases in greenhouse gases and that locks in a certain amount of warming, and in the case of southern Australia further drying, and this will increase the fire weather risk.”

Gary Morgan, head of the government-backed Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre agrees. “Climate change, weather and drought are altering the nature, ferocity and duration of bushfires,” he said.

Ireland's Democratic Union Party can't have its Climate Cake

There’s those few dinosaurs left out there who refuse to acknowledge the decades of science telling us that human activity is to blame for global warming. One of them just so happens to be the environment minister for Northern Ireland. 

North Ireland’s Environment Minister, Sammy Wilson, has blocked a series of public awareness ads on energy consumption and climate change calling it an “insidious propaganda campaign.” In a recent letter Wilson stated that he does “not believe that man-made greenhouse gas emissions are the main cause of climate change,” and that such campaigns promote “anthropogenic [human-made] climate change as gospel and as you are of no doubt aware, this is contrary to my views.”

In an odd statement on his website, titled “Sammy Wilson slams climate change deniers” Wilson states:

“Spending a day with Prince Charles has not caused me to have a Road to Damascus like conversion in regards to my views on climate change.

Although I do not believe in man made global warming, I do subscribe to the fact that there has been a change in the political climate in Northern Ireland over the last number of years, which was not naturally occurring but caused by the DUP.”

But it looks like the leadership of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), of which Wilson is a member, wants to have its climate cake and eat it too. The DUP is touting a climate agenda, but refusing to take action against they’re head-in-the-sand environment minister.

Landmark Settlement Makes U.S. Agencies Acknowledge Climate Change

Under the terms of a landmark settlement reached last Friday, U.S. financing agencies will no longer be able to ignore the climate change repercussions of their actions.

Close to seven years and several bruising court battles later, a coalition of environmental groups and eco-minded cities have succeeded in forcing the Export-Import Bank and Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to do the unthinkable: acknowledge the reality of climate change and obey the law.

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