Political Climate
May 17, 2007
U.S. House Democrats Concerned Warming Bill May Harm Jobs and Economy

Ben Geman, Environment & Energy Daily, 16 May 2007

Nearly 20 House Democrats from largely oil-and-gas producing states penned a letter to their leadership yesterday in an attempt to make sure climate change legislation does not lower energy supplies or increase prices. Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), who coordinated the effort, told E&E Daily the lawmakers “want a seat at the table” when climate policy is crafted.

“If our climate change policy leads to gasoline or natural gas supply disruptions and price spikes, consumers and voters will question that policy,” wrote the House members from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Colorado, Utah, Arkansas, Georgia and Hawaii. The letter links high natural gas prices in recent years to job losses in the manufacturing sector. “I want to make sure that whatever we do, we address global warming and still realize we need to run our vehicles and cool and heat our homes,” Green said in the interview. See full story here

May 16, 2007
Climate messages are ‘off target’

By Pallab Ghosh , BBC Science Correspondent

Alarmist messages about global warming are counter-productive, the head of a leading climate research centre says. Professor Mike Hulme, of the UK’s Tyndall Centre, has been conducting research on people’s attitudes to media portrayals of a catastrophic future.

“There has been over-claiming or exaggeration, or at the very least casual use of language by scientists, some of whom are quite prominent,” Professor Hulme told BBC News. His concern is that these exaggerations have given the green light to the media to use the language of fear, terror and disaster when covering scientific reports - even when those reports are much more constrained in their description of the course of likely future events. He says extravagated claims simply generate a feeling of helplessness in the public. Reports of catastrophe and the “Hollywoodisation” of weather and climate were creating confusion in the public’s mind.  See full story here

May 15, 2007
Facts vs Ideas in the World of Energy

By Michael J. Economides, Professor, Cullen College of Engineering, University of Houston

Few issues in modern history have generated more ideology-driven misinformation than energy. While most would agree that energy is crucial to the world economy, very little public discourse seems based on the intractability of certain facts. The problem: the huge gap between the theoretical and the practical, the latter affected by logistical and economic considerations. For certain people, the achievement of their desired course of action, based on their preferred world-view, is often confronted with abysmally small odds. It should not be acceptable for governments and non-governmental groups to avoid disclosing the required path and costs for achieving their goals. Many imply that the government and/or taxes should provide the funds, but even then the magnitude of such costs is rarely revealed.

Much of the rhetoric involves issues such as conservation, the environment, and “energy independence.” Exacerbating the situation is the recent clamor about anthropogenic global warming, and the expressed desire to either reduce carbon dioxide emissions (by using non-fossil fuels) or to sequester them.

The sequestration (into drilled wells) of carbon dioxide is even more problematic.  If the sequestered carbon dioxide is injected at what is considered a very good rate per well, 10,000 tons per year (a figure from a 2004 report by the National Energy Technology Laboratory), then that would require 1.8 million new wells. That’s about the same number of wells now in production worldwide. At an average drilling cost of $2 million per well, those new wells will cost $3.6 trillion. The ancillary infrastructure for those wells could push the cost to $7.2 trillion – about 60 times the current annual budget for well construction in the industry, estimated at $120 billion. See full story here

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