Proving that at least one Republican Senator can read polls.  And, Ok, he still gets a lot of it wrong.

Is he still wrong enough to get invited on to Fox and Friends?

National Journal:

The speech, which he delivered at the Oak Ridge facility, is in keeping with views Alexander has long espoused. But it’s in stark contrast to the energy and climate positions taken by his party’s leaders since 2010. After the tea party helped fuel the Republican takeover of the House, denying the science of climate change went from a fringe to a mainstream Republican view. Super PACs such as Americans for Prosperity, which has ties to the oil conglomerate Koch Industries, targeted Republicans who acknowledged climate change and supported renewable energy. During the 2012 presidential campaign, every Republican candidate but one, Jon Huntsman, questioned or denied the science concluding that carbon pollution causes global warming. And the Republican Party’s national platform, unveiled last August at the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla., mentions climate change only once—when it criticizes President Obama for making the issue a matter of national security.

Alexander’s speech highlights the widening schism on energy and climate change between moderates like himself and party leaders like Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, often named as a likely 2016 presidential candidate. At a speech in March, Rubio said, “The people who are actually closed-minded in American politics are the people who love to preach about the certainty of science with regards to our climate but ignore the absolute fact that science has proven that life begins at conception.” Alexander himself has acknowledged the divide—last year, he stepped down after five years as the chairman of the Republican conference, criticizing the party’s increasing ideological partisanship.

Republican strategists are paying attention, and say that Alexander’s bold remarks could signal that the party is pulling away from its hard-right positions on energy of recent years.

“Lamar has always been one of the Republican Party’s most creative thinkers on energy issues,” said Republican pollster Whit Ayres, who has worked for both Alexander and Rubio. “He’s never been one to follow somebody else’s talking points. He thinks for himself…. Tennnessee has a long record of electing and supporting creative thinkers who tend to become national leaders.”

Of the fact that Alexander’s energy message differs so profoundly from last year’s official party platform on the issues, Ayres said, “That’s where the party platform was. It’s very important to make a distinction between the party in 2012 and where it will be in 2016. It will not look like the same party.

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Tittabawassee River from the Tridge, downtown Midland, MI. May 16, 2013


May 29, 2013

Maybe in your town.

Certainly in my town.

Time was, in this part of the state, we’d get one flood a year. Usually March. Snows would melt with the first warm rain, and if the temps stayed balmy for more than a couple days, you’d get your snow melt and your flood.

Last few years, the tendency is for 3 or more flooding events over the course of winter-to-spring. And we are much better off than some of the plains states like Iowa.

If you think its all about Keystone, think again.  Alberta Tar Sands are already being processed in the Great Lakes region, and efforts are gathering to increase the flow exponentially, with an Enbridge pipeline as larger or larger than Keystone.

New York Times:

WINDSOR, Ontario — Assumption Park gives residents of this city lovely views of the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit skyline. Lately they’ve been treated to another sight: a three-story pile of petroleum coke covering an entire city block on the other side of the Detroit River.

Detroit’s ever-growing black mountain is the unloved, unwanted and long overlooked byproduct of Canada’s oil sands boom.

And no one knows quite what to do about it, except Koch Carbon, which owns it.

The company is controlled by Charles and David Koch, wealthy industrialists who back a number of conservative and libertarian causes including activist groups that challenge the science behind climate change. The company sells the high-sulfur, high-carbon waste, usually overseas, where it is burned as fuel.

The coke comes from a refinery alongside the river owned by Marathon Petroleum, which has been there since 1930. But it began refining exports from the Canadian oil sands — and producing the waste that is sold to Koch — only in November.

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Recorded at Abbey Road.

I’ve been listening to this for a week. Works like 3 cups of coffee.

Coal 101

May 30, 2013

Nice new, informative animation from the Sierra Club on coal.

Co2 Scorecard:

Energy related CO2 emissions in the US fell by 205 million metric tons in 2012. CO2 Scorecard breaks it down and shows that nearly 75% of the decline is accounted for by demand reduction primarily due to the economy-wide energy efficiency and conservation measures in the transportation, residential and commercial sectors; the mild winter in the first quarter of 2012 also gave a helping hand.

Contrary to popular perception, the contribution of natural gas in the electric power sector was limited to around 26% of the total energy related CO2 reduction in 2012. Analysis of the changes in the electricity generation mix for each of the eight NERC regions in the US revealed that nearly 25-30% of the CO2 savings from coal-to-natural gas switch was offset when gas replaced zero carbon sources like hydro and nuclear. This effect was most prominent in the Western interconnection (WECC). Industries along with wind and solar had little measurable role in cutting CO2 emissions in 2012.


Ever since it was reported last year that U.S. CO2 emissions had dropped to a twenty-year low, energy analysts and bloggers have engaged in a friendly academic tussle over the cause of the drop.

The conventional wisdom in the popular press is that natural gas played the dominant role by pushing coal out of the market. The Energy Information Administration also supports thisin its analysis. But the folks at CO2 Scorecard have come to a different conclusion: the historic 2012 drop in emissions was driven more by economy-wide efficiency than an increase in natural gas generation.

This isn’t the first time CO2 Scorecard has challenged the assumption that natural gas is America’s CO2 savior. A paper released last fall analyzing emissions reductions from January to March of 2012 found that the unusually warm winter accounted for 43 percent of the drop, while the displacement of coal with natural gas only accounted for 21 percent.

Now that the full numbers for 2012 are out, analysts have a better window into what’s driving America’s changing emissions profile. Once again, the folks at CO2 Scorecard found that natural gas accounted for only one quarter of last year’s reductions.

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