For SmartPlanet this week, I tried to explain why most energy journalism is so bad, and give readers a few tips on how to read it critically.
Read it here: Why energy journalism is so bad
Postscript: A fine example popped up today, shortly after my article went live. Alexis Madrigal, senior editor at The Atlantic and a very experienced science journalist who understands energy data and writes about it accurately, published an explainer about a recent Wall Street Journal article claiming “the U.S. is exporting more fuel than it imports” and that we’re now a “net exporter of petroleum products.” No doubt many readers and journalists, unschooled in the finer shades of meaning of words like “fuel” and “petroleum products” took it to mean that we are now a net petroleum exporter, when in fact we’re still a net importer of oil by margin of over 2 to 1. We’re just exporting more refined products (mainly diesel) than we import (mainly gasoline). Which is a sort-of interesting story about refining capacity, as Alexis correctly identified, but has nothing to do with growing energy independence, as many people interpreted it to mean. Confusion still reigns…
P.P.S.: I really should have given Matthew Yglesias credit for the debunking of that oil imports story in Slate, which Alexis reblogged.
For SmartPlanet this week, I offered a macro view exploring the common ground between the Occupy movement and the Tea Party — declining energy leading to declining economic surplus — and contemplated the existential questions of what to do about it.
Read it here: Occupy, Tea Party, and the Politics of Less
For SmartPlanet this week, I suggested community “solar gardens” as a way for towns to transition to renewables in the absence of federal incentives, and shared a dream I had about how one community achieved energy self-sufficiency.
Read it here: Crowdsourcing the energy revolution
For this week’s SmartPlanet column, I argue for a national feed-in tariff (FiT) in the U.S., and predict that due to its FiTs, Asia will blow the doors off the U.S. solar PV market starting next year. I also explain why we shouldn’t use “grid parity” as our cue to transition to renewables, but rather the cost of new production, where solar is already cheaper than coal and nuclear generation. Read it here:
Why America needs a feed-in tariff
For my SmartPlanet column this week, I did some simple math to determine the right time to transition energy to renewables and transportation to rail. The answer: about 40 years ago. Read it here: When should we pursue energy transition?
I’d also like to give a shout out to the excellent Do The Math blog by physicist Tom Murphy. He’s had two recent posts that are very much in line with my work (and he does the math better than I do). These are worth your time:
Peak Oil Perspective
The Energy Trap