Plenty of ink has already been spilled about Mitt Romney’s so-called energy plan, released yesterday, so I will not offer a comprehensive critique of it. But a few additional observations are in order.
For SmartPlanet this week, I detailed the water demands of power production and the power demands of water production as power plants are forced to shut down in the drought and record heat of 2012. Read it here: The energy-water nexus, 2012 edition
This is a guest post from my pals at Open4Energy, a site dedicated to exposing consumer energy scams and offering good, vetted energy information to consumers. I almost never allow guests posts here, but this is an important subject that’s outside the bounds of my usual work and I think it’s worth highlighting, particularly as we are seeing a fresh bloom of consumer energy scams sprouting up online. If you see something online about some magical device (or worse, a book and DVD set that offers to tell you how to build one) that promises to make your household energy independent for under $100, save yourself some grief: Go to Open4Energy and do a little homework before being suckered!
I made a guest appearance on the Extraenvironmentalist podcast this week, to talk about how the oil and gas industry works, peak oil, and my larger vision of the future of energy and energy transition. My friend Gregor Macdonald was also featured on the show.
I’ve been a big fan of this podcast for quite some time now, with its “doom without the gloom” focus. They really zero in on the important subjects and the best thinkers and writers on them, with excellent production values. (They also make some really fun “mixtapes” of hip music and clips from great speakers of the past.) The hosts are Justin Ritchie, who is finishing his Masters degree in nanotechnology materials engineering at the University of British Columbia and headed for a PhD in resource management and environmental systems, and Seth Moser-Katz, a multimedia journalist who works at Duke University in Chapel Hill, NC. These guys really show how the current generation of university students are far more tuned in to our challenges and coming to grips with them in a fearless, clear-eyed way than older generations are, without losing their optimism or sense of humor. (Don’t miss their faux 6-Hour Energy commercial at the end of this episode.) If there is hope for our future, it’s in the hands of people like them. In addition to the Twitter accounts of the hosts, linked above, you can follow the Twitter account for the show at xenvironmental.
I encourage you to fire up this podcast and check it out, along with their archive of past episodes. (If the inline player quits halfway on you, as it did for me, try downloading it or listening to it on iTunes.) It’s here: Extraenvironmentalist Episode #47: Power Transition
For SmartPlanet this week, I dug up some data on lobbying spending by the fossil fuel industry and the renewable energy industry, along with a few recent reports about additional efforts by the fossil fuel industry to tear down renewables and subvert the debate and the science on climate change. In conclusion, I speculated that the renewables industry is probably being outspent by around 100 to 1. Read it here: Energy policy: Follow the money