THE VINE FEBRUARY 9, 2009
What a solid 45 minutes of clicking around the Internet hath wrought:
* Joe Romm explains why new National Security Advisor James Jones simply isn't going to be the guy formulating energy and climate policy, despite recent rumors that he's interested in augmenting his portfolio. Seriously. Jones already has two wars to juggle. How many hours in his day do people really think he's going to devote to, say, global climate talks?
* Yes, yes, Obama's assembled a hyper-aggressive climate squad. Steven Chu. Carol Browner. John Holmgren. These folks want drastic action, and fast. But Dave Roberts cautions that they're likely to be counter-balanced by the White House's economic team, where "risk-averse technocracy seems the rule of the day."
* Hooo boy, I can think of at least one commenter who's going to enjoy this: A new study from the National Energy Technology Laboratory finds that liquid-coal fuel may emit up to 12 percent less carbon over its life-cycle than plain old gasoline does—but only so long as the carbon produced during the coal-to-liquid process is captured and stored. (Adding biomass to the process could make it greener still.) In theory, the fuel could compete with gas when oil prices hit $85 per barrel. Yes, this contravenes an older EPA report that coal critics like, well, me have highlighted to insist that liquid-coal fuel is hopelessly dirty.
* Speaking of sequestration, Josie Garthwaite of Earth2Tech elaborates on why Congress should pay more attention to algae as a means of storing (or, more accurately, recycling) carbon emisisons.
* Margaret Kriz of National Journal holds a roundtable on the renewable-energy portfolio, a law Congress is likely to pass very soon that will require utilities nationwide to get around 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025.
* Usually when we think of the oceans creeping upward as a result of climate change, we picture coastal cities getting submerged (say, Miami Beach). But that's not what India's fretting about right now: "Rising sea levels are causing salt water to flow into [the Ganges river], threatening its ecosystem and turning vast farmlands barren in the country's east."
* University of Portsmouth paleontologist Steve Sweetman has uncovered a whopping 48 new dinosaur species in the last four years. Among other things, we learn that the Isle of Wight, Sweetman's birthplace, has been the site of a ridiculously large number of dinosaur finds. Who knew?