Good morning from the pink and orange coffeehouse. Certainly a heady week for climate activists; both the President and his designee for Secretary of State mentioning climate change as a compelling and high-level problem our government needs to address.
These statements come mere weeks before the expected decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, fueling hope among the faithful that the President will do the right thing on the pipeline. In today’s conversation Ted and I discuss Keystone, the some of the pressures on the President, and what we can do. Click on the “MCAN Climate Minute” picture to the right to start the recording in a new window.
Here’s some further reading on some of the issues we touch upon in this week’s Climate Minute.
Darren Samuelsohn argues in Politico that the President will focus on smaller profile, administrative actions fully within his control instead of engaging a large-scale battle with Congress over new legislation.
Comedian Jim Meyer has a deliciously sarcastic piece in Grist outlining the true story of how tar sands become usable oil and gasoline. The facts are true, and the tone may be just the right thing to have it impact your favorite climate skeptic/denialist.
ThinkProgress has the data, and wind beat everything else last year in terms of new installed capacity. Your humble commentator must mea culpa though, I was off on the number of natural gas facilities represented by 8,700 MW of capacity — it’s really 94 (I thought it was more 10-15!), which means the average is 92 MW, which is a fairly small gas plant. Most likely there were a large number of smaller “peaker” units sited, which may actually play an important role in our future energy mix as we rely more heavily on intermittant renewable sources like wind and solar.
(And you’d much rather have natural gas peakers than diesel fuel peakers…)
Keep an eye out for the Sierra Club’s “100 Days of Activism.” You can follow their plans for events here. For an interesting interview with Michael Brune, Sierra’s national Executive Director, check out this NPR story.
And this weekend is the Portland, Maine protests against Tar Sands pipelines through New England. For more information on the events scheduled, check out 350MA.org.
Tomorrow kicks off Brookline’s 2013 Climate Week, and MCAN will have a speaker about the Waste and Climate connection at our next Climate Education meeting on February 7th in Lexington. More information on the Lexington meeting, or our March 10th conference at Northeastern can be found on the MCAN Climate Action Calendar. To register for the conference, go to the registration site here.
For videos of the Northeastern University “open classroom” discussions on climate and energy, go here. Next week’s discussion in on mitigation and features MIT Sloan School professor Henry “Jake” Jacoby.
For information about getting your town in the Solarize Mass program, check out their website. The first deadline (for a submission of community interest) is Feburary 6th.
Here’s a non-podcast bonus (think of it as a Jon Stewart-esque “Moment of Zen”), check out this story about the gas flaring from North Dakota oil wells being seen from space. The story itself is an awful testament to waste, greed, and disregard for environmental consequences, but contains the following incredible video of the Earth as seen from the International Space Station. My, my does it look lovely from a distance. Too bad we get the up close view…
As always remember, for these reasons we have discussed, the United States must place a price on carbon. Have a great weekend.