Free State Politics    Maryland's online progressive community
Welcome! Log in or register to comment on the blog posts you see here.
Or better yet, write your own blog post!
Find out how to use this site, and join the conversation today!


A Wild Idea for Stopping Climate Change

by: Eric Luedtke

Mon Sep 15, 2008 at 02:03 PM EDT

Home from work today because the babysitter is off, and came across this on Treehugger, which if you've never seen it is probably the best environmentally-related blog around. Apparently NASA climate scientist James Hansen is proposing a new idea for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by phasing out the burning of coal for power. Instead, he would have current coal-fired power plants burn wood. That, combined with carbon capture and storage technology, and the re-planting of carbon-eating forests, could be enough to seriously reduce the threat of climate change. Of course, the problem that immediately comes to mind is the massive number of trees that would be required. You'd have to set aside massive tracts of what are, in effect, tree farms for electricity production. In any case, I'm always interested in hearing new ideas about stopping climate change, and this one definitely sits outside the box. Thoughts?
Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Telling Off The Coal Industry to Their Face

by: Eric Luedtke

Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:24 PM EDT

Apparently Greenpeace managed to sneak their way into a big coal industry conference by creating a false front group that signed up as a sponsor. Rather than kicking them out, the organizers of the conference let them stay, and even gave them a chance to speak on stage. Of course, it was an attempt to salvage a public relations nightmare. Had they just kicked out the activists, it would have looked like they weren't willing to listen to other people's opinions. So they were hoping that by letting them stay, they could make themselves look like they actually care what environmentalists have to say. Unfortunately, they didn't count on what Greenpeace's Carroll Muffett would say on stage:

Perhaps you can explain to your kids: "I polluted the air because my boss made me do it. I poisoned the water to increase shareholder value. I denied global warming because the board demanded it. I supported CCS because it was the industry's only hope. And I refused to believe in solutions, because I was paid to believe in coal." Will that answer make your kids happy? Will it make them proud? Will it help them forgive you?


It's becoming harder and harder for industries like big coal to greenwash their image, as the public becomes more attuned to environmental issues. Poor, poor polluters.

And there's more to the story. The full posting on Treehugger is worth a read.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Coal & Deregulation

by: Isaac Smith

Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 01:49 PM EDT

Two energy-related items from over the weekend:

First, this is a nice retrospective on the failure of deregulation of electric utilities to deliver savings for consumers in Maryland, as well as in D.C. and Virginia. It's pretty familiar stuff for anyone who's followed the issue, but one thing that jumps out is how much the lack of new transmission is affecting the price of electricity: getting cheap power from distant plants is hard, so nearer, more expensive plants have to be fired up. (This is something Tom has been harping on for a while now.) Of course, it doesn't help that power companies in the region don't seem terribly interested in building new capacity:

Since deregulation, new residents and energy-consuming gadgets have pushed up the region's demand for power. A report by Maryland regulators last year predicted brownouts by 2011 if more plants aren't built.

But little capacity has been added. Environmental costs and public opposition have hindered the construction of plants, especially for companies trying to compete with the owners of plants whose value has skyrocketed.

So federal regulators agreed last year to allow the mid-Atlantic power industry to collect a surcharge to generate new supply.

Maryland regulators estimate that these "capacity" charges, passed on to customers, will add $300 million to bills this year.

"The only tool we have is to provide a financial incentive to build," PJM's Dotter said. "Older plants are shutting down, and there's nothing replacing them."

Critics say the supply has increased so little because the existing system not only benefits the companies in the region, it gives them an incentive to constrain the supply of electricity to keep prices high: Shareholders get the capacity payments even if they build nothing.

"It's money in the pocket of the generating companies without a guarantee that they are going to build," said Paula Carmody, director of the Maryland Office of the People's Counsel. "From a consumer perspective, it doesn't seem terribly beneficial."

The "environmental costs and public opposition" mentioned above are probably not going to go away, particularly when it comes to building new coal and nuclear plants. Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius's decision to deny a permit for a new coal-fired power plant is likely the first shot in a long campaign to stop building new coal plants that don't capture their carbon emissions. Even Wall Street is recognizing that coal, besides not making any environmental sense, doesn't make much economic sense, either. The problem, of course, is replacing coal with cleaner sources that are as effective, and getting rid of regulations impeding them. Something like combined heat and power, for example, is cheaper and cleaner than conventional coal, but state and federal regulations currently favor large, centralized plants. Poorly designed deregulation rules that don't promote actual competition don't help either.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 339 words in story)

MD Blogroll
- A Bag Full of Health and Politics
- Air It Out With George
- BlackDogRed
- Blog Arundel
- Capital Punishment
- Crablaw's Maryland Weekly
- Fineline
- Granola Park
- HoyerBlog
- Jousting for Justice
- Just Up the Pike
- Kujanblog
- Left-Hand View
- Lost on the Shore
- Newsrack
- Maryland College Democrats
- Maryland on My Mind
- Maryland Politics Watch
- MoCo Greens
- MoCo Politics
- The Modern Day Prophet
- Native Son
- Nealzonwheelz
- OnBackground
- Sprawling Towards Montgomery
- ShoreIndie
- Straight, Not Narrow

- Brian Griffiths
- Delmarva Dealings
- Going to the Mat
- Kevin Dayhoff
- Maryland Politics Today
- Monoblogue
- Pillage Idiot
- Red Maryland
- Salisbury News

- Bay & Environment
- CBF Blog
- CCAN Blog
- Charles County Café
- Classroom Connections
- Crossing Georgia
- Delusional Duck
- Faith in Action
- The Glover Report
- Inside Charm City
- Jay Hancock
- Maryland Courts Watcher
- Maryland Law
- Maryland Moment
- On the Record
- PolitickerMD
- Random Rodricks
- Wryoak

Goal Thermometer

For a more simple donation box:
Frank M. Kratovil, Jr. (MD-01) $
Jennifer P. Dougherty (MD-06) $
Friends & Neighbors
Left Blogistan
- Blogs United
- Daily Kos
- MyDD
- Open Left
- Talking Points Memo

Progressive Orgs.
- Center for American Progress
- Center for Policy Alternatives
- Color of Change
- Media Matters for America
- People for the American Way
- Progressive States Network

Regional Blogs
- Daily Delaware
- DCist
- Keystone Politics (PA)
- Raising Kaine (VA)
- West Virginia Blue

MD News and Media
- Annapolis Capital
- Arbutus Times
- Baltimore Business Journal
- Baltimore Chronicle
- Baltimore Sun
- Baltimore City Paper
- Balt. Co. Jeffersonian
- Balt. Co. North East Times
- Baltimore Jewish Times
- Baltimore Messenger
- Bay Weekly
- Bowie Blade
- Carroll County Times
- Catonsville Times
- Columbia Flier
- Cumberland Times News
- Easton Star Democrat
- Frederick County Tentacle
- Frederick News-Post
- Hagerstown Herald-Mail
- Howard County Times
- Laurel Leader
- Maryland Daily Record
- Maryland Gazette
- Maryland Public Television
- Montgomery Sentinel
- Mt. Airy Messenger
- Oakland Republican
- Owings Mills Times
- Salisbury Daily Times
- Silver Spring Voice
- Towson Times
- WAMU (Washington)
- Washington City Paper
- Washington Examiner
- Washington Post
- Washington Times
- WBAL Radio (Baltimore)
- WBAL TV (Baltimore)
- WBFF (Baltimore)
- WHAG (Hagerstown)
- WJLA (Baltimore)
- WJZ (Baltimore)
- WMAR (Baltimore)
- WMDT (Salisbury)
- WNUV (Baltimore)
- WRC (Washington)
- WTTG (Washington)
- WUSA (Washington)
- WYPR (Balt. & Frederick)

MD Organizations
- CASA de Maryland
- Chesapeake Bay Foundation
- Chesapeake Climate Action Network
- Common Cause Maryland
- Democracy for Maryland
- Environment Maryland
- Equality Maryland
- Md. Budget and Tax Policy Institute
- Maryland CASE
- Md. Citizens' Health Initiative
- Maryland Democratic Party
- Md. League of Conservation Voters
- Maryland PIRG
- NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland
- Progressive Maryland
- Young Democrats of Md.


Make a New Account



Forget your username or password?

- Welcome
- Rules of the Road
- Legal Stuff
- MD General Assembly
- MD Governor's Office
- MD Judiciary
- Crabopedia
- MD BillHop
- Congresspedia
- Find Your Elected Officials

50 State BlogWire


Advanced Search

Powered by: SoapBlox