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February 4 News: Murkowski Lays Out GOP Energy Policy Devoid Of Serious Climate Action

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"February 4 News: Murkowski Lays Out GOP Energy Policy Devoid Of Serious Climate Action"

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Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), the top GOP member on the Senate’s energy panel, laid out a sweeping blueprint today that includes opening up more federal lands and waters to oil drilling, launching a new green energy “trust fund,” and general revamping of U.S. green energy policy — but no serious climate action. [The Hill]

The blueprint – which Murkowski hopes will launch a broad discussion of energy and resource policy direction in coming years – includes some proposals that are extremely unlikely to advance any time soon, such as opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.

But the blueprint also contains an array of other ideas, such as expediting liquefied natural gas exports to U.S. allies; promoting use of small modular nuclear reactors and creating a new quasi-federal agency for nuclear waste management; and bolstering energy storage R&D, to name just a few.

It calls for steering some revenues from expanded oil-and-gas development into a new federal “Advanced Energy Trust Fund” to finance programs on renewable power and alternative fuels, energy efficiency and advanced vehicles.

Rural communities in Colorado are coming out against the Obama Administration’s decision to open up nearby public lands to oil and gas exploration, while some of the more solidly Republican urban areas in the state are lining up to support the proposal. [NYTimes]

The International Energy Agency has a new report out detailing how Europe’s Nordic region could achieve a carbon-neutral energy system by 2050. [IEA]

By driving out coal here in the United States, the shale gas boom is driving a big increase in the burning of coal by European utilities, despite EU environmental policies designed to curb the share of polluting fossil fuels in the energy mix. [Financial Times]

Bureaucratic fighting between China’s environment ministry and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and Sinopec Group has thwarted stricter emission standards for diesel trucks and buses — a main cause of air pollution blanketing dozens of China’s cities. [Reuters]

Two new papers highlight how the hole in the ozone layer, which is beginning to recover because of limits imposed on CFCs, is influencing major wind patterns, ocean circulation, concentrations of carbon in the atmosphere, and even rainfall in the Amazon. [NYTimes]

Using climate models, researchers determined that certain areas could enjoy cooler and wetter summers if currently deforested areas are replanted with trees. [Khaleej Times]

A battery-powered train capable of traveling 600 miles on a single charge is now possible, if not immediately likely to pull into a local station, according to research commissioned by the British Government. [The Guardian]

The Western Australia Greens have unveiled a $68 million plan to install solar panels on all public housing homes, in what could be an interesting test of the ability of solar to gain traction as an election issue. [Clean Technia]

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12 Responses to February 4 News: Murkowski Lays Out GOP Energy Policy Devoid Of Serious Climate Action

  1. Paul Klinkman says:

    Battery-powered trains are an obvious need. Trains are far more efficient at moving mass (low-cost batteries) than are highway vehicles, and solar/wind electricity is easily stored in batteries. A solar farm or a turbine right by a swap railroad siding is pretty economical to build. Power is especially easy to generate where land is fairly cheap.

    Every 600 miles, swap a fresh battery train unit(the first car or three, what we would think of as a train engine with a cab for the engineer) in and an old battery train unit out for recharging. Run a power line the length of the train, and have little solenoid motors on the train wheels for distributed acceleration of the train. A distributed acceleration train would better able to pull up a steep grade, and the cars would weigh less because the car connectors wouldn’t deal with as great a combined stress load when accelerating the train. Finally, having distributed motors in cars would allow individual cars to move around rail yards and sidings semi-autonomously, driven by the yard supervisor.

  2. Paul Klinkman says:

    We already know from dust bowl days in Oklahoma that planted windbreak rows of trees create wind shadows behind which certain crops grow better, and less soil is blown away. We should start to think about preventative regional-scale geoengineering of vulnerable, newly arid regions of the U.S. and the world through the growing of many windbreaks. If Oklahoma has to get by on 10 inches of rain a year from now on, the poor farmers had better prepare before the desertification, not afterwards.

    - -

    I rarely bother to respond to some climate denier’s comments. Meh.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      I saw a documentary some years ago where the swales, dug by work-teams during the Depression in the US south-west, were shown to still be working, trapping rainfall which, instead of running away and causing erosion, can percolate down into the earth. Around the swales the vegetation was much thicker and the trees much larger, and were a welcome oasis for biodiversity.

  3. Anne says:

    Yes, but, in the same breath, she also is fighting to open up BLM lands to hunting, recreational shooting, and fishing (www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/republican-news?ID=80929cdc-9f8a-4b43-92aa-497fa183584d) and to open up Alaska to more minerals mining (www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/republican-news?ID=12105d35-539e-4e86-93d5-fd29fdd3852e). Murkoswki’s “green” bill sections are just a lame, meaningless bone thrown to the environmental community – her prime objective is to make dollars flow to Alaska by depleting its fossil fuel and minerals resources and to make hunters and fishermen happy by giving them more places to deplete our living natural resources. The whole proposal is like a bad joke — if we follow its foolishness, there will be too few surviving mammals to hunt, and very few, if any, fish remaining to be hooked. Murkowski’s energy proposal is, and should be, DOA.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      The Right are cunning, rather like other rodents. They pass these laws, with little sops to the environment, to get there big deals through, then later the environmental measures are quietly euthanased, often by administrative rather than legislative methods.

  4. Colorado Bob says:

    The most amazing pictures of methane bubbles frozen in Lake Abraham in Alberta, Canada -

    Pale Blue Blobs Invade, Freeze, Then Vanish
    by ROBERT KRULWICH
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2013/01/30/170661670/pale-blue-blobs-invade-freeze-then-vanish

  5. Superman1 says:

    Why is this news; what else would you expect from Murkowski, or Inhofe, or Barton, or…..?

  6. Peter Capen says:

    Senator Murkowski’s energy “blueprint” is not a pathway to the future; it is a dead end to the past. What is the point of having more fossil fuel energy when we no longer have a habitable planet?

  7. Joan Savage says:

    “Sea urchin nickel ‘trick’ could be key to capturing carbon”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21320666

  8. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The point is to make money, which is all that the Right care about.