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    More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our lives
  • Beyond Oil Sands: The Carbonates are Coming


    Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Deborah Gordon, the director of the Energy and Climate Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. When it comes to Keystone XL, it’s not really about the pipeline. It’s about the numerous unintended consequences that the pipeline portends. This is what the U.S. State Department—and the American public—should [...]

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    What is the World’s Busiest Airport?

    Global map of flight patterns, showing a heavy concentration in the U.S., Europe, China, and Japan. Image credit: Jpatokal

    Is it Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, or Dubai International? Both apparently. But it depends on the metric. If you go by number of flights, then O’Hare is the world’s busiest airport (881,933 flights in 2014), dethroning Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (868,359) after 10 years at the top – by this way of measuring. However, if [...]

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    Low oil prices aren’t working against solar (probably)

    2013 US energy - small

    In the United States, reducing electricity probably won’t lead to a significant reduction in direct oil consumption. Instead (in terms of fossil fuels) it is more likely to reduce your consumption of coal and natural gas. In turn, low oil prices aren’t necessarily working against solar deployment in a direct sense. The United States uses [...]

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    Rooftop Solar Increases a Home’s Selling Price Across Multiple Markets


    On Monday, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released a report showing that homes with solar panels typically sell for $15,000 greater than those without solar panels installed. The study analyzed data collected from over 22,000 homes between 2002 and 2013 to measure the effect that solar panels have on a home’s [...]

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    Brrrrrr – it’s cold outside! Taking a look at winter car idling


    Idling of cars costs money, consumes energy, and pollutes the air. But, when winter temperatures dip below freezing, many Americans intentionally idle their cars for long periods of time. The reasons why were discussed this month in detail in a series of articles by Chris Mooney*, who is leading the Washington Post’s new energy and [...]

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    Taking a closer look at the global oil supply/demand balance

    Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 10.25.07 AM

    Global oil prices are at their lowest levels in six years. Supply is up and demand increases are sluggish. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) oil prices have crashed by 60% since June. In Wednesday’s “Visualizing a global price oil crash in three charts” I discussed the IEA’s latest oil market report and their [...]

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    Energy in the 2015 State of the Union


    Tonight President Obama will address a joint session of Congress for the 2015 State of the Union. In 2009, his speech described that renewable energy would “transform our economy, protect our security and save our planet from the ravages of climate change.” By 2014, he highlighted natural gas as as “the bridge fuel that can [...]

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    Visualizing a global oil price crash in three charts

    Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 12.09.28 PM

    Since last summer, global crude oil prices have dropped by about 60%, from upwards of $110 to the current $45 per barrel. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the heart of this crash lies in simple supply and demand economics. That is, the fact that supply has surged far far ahead of demand. On [...]

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    How to Make Decisions in the Face of Uncertainty – The Future of UK Carbon Reductions


    The United Kingdom has been on a purposeful path toward a less carbon-intensive energy sector since passing the UK Climate Change Act in 2008. But, questions exist regarding the achievability of future carbon targets. The controversy was highlighted during discussions of the UK’s 4th carbon budget, which applies to the years 2023-27. These carbon budgets [...]

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    The Road to Paris and COP-21

    Wind and others form of renewable power generation need to be ramped up in order to meet climate targets. Image credit: Shutterstock.

    As 2015 begins, the road to the crucial COP-21 summit here in Paris (where I am based) is being outlined by the French government, the UN, and a huge number of other actors and NGOs. But the first big question might be, is it crucial at all? The 2009 UN summit in Copenhagen was famously [...]

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