Energy


I have been irresponsible (especially since I brought the case up in my class this week) in not blogging about AEP v. Conn. (here’s an earlier post), the case considers whether common law nuisance can be used to abate greenhouse gas emissions.  The case was argued before the US Supreme Court this week.  So here are some resources, from bloggers more timely than I, to get my readers up to speed.

The oral argument transcript can be found here.

SCOTUSblog’s case page and Argument Recap.

Commentary at Legal Planet here and here and here (my students will be interested in this last link related to nuisance and remedies).

Unfortunately, what is good for the American economy is not good for the environment, and this is especially the case when it comes to China and the rest of the developing world.  A newspaper article, entitled “Joy Global mines Chinese market,” illustrates the problem.  The article states:

Given robust demand for coal, copper, iron ore and other raw materials, especially in developing nations, mining equipment sales have soared in the last couple of years.  That’s good news for Joy Global and its competitor, South Milwaukee-based Bucyrus International.  The two companies dominate the market for electric mining shovels and draglines, which are some of the world’s largest machines.  Much of the sales growth has come from Asia, with China alone consuming about 3 billion tons of coal a year for power generation, compared with 1 billion tons in the United States.  China plans to build more coal-fired power plants as it brings electricity to rural areas. India burns 500 million tons of coal a year and is increasing coal consumption at a faster rate than China.  “It’s momentum that no one can stop.” Sutherlin said. “China, for example, isn’t going to stop industrialization in its western provinces. They want their share of the prosperity.”

The future of environmentalism rests on at least two prongs, (1) the change of the consumption culture of the Western world, and (2) helping the developing world reach the same level of prosperity through sustainable means.

reports the NY Times.

UPDATE: And this from Green Blog, Pressures Grow for Answers on Fracking

Asks Green.

I’ve already posted about Sweden’s attempt to lower their carbon footprint through food policy.  And while I remain a bit skeptical of some biomass energy sources, this article describes efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuels for heating in a Swedish city.

I’ve been reading various articles trying to figure out what have been the successes and failures at COP16 in Cancun so far, and came across this nice summary of happenings so far.

Green reports that the InterAcademy Medical Panel is urging a low-carbon diet and lifestyle.  This should come as no surprise, but perhaps is long overdue.  Many things that are ‘low-carbon’ are much healthier than the alternatives (and both healthier for your personal biology and the environment).  Examples abound: red meat v. chicken, chicken v. vegetable, walk v. drive, etc.  Sometimes the choices aren’t so clear.

Sweden, with it’s new dietary guidelines that take the environment into account, is on the cutting edge.  These recommendations have been suggested for a whole host of environmental reasons in addition to acknowledged health benefits.  For example, the guidelines account for the high climate impact of beef due to methane released in cattle digestion, the depletion of many fish stocks, the energy-heavy refrigerated transport required by delicate fruits and vegetables,  the fact that fiber-rich root vegetables are more likely to be grown outdoors than in greenhouses requiring fossil fuels, that water-soaked rice fields produce more greenhouse gases than potato farms, that oil palms are often cultivated on former rainforest lands, and even the high carbon footprint of plastic water bottles.

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