Follow me on Twitter: @JohnHQuigley

Friday, April 25, 2014

A swing and a miss on CCS/CCUS

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett - the nation's most vulnerable governor (for good reason) - in an election-year sop to the state's coal industry, has pledged "support, but no money yet, to a Wyoming-led project to develop a test center for capturing carbon dioxide emissions from a coal-fired power plant."

Research is not what is needed to propel CCS/CCUS - an essential technology in the fight against global climate disruption

Action is.

Under Corbett's predecessor, Governor Ed Rendell - in an effort that that I led - Pennsylvania staked out global leadership on an approach that can propel CCS deployment. Other nations are adopting that model. 

The approach was inspired and uniquely suited to Pennsylvania, with its prominence in science, engineering, technology - and its manufacturing base. With it would have come not only preservation of the state's coal industry and coal-fired power generation, but untold R&D and manufacturing jobs - jobs that can't be outsourced or off-shored. 

That pioneering model was consigned to the memory hole with Tom Corbett's inauguration - to the point that the studies that I link to were removed from state government web pages, which is why I had to resort to linking to them as I do.  

Governor Corbett's "pledge" misses golden opportunities for Pennsylvania.  Real leadership on the development and deployment of CCS technology, combined with wise energy policy, would provide a triple benefit. It would protect - indeed grow - Pennsylvania's economy as carbon emissions are constrained.  It would consolidate the state's gains as a natgas producer. And it would - and must - propel a renewable energy future.

Corbett whiffs on all these opportunities.  To our state's - and our planet's - peril.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Res ipsa loquitur

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. 

Apropos of this (and, sadly, of this), we have this from Gallup, finding that one in four Americans are "solidly skeptical" of global climate disruption

And then there's this, baldly illustrating the dysfunctional - and when it comes to climate, borderline suicidal - politics of the right.

Both Gallup's and The National Journal's analyses are illuminating, if depressing.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day 2014

I wrote this on Earth Day 2013.

I'm not sure I have much to add a year later.  Certainly, not much has changed on a global scale, except the increasing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and the ever-more-urgent dittoing

We know what we we need to do. Indeed, the economic impact of those actions would be surprisingly small.  The logic behind a clean energy policy is not hard to understand.  The Obama Administration gets it - it has done more on climate and renewable energy than all of its predecessors combined, without the credit that those moves deserve.

Still, public opinion on the urgency of tackling climate disruption lagsIdeology blinds. And the frog continues to slowly boil.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Boston (personal)

I wish that I was in Boston today.

A year and a week ago (on April 15, 2013), I ran the Boston Marathon for the second time. Four minutes after I finished, and moments after the finisher's medal was hung around my neck by a smiling volunteer, the bombs went off - one after the other - and the nightmare began.

I'll never forget the sound of those detonations, about 12 seconds apart.

I can still hear the crashing as the tables that were laden with food, water, and medals in the finish area were tossed aside to make way for emergency vehicles.

I can still hear the sirens, wailing out the city's shock and pain. 

I still feel the echoes of the heartache and angst that began moments after the finisher's medal was placed around my neck.

Today, we remember the lives lost, and those that were forever changed. We remember, too, the loss of innocence. 

But "Boston Strong" rose in its place in a powerful way that continues to inspire.

Today, the joy will be reclaimed.

This morning, the hallowed road from Hopkinton to Boston will be filled with 36,000 runners of every description, and their route will be lined with a million wonderful people cheering their lungs out for every single one of them, as they always do.  Maybe even a little louder, if that's possible.  I know it will be a glorious, triumphant, and cathartic marathon for every runner, every spectator, every wonderful volunteer, every vigilant public servant, for the great organizers, and for a city that I love

I wish that I was in Boston today. But my heart is there. And a piece of it always will be.