Nick Engelfried

Nick Engelfried

Posts by This Writer

11 years 5 months ago

Opponents of climate change and clean energy legislation like to present themselves as the voice of small business owners, who supposedly fear being put out of work by a scary being known as the “carbon tax.” Anti-climate legislation groups like the national Chamber of Commerce claim to be protecting Mom and Pop businesses when they lobby US senators to vote no on a bill like the American Power Act. Yet the Chamber of Commerce and like-minded organizations may actually be more worried about the interests of Big Coal and Big Oil...


11 years 5 months ago

The refrigeration industry in the United States and some other countries is a major contributor to the causes of climate change—and not just because refrigerators consume a hefty amount of electricity. Unbeknownst to the majority of refrigerator owners, most of these machines sold in the US make use of refrigerant compounds known as HFCs and HCFCs, which are potent greenhouse gases. According to Greenpeace, HFC and HCFC gases carry 1,400 times as much global warming potential as carbon dioxide, and are responsible 17% of the climate change felt on a global level. Though largely overlooked in most discussions of climate change, transforming...


11 years 5 months ago

Though the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may not be a direct climate change issue, it has introduced new urgency to efforts to pass a federal climate bill by reminding people across the US (and around the world) of the disastrous side effects of our reliance on fossil fuels. Since the oil first began gushing from a well in the Gulf this spring, thousands of people have been raising their voices to demand legislation that reduces US dependence on oil, addresses the root causes of climate change, and invests in clean energy alternatives to fossil fuels. Today saw the...


11 years 5 months ago

Perhaps the most frequently-touted argument against federal action to prevent climate change is that climate legislation would supposedly kill jobs. Yet the fact is that by investing in clean energy stimulating the green collar economy, passing a climate bill would most likely create far more jobs than it eliminates. An initiative launched by one climate action group, the Consequence Campaign, is seeking to focus lawmakers’ attention on how a climate bill could protect Americans from the effects of climate change while stimulating the economy. Specifically, the campaign asks recent college graduates looking for work to submit their resumes to lawmakers and call...


11 years 5 months ago

Nothing contributes more to climate change than burning coal. Though natural gas and oil also release greenhouse emissions when burned, coal releases more carbon into the air on a pound-for-pound basis than almost any other energy source. In the US, coal supplies about fifty percent of the nation’s electricity, but is responsible for eighty percent of the greenhouse emissions from the electricity sector. The single most effective step the US could take to reduce the causes of climate change is to move away from reliance on coal.

In recent years, coal’s health and climate change impacts have come under more and more scrutiny. The federal government has...


11 years 5 months ago

As bad news continues to stream in from the Gulf of Mexico, more and more people in the US residents—and across the world—are turning anger and frustration into positive energy. They are seizing this moment to protest against the industries that caused the disaster in the Gulf, and which are pushing the planet toward catastrophic climate change. The growing list of anti-oil demonstrations is one of the most promising signs that the public is waking up to the damage caused...


11 years 5 months ago

Whether the world wins or loses the fight against climate change will likely be defined by how countries like the United States deal with their vast reserves of coal. The most carbon intensive of all fossil fuels when burned, coal is responsible for 80% of US electric utility carbon emissions. If all or most of the coal deposits in the United States are mined and burned, there’s virtually no chance of avoiding the most catastrophic effects of climate change. The best way to fight climate change is to keep coal reserves in the ground. This week marked a stepping stone on the path to victory for those trying to slow rampant extraction of coal in the US.

On...


11 years 5 months ago

The BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill has focused the public on the toxic nature of oil in a way that nothing has for years. But some of the most environmentally destructive oil extraction projects in the world are moving forward with much less publicity or public scrutiny than the spill in the Gulf—at least so far. Perhaps if one good thing comes out of the Gulf oil spill, it will be that it inspires the public to look more closely at the environmental and climate change impacts of oil projects everywhere—including one of the fastest-growing sources of fossil fuel imports in the United...


11 years 5 months ago

This evening President Obama will make his first-ever Oval Office address to the nation, employing a platform which US presidents tend to reserve for moments of national crisis or disaster. Fittingly, the subject of the president’s speech will be the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill—perhaps the worst environmental disaster ever to occur in this country. It can be expected that Obama will use a large part of the speech to describe how intends to help communities in the Gulf region who are most directly by the spill.  But he should also seize this...


11 years 6 months ago

Does the cold and snowy winter of 2009-2010 disprove global warming? Not so fast. In fact the snowy weather conditions experienced in the United States and other parts of the world last winter may actually be directly related the planet’s overall warming. Scientists are now predicting that as the Arctic melts due to climate change, air currents will shift so that more cold air blows from far north down to North America, Europe, and eastern Asia.

Dr. James Overland of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says last winter’s cold conditions in many parts of the world can be linked to unusual conditions in the Arctic, where a warming of the...


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