Category Archives: Destinations

A new coal plant for Victoria?

Like most ordinary citizens, energy news bewilders me. It’s arcane, complicated and irregularly analyzed by reporters. Despite my intrinsic interest in energy from a climate change perspective, energy news mostly slips past me in a blur of half-comprehension. My lack of a basic grasp of energy in my home state of Victoria, Australia was highlighted […]

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Coal execs grilled in public – the first of many such?

A US senate committee publicly questioned four coal execs a few days ago on ‘clean energy,’ etc. This is not something I can recall occurring before. Read the varying accounts (NY Times, Mother Jones, Grist) to get the flavour, but what I’m certain of is that we’ll get more societal inquisitions of the industry that […]

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Hansen’s book slipped through my net

I’m a great admirer of James Hansen, though not in agreement with all his prescriptions for the planet. His call to arms – Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity (what is it with never-ending titles these days?) – came out last December, so why […]

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Coal isn’t done by a long shot

For every encouraging news snippet like Lester Brown’s Grist piece called ‘Coal-fired power on the way out?‘, there’s one like this Bloomberg piece: ‘Coal beats solar as analysts favor Peabody while subsidies drop.’ No surprise really. As long as carbon incurs no price impact, the market will seek the cheapest right now. Moralists concerned about […]

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Pedantic at the stovetop

Julian Barnes’s The Pedant in the Kitchenwas written just for me, an enthusiastic but tabula rasa cook. On making risotto: As any domestic cook who’s ever made one knows, it’s virtually impossible to do anything during the final twenty minutes or so except stir, add liquid, worry; stir, add liquid, worry, and so on. At […]

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Writing pointers from 28 novelists

The February 20 issue of the Guardian contained something remarkable, 28 authors offering advice on how to write fiction (see here and here). It’s a hugely varied recipe book, ranging from terse to wordy, from flippant to earnest, but it’s definitely worth scanning. I noted the following snippets that chimed with me: Diana Athill: ‘Read […]

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Facebook and coal

I’m encouraged by a Grist post: ‘Does Facebook deserve the hell it’s catching from Greenpeace?’ Apparently Facebook’s planned humongous data centre in Ohio will be powered by local utility Pacific Power, which is mostly coal-based. Greenpeace is recommending (and I agree) that the social networking giant should use its size and clout to pressure Pacific […]

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McKibben dissecting the campaign against climate science

As a recent dropout from the corporate sector, the feral attacks on climate science and the scientists themselves are quite transparent to me. What puzzled me was why this savaging seems to actually work – doubts about climate science do seem have escalated. Why? Bill McKibben, in ‘The attack on climate science is the O.J. […]

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The skinny on American coal over 2009

Keeping in touch with what is actually happening with energy – the shifts and battles – is tough. Both the general media and the business press have their distorting prisms, which mostly focus on the sensational rather than the evaluative. So it was refreshing to read this 2009 roundup, published in yesterday’s Huffington Post, from Bruce Nilles, […]

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Best films of 2009

For a stay-at-home reader like me, seeing two films each week, one hundred annually, represents a major challenge, one I’m only gradually tackling. Even a hundred movies a year is barely sufficient for one to aspire to be a film fan. Over 2009, I managed to view 54 current or near-current movies, so I guess […]

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