Page van der Linden

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Among many other things, Page is one of the Contributing Editors for, where her byline is “Plutonium Page”.

Page was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1969. Some of her earliest memories include learning the words to Malvina Reynolds' “Rain Song”, hiking in the Sandia Mountains, and becoming very aware about humans' impact on nature. You could say that she grew up an environmentalist, with a keen and critical eye for government and corporate spin regarding conservation issues.

She has had first-hand experience witnessing the environmental cost of the Cold War; part of her undergraduate Bachelor of Sciences work in Chemistry at Colorado State University was spent as an intern working with nuclear waste at the massively contaminated Hanford Nuclear Site in Washington State.

Regardless of her time spent as a professional chemistry nerd, the twists and turns of her life have always lead back to “bearing witness” to environmental issues. She has lived in Amsterdam (Netherlands) since 2005, and has been a volunteer and activist for both Greenpeace Netherlands and Greenpeace International. She is moving back to New Mexico in mid-April 2008, where she will continue her environmental activism.

Putting lipstick on the coal pig

When people argue that the use of coal and other fossil fuels is still cheaper than renewable energy they usually (and conveniently) fail to mention the external costs of fossil fuels that aren’t factored into the price of burning of these dirty fuels.

On the Wall Street Journal’s Environment Capital blog today there’s a great post explaining how:

“… fossil fuels remain cheaper because not all their costs are tallied—and that means pollution. Traditional power plants spew particulates into the air as well as carbon dioxide, but historically the cost of that pollution was not included in the pricetag for, say, operating a coal-fired plant.”

Read the entire WSJ post here:  AC/DC: What’s the True Cost of Electricity?

Coal 'Smells good, too!' [video]

Did you know that coal is so clean that it even smells good?

Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection/“Reality” coalition has put out a new ad.  It’s the sequel to their first ad, which revealed the truth about clean coal.

Watch it:

Mmmm… I’m off to buy some for the whole family!

Happy Holidays!

Nightmare On Coal Street: The Video

Earlier this week, President-elect Barack Obama announced his picks for his energy team, with Dr. Steven Chu to head up the Department of Energy.

Dr. Chu is not the happy holiday gift the “clean coal” folks were hoping for.

The blogosphere has been abuzz with something Chu said about coal in an alternative energy talk he gave at UC Berkeley in April 2007. The video of the talk is nearly two hours long, but we snagged the important bit, where he talks about coal.

Has Arctic sea ice loss become irreversible?

The party’s over, we had us a time..
We burned all the kindling…
Watched the last coals dwindling
And the ice melting down…

Eliza Gilkyson

Is the party over?

According to a new study by scientists at the NSICD (National Snow and Ice Data Centre), there’s a good chance that Arctic sea ice has melted beyond the point of no return.

Joseph Romm points us to a story in today’s edition of the UK’s Independent.  The news is not good:

Scientists have found the first unequivocal evidence that the Arctic region is warming at a faster rate than the rest of the world at least a decade before it was predicted to happen.

Climate-change researchers have found that air temperatures in the region are higher than would be normally expected during the autumn because the increased melting of the summer Arctic sea ice is accumulating heat in the ocean. The phenomenon, known as Arctic amplification, was not expected to be seen for at least another 10 or 15 years and the findings will further raise concerns that the Arctic has already passed the climatic tipping-point towards ice-free summers, beyond which it may not recover.

Politico Pimps the Global Warming Skeptics

For at least a year before the 2008 U.S. election, legions of political geeks were glued to a number of websites, from to The latter provided more or less excellent coverage, including the all-important electoral map.

But when it comes to the credibility of policy discussions, it looks like they’ve shot themselves in the foot. Via their “reporter” Erika Lovley, they are actively pushing the climate change skeptics’ agenda.

I’ll just give a big hat tip to Brad Johnson at Think Progress, because he sums it all up in one paragraph:

Erika Lovley, the Politico’s energy and environment reporter, today wrote a full-page article on the dying breed of global warming deniers that promotes their brand of toxic stupidity

Sarah Palin puts polar bears on thin ice

In May 2008, the polar bear was listed by the US government as a threatened species, and Alaska's government responded by filing a legal challenge. Alaskan politicians also scrambled to fund “research” proving that the bears are - you guessed it - not in any trouble at all. Of course, one of the first “scientists” they called is yet another global warming denier.

It turns out that Sarah Palin has played a starring role in the science fiction drama. The UK Guardian breaks the news.

Incoming Transmission From Planet Flat Earth!

In an alternate universe, where up is down, planets are flat, and hot is actually cold, lives a certain Republican Senator named James Inhofe. He has been known to travel to the US Senate and hold climate change hearings in which science fiction is introduced as “evidence” that climate change is a “hoax”, and in which individuals with questionable scientific judgment are called upon to profess their agreement with his views.

One tired argument that he and his oily friends have consistently brought up is that global warming is cyclical, and is caused by sunspots. Regardless of the fact that the “sunspots and cosmic rays” theory of global warming has been conclusively disproved (multiple times), Inhofe brought it up in today's Senate Environment and Public Works Committee meeting, citing the Farmer's Almanac as his “research” source.

Sarah Palin: From Climate Change Denier To Long-Winded Skeptic

In last night's interview with ABC's Charlie Gibson, Sarah Palin, shall we say, “bent the truth” regarding her stance on climate change. Jake Tapper has the scoop :

“Let me talk to you a bit about environmental policy, because this interfaces with energy policy, and you have some significant differences with John McCain,” ABC News' Charles Gibson said in his conversation with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. “Do you still believe that global warming is not man-made?”

Coal Industry's ACCCE mixes apples (coal) with oranges (wind)

Over at the Clean Coal Front Group Soapbox (er, blog), ACCCE Vice President of Communications Joe Lucas has a new post entitled:

All New Technologies Take Time to Develop

He basically claims that wind and solar power projects take an indefinite amount of time to become fully operational for commercial use, and therefore we shouldn’t be criticizing him and the “clean coal” industry for how long it will take carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) to become commercially feasible.

Simply put, his post is flat-out disingenous.

Here’s Lucas’ post:

A favorite sound bite from critics of the coal industry is that CCT and carbon sequestration aren’t viable energy solutions because they will take too long to develop. When pressed for an alternative, these critics repeat a mantra of their own: more wind, more solar.

And they’re right. We’re going to need every resource we’ve got to meet our future energy needs – wind and solar included. But just like clean coal technology, these renewables also need time for development. As we’ve discussed here before, we’re a long way from mass implementation of wind and solar power – there are still some kinks to work out.

Just this week it was announced that Oregon regulators have approved construction of a new wind farm that developers say could be the world’s largest. The only problem? They don’t know when it will be operational.

As we said, these things take time.

I contacted Jérôme Guillet, a wind energy expert, who has written multiple articles for the reality-based blogosphere. He had this to say about Mr. Lucas’ post:

[Since Lucas is] referring to that big Oregon windfarm that just got its permits, he’s chosen the wrong target. The longest part is usually the part before obtaining the permits - choosing the site, making wind measurements, asking for all the authorisations and permits, getting access to the land, etc… Once you have the permits, you’re usually less than a year or two from construction, which itself takes 6-12 months.

The article to which Lucas links is behind a subscription wall, so we have to do our own search for news about the Oregon wind farms. The wind farm is scheduled to go online in about two years, which goes along with Guillet’s statement.

Guillet continues:

So we’re talking a couple of years, a delay that could certainly be shortened if it were a real priority, because the project is, by then, designed, the technology is available and the construction is fairly simple. Comparing that to CCS which is not an industrially proven technology, where you’re talking about an unknown number of years before people will actually look at investing money into commercial projects, let alone build them, is patently silly.

Basically, if there are (or had been) any uncertainties with the Oregon project, they would have nothing to do with technical uncertainties; they would have to do with business logistics uncertainties.

Guillet nails it. Lucas’ assertions are silly.

Kentucky coal to liquid plan means more dirty fuel is on the way

There's only one energy source dirtier than coal-fired power plants and the oilsands: coal to liquid fuel. And today in Kentucky plans were announced for a $4 billion coal to liquid fuel plant.

The idea of converting coal to liquid fuel (known as coal-to-liquids or CTL) is not new.

In fact, the technology was developed in Nazi Germany during the 1930s to fill Hitler’s army vehicles with synthetic fuel derived from coal, since the country had lots of coal but no petroleum of its own.

The use of coal as a fuel for motor vehicles was further perfected by the apartheid regime in South Africa.