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Jesse Jenkins' Posts

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From Solyndra circus to clean energy reform

Steven Chu appears before the House Energy and Commerce Committee today.Cross-posted from the Breakthrough Institute. Step right up to see the latest chapter in the ongoing political circus surrounding the bankruptcy of solar manufacturer and federal loan guarantee recipient Solyndra. Today's main attraction: Secretary of Energy Steven Chu's long-awaited appearance before the eager Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Key questions remain about the ill-fated solar manufacturer's dramatic demise earlier this year. Unfortunately, investigations on the Hill long ago veered into the realm of political point-scoring, rather than a serious inquiry designed to improve federal support for …

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The Big Red Elephant in the Room

Climate challenge hinges on fueling China with clean and cheap energy

Originally published at the Breakthrough Institute. I've said it before and I'll say it again: When it comes to the global climate challenge, as goes China, so goes the world. Soaring CO2 emissions from energy use in China drive global greenhouse-gas trends. (Click for a larger version).Graph: CO2 ScorecardDriving that aphorism home, CO2 Scorecard, a not-for-profit project that closely tracks global greenhouse-gas emissions, now reports that China's CO2 emissions increased by 906 million tons in 2009 -- the second largest annual increase for any country in recorded history. China's soaring emissions were enough to completely offset the drop in emissions …

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Must Be Election Season...

Media controversy over stimulus-funded clean energy grant program lacks substance

The expansion of the Grand Ridge Energy Center in Illinois is one of many projects that has benefitted from the federal stimulus package. Photo: GE Cross-posted from the Breakthrough Institute blog. A slew of critical news articles about a clean energy stimulus program have suggested both that the program is a government boondoggle and that the Obama administration has inflated the number of jobs supported by the program. Both contentions are misleading. One article published by MSNBC, titled "Hot air? White House takes credit for Bush-era wind farm jobs," begins this way: The Obama administration is crediting its anti-recession stimulus …

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The little program that could

A small venture that could generate big results

Imagine a program that turns a relatively small initial investment into billions of dollars of U.S. economic growth, thousands of new Americans jobs, and groundbreaking technologies that change the way we use energy in this country and around the world. It would be a darling of innovators, the private sector, and policymakers. Sounds impossible for such a little program to generate such big results? Just like the little engine in the children's story that pulled the train over the mountain, the U.S. has a small venture that could generate big results. It's called the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy, …

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a package we can't live without

Stimulus driving clean energy innovation, manufacturing, markets — But what comes next?

Co-authored by Devon Swezey, originally published at the Breakthrough Institute The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has funded breakthrough innovation and new growth industries that are driving down the cost of clean energy and building the foundation for competitive 21st century U.S. industries, according to a new White House report released on the impacts of the U.S. stimulus bill. The report, "The Recovery Act: Transforming the American Economy Through Innovation," is notable for highlighting the multifaceted and relatively comprehensive clean economy strategy now underway with stimulus investments, and for the administration's welcome focus on making clean energy cheap. Yet while …

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In Defense of 'Energy-Only'

Over at NRDC, David Doniger writes a last-ditch defense of a diminished, utility-only cap and trade proposal while categorically rejecting any "energy-only" legislation -- e.g. legislation lacking a cap and trade component. Unfortunately, Doniger, NRDC (and EDF) wind up clinging onto a "cap" on carbon they have already given away while at the same time standing opposed to a new clean energy strategy that could still salvage a substantive win despite what little time remains on the Congressional clock. A flawed case against "energy-only" Doniger's case for rejecting any legislation without a carbon "cap" rests on this central argument: Unless …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Watch the shot clock

Democrats may waste last chance for clean energy win

With the final seconds ticking down on the Congressional clock, President Obama and Senate Democrats emerged from a White House summit with Republican moderates Tuesday still lacking any plan to score a last minute win for clean energy. Wasted opportunity Establishing a price (any price) on carbon pollution through a(n increasingly weak) cap-and-trade system continues to be the the preferred climate and energy approach of environmental advocacy groups and Democratic leadership. This preference holds despite the fact that for at least three years, that plan has consistently failed to uncover any route to securing the 60 votes necessary for passage …

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Clean energy COMPETES

Strengthening clean energy competitiveness through the America COMPETES reauthorization

This post was co-authored by Mark Muro and Rob Atkinson, and originally appeared at The New Republic. Having passed the U.S. House of Representatives on May 28, the America COMPETES Act, America's flagship competitiveness legislation, will soon be debated in the U.S. Senate. The Act was originally passed in 2007 in response to mounting concern that the United States was failing to effectively compete economically with other nations, imperiling the nation's future prosperity. Now, a new outbreak of anxiety has engulfed the nation's competitive standing particularly as regards the nation's fledgling clean energy industry. Presently, the United States lacks an …

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Clearing the Clean Energy Innovation Threshold

The latest from the Brookings Institution's Mark Muro is a perfectly succinct summary of how one should judge the coming Kerry-(Graham?)-Lieberman Senate climate and energy bill, reportedly scheduled for release this Wednesday: What is clear, though, is this: To get to a good bill senators need to deal properly with the revenue--whether from offshore oil drilling or pollution allowance auctions or whatever else is in the bill. And to do that they need to make sure a huge chunk of it gets applied to clean-energy research and development. Get that right and much else needn't be perfect. Blow that, and …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Reality Check

Clean energy jobs can be shipped overseas; here’s what to do about it

Politicians talking about clean energy jobs like to claim "they can't be shipped overseas." From President Obama's State of the Union to Rep. Ed Markey stumping for the climate bill he co-authored with Rep. Henry Waxman, the promise of new "green jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced" is an all too common refrain. The only problem with it is that it's wrong on its face. America is already exporting clean energy jobs -- or seeing them created abroad in the first place. After pioneering wind and solar power, electric cars, and nuclear plants, America turned its back on …