Some good energy news: US wind power installations are projected to jump 63 percent this year amid concern about global warming and rising fuel prices, an industry group said on Wednesday. The US wind industry is on track to complete a total of 4,000 megawatts worth of installations in 2007, or about enough to power 1 million average homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association [AWEA]. Tip o' the hat to state renewable energy standards and the federal production tax credit. You can get more details from the AWEA website, including the third-quarter market report. Here are some state highlights: Texas again added the largest amount of new wind power generation (600 MW). Colorado installed 264 MW and now ranks as the state with the sixth-largest amount of wind power generation. Washington, with 140 MW of new wind capacity, pulls ahead of Minnesota into fourth place. So yes, climate progress does occur, when the government works at it. This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. ----- We've seen in Part I that the political climate is changing. How should presidential candidates talk about climate in the 2008 campaign? My advice to the candidates is to love the global warming deniers and delayers to death and to handle the economic issue head-on. Invite them into constructive discussion. Elevate the dialogue. Emphasize without stopping or deviation that climate change is not a partisan issue, and it should not be a political issue. Talk about the massive new global markets awaiting innovative American technologies, about climate change as the next great challenge for the nation's genius, about how tackling climate change is our path to security and prosperity in the 21st century. It happens to be the truth. Follow Barack Obama's example of truth-telling. He had the guts earlier this year to tell the Detroit Economic Club that we need to raise CAFE standards. He won praise from Time columnist Joe Klein this week for refusing to pander to voters. Klein spent a day with Obama in Iowa and watched him handle a question about global warming. Obama talked about the need for a cap-and-trade regime to reduce carbon emissions, then said: "One of the themes of this campaign is to tell voters what they need to hear, not just what they want to hear ... So I've got to tell you there will be a cost to this -- and the utility companies will pass it along to consumers. You can expect a spike in electricity prices." Then he added the critical message: new technologies will eventually bring prices back down. Obama also could have said this:
This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. ----- In addition to his Oscar and Nobel Prize, Al Gore may be in line for the title of Prognosticator of the Year. Last January while I was attending his training program in Nashville, Gore predicted that by the time of the 2008 presidential election, climate change would be the hottest issue in the race. That prediction hasn't come true yet, but things are moving that way. Climate change is emerging like a tropical storm building to Category 5. It may become the issue that most clearly defines the candidates' courage, vision, ability to unify the nation, and willingness to be honest with the American people. "The most remarkable thing about the environmental debates taking place in this year's presidential campaign is that they're occurring at all," Time magazine reported this week. "Once the stuff of a few hug-the-planet bromides in green states like Vermont and Oregon, the environment is one of the hot topics of the 2008 campaign."
John Podesta and Peter Ogden of the Center for American Progress have written a chapter titled "Global Warning: The Security Challenges of Climate Change," for a report called "The Age of Consequences: The Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Global Climate Change." They describe their work as follows:
The final part of "MidEast Oil Forever?" (subs. req'd) discusses pollution prevention. I think the discussion still holds up, and as you can see, I am no Johnny-come-lately to the global warming issue. What is particularly sad about the Bush administration, is that while they eschew the anti-clean-technology rhetoric of Reagan and Gingrich -- indeed claim to be pro-clean-technology, they have gutted some of the best clean tech and energy efficiency programs. In particular, they have slashed the budget for the Energy Department's major pollution prevention effort, the Industries of the Future program (described briefly in the article), and the president has proposed zeroing it out entirely. This administration's energy and climate policy make the final sentence of this article, sadly, as true as ever: "Only a misbegotten ideology could conceive a blunder of such potentially historic proportions." Here is what we wrote:
After the introduction and an explanation of "The Coming Oil Crisis" and "Abandoning the Solution," the next part of "MidEast Oil Forever?" (subs. req'd) is a discussion of the "The Renewables Revolution." One of the great energy tragedies of the 1980s is that President Reagan gutted the renewable energy R&D budget (and the entire clean energy budget) -- a stunning 90% cut in key technologies -- just as America was assuming technological and marketplace leadership in core areas like wind and solar power. One of the great energy tragedies of the 1990s is that the Gingrich Congress blocked the Clinton administration's efforts to significantly ramp up renewable and clean energy funding, which could have restored U.S. leadership in technologies that even then were obviously going to be the foundation of major job-creating industries in the coming century. Here is what we wrote on renewables:
After the introduction and an explanation of "The Coming Oil Crisis," the next part of "MidEast Oil Forever?" (subs. req'd) begins the discussion of the technology-based solution -- and how the Congress is working to block it. Yes, long before Shellenberger & Nordhaus claim to have pioneered the positive technology message that everyone else supposedly never tried, many of us were waging a public death-match (without their help) to save those technologies -- especially since the Gingrich Congress was dead set against a regulatory approach, such as tougher fuel economy standards. Even back in 1996, we understood the promise of cellulosic ethanol and hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles -- though after years of trying, we could never get Detroit to give them any more than lip service. Back in the mid-1990s, I still had some optimism for hydrogen fuel cell cars -- but the inability to make key breakthroughs over the past 10 years, and the realities of the alternative fuels market, have since persuaded me it is a dead end, especially from the perspective of global warming. Here is what we wrote:
After the introduction, the next part of "Mideast Oil Forever?" (subs. req'd) predicted in 1996 that we would have an oil crisis in ten years, and that we would be in a weak position to respond if Congress succeeded in gutting our clean energy programs. That may seem obvious now, but oil prices were low in the mid-1990s -- in the previous three years, oil prices had averaged about $16 a barrel -- and only a few oil/security analysts (whom we cite) were raising alarms. This prediction proved to be right in the main, and I am especially proud of the final paragraph in this section, where we made what was, at the time, a fairly original geostrategic argument that has been proven all-too-true. Here is what we wrote:
TO: William Anderson, assistant Air Force secretary FROM: Climate Progress, blog SUBJECT: Your nonsensical claims in a recent Reuters piece, "US Air Force Eyes Alternative Fuel, Slashing CO2." EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Liquid coal cannot be part of a plan to "zero out" the Air Force's carbon output -- contrary to your repeated claims. BACKGROUND: The following press release masquerading as a genuine news story appeared this week: The world's most powerful air force is seeking to wean itself from foreign oil and nearly zero out its carbon dioxide output as part of a sweeping alternative energy drive, a senior Pentagon official said on Friday. Well, that certainly would be big news, if it were actually true. The press release story continues: