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Sex is better with energy efficiency

Something  must be done about the abysmal marketing of energy efficiency.  Never has such a big energy story received so little love. In the pie-throwing contest that passes for energy dialogue in our political culture, Solyndra gets the ink, while the biggest story by far goes unreported.   Keystone dominates the headlines, while new fuel economy standards languish in obscurity -- even though they'll save far more oil than Keystone will deliver and create more jobs, at a fraction of the cost.  Clean energy naysayers offer a rhetorical choice between a "Keystone economy vs. a Solyndra economy", when the actual economy …

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Solving the climate crisis means saying yes and no

A version of this article originally appeared on Grip on Climate.

David Roberts here at Grist and Stephen Lacey at Climate Progress kicked off a good discussion last week about the roles of “yes” and “no” in climate work. This would-be schism dominates Climate Solutions’ strategy sessions, so I must weigh in.

Climate Solutions is a "yes" outfit. Roberts nailed our MO: We’re all about “forging of opportunistic coalitions.” We accept “compromise, tedium, and endless setbacks.” Roberts says “it’s just more fun to rage against The Man,” but we’re actually to the point where we revel in “the boring of hard boards.” Our mission statement even makes it sound romantic, adventurous: “ ... galvanizing leadership, growing investment, and bridging divides”!

Here’s the thing, though: With no meaningful climate policy commitment -- no binding emission limits, no carbon pricing, not even a clean energy standard -- the awesome work of building a clean energy economy is proceeding in parallel to the unfolding disaster of climate disruption, rather preventing it. We can say “yes” 'til we’re blue in the face, but we can’t call it “climate solutions” unless we stop the beast.

Read more: Climate Policy, Politics

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Newt’s win in South Carolina bodes well for climate

Photo by RJ.

How to explain the Gingrich resurgence in South Carolina? He harnessed anger and showed strength.

In an editorial, The New York Times calls his appeal to anger “the lowest form of campaigning.”

I disagree. I think the lowest form of campaigning -- the deadliest poison coursing through the American body politic -- is cynicism.

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Frame-out: Why reporters can't admit that Keystone Pipeline is a job-suck

Allow me to bury the lead. The Keystone XL pipeline is a climate disaster. I reiterate this, at the risk of what David Roberts calls "public flatulism," because this post is about jobs, and I don't want anyone to infer that any amount of jobs would justify committing climate suicide. IEA's warnings against imminent climate "lock-in" mean that any major investment in long-lived, capital-intensive fossil-fuel infrastructure must now be considered flatly immoral. So we quibble about jobs at the risk of blurring this moral line when we should be sharpening it. I hope I have mitigated that risk by naming …

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Next Xmas: A 1700 lb. lump of coal for every Washingtonian's stocking?

Gaping budget deficits. Record foreclosures. High unemployment. Surely, this would be the perfect time to choose jobs over the environment. That's what two Texas oil companies figured when they put Proposition 23 on the California ballot in November. The measure would have "suspended" California's Global Warming Solutions Act until unemployment fell below 5.5 percent. California voters rejected it overwhelmingly. Do you think Californians, with 12.4 percent unemployment, were saying, "We want climate solutions, not jobs"? Of course not. They were saying something much more positive: "Climate solutions ARE jobs, and we'll have both." The West Coast clean energy economy is …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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American Power Act — Climate Solutions’ initial reactions

This piece was co-authored by Ross Macfarlane. Sens. Kerry (D-Mass) and Lieberman (I-Conn) finally released the American Power Act (APA) on Wednesday, May 11, after months of internal negotiations, and nearly a year after the House passed its comprehensive climate and energy bill, (the American Clean Energy and Security Act or ACES). Climate Solutions is still reviewing its nearly 1000 pages, and will be developing more detailed responses and priorities for our advocacy work. But we wanted to provide some high level reactions to our friends and supporters, and highlight some of the areas that we will be working on …

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Obama to world in Copenhagen: ‘We will do what we say.’ Now tell it to the Senate.

"There is no time to waste. America has made our choice. We have charted our course, we have made our commitments, and we will do what we say." -- President Obama, speaking to world leaders in Copenhagen December 18 "Kan Han?" (Can He?) So implored the headline and full-page picture of President Obama on the front of the Copenhagen MetroXpress on December 18, the day the President flew in to rescue the climate summit. With negotiations on the verge of collapse, Obama narrowly averted a total disaster with a strong show of determination and some deft eleventh-hour negotiating. The talks …

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Global will is ripe. Leaders need to pluck it.

The "Copenhagen Accord" is terribly weak. Not just "weaker than it needs to be to prevent climate catastrophe." We knew it would be that, but hoped to emerge with a serious framework for real solutions. Formally, diplomatically, legally, we didn't get that. This truth is stark but indispensable. We shouldn't spin away from it. The Accord will include some positive developments: serious engagement by the U.S. and China, progress toward better accounting and verification, and real movement on climate finance - a critical issue that goes to the moral heart of the impasse. But it lacks legal and scientific integrity. …

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Not Reid, not Godot: The whole world is waiting for YOU Mr. President

The world is aghast. It’s fate, it seems, “lies in the hands of a few U.S. Senators,” as Tuvalu negotiator Ian Fry lamented in his plea for a real, science-driven deal here in Copenhagen. The collective forehead of humanity wrinkles at the prospect. Who are these people? A couple of them from North Dakota, representing 600,000 people (about 9% of the population of Mumbai’s slums), can prevent the world from rising to an emergency? A thought bubble floats above the Bella Center: “U.S. Senate: Huh?” A Japanese woman grilled me last night in broken but feisty English about the intricacies …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Fossil jujitsu to save climate talks?

This has always been the big duh of climate and clean energy policy: How ‘bout we start by ending subsidies to fossil fuel development?  Clean energy reform is hard enough, swimming against the killer tides of free carbon dumping, car-centered development, and oil-soaked politics.  Can we pleeze stop adding insult to injury by targeting scarce public money toward making it worse? Steve Kretzmann's the man on oil subsidies. Steve's formula is catching on here in Copenhagen:  End fossil fuel subsidies in the developed world and use the proceeds to open a pathway to clean development in the global South.  It's …

Read more: Climate & Energy