Stephen Lacey

Stephen Lacey is a reporter with Climate Progress covering clean energy issues. He formerly worked as a producer/editor at


Canadian fakin': Officials admit lack of evidence for cleaner tar sands

Tar sands: Getting cleaner all the time. Promise.Photo: NWFblogsCross-posted from Climate Progress. Canada was once seen as a progressive leader on environmental issues. Today, the country is becoming an international pariah when it comes to climate change — facing fierce criticism from environmental groups and world leaders over its decision to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol and push dirty tar sands around the world. It’s not just verbal criticism. The Europeans are currently considering a law that would label the carbon content of tar-sands crude in the E.U. as 22 percent higher than conventional crude. That would discourage refiners, …


Pipe dreams: Boehner insists pipeline can be approved by deadline

Cross-posted from Climate Progress. Congressional Republicans are sticking to their attempt to force a rushed decision on the controversial Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline. Speaking on Meet the Press yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner called the need for more environmental review “nonsense,” claiming “all the studies have been done.” As part of a package to extend the payroll tax cut as President Obama requested, Republicans have thrown in a major political and climate bomb — a mandatory 60-day decision on Keystone XL, the proposed 1,700-mile pipeline that would bring energy- and carbon-intensive tar-sands crude from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries. The pipeline …

Climate Policy

What can we expect from the Durban climate talks?

Cross-posted from Climate Progress. Next week, Climate Progress will be heading to the COP 17 climate conference in Durban, South Africa, to report on any developments coming out of the meeting. Hopes are not high for any major progress. But Andrew Light, coordinator of international climate policy at the Center for American Progress (CAP), warns against making assumptions about what will or will not happen. Since the failure to get an international climate treaty in 2009, negotiators have focused on setting aside funds for adaptation and mitigation programs in developing countries. One of the goals at this year’s meeting will be …

Business & Technology

Google phases out clean energy R&D in favor of deployment

Cross-posted from Climate Progress. Buried at the bottom of an innocuous “spring cleaning” post on Google’s blog yesterday, the internet giant made a very important announcement: It will stop funding its Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C) initiative. But that’s not the whole story. And if you believe the headlines — “Google Abandons Renewable Energy Push” or “Are Google’s Green Days Over?” — you might think this is a negative development. But if you look at the details, it’s a story about how the company is adapting to a changing market and actually increasing investments in renewables. Announced in 2007 …

Solar Power

China set to surpass U.S. in solar installation

Cross-posted from Climate Progress. With European solar markets in decline, the industry is looking for the next hot solar region. Even with political troubles in the U.S., companies still see America as a good long-term bet. (And let’s remember, Europe’s slowdown doesn’t mean the region is going to stop being a major player.) But analysts now see the Asia Pacific solar market as the Next Big Thing, driven largely by growing domestic demand in China. For the first time this year, China may surpass the U.S. market, according to analysis from NDP Solarbuzz. Historically, that country has been a supplier …

Solar Power

Will Bill O’Reilly live up to his word and go solar?

Time for O’Reilly to put his money where his mouth is.Photo: Justin HochCross-posted from Climate Progress. Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly likes to say he operates in a “no spin zone.” So when O’Reilly proclaimed recently that he wanted to install solar panels on his Long Island home, dozens of solar companies in New York took him at his word. Speaking on his show to Alan Colmes last week, O’Reilly said he was ready to buy a solar system, but that he couldn’t find anyone in the area to do it: “There’s nowhere, no one,” he exclaimed. Well, his predicament …

Climate Policy

Cap-and-trade program fuels economic growth in Northeast

Cross-posted from Climate Progress. A new report finds that America’s first mandatory, market-based carbon cap-and-trade system added $1.6 billion in value to the economies of participating states, set the stage for $1.1 billion in ratepayer savings, and created 16,000 jobs in its first three years of implementation. Says Susan Tierney, managing principal at the Analysis Group, which produced the report: We tracked the dollars spent, and RGGI [the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative] generates greater economic growth in every one of the 10 states that participate in RGGI than would occur without a carbon price. The states’ auction of the CO2 …

Wind Power

Wind electricity to be fully competitive with natural gas by 2016

Photo: Vlasta JuricekCross-posted from Climate Progress. The best wind farms in the world are already competitive with coal, gas, and nuclear plants. But over the next five years, continued performance improvements and cost reductions will bring the average onshore wind plant in line with cheap natural gas, even without a price on carbon, according to analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). After analyzing the cost curve for wind projects since the mid-1980s, BNEF researchers showed that the cost of wind-generated electricity has fallen 14 percent for every doubling of installation capacity. These cost reductions are due to a number …

Energy Policy

Polling reveals that being anti-clean energy is bad politics

Perry wants to end all energy subsidies. Photo: Gage SkidmoreCross-posted from Climate Progress. Anyone who cares about addressing climate change and strengthening America’s economic competitiveness knows that being anti-renewable energy is terrible policy. Turns out, it’s bad politics too. A new poll conducted by ORC International for the nonpartisan Civil Society Institute finds that 77 percent of Americans — including 65 percent of Republicans surveyed — believe “the U.S. needs to be a clean energy technology leader and it should invest in the research and domestic manufacturing of wind, solar, and energy efficiency technologies.” The poll found that Americans support …

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