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Clapping louder

Offsets are still counterfeit carbon credits

The arguments in favor of counterfeit carbon credits still fail no matter how often they are repeated   Common talking points(TP)  and replies(R) TP) Cap-and-trade will be too expensive if we don't do offsets. And then we need a higher cap! R) Counterfeit carbon credits are just a back door way to raise the cap. It is prioritizing the number printed in the law over actual emission reductions. TP) Offsets aren't counterfeit credits. Offsets rock! R) Offsets are inherently counterfeit. An offset compares the results of a project against what a consultant guesses would have happened if it had not occurred. …


Has Obama saved Detroit from itself — or is that simply impossible?

You’re all gonna own a part of GM, so please, fellow owners, let me know what you think! Readers of Climate Progress understand two inescapable realities that the overwhelming majority of policymakers, the status quo media, and the car companies (with one exception) do not: Peak oil is inevitably going to drive up gasoline prices to record levels within a few years, driving an inevitable switch to much more fuel-efficient vehicles and non-oil-based alternative fuels, of which by far the cheapest per mile is electricity. Avoiding catastrophic global warming requires sharp increases in fuel economy and a switch to low …


John Muir, Green Building Consultant

With green home venture, Sierra Club mixes profits with passion

Photo illustration by Tom Twigg / GristIt's not unusual these days for big green groups to get in bed with business, but one of the oldest and most-respected environmental organizations -- the Sierra Club -- is going them one better by getting into business itself. The San Francisco-based Sierra Club has launched a for-profit online venture called Sierra Club Green Home as a one-stop shop for information and services to green up your lifestyle and decarbonize your abode. Sierra Club Green Home is a joint venture between the 117-year-old institution and a group of individual investors -- or "donors" as …


Like rats from a sinking Blankenship

University president quits Massey board after green group campaign

After a 14-week campaign by green groups, Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee stepped down from the board of directors of mountaintop-removal mining company Massey Energy today. Ohio Citizen Action, then Sierra Club, Greenpeace USA, Earthjustice, and Friends of the Earth, said that Gee's relationship with Massey worked against his school's efforts to develop clean energy solutions. More from Ohio Citizen Action. This effort to isolate Massey is the lord's own work; longtime readers know my low opinion of Massey CEO Don Blankenship knows no bounds. (Blankenship bashing here, here, here, here, here, and here.) Watch the last half …


So how much would a $20/ton carbon price really cost?

First I said that we shouldn't confuse wealth transfers with economic pain. Then I said that a $20/ton carbon price works out to a 1.4 cent/kWh rate increase. Astute readers may have noticed a disconnect. (Isn't 1.4 cents/kWh economic pain?) Which brings me to the third and final part of this little series. Carbon prices v. use of carbon proceeds Let's review the electric sector math. In 2006, the sector was responsible for some 2,784,805,000 tons of fossil fuel-derived CO2 emissions. If we had a carbon policy in place at that time charging $20/ton of emissions, electricity generators would have …


Concentrated solar power goes mainstream

Lockheed-Martin to build large CSP plant with thermal storage in Arizona

What is the best evidence that concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) aka solar baseload is indeed a core climate solution with big near-term — and very big medium-term — promise?  One of the country’s biggest companies, Lockheed-Martin, with 2008 sales of $42.7 billion, has jumped into the race to build the biggest CSP plant with thermal storage. The CSP market was already exploding (see “World’s largest solar plant with thermal storage to be built in Arizona — total of 8500 MW of this core climate solution planned for 2014 in U.S. alone“).  Now big players are getting on board, as …


Do the math

Economic impacts of carbon pricing

Yesterday, I explained why we shouldn't confuse wealth transfers with taxes. Today, I fulfill my promise to follow up with math. (Contain your excitement!) On the theory that you should (a) stick with what you know and (b) avoid speculating on shoddy data, I'm limiting this math to the electric sector, but the conclusions are generalizable. How much does carbon pricing cost us on our electric bills? The surprising answer? Not much. In 2006, there was a total of 4,058,285,000 MWh of power generated in the US. 49% came from coal, 20% from natural gas, 19% from nuclear, 7% from …


Letter from Europe

In Copenhagen, it’s the same old business

Actress Cate Blanchett tried to warm business leaders' hearts on the subject of global climate change.Copenhagen Climate Council If Al Gore and Ban Ki-moon weren't able to get the job done, you might have thought Cate Blanchett would saved the day. But even an impassioned and remarkably erudite speech by the Oscar-winning actress failed this week to persuade world business leaders to go beyond mere rhetoric in pushing for action on climate change. The scene was Copenhagen, the site of this December's vital negotiations on a new deal to combat global warming before it runs out of control. The event …


Moving money from A to B does not cause it to disappear

Cap & trade: Carbon tax or wealth transfer?

It's an article of faith that cap-and-trade will raise our energy costs, but it's not necessarily true. The ubiquity of this faith makes clear that the Smart People who write, talk, and vote about CO2 policy don't really understand the issues. A quick discussion, and then some math to clarify. There are two core problems with the theory that carbon pricing schemes will raise energy costs: We habitually confuse sector-specific wealth transfers with economy-wide pain; the two are not necessarily the same. Rather than admit our failure to imagine how the world would adapt to carbon pricing, we tend to …


Duke Energy: We can ‘decarbonize’ without painful electricity price hikes

Major coal utilities are now publicly endorsing electricity decarbonization, an all but unimaginable position even 12 months ago.  And although Duke is a member of USCAP, which was the basis of Waxman-Markey, it remains remarkable that the company has joined the call for strong climate action (see How does Duke CEO Jim Rogers sleep at night, generating so much coal-fired CO2: “Lunesta”). Jim Turner, chief operating officer of Duke Energy Corp, explains the utility’s view in an Energy Daily (subs. req’d) column: For over 100 years electricity has powered the economic growth of this nation. In the last 30 years, …