Business & Technology

Blankenship to reporter: 'You're liable to get shot'

Massey wins W. Va. Supreme Court case; not doing so well in public relations

A while back, a case against mountaintop-removal giant Massey Energy reached the West Virginia Supreme Court, which overturned a previous judgment fining the company. But then pictures turned up of Massey CEO Don Blankenship canoodling …

Asking the right question

The implicit assumption in Pielke Jr.’s Nature commentary

Can we beat global warming with existing technology? I said here that "nobody believes" we have the technology available today to tackle global warming. Gar responded: yes, someone believes it, namely me. Lindsay Meisel from …

Matt Drudge's misleading mashup bolsters right-wing fantasy World

Drudge hijacks headlines to sell global warming denial

From the Think Progress Wonk Room. Atop the Drudge Report right now: Do the stories behind these headlines tell the tale that global warming alarmists have "hijacked" the political debate despite a "lack of natural disasters" and no global warming "since 1998"? No.

Who owns your tomato?

Another big horticultural seed company bought by Monsanto

When Monsanto buys into a market, they buy in big. In 2005, Monsanto's seed/genetic trait holdings were primarily in corn, cotton, soybeans, and canola. That year, they purchased Seminis, the world's largest vegetable seed company (see And We Have the Seed) specializing in seed for vegetable field crops. Now their takeover of the vegetable seed sector continues, as they have announced the intent to purchase the Dutch breeding and seed company, De Ruiter Seeds.

IMF report says economic costs of climate-change action negligible

The International Monetary Fund said in a report released today that sharply reducing the world’s carbon emissions will cost relatively little economically if a carbon-pricing scheme is adopted soon that includes all the major-emitting countries. …

Solar’s new mega-plants

Good stuff. (Thanks, Brian)

The Big Lump gets thumped

King Coal’s year of rejection by banks, judges, and a lot of other folks

Earth Policy Institute just released this revelatory chronology of really sad, horrible, and depressing events in the life of the coal industry since February 2007. What's next -- will Santa be switching to lumps of dirt? Feb. 26, 2007: James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and a leading climate scientist, calls for a moratorium on the construction of coal-fired power plants that do not sequester carbon, saying that it makes no sense to build these plants when we will have to "bulldoze" them in a few years. Feb. 26, 2007: Under mounting pressure from environmental groups, TXU Corporation, a Dallas-based energy company, abandons plans for eight of 11 proposed coal-fired power plants, catalyzing the shift from coal-based to renewable energy development in Texas. April 2, 2007: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide and that EPA's current rationale for not regulating this gas is inadequate. May 3, 2007: Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signs a bill that prevents new power plants from exceeding 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per megawatt-hour of electricity generated, creating a de facto moratorium on building new coal-fired power plants in the state.

Van Jones on Colbert Report

Am I the only one who just doesn’t much like the Colbert Report? The interviews, especially. Colbert always comes off like a dickhead — that’s his shtick — but the guests are in a catch-22 …

When does additionality matter? Part 3

Almost always, but the reason is more subtle than you think

In two previous posts, I've attempted to establish that additionality is neither some strange concept relevant only to carbon offsets nor an awkward patch used to fix a defect in the design of carbon markets. Rather, the concept of additionality is applicable to any incentive system, whether subsidy, tax, or whatever. The real question is what degree of additionality is actually necessary or desirable in any given system. Put another way, when should we care enough about additionality to incur the costs of measuring and enforcing it? Those costs can be quite high, and the benefits sometimes uncertain. Let's return to one of my previous examples: the grocery store owner who offers coupons to lure new customers, even though most coupons will probably fall into the hands of old, non-additional customers. In this case, additionality is difficult to enforce, and the benefits of enforcement are low (because coupon programs don't cost much to run). High cost, low benefit: additionality isn't a concern. Now let's examine the carbon offset market. Here, the cost of measuring additionality is high, but the need is even higher. There are at least two reasons for this. The first is the obvious one: carbon offsets can be used to satisfy emission limits under a cap-and-trade program. Non-additional offsets undermine the cap. Good offset projects help to reduce the strain of carbon caps on the economy by lowering the cost of reductions. But too many bad offset projects threaten the whole system by allowing emissions to keep growing.

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