Climate & Energy

Nukes to me

More on the nuclear portion of McCain’s big climate speech

What’s the deal with John McCain’s nuclear love affair? It’s a question on many people’s minds after the candidate’s big climate speech yesterday. While McCain has argued repeatedly that he’s opposed to subsidies for the nuclear industry, he stresses the need to support the nuclear industry and fund nuclear R&D. The most recent incarnation of his Climate Stewardship Act, introduced in January 2007, would authorize more than $3.7 billion in federal subsidies for new nuclear power plants, according to an analysis by U.S. PIRG and Public Citizen [PDF]. Here’s the key nuclear ‘graph from his speech yesterday: New research and …

How's that for an incentive?

Drink beer, fight climate change

Many efforts to fight climate change involve some kind of sacrifice. This invention, however, merely requires the drinking of lots and lots of beer. I see it as a game-changer in the debate over the best way to incentivize a solar market.

McCain's answers

A Q&A on John McCain’s climate platform, issued by his campaign

The following is a Q&A on John McCain’s climate platform, released on Monday by the McCain campaign. I’m posting it here because it gets into more detail than any other published material I’ve seen. —– Q&A: John McCain’s Climate Platform How does cap-and-trade work? • Cap-and-trade is a mechanism that would set a limit on greenhouse-gas emissions (GHG) and create permits or rights to emit equal to the limit on GHG emissions. • Entities that are required to reduce their emissions can do so by: (a) directly reducing their emissions, (b) buying (if needed) or selling (if they have extra) …

And I would have gotten away with it, if it wasn’t for you meddling kids!

One thing you frequently hear from nuclear proponents is that nuke plants would pencil out fine if not for all those pesky safety regulations, NIMBYs, lawsuits, protests, and other political ephemera. If we could just get rid of that stuff! But that’s a market democracy. It’s not like failing because everyone hates you and tries to keep you away doesn’t count or something. Costs are costs.

The renewable energy beneath our wings

Bush DOE says wind can be 20 percent of U.S. power by 2030 — with no breakthroughs

The Bush administration has signed off on a stunning new report [PDF], "20 Percent Wind Energy by 2030: Increasing Wind Energy's Contribution to U.S. Electricity Supply." I am working on a big wind article for midweek, but here are the key conclusions of what is easily the most comprehensive and credible report released on wind power in a decade:

What Phoenix, the poster child for environmental ills, is doing right

Can Phoenix remake its desert-gobbling ways?In order for Phoenix to truly be a green city, it would have to be brown. Or not brown, exactly, but the sandy shade of the mountains that surround it: the jagged peaks and parched hills that enclose the Valley of the Sun. These days, though, Phoenix is a less-natural shade of brown; a ring of smoggy pollution known locally as the Brown Cloud shadows the city. And that’s not the only affront to the environs here. Anyone flying in can see the patches of fierce green lawns that paint the landscape, along with the …

U.S. could get 20 percent of energy from wind by 2030, says DOE

Wind power could meet 20 percent of U.S. energy demand by 2030, according to Energy Department calculations, even though currents currently provide a mere 1 percent of U.S. electricity. Making the leap would be “ambitious” but “feasible,” says the report: it wouldn’t require technological breakthroughs, but would necessitate the construction of 75,000 new and improved turbines and a major expansion of the electricity grid. If wind did hit that 20 percent marker, it could eliminate 25 percent of the greenhouse gases currently spewed by natural-gas and coal power, as well as reducing water consumption by 4 trillion gallons. The cost, …

McCain's offsets

What would the use of carbon offsets mean for McCain’s climate policy?

To me the most striking element of McCain’s just-released carbon cap-and-trade plan is that it would, at least at the outset, allow regulated entities to achieve 100 percent of their emission reductions through the purchase of domestic or international offsets. By way of comparison, the Lieberman-Warner climate bill headed for the floor of the Senate caps the contribution of offsets at 15 percent, and requires that all the offsets be from domestic projects. This is a genuinely radical feature of McCain’s plan, and it isn’t getting nearly enough press. The offsets provision does give McCain some cover with conservatives and …

BRIC douse

McCain waters down language on climate dealings with China & India

The original text of John McCain’s Monday climate speech raised the specter of economic penalties for developing countries if they don’t join international climate efforts, but the candidate dropped that reference when actually delivering the address. As the Associated Press puts it: The GOP presidential contender … prodded China and India — two major emitters of the greenhouse gases blamed for the planet’s warming — to join the effort, although he muted planned talk of tariffs against them in favor of “effective diplomacy” to encourage their compliance. An aide later said the Arizona senator didn’t want to be interpreted as …

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