Climate & Energy

The best technology to protect the earth

Concentrated solar thermal power: a core climate solution

Other than energy efficiency (see here), I don't believe any set of technologies will be more important to the climate fight than concentrated solar power (CSP). I have a long article on CSP in Salon: "The technology that will save humanity: The solar energy you haven't heard of is the one best suited to generate clean electricity for generations to come." OK, maybe "will" should be "may help" (I'm an optimist, sue me!) and readers have heard about CSP for a while. But I do think CSP deserves much more attention: It is the best source of clean energy to replace coal and sustain economic development. I bet that it will deliver more power every year this century than coal with carbon capture and storage -- for much less money and with far less environmental damage ... How much less? Many industry experts told me CSP will likely deliver power for well under $0.10 per kilowatt hour fully installed in the next decade. What is its market potential? I think it could be more than two wedges, which is several thouand gigawatts:

Gore’s Law

Modelled after Godwin’s Law, here is Gore’s Law: As an online climate change debate grows longer, the probability that denier arguments will descend into attacks on Al Gore approaches one. (via Deltoid)

An additional note on additionality

Carbon projects ‘under attack’ as U.N. clamps down

This is timely. The Wall Street Journal ran a page 1 story on Sunday on the travails of the major developers of carbon reduction projects in the developing world, as standards for additionality and carbon accounting grow more stringent. Such projects are certified under guidelines established by the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism. As the U.N. has tightened its oversight with each succeeding version of the CDM, early entrants have found themselves squeezed, forced to write down large quantities of carbon credits: In mid-2006, there was an early hint that regulators were toughening their stance. The issue: manure. Decomposing manure at farms emits methane, a greenhouse gas. The projects involve placing a tarp over the manure to capture and dispose of the rising gas ... But in 2006 the U.N. tightened its rules, requiring animal farms to measure the amount of methane they were capturing rather than simply estimating the number based on a formula -- and use the lower number. That move slashed by more than one-third the number of credits a typical animal-waste project would produce for sale.

Bush prepares to give climate speech

As suspected, President George W. Bush will spell out a strategy for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions in a speech today. According to a White House official, “He’ll set a national economy-wide goal of stopping the growth of greenhouse gas emissions by 2025,” but will decline to outline a specific plan. Bush will reportedly also say that he wants to put the brakes on greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants within 10 to 15 years, but will voice opposition to abandoning nuclear or coal power. He also reportedly opposes meeting his new target by raising taxes or imposing trade barriers, and instead will …

A decarbonization story: Part 1

Why a carbon price beats technology breakthroughs

The decarbonization data makes clear that if you want to beat 450 ppm and avoid catastrophic climate impacts, a significant price for carbon (plus aggressive technology deployment) is much more important than technology breakthroughs. That is a central point of this post. That is what I learned in the mid-1990s when I helped to run the billion-dollar office at DOE in charge of federal clean energy technology breakthroughs and deployment -- and had the chance to work with the top scientists and technology modelers at the national labs to figure out how we can cut emissions most quickly and cost-effectively. The pursuit of the Holy Grail of multiple technology breakthroughs is, in fact, a side show -- and for many, like Bush/Luntz/Gingrich/Lomborg, that pursuit is meant as a complete rhetorical distraction to the public so we can continue to avoid action, as I have repeatedly blogged. It was specifically designed by conservative strategist Frank Luntz as a core delaying strategy.

Chevron throws hissy fit that anti-Chevron activists received award

Chevron is throwing a hissy fit over the Goldman Environmental Prize awarded to two Ecuadorian activists who want the oil company to clean up pollution in the Amazon rain forest. Texaco, which was acquired by Chevron in 2001, dumped 18.5 billion gallons of petrochemical waste in the Amazon between 1972 and 1992. Lawyer Pablo Fajardo and community organizer Luis Yanza won the Goldman Prize for spearheading a lawsuit against Chevron, saying it should be responsible for cleanup. But Chevron claims that a $40 million cleanup by Texaco in 1992 was sufficient. Chevron says through spokesfolks that the Goldman Foundation was …

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