Climate & Energy

In China, we'll win or lose

China’s emissions are an argument for, not against, America taking action

The fight against global warming: China has clearly overtaken the United States as the world’s leading emitter of carbon dioxide, the main heat-trapping gas, a new study has found, its emissions increasing 8 percent in …

China’s carbon emissions highest in the world last year, study says

China’s carbon emissions were the highest in the world in 2007, exceeding those of its closest rival, the United States, by 14 percent, according to a new study from the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. The …

A preview

Climate chaos shuts down trains

The National Association of Rail Passengers reports that Amtrak is taking a pounding from the flooding in the midwest, making trips difficult or impossible and generally showing how we've managed to go from the finest rail system in the world to one that would shame Bulgaria (to steal Kunstler's line). Thanks, climate change!

Google plugs in

Notes from a plug-in hybrid conference

Silicon Valley came to Washington this week to talk about plug-in hybrids at a great conference organized by Google.org with Brookings. The combination of tech visionaries, electric cars on display, Washington heavy hitters such as John Dingell, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and even a couple of film stars, Peter Horton and Anne Sexton of Who Killed the Electric Car?, made for a great meeting. Here are my notes from the standing room only event ...

Drill on the Hill

Republicans expanding their drill base, at least to other Republicans

While Dick Cheney’s busy cheerleading for increased domestic drilling from the White House, House Republicans have been cooking up yet another bill to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to drilling. The bill, …

GHG policy thoughts, economics edition

The goal of climate policy is not high GHG prices

There's an implicit assumption in much of the climate policy debate that to meaningfully lower greenhouse-gas emissions, we need a high price on carbon. The assumption is wrong. Economics 101 In a market setting, price is a function of supply and demand. For a given commodity, prices will be high when demand outpaces supply and low when supply outpaces demand. Thus oil, for instance, is expensive. And autographed copies of my pen and ink cartoons are cheap (in spite of their rarity, I might add). A cap-and-trade system is an attempt to create a market around a particular commodity, namely GHG emissions. The same dynamic will apply: if demand for GHG reduction outpaces supply, the price of GHG reduction will be high; if supply of GHG reduction outpaces demand, the price will be low. If we pass a cap-and-trade policy that yields sustained high prices for GHG emissions, it will not be a sign of a successful policy. Quite the opposite: it will mean that the supply of GHG reduction is insufficient to meet the demand.

CEI-yai-yai

CEI deniers praise Andy Revkin, diss Tiger Woods

I'd like to thank the Competitive Enterprise Institute for publishing such an unintentionally informative and amusing newsletter. Rarely has the anti-scientific nature of global warming denial been so well stated in a mere two sentences: A scientist who says that the atmosphere is warming, and cites certain physical processes, is still a scientist. A scientist who argues that people must take certain acts to avoid disaster has become a priest. In other words, "A doctor who diagnoses your diabetes using medical tests is still a doctor. A doctor who tells you to exercise, change your diet, monitor glucose levels, and/or take insulin to avoid acute complications has become a priest."

Gas prices to peak soon?

EIA: Making the same mistake again and again

If you believe the Energy Information Administration, U.S. gas prices will peak at $4.15 per gallon in August. Whew. That's a suprise for most Americans, 86 percent of whom believe that prices will top $5 by the end of the year. We can be confident that the EIA -- the agency that does the country's official projection of oil prices -- knows what they're talking about. Yessiree. If you detect a note of sarcasm in my post maybe that's because the EIA has a hilarious record of forecasting world oil prices. And even when it comes to domestic gasoline prices, it's as if their forecasts are completely impervious to reality. To wit:

Notable quotable

Toyota and Honda could sure learn something from Chevy!

“I don’t have to tell you how sexy the [Chevy] Volt is. The Japanese and Chinese couldn’t possibly put out something that appealing to middle America.” – Andy Karsner, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and …