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Climate & Energy

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Disinterested analysis

Banks want a cap-and-trade system

A coalition of banks, which stand to benefit enormously from the new business created by a cap-and-trade system, believe that a cap-and-trade system is the preferable climate policy. In other news, dog bites man.

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That spade is a spade

Unusually straightforward journalistic fact-checking at the Post

Huge kudos to Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson at the Post. You don't often see traditional journalists willing to call out the Bush administration's lies and distractions so plainly: Seeking to counter international pressure to adopt binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions, the Bush administration has been touting the success of three mandatory programs to curb U.S. energy consumption: gas mileage standards for vehicles, efficiency standards for home appliances and state laws requiring utilities to increase their use of renewable energy sources. But for most of the Bush presidency, the White House has either done little to promote these measures …

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Britain will phase out incandescent light bulbs

Britain announced a voluntary initiative today that will phase out traditional incandescent light bulbs in the country by 2011. Officials predict that phasing in compact fluorescent lights will keep up to 5.5 million tons of carbon dioxide a year out of the atmosphere. Brilliant! "Britain is leading the way in getting rid of energy-guzzling light bulbs and helping consumers reduce their carbon footprint," said Environment Secretary Hilary Benn, apparently forgetting that Australia actually led the way (and its legislation was mandatory, cough cough.) Could the U.S. be next to see the light?

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Quote of the day

Dingell gets off a zinger in a testy interview

"I run a legislative committee. Mr. Markey runs around the world watching glaciers melt." -- Rep. John Dingell Ouch. That comes from a characteristically testy interview Dingell did with Newsweek. It's worth reading the whole thing. I don't know what his intent is with this carbon tax bill, but I will say that the tenor of his message on global warming is politically disastrous. It is, paraphrasing, this: "Global warming is a serious problem. Solving it is going to involve considerable pain for everyone. Gas and electricity prices are going to rise. You're not going to be able to drive …

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Clinton Global Initiative: The view from China

China’s foreign minister talks climate and development

China's foreign minister Yang Jiechi focused on climate change during his moment in the CGI spotlight yesterday: For developing countries like China, whose level of economic development is still low and whose people are yet to live a better life, the most depressing issue for them is to grow the economy and raise people's living standards. Efforts to tackle climate change should promote economic development and not be pursued at the expense of the economic development. On the other hand, we must not fail to see that the economic development model of high-energy consumption, high pollution, and high emissions is …

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Michigan Rep. John Dingell drafts a carbon-tax bill

Michigan Rep. John Dingell (D) has drafted a carbon-tax bill and posted a summary to his website to solicit public feedback. In its current form, Dingell's legislation would phase in over five years a $50-per-ton tax on carbon and a tax of 50 cents per gallon on gasoline and jet fuel (after five years the tax would be indexed to inflation). The bill would also phase out tax deductions for homes over 3,000 square feet. A carbon tax is beloved by economists and other wonks as the most transparent, efficient means of cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. Voters, however, tend to hate …

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Environmentalism's existential moment

Shellenberger & Nordhaus respond to critics

The following is a guest essay by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, authors of Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility and "The Death of Environmentalism." Nordhaus and Shellenberger are managing directors at American Environics and the founders of the Breakthrough Institute. ----- This month the world celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the international treaty that phased out ozone-destroying chemicals. For environmentalists, the Montreal Protocol has long been a model for action on global warming. In the words of David Doniger, the climate director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, "The lesson from Montreal is …

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Solar Power 2007

Increasingly popular solar power conference mirrors growth in the industry

The heart and soul of the world's solar industry is gathered this week in Long Beach for the annual SEPA/SEIA solar conference. Five years ago, this conference drew 200 people to a dingy hotel ballroom in Reno. This year, it's sold out the Long Beach Convention Center, and you can't get a hotel room for love or money within a 20-mile radius. It's like the Super Bowl is in town. Solar has come a long way -- and there's a lot of things to thank for what's brought the industry to this point. Certainly, the world owes the German feed-in …

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Clinton Global Initiative: Clinton chats with the press

Bill Clinton wanted a carbon market back in the day, and he still does

Bill Clinton just gave a short speech and took a few questions from reporters. Some highlights: When they were in office, Bill Clinton and Al Gore wanted to create a global carbon market. At the time, Europe thought the idea undesirable and unfeasible and didn't offer any support. The effort failed. Now, years down the line, the world is a different place and the idea has much more purchase. Clinton, when asked for his thoughts on this, managed to turn all of his administration's supposed failures -- from health care to peace in the Middle East -- into examples of …

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American spirits

New poll shows Americans believe in global warming, want to do something about it

Another day, another poll. This one's a Yale University / Gallup / ClearVision poll run by Anthony Leiserowitz, who I've written about before. Unlike the one I wrote about earlier this week, this poll focused on the U.S. No huge shocks. Most Americans believe humans are causing global warming; strangely, they see themselves as ahead of the scientific consensus -- lots (40%) are under the mistaken impression that scientists still disagree about the existence of climate change. About half of Americans are seriously worried about climate change; the others think it's a danger to critters and icebergs but not them …

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