Climate & Energy

McCain's climate policy

A conversation with McCain policy adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin

Opinions differ on the quality of John McCain’s domestic policy agenda, but you’d have trouble finding anyone in Washington who would disparage the man he’s chosen as one of his top advisers. Douglas Holtz-Eakin has a dauntingly long resume and a reputation among policy wonks on both sides of the aisle for fair-minded number crunching. He has taught economics at top-notch universities, served as a senior economist in both Bush administrations, and run the Congressional Budget Office from 2003 to 2005 (where he was a "thorn in the side" of the current administration). He is now running the Center for …

Fortune Brainstorm Green

A discussion of climate policy downplays cap-and-trade

Now we’re getting into the nuts and bolts climate policy, with the following folks: The Hon. Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown, Jr. Attorney General State of California John E. Bryson Chairman and CEO Edison International Alexander "Andy" Karsner Assistant Secretary, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy U.S. Department of Energy Jonathan Lash President World Resources Institute Dan Reicher Director, Climate Change and Energy Initiatives Google.org No sense going over the details of this panel — probably familiar to most Grist readers — but there was one theme that came up again and again, worth calling out. The consensus, across parties, …

Bush's bread man

Baltimore baker takes on great quacking menace

Last week, The New York Times' David Streitfeld told the story of one J.R. Paterakis, a Baltimore "baker" who opposes the Conservation Reserve Program, which provides incentives to farmers to set aside their land for wildlife, clean water, and (incidentally) massive carbon sequestration. Seemed like an opportunity to deploy my rye wit. The program has been a huge success -- protecting 35 million acres of land and partially restoring the "duck factory" of the upper Midwest that fills the skies of North America with quacks and hunting opportunities -- so why has Mr. Paterakis put this great environmental success story in his sights?

McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin opens up on climate and energy

Douglas Holtz-Eakin. Opinions differ on the quality of John McCain‘s domestic policy agenda, but you’d have trouble finding anyone in Washington who would disparage the man he’s chosen as one of his top advisers. Douglas Holtz-Eakin has a dauntingly long resume and a reputation among policy wonks on both sides of the aisle for fair-minded number crunching. He has taught economics at top-notch universities, served as a senior economist in both Bush administrations, and run the Congressional Budget Office from 2003 to 2005 (where he was a “thorn in the side” of the current administration). He is now running the …

Fortune Brainstorm Green

Shai Agassi talks electric cars in Israel

I’m watching Shai Agassi, founder and CEO of Project Better Place, talk about the scheme he put together to fill Israel with electrical cars and recharging stations, with the ultimate goal of eliminating oil as a transportation fuel in the country. (He’s going to do it in Denmark as well.) (A side note: this meeting room is filled with Herman Miller Aeron chairs. Sweet!) I’m a little behind on the details (dude talks fast), but it’s a torrent of goodness. We’re talking about full-size, five-seat, highway-speed vehicles, thousands of charging stations all over the country (where a depleted battery is …

California utilities scuffle over cap-and-trade

California is well aware that reducing greenhouse-gas emissions is easier said than done. The state’s attempts to craft an effective cap-and-trade system are causing infighting among public utilities and their privately owned counterparts. Public utilities, which source more of their power from coal, protest that they’re going to end up paying out the nose to the state and seeing the money redirected into private utilities’ coffers. That means public utilities will be lining private utilities’ pockets instead of having money available to, say, boost renewable-energy capacity, they argue. But regulators say they don’t intend to create a scheme that allows …

Fortune Brainstorm Green

I flew down to Pasadena today for the Fortune Brainstorm: Green conference. There’s tons of interesting stuff on the agenda — a mix of corporate types and NGO types, technology and policy topics. I’m moderating a panel on Monday night called "Meet the Rabble Rousers," an informal discussion wherein activists answer questions about the rabble they’ve roused. It stars Mike Brune of the Rainforest Action Network, Sister Patricia A. Daly of the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment, John Passacantando of Greenpeace USA, and musician/activist/author Chuck Leavell. The panel starts at 9:30pm, after an entire day of presentations, a performance from …

Climate policy and purity tests

Enough with the internecine warfare over Lieberman-Warner

A lot of green folks of my acquaintance seem to have two and only two things to say about the Lieberman-Warner climate bill: It won’t achieve what science demands. Those who support it, even with qualifiers, even while pushing for improvements, are earth f*cking, corporate bootlicking sellouts. Maybe I’m just feeling kumbaya because it’s 4/20 (ahem), but I don’t much care for purity tests like this. Thing is, No. 2 does not necessarily follow from No. 1. It’s not enough to say that the bill doesn’t do what science demands. Of course it doesn’t. No bill, not even Sanders-Boxer, does …

Three-point plan

RFK Jr. advocates for cap-and-trade, renewables, smart grids

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s got a three-point plan for the next president. I think it would work.