Climate & Energy

Fuzzy math

How much will it really cost to address climate change?

One of the consistent claims made by those opposed to policies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions is that the cost will be prohibitive. I have always been somewhat suspicious of this claim, however. When I started graduate school in 1988, the Montreal Protocol had just been signed. It required industrialized countries to significantly reduce the production of chlorofluorocarbons within a decade or so (the exact schedule of production reduction depended on the particular molecule). At the time, there were all sorts of apocalyptic claims being made about the costs and impacts of the Montreal Protocol: It will bankrupt us, it will force us to give up our refrigerators, millions of people in Africa will starve because of lack of access to refrigeration, etc. In the end, none of this was true. The cost of compliance was so low, in fact, that I'll bet most of you didn't even realize it when our society switched over from chlorofluorocarbons to the replacement molecule, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, in the mid-'90s. A few days ago, I came across a nice article from 2002 in The American Prospect by Eban Goodstein on this question of cost estimates:

Fast facts about cities, climate change, and sustainability

Less than 1: Percent of the earth’s surface covered by cities (1) 75: Percent of global energy consumed by cities (2) 80: Percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions contributed by cities (1) 6.7 billion: World population …

The carbon lobby is big enough already

Carbon trading creates perverse incentives

I've said before that one problem with greenhouse-gas emissions trading (as opposed to a carbon price) is that it creates a whole new lobby with incentives to build the emissions market at the expense of actual emissions reductions. Speaking at the Carbon Expo trade fair in Cologne, Germany, Ken Newcombe, a pioneering carbon trader who currently works for Goldman Sachs provided an example:

McCain speech reactions

Enviros respond to McCain’s new climate plan

John McCain unveiled his plans to address global warming in a speech Monday afternoon in Portland, Ore. The candidate called climate change a “test of foresight, of political courage, and of the unselfish concern that …

Speech, speech

Text of McCain climate speech

Here's text of the climate speech GOP presidential candidate John McCain gave today in Portland, Ore., his most major address on the issue to date. ----- Thank you all very much. I appreciate the hospitality of Vestas Wind Technology. Today is a kind of test run for the company. They've got wind technicians here, wind studies, and all these wind turbines, but there's no wind. So now I know why they asked me to come give a speech. Every day, when there are no reporters and cameras around to draw attention to it, this company and others like it are doing important work. And what we see here is just a glimpse of much bigger things to come. Wind power is one of many alternative energy sources that are changing our economy for the better. And one day they will change our economy forever. Wind is a clean and predictable source of energy, and about as renewable as anything on earth. Along with solar power, fuel-cell technology, cleaner burning fuels and other new energy sources, wind power will bring America closer to energy independence. Our economy depends upon clean and affordable alternatives to fossil fuels, and so, in many ways, does our security. A large share of the world's oil reserves is controlled by foreign powers that do not have our interests at heart. And as our reliance on oil passes away, their power will vanish with it.

'There's a better way'

New McCain climate ad aimed at independent voters

John McCain released a new television advertisement today to accompany his big climate policy speech in Portland, Ore., this afternoon. Here’s the ad: The ad illustrates McCain’s attempts to appeal to independents; climate change is …

McCain's climate plan

Republican candidate’s climate proposals better than expected but still behind the curve

On Monday, John McCain will deliver a speech on climate change from Portland, Oregon. In it he will lay out the framework for climate policy under a McCain administration. After a primary spent shoring up …

McCain to unveil new climate plan

GOP presidential candidate John McCain is slated to unveil his plans to address global warming in a speech Monday afternoon in Portland, Ore., where he’ll call climate change a “test of foresight, of political courage, …

What should Obama do in West Virginia and Kentucky?

Learning from the gas tax episode, Obama could treat rural whites like adults

Though the nation’s pundits have decided that the primary race is over, someone failed to get Clinton the memo — she is determined to stay in to the bitter end. The next primaries are in …

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