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Making things out of wood sequesters carbon, turns out

One telling point that carbon tax advocates make against cap-and-trade systems is that they create an enormous incentive for rent-seeking. Now it seems the timber industry is getting in on the game. Via Greenwire (sub rqd), this has my BS alarm all a-ringin': [Timber] Industry groups are lobbying Congress and making a public relations push to promote privately managed forests as carbon sinks -- a bid for a place in potential cap-and-trade schemes for greenhouse gas emissions. The industry's congressional testimony, posters and educational materials promote the potential for carbon storage in young, growing forests managed by timber companies and …

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Virgin Festival ‘near-zero waste’ for first time

The two-day Virgin music festival next weekend at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore will feature performances by The Police, The Smashing Pumpkins, and the Beastie Boys, as well as some bettin' on the ponies (!) -- but organizers are also gambling on concert-goers to "green it like they mean it" as they plan for a "near-zero waste" event. Certainly, the festival is not treading in virgin territory -- the green music thing has been done. And perhaps, with the Sir Richard connection, the move is not entirely unexpected, either. But Virgin seems to be the first to corral a Hollywood …

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Solar has arrived

Pacific Gas & Electric is buying 550 MW of concentrated solar. It's one of the biggest solar purchases ever, from what will be the world's biggest concentrated solar plant. The company is trying to conform to California's mandate that it get 20% of its power from renewables by 2010. According to Mr. [Fong] Wan [VP for energy procurement], about 12 percent of P.G.& E.'s electricity today comes from renewable sources, divided somewhat evenly among wind, biomass, small hydropower and geothermal. (California does not count traditional large hydroelectric dams toward the quota.) The contract with Solel would add nearly two percentage …

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Borrowing and banking carbon — the new black

So you want to have greenhouse gas standards with teeth, but you want to minimize the risk they take too big a bite from the economy. And, of course, like me, you don't like the safety valve idea. What do you do? Banking and borrowing, of course. With "banking," the right to emit carbon can be saved for future use. With "borrowing," current emissions are extended against future abatement. What is fascinating is that today a detailed banking and borrowing proposal, "Cost-Containment for the Carbon Market," was put forward by four moderate senators -- Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), …

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For reducing the climate crisis

There are ongoing debates about the best way to address global warming, with most centering on whether a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade scheme is best (or some combination of the two). There are also some lively, though less extensive, debates about the extent to which we should balance our attempts to reduce global warming with mitigating its effects. I would like to shift the focus a little and ask the question: which policies will best promote technological innovation? Simple demographics and economic trends make it impossible to significantly curtail greenhouse gas emissions without major technological advances. By the end …

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How coal CO2 is different from oil CO2

Our top climate scientist has sent out a really, really long email (where does he find the time?), mostly discussing comments on his recent essay on coal. I think Hansen is the clearest thinker on climate among the top scientists in the field, so I will reprint the email, breaking it up into several postings. The first one addresses "Coal-CO2 versus Oil-CO2": My statement that releasing a coal-CO2 molecule into the air is more harmful than setting free an oil-CO2 molecule caused puzzlement. Of course the molecules are identical. What I want people to recognize is a way of framing …

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GM will offer clean diesel passenger cars in 2010

GM is planning to bring diesel Saturns and Caddies to the U.S. market in 2010. (A Caddie that gets decent mileage? Who'd have guessed?) They join Nissan, Honda, DaimlerChrysler, and of course Volkswagen in planning to market clean diesels that will meet the new 2008 regulations on NOx and particulate emissions from diesel vehicles. Missing from this list of diesel adopters is Toyota, which is saying that clean diesels "... would end up being more expensive than gasoline-electric hybrids," a market segment which it dominates.

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Oh, the excitement!

Speaking of the Lieberman-Warner hearing on carbon legislation: it's going on right now, and Brad over at HillHeat is liveblogging it.

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Like Christmas for nerds

For the hardcore dorks out there, the U.S. EPA has just finished an extensive economic analysis of Senate Bill S.280, the Lieberman-McCain Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act. This analysis is likely to carry considerable weight as Lieberman and Warner put together their new cap-and-trade bill. I'm going to look at this a bit later and report back with details.