Climate & Energy

Paul Revere rides again

Hansen marks 20th anniversary of landmark testimony to Congress with renewed call to action

James Hansen. Photo: nasa.gov It was a sweltering June 23 in Washington, D.C., when climatologist James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, appeared before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to …

Maximum impact

Will California’s climate change regulations mandate maximum emission reductions?

[This post is follow-up to a David Roberts post from Jan. '08: "What does California's climate bill mandate?"] Sometime later this month, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) will release its draft "Scoping Plan" on implementation of the state's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32), which requires that statewide GHG emissions be reduced to or below 1990-level emissions by 2020. AB 32 also requires that the regulations "achieve the maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective greenhouse gas emission reductions." Furthermore, the regulations must be designed "in a manner that is equitable, seeks to minimize costs and maximize the total benefits to California, and encourages early action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions". The law authorizes a variety of regulatory measures, but CARB's Scoping Plan effort has focused primarily on cap-and-trade, following the precedent set by the U.S. Acid Rain program. Cap-and-trade can be effective at achieving a specific emission target at minimum cost -- but how does the requirement for maximum emission reductions fit in with this approach?

Krupp responds

EDF chief rejects oil drilling as response to energy woes

This is a response to this post. ----- I had the pleasure of appearing on PBS' Charlie Rose last week for a wide-ranging conversation about climate change and how we can reinvent our energy economy with cap-and-trade. As Grist readers know, EDF has been pushing hard for a strong cap on greenhouse gases to fight global warming and help break our addiction to oil.  

Sustainable economy 101

Lessons from Europe and Japan

The following article appeared in Foreign Policy in Focus, and was reposted at commondreams.org. When New York City wanted to make the biggest purchase of subway cars in U.S. history in the late 1990s -- more than $3 billion worth -- the only companies that were able to bid on the contract were foreign. The same problem applies to high-speed rail today: Only European or Japanese companies can build any of the proposed rail networks in the United States. The U.S. has also ceded the high ground to Europe and Japan in a broad range of other sustainable technologies. For instance, 11 companies produce 96 percent of medium to large wind turbines (PDF); only one, GE, is based in the United States, with a 16 percent share of the global market. The differences in market penetration come down to two factors: European and Japanese companies have become more competent producers for these markets, and their governments have helped them to develop both this competence and the markets themselves.

'New and cleaner'

McCain ad touts energy policy, including the not-so-new ideas

John McCain released a new ad today touting his plan for energy independence. “We must shift our entire energy economy toward new and cleaner power sources such as wind, solar, biofuels,” says McCain in the …

There will be flood

The Midwest will suffer if we don’t change our approach to flood protection

We've heard a lot this week about how the floods in the Midwest might be an act of humans -- or an act of City Council, as one Iowan leader put it. We can start the futile cycle of fighting Mother Nature again if we want to: spend billions of dollars on levees and flood control infrastructure, encouraging development of river floodplains and low-lying wetlands, then watch those homes and businesses be overrun by flood water.  

Climate change ideas for On Day One

A UN Dispatch-Grist collaboration

This week marks the twentieth anniversary of NASA Scientist James Hansen's groundbreaking Congressional testimony on global warming, an event that put climate change squarely on the political agenda. In honor of the anniversary, UN Dispatch, On Day One, and Grist are partnering to discuss ideas the next president can adopt to take on climate change. We are joined by a panel of experts who will weigh in on ideas submitted to On Day One by everyday users concerned about the climate crisis. Our first idea comes from On Day One user wise old owl, who suggests we decentralize energy production. Decentralized energy production through use of renewables (roof-top solar as well as solar farms, together with geothermal, tidal, and wind) can be transferred across our national grid to areas where it is needed from areas with higher productivity and/or lower need, which would change on a dynamic basis. This would eliminate centralized generating facilities as "targets" for terrorists, and eliminate the "control mentality" of large, centralized for-profit utilities. Grist writers Kate Sheppard and David Roberts; President of Climate Advisers Nigel Purvis; and Timothy B. Hurst of Red, Green and Blue and EcoPolitology, each respond below the fold.

Entreprenews you can use: Sungevity

‘Dell of solar’ seeks to make it cheap and user-friendly to get rooftop PV

Today, a company called Sungevity announced the availability of what they’re calling the cheapest solar system in the world: a rooftop solar panel system, fully installed, for $2,000. That’s as much as I paid for …

Prez candidates tout new policies to lower oil prices

John McCain and Barack Obama have both called for changes to national energy policy in recent days that they said would eventually help lower oil and gasoline prices. On Sunday, Obama called for closer regulation …

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