Climate & Energy

Renewed anxiety

Renewables industry fears for future if Senate doesn’t extend tax credits

The Senate once again failed to pass tax-credit extensions for renewable energy on Tuesday, and folks in the industry are starting to get worried. Companies working in wind, solar, and other renewables rely on the …

Global boiling

Senators ignore the warning signs

Originally posted at the Think Progress Wonk Room. Recently, the United States Senate has taken several votes on building a green economy that moves away from fossil fuel dependence, creates new green industry, and addresses global warming. Each time, a minority of senators blocked the way. On Friday, 38 senators filibustered mandatory greenhouse-gas reduction legislation (S. 3036). This morning, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) joined 41 Republicans to filibuster the Consumer-First Energy Act (S. 3044), which would have given consumers relief by placing a windfall tax on oil companies. Then 44 Republican senators blocked consideration of the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act (H.R. 6049) to extend renewable energy and other tax incentives. Meanwhile, the signs of the looming climate crisis abound. Extreme weather of all kinds -- freak snowstorms, extended droughts, heat waves, flash floods -- are causing havoc around the nation, and conservative neglect is leaving us unprepared and unable to rebuild:

Notable quotable

I procrastinate too, but this is ridiculous

“I think we can get a global agreement on climate change during my presidency — just so you know.” – President George W. Bush

Thanks, neighbor, but I draw the line at black lung

When taking pride in your roots means breathing local coal dust

May I suggest that literally sharing a part of your local history can, in fact, be taken too far? Snipped from The New York Times: “Coal is part of us,” said William Liptok, director of …

Climate change, deforestation, erosion take toll on African landscape

A new United Nations atlas depicts alarming changes to Africa’s landscape. On a continent that produces a mere 4 percent of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions, significant landmarks are taking a hit from climate change: Lake …

That's a gas

Today’s gas consumption shows that price increases are only one part of the solution

As SUV sales plummet and gasoline use finally drops, one meme spreading around is, "Looks like people respond to price after all." The implication seems to be that any demand response other than zero proves that prices are wonderfully effective. The problem, however, is not response is or might be zero. (I can think of few who ever claimed that.) The problem is that it takes a big price increase to produce a small response. The current data support the conventional wisdom: 40 to 50 percent long-term elasticity, low enough to discourage us from relying on price as the main means of reducing emissions, high enough encourage us to use price as one among many means. At first glance, the raw data are even more discouraging than the conventional wisdom: Inflation adjusted gasoline prices have risen almost two-and-a-half times since 2000. Gasoline demand has dropped by slightly over 20 percent. But long-term elasticity is, by definition, a delayed response -- at least three years. Also, if we are interested in price response as opposed to income response, we have to adjust for growth in GDP. So a rough calculation yields 45 percent long-term elasticity (with some biases that probably overstate the result). Here are two graphs, the first of raw data, the second after adjustment (click for larger versions):

In the clearing stands a Boxer

Boxer op-ed argues the Climate Security Act vote was a big step forward

Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) wrote an op-ed in today’s San Jose Mercury News on the failed Climate Security Act that she championed in the Senate. In it, she argues that …

Good big-picture view of the emerging cleantech market

I found this video, from an NDN event called “Understanding the Cleantech Investment Opportunity,” intensely educational (warning: it’s over an hour long):

Entreprenews you can use: eSolar

First deal inked for maker of modular, utility-scale solar thermal power plants

In the transition to a clean, green economy, one milestone promises to be the most symbolically powerful. It’s the one adopted as an official target by Google: renewable energy cheaper than coal, or RE<C. When …

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