Climate & Energy

Sweetening the deal

Lugar calls for end to tariff on Brazilian sugarcane ethanol

Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) stopped by ($ub. req’d) the American Enterprise Institute yesterday to give a speech arguing that Congress should lift the 54-cents-a-gallon tariff …

Drilling offshore vs. fuel efficiency

Over at CEPR, Dean Baker makes a somewhat cutesy but still quite illustrative comparison: the barrels of oil per day we could get by 2027 …

Driver down

How to reduce California auto emissions faster than Pavley

Last update: 7/22/2008 In my last post I touted the benefits of a fully refunded emissions tax. Let's take a look at how it could work in California. When it comes to a refunded tax, more money for industry doesn't mean less money for consumers. Case in point: Today's gasoline prices in California are averaging $4.58/gal, which equates1 to $536/MT-CO2e. That's how much California drivers are currently paying to emit CO2 -- and how much they could save from fuel economy improvements. The same approach used by the Swedish program could be applied to motivate efficiency improvements in vehicles, consumer appliances, etc., by employing feebates, which can be implemented as a kind of refunded emission tax. The tax would be applied to projected lifecycle emissions (direct or upstream) and would be refunded in proportion to some measure of economic utility (e.g. refrigeration capacity, illumination output, etc.). The tax and refund together would incentivize lower emissions per unit of economic utility. Feebates could be used as an alternative to traditional performance standards, or could be used to effectively impose a price floor on a tradable standard.

The media is (almost) onto McCain's cynical doubletalk

‘Purpose,’ McCain’s new energy ad, features wind turbines he voted against

McCain has a new ad titled "Purpose": The AP critiqued it with a piece titled, "McCain energy ad short on specifics." Okay, mainstream media, half credit. The ad has a much bigger problem than lack of specifics -- McCain is trying to get a political boost by claiming he will champion popular clean energy technologies that he, like President Bush and most conservatives, has consistently opposed:

Summit like it hot

G8 leaders head to Hokkaido where Bush and his sherpa will provide climate guidance

On Monday, George W. Bush will travel to Hokkaido, Japan, for his eighth and final G8 summit, where climate change is likely to be the …

A fuel's errand

Republican House members ask EPA to scale back ethanol mandate

More than 50 Republican representatives sent a letter [PDF] to the Environmental Protection Agency last week urging the agency to lower the mandate for ethanol …

'There is no box'

Lester Brown unveils plan for 80 percent cuts by 2020

Lester R. Brown, President of the Earth Policy Institute and author, most recently, of Plan B, Version 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, released a new study today called "Time for Plan B: Cutting carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2020." I was invited to participate in a conference call in which Lester explained many of the highlights of the plan; I will do my best to share what he said (any mistakes are my own). First, it appears that the only comprehensive plan to cut emissions by 80 percent by 2020 is the one put out by Brown and his associates at the Earth Policy Institute. Partly this may be because Brown explicitly stated that he was not presenting what is politically feasible, but what is needed to cut emissions by 80 percent by 2020. Cutting emissions by 80 percent by 2050, as he pointed out, is more politically comfortable because it means you don't have to do much now, but it is not what is needed. He discussed Jim Hansen's goal of getting CO2 emissions down to 350 parts per million, a goal which could be targeted after 2020, as the next step after reducing emissions by 80 percent.

Help wanted: A Bill Gates for distributed generation

Framing the energy revolution like the computer generation

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Kari Manlove, fellows assistant at the Center for American Progress. This week's issue of the Economist features a commemorative piece on Bill Gates, who stepped down from his position as Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft last week. Gates had an arguably turbulent career, due to his aggressive or monopolistic business tactics as the lead in the industry, but one that has been inconceivably successful and world-changing. Among the many legendary attributes the Economist article points out is Gates' determination and eventual responsibility for personalizing computers in the form of desktops. Gates made the technology accessible to individuals, homes, and businesses rather than keeping giant computers centralized.

Sally 4th

Sierra Club prompts voters to call legislators about energy bills over the holiday weekend

The Sierra Club began running radio ads this week in six states whose U.S. senators are key votes for energy legislation. Though both Republicans and …