Climate & Energy

A new part of the No Duh curriculum

Peer-reviewed study finds that right-wing think tanks have stymied environmental progress

To file under “academic demonstration of what we already knew,” here’s an abstract from a new paper in the journal Environmental Politics: Environmental scepticism denies …

It's not the size of the government, it's how you use it

The right comparison between Obama and McCain on climate/energy

In the Wall Street Journal, Stephen Power summarizes the difference between Obama and McCain on energy and environmental policies this way: Sen. Obama is pushing …

IEA report, Part 1

Act now with clean energy or face 6 degrees C warming; cost is not high; media blows story

When the normally conservative International Energy Agency agrees with both the middle of the road IPCC and more ... progressive voices like mine, it should be time for the world to get very serious, very fast on the clean energy transition. But when the media blows the story, the public and policymakers may miss the key messages of the stunning new IEA report, "Energy Technology Perspectives, 2008" (executive summary here). You may not have paid much attention to this new report once you saw the media's favorite headline for it: "$45 trillion needed to combat warming." That would be too bad, because the real news from the global energy agency is Failing to act very quickly to transform the planet's energy system puts us on a path to catastrophic outcomes. The investment required is "an average of some 1.1 percent of global GDP each year from now until 2050. This expenditure reflects a re-direction of economic activity and employment, and not necessarily a reduction of GDP." In fact, this investment partly pays for itself in reduced energy costs alone (not even counting the pollution reduction benefits)! The world is on the brink of a renewables (and efficiency) revolution. Click figure to enlarge:

Taking the Pledge

Five nations agree to think about ending oil subsidies

The day after markets registered the highest single-day rise in crude oil prices ever, the United States and Asia's four largest economies (Japan, China, India and South Korea), meeting in Aomori, Japan in advance of the G8 Energy Ministers summit, have formed a sort of Petro-holics non-Anonymous club, calling for an end to oil subsidies in their countries. Consumer subsidies (subsidized fuel prices), that is, not producer subsidies. OK, what they actually agreed upon was "the need" to remove fuel-price subsidies. Eventually. According to a report by Agence France-Presse, the five nations announced in a joint statement: "We recognize that, moving forward, phased and gradual withdrawal of price subsidies for conventional energies is desirable. Undistorted and market-based energy pricing" would help "enhance energy efficiency and increase investment in alternative sources of energy." They said that subsidies "should be replaced wherever possible by better targeted policies for intended beneficiaries. Such a move "could also lead to reduction in the government cost and greater integration of the domestic and global energy economies."

Conservatives and climate change, continued

A carbon policy is likely to be less devastating than nature, or oil markets

Reihan responds. Let me just say a few more things. First, I described his characterization of carbon pricing as “insane” based on this: What we …

What does Barack Obama think of McCain’s conviction on climate change?

From Obama’s remarks to his campaign staff: “Those of you who are concerned about global warming? I don’t care what he says, John McCain is …

Holding onto what's golden

Saudi Arabia and oil

I recently found a pretty good NYT Magazine article on oil production. It's definitely worth a read, if for no other reason than as a reminder of how much things have changed since the article was written in 2005. For example, on page 1 comes the quaint statement: If consumption begins to exceed production by even a small amount, the price of a barrel of oil could soar to triple-digit levels. Yes ... yes it could. Here's another one:

The conservative climate change problem

An acknowledge-and-do-nothing strategy is little better than denialism

Reihan Salam writes an incredibly disappointing, and boggling, blog post here, on his preferred strategies for dealing with climate change. Disappointing, because if Reihan, one …

Climate Security Action

Quick post-mortem on Lieberman-Warner

A quick post-mortem on this week's vote on the Climate Security Act, which was pulled from the Senate floor on Friday after its sponsors fell short of the 60 votes needed to proceed to final debate. I think I can safely sum it up in one word: progress.