Climate & Energy

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, …

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 …

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 …

Science academies of 13 nations urge G8 to tackle climate change

Ahead of the G8 summit in Japan next month, the science academies of 13 nations, including the United States, urged the G8 nations as well …

Carbon pricing: Not Archimedes' lever

Putting a price on carbon is only the first step in energy policy

There’s certainly a great deal of logic to what Ezra says here — it would be nice if an upstream price on carbon would automatically …

Ne Gus ultra

Gus Speth chats about his new book and increasingly radical green views

Gus Speth. When Gus Speth gets radical, it’s time to start digging bunkers. For more than 30 years, Speth has labored as the consummate environmental …

You can't be too rich or too dirty

Fossil interests plow money into Congress

Rich and thin is passé. What's hot now is rich and dirty. Why is a smart energy and climate policy so elusive for this country? In three words -- money, money, money. The nation's energy bill is now about a trillion dollars. That means the super-rich fossil fuel companies have enormous profits they can spend on lobbying to ensure their continued dominance. How much? Jeff Goodell has the answer here: In the first quarter of 2008, Big Coal's new front group, American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, spent a record-breaking $1.9 million in federal lobbying expenses. To put that in perspective, in the same period, the Solar Energies Industries Association spent all of $75,000 ... Individual coal companies have been even more generous to our nation's cash-starved policymakers: