Climate & Energy

Protests erupt worldwide over fuel prices

Skyrocketing fuel prices show no sign of flagging, and no one’s happy about it (except the occasional holier-than-thou environmentalist). Truck drivers and transportation operators have …

Why not a revenue-neutral carbon cap?

The silver-lining of Lieberman-Warner’s demise

The demise of the Lieberman-Warner climate bill may not be a bad thing if it spurs environmentalists and politicians to ask: Is this the best way to cap carbon? Let's be clear what Lieberman-Warner was. Yes, it contained a carbon cap. But mostly it was about spending or giving away trillions of dollars. It was, as Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) put it, "the mother and father of all earmarks," and every lobbyist in town was at the trough.

Should the World Bank get the coal shoulder?

House ponders investment in multilateral clean tech fund; greens argue it isn’t all that green

Last week, the House Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology (the HFCSDIMPTT for short) held a hearing about whether …

Wait, they’re not the same?!

In the Boston Globe, Carol Browner and Bob Sussman construct a short and powerful critique of McCain’s climate/energy positions, tacking against the kind of foolishness …

Vaccine, nut oil may cut cow belching’s contribution to climate change

The worldwide race to quell livestock belching is on! Earlier this month, New Zealand researchers came one step closer to developing a vaccine that would …

'Partisan bickering'

It’s long past time to assign responsibility for stymied climate legislation

In an otherwise insightful piece on the failure of the Lieberman-Warner bill, Eric Pooley says this: It would have taken a truly great floor debate …

Frustrated? Let's write our own climate legislation!

A ‘sense of the House’ resolution to adopt 350 ppm as America’s official climate target

This may seem hokey, but I'm so far beyond frustrated with the legislators of this country that I've gone and written my own piece of climate change legislation. My bill is simple. Once you get past all the "whereas" and so forth, it simply calls for the United States to aim toward stabilizing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations at 350 ppm and to lead international negotiations on the successor to the Kyoto Protocol toward the same goal.  

Stronger, simpler, fairer

Upward from the Climate Security Act

Climate Solutions Policy Director K.C. Golden has some thoughts on where to go with national climate legislation after last week's down vote on the Climate Security Act. As thunderstorms and tornadoes ripped through the nation's capital last week, the U.S. Senate tied itself in a procedural knot, preventing a vote on the substance of the Climate Security Act -- the first meaningful climate legislation to reach the Senate floor. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called it "the most important issue facing the world today." But the minority stalled -- insisting on a full reading of the nearly 500-page bill -- while the storm raged outside. Once again, the "world's greatest deliberative body" did nothing about the world's biggest problem. Twenty years after our preeminent climate scientist Jim Hansen warned Congress of the need for immediate action, this dilly-dallying is enough to make you scream.

IEA report, Part 2

I’ve got the 450-ppm solution about right

Part 1 discussed the basic conclusion of the new International Energy Agency report -- cutting global emissions in half by 2050 is not costly. In fact, the total shift in investment needed to stabilize at 450 ppm is only about 1.1 percent of GDP per year, and that is not a "cost" or hit to GDP, because much of that investment goes toward saving expensive fuel.   In this post, I will discuss the basic solution IEA is proposing. I will also start to look at how the report is too pessimistic about renewables, and thus it overestimates costs. In their business-as-usual baseline, neither solar thermal nor solar photovoltaics are ever commercially competitive. Part 3 discusses IEA's very dubious assumptions in the transportation sector. The IEA assumes the price of oil is half of current levels and is frozen at $65 a barrel from 2030 to 2050. I kid you not. That is a key reason their marginal price of CO2 is so absurdly high. My central argument in recent months has been that stabilizing at 450 ppm requires about 14 wedges -- carbon mitigation strategies deployed over a few decades that ultimately each prevent the emission of one billion tons of carbon annually (see here). The IEA comes to almost exactly the same conclusion, and has relatively similar wedges, so I view this report largely as a vindication of my analysis.