Climate & Energy

DOE applies to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain

The U.S. Department of Energy has filed a formal application to construct a nuclear-waste repository at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. The application, which runs tens of …

Jumping ship from the USS Fossil

Climate action advocates need a simple, compelling message on costs

As this lamentable New York Times piece demonstrates, advocates for action on climate change have lost the framing battle. If they don’t want to lose …

Tuesday link dump

A little bit of this, a smidge of that

The ol’ browser’s getting a little clogged up. Time to stop thinkin’ and start linkin’! Yee-haw. —– Eco-friendly bombs! A couple of crack economists at …

The price isn't quite right yet

Carbon pricing is about tweaking the little, everyday decisions we make

I’d like to add one quick addendum to my previous post on cap-and-trade. When we consider the extent to which we need to reduce our …

Fear of the day

What if the anticipation of carbon legislation has driven more investment away from coal than actual carbon legislation will?

Leafy laws

Climate bills would save world’s forests

More money for forests and wildlife conservation than has ever been available in history The regrowth of many of the world's forests Massive quantities of greenhouse gases sucked out of the air Those are a few of the benefits of the newest versions of the climate legislation now being considered in the House and Senate. Both the Boxer-Lieberman-Warner bill [PDF] and Rep. Ed Markey's latest proposal [PDF] include massive financing for forest and land conservation that could save these planetary lungs. Both bills are based on a fundamental recognition that trees suck up vast quantities of carbon dioxide and convert it into oxygen -- and that standing pristine forests and grasslands (especially tropical forests) are a tremendous storehouse of carbon that we've got to keep safely locked up in forests. Indeed, deforestation for agriculture and logging is already driving 20 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions and is the biggest single source in the developing world. And so these bills would unleash unprecedented levels of financing to preserve great natural reserves from Big Ag, Big Timber, and land-hungry peasants. But the ways in which they do it -- and the overall scope of the bills -- could spell very different fates for the forests and grasslands they're meant to save. The Lieberman-Warner bill would allow polluters to offset their own pollution with more than 25 percent offsets through domestic and international forest, grassland, and agricultural conservation, reforestation, and afforestation -- amounting to billions of dollars a year in financing opportunities. Polluters are likely to jump at these forestry offset opportunities: Because of the relatively low price of land and the immense quantities of carbon stored in the forests, conserving forests is generally a lot cheaper than cleaning up industrial pollution. The Markey bill takes a different approach. In the past, there's been some skepticism that offsets from forestry could be accurately tracked. In the words of a senior adviser to Markey's global warming committee, "You can't plug a meter into a tree to see how much carbon was sucked in that day." There were also concerns in the past that it would be hard to accurately track whether a forest that was "saved" would actually have been cut down in the absence of financing or conservation action.

NASA internal investigation finds press-office climate distortion

An investigation by NASA’s inspector general has found that the agency’s press office repeatedly distorted climate-change research findings and limited its scientists’ access to the …

Rallying for the Climate Security Act

Boxer and friends rally in park for climate bill

  Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) hosted a press conference in a park outside the Capitol this afternoon to rally support for …

Nukes of hazard

The self-limiting future of nuclear power, Part I

My analysis on nuclear power for the Center for American Progress Action Fund is finally finished and online. I think you will find it useful because it has many links to primary sources and tries to avoid the typical discussions by nuclear proponents and opponents, focusing instead on the rapidly escalating cost of nuclear power. My point in this paper is not to say nuclear power will play no role in the fight to stay below 450 ppm of atmospheric CO2 concentrations and avoid catastrophic climate outcomes. Indeed, I even include a full wedge of nuclear in my 14-wedge "solution" to global warming -- though as will be clear from the study, "The Self-Limiting Future of Nuclear Power," that achieving even one wedge of nuclear will be a very time-consuming and expensive proposition, probably costing $6-8 trillion. Fundamentally, the large and growing risks from climate change, particularly the real danger that failure to act now means we will approach a horrific 1000 ppm by century's end, mean two things: