Climate & Energy

European Union unveils detailed plans to cut GHG emissions

European Union leaders today unveiled detailed draft plans to reduce E.U.-wide emissions 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. The plans would require utilities to buy all of their greenhouse-gas emissions permits beginning in 2013, as opposed to the current practice of allocating nearly all of them for free, which companies can then sell at a profit. Also starting in 2013, other heavily polluting industries, such as aluminum, cement, and steel, will have to pay for a gradually increasing portion of their pollution permits until 2020 when companies will have to pay for all of them. In total, the draft …

This is a very big deal

Israel to build national electric car infrastructure

Photo: iStockphoto Project Better Place, in partnership with Renault/Nissan and the Israeli government, will build a national electric car infrastructure. A major manufacturer developing new electric vehicles with swappable batteries, and a plan to develop 500,000 battery recharging sites across the country? It's still January, and I'm ready to call this the most important environmental news story of 2008. I'm going to write more about this later, but do yourself a favor and read all about it here. This, friends, is the road to Middle-East peace. And it was announced on MLK day. How appropriate.

China will close thousands of small coal mines

China plans to close more than 5,000 small coal mines, accounting for about 8 percent of the country’s coal output, for safety reasons. Some 4,750 people died in China’s mines in 2006.

Now he tells us

All the sudden, Pete Domenici supports renewable energy

Wow. You don’t see gall this unmitigated every day. Here’s Pete Domenici, with a “Statement on Renewable Energy Tax Credits in Economic Stimulus Package”: Over the last several years, it is apparent that America’s renewable energy industry has shown great promise. Much of the growth of these industries, such as wind, solar, biomass and geothermal, has been a direct result of tax credits established by Congress. Many of these tax credits, however, are set to expire at the end of this year. I strongly believe that the renewable energy tax credits should be extended, and that the economic stimulus package …

Papua ooh mau mau

The real story behind the world’s favorite scolding of the U.S.

Last month, Kevin Conrad became somewhat famous representing Papua New Guinea at the Bali climate talks. Confronted yet again with U.S. intransigence, Conrad said: I would ask the United States, we ask for your leadership. But if for some reason you’re not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us. Please get out of the way. The way the story’s been told, Conrad’s bold moral cry shattered the wall of U.S. indifference and broke the logjam. Naturally, the reality’s a bit more complicated and the U.S. is not the clear (or only) villain. Andy Revkin interviews Conrad and …

Cap-and-trade 101

The Center for American Progress has put out a clear and concise description of "What Is Cap and Trade, and How Can We Implement It Successfully?"

Prince Charles appears as hologram to speak in Abu Dhabi

Prince Charles recently spoke to political leaders at the World Future energy summit in Abu Dhabi. But swallow your cries of jet-setting hypocrisy: Chas appeared as a hologram. “Scientists are now saying that the problem of climate change is now so grave and so urgent that we have less than 10 years to slow, stop, and reverse greenhouse-gas emissions,” said the virtual prince. “Common actions are needed in every country to protect the common inheritance that has been given to us by our creator.”

Deep thought of the day

It would be awesome if all government tax breaks and subsidies were removed from the energy sector, a carbon tax were imposed, and all low-carbon competitors could battle it out on a level market playing field. However, that’s never going to happen. So we should figure out what to do in the meantime.

There’s coal money and then there’s war money

In an electoral year when climate policy will play an unusually high-profile role, the $35 million raised by coal front group ABEC seems like a daunting obstacle. Then again, all-purpose-right-wing-warmongering front group Freedom’s Watch is raising $250 million to spend on elections this year. So I guess it’s important to keep these things in perspective.

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