Climate & Energy

An additional note on additionality

Carbon projects ‘under attack’ as U.N. clamps down

This is timely. The Wall Street Journal ran a page 1 story on Sunday on the travails of the major developers of carbon reduction projects in the developing world, as standards for additionality and carbon accounting grow more stringent. Such projects are certified under guidelines established by the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism. As the U.N. has tightened its oversight with each succeeding version of the CDM, early entrants have found themselves squeezed, forced to write down large quantities of carbon credits: In mid-2006, there was an early hint that regulators were toughening their stance. The issue: manure. Decomposing manure at farms emits methane, a greenhouse gas. The projects involve placing a tarp over the manure to capture and dispose of the rising gas ... But in 2006 the U.N. tightened its rules, requiring animal farms to measure the amount of methane they were capturing rather than simply estimating the number based on a formula -- and use the lower number. That move slashed by more than one-third the number of credits a typical animal-waste project would produce for sale.

Bush to give speech on climate change strategy

Just over the wires from AP: President Bush is giving a Rose Garden speech on Wednesday on climate change to lay out the way he thinks the U.S. can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. White House …

FOE to McCain: stop pushing for pork for corporate polluters

Friends of the Earth has started a new campaign against John McCain, asking him to “stop pushing pork for corporate polluters” — i.e., to stop supporting Lieberman-Warner and stop pushing for nuke subsidies to be …

RNN on Burning the Future

Here is a segment from The Real News Network on “Clean coal’s dirty secret,” complete with an interview with David Novack, director of the new documentary Burning the Future:

Bush prepares to give climate speech

As suspected, President George W. Bush will spell out a strategy for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions in a speech today. According to a White House official, “He’ll set a national economy-wide goal of stopping the growth …

A decarbonization story: Part 1

Why a carbon price beats technology breakthroughs

The decarbonization data makes clear that if you want to beat 450 ppm and avoid catastrophic climate impacts, a significant price for carbon (plus aggressive technology deployment) is much more important than technology breakthroughs. That is a central point of this post. That is what I learned in the mid-1990s when I helped to run the billion-dollar office at DOE in charge of federal clean energy technology breakthroughs and deployment -- and had the chance to work with the top scientists and technology modelers at the national labs to figure out how we can cut emissions most quickly and cost-effectively. The pursuit of the Holy Grail of multiple technology breakthroughs is, in fact, a side show -- and for many, like Bush/Luntz/Gingrich/Lomborg, that pursuit is meant as a complete rhetorical distraction to the public so we can continue to avoid action, as I have repeatedly blogged. It was specifically designed by conservative strategist Frank Luntz as a core delaying strategy.

Chevron throws hissy fit that anti-Chevron activists received award

Chevron is throwing a hissy fit over the Goldman Environmental Prize awarded to two Ecuadorian activists who want the oil company to clean up pollution in the Amazon rain forest. Texaco, which was acquired by …

The education of Warren Buffett

Why did the guru cancel six coal plants?

One of the biggest climate stories of 2007 never made it to the business pages. It's about how Warren Buffett, with no fanfare, quietly walked away from coal, cancelling six proposed plants. Warren Buffet. Buffett used to love coal. His involvement with it began when Berkshire Hathaway bought MidAmerican Energy Holdings in 1999. MidAmerican was a big operator of coal plants, and with natural gas prices edging toward a huge leap upwards -- bringing coal back into favor -- it appeared to be a typically savvy Buffett move. In 2006, Buffett picked up another utility, PacifiCorp, which includes Rocky Mountain Power and operates in Calif., Idaho, Ore., Utah, Wash., and Wyo. Again, it seemed like a smart play, bringing MidAmerican's expertise with building and running coal plants to a region of the country with lots of coal. Sure enough, in the fall of 2006, PacifiCorp presented regulators with plans [PDF] for six (or, in some scenarios, seven) coal plants in Utah and Wyo. over the next 12-year time period, representing approximately 3,000 megawatts of new capacity.

Dear Mr. Gibbons

A letter from a climate scientist to Nevada’s governor

The following is a open letter to Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons from noted climate scientist James Hansen. ----- Dear Governor Gibbons, I am honored to be the recipient of the Desert Research Institute's annual Nevada Medal this year and to attend the awards ceremonies hosted by you and the First Lady. I hope that I may communicate with you as a fellow parent and grandparent about a matter that will have great effects upon the lives of our loved ones. I refer to climate change, specifically global warming in response to human-made carbon dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants. This topic has long remained in the background, but it is now poised to become a dominant national and international issue in years ahead. Global warming presents challenges to political leaders, but also great opportunities, especially for your state. Nevada has the potential to be a national leader in protecting the environment and implementing technologies that can mitigate the crisis posed by global warming. First, however, I want to make you aware of rapid progress in understanding of global warming. Warming so far, averaging 2 degrees Fahrenheit over land areas, is smaller than weather fluctuations. Yet it already has noticeable effects and more is "in the pipeline," even without further increases of CO2, because of climate system inertia that delays the full climate response. Effects of global warming are already seen in Nevada. One result is increased wildfires. Longer summers mean more dried out fuels, allowing fires to ignite easier and spread faster. The wildfire season in the West is now 78 days longer than it was 30 years ago. And the average duration of fires covering more than 2,500 acres has risen five-fold. As the planet continues to warm, these and other impacts will grow worse for Nevada and the American West. The world's leading climate researchers conclude that, if greenhouse gases continue to increase, the region faces:

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