Climate & Energy

Coal lover to skip climate forum

Rudy Giuliani’s ties to dirty energy and efforts to kill the Senate energy bill

You might recall that a while back there was talk of a(nother) presidential forum on climate and energy, to be convened by Al Gore and Arnold Schwarzenegger in New Hampshire, involving all the candidates from both parties. Surely given the location, the subject, and the star power, no candidate could say no, right? Well, turns out it’s not happening. Why? Because of the Republicans, only McCain agreed to attend. Giuliani didn’t even return their calls. In other news — you might even say related news — it turns out that coal-heavy utilities like Southern and American Electric are lobbying furiously …

The real action in Bali

Grassroots mobilizes over the weekend at int’l climate conference

Post by Will Bates, Stepitup 2007 The weekend has finished, and countries are diving into their second week in Bali of chit-chatting about what to do about climate change. While we may not be seeing much bold action so far at this round of negotiations, we know that global public pressure for urgent action is beginning to mount ... Saturday was the third annual International Day of Action on Climate Change, which the Global Climate Campaign helped coordinate in more than 85 countries. Local groups and international activists have carried forth the message for urgent action in a big way here in Bali.

My country, right or ... wait, no, that's definitely wrong

US and EU demand import-tariff reductions on stuff that they export

Wow, the latest out of Bali is really, um, something to behold: The US and the European Union found a rare common cause when they combined to ask developing nations to cut or remove tariffs on imports of environmental goods and services. Golly, why would developing nations not go for that? Other developing countries were also understood to be concerned that the proposal would only benefit rich nations, by opening up export markets in green goods and services before poor countries had a chance to develop them. Well, there is one "environmental good and service" for which developing countries have …

U.K. politician wants to power every British home with wind by 2020

Every home in the United Kingdom could be powered by offshore wind farms by 2020, says John Hutton, Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise, and Regulatory Reform. The long-titled Hutton said that investment in 7,000 turbines would admittedly change Britain’s coastline and raise energy costs in the short term, but would be “a major contribution towards meeting the E.U.’s target of 20 percent energy from renewable sources by 2020.” He adds, “We’ve got a choice as a country whether we rise to the challenge … or stick our head in the sand and hope [climate change] goes away. It is …

Me in <em>Fast Company</em>

A titillating* new column on corporate carbon reporting

Imagine that you are upper management at a large corporation, and you’re told that you need to start comprehensively disclosing your outfit’s CO2 emissions in your financial reports. Sounds like an unbelievable hassle, no? Especially since there’s no legal mandate to do so. And yet hundreds of companies are doing just that. Why? I offer an answer in my latest column at Fast Company: "Carbon Copy." In related news that has emerged since I wrote the column, Senate Banking Committee chair Chris Dodd recently wrote the SEC requesting that it “issue guidance on climate disclosure requirements.” Also, last Tuesday, a …

Belief in free lunches, tooth fairy still strong

Once in a while a pundit will say something quite revealing without intending to do so. You'd think a newspaper in a state that was recently looking down the barrel of a 72 percent electric rate hike might have beamed onto the fact that power doesn't come from wishes, and often requires difficult choices:

Tampering with the science

Henry Waxman weighs in on Bush admin. efforts to suppress climate science

The House Oversight committee has released its official report (PDF) on White House efforts to interfere with climate change science, and its conclusions are ... well, totally predictable. To wit: The Committee's 16-month investigation reveals a systematic White House effort to censor climate scientists by controlling their access to the press and editing testimony to Congress. The White House was particularly active in stifling discussions of the link between increased hurricane intensity and global warming. The White House also sought to minimize the significance and certainty of climate change by extensively editing government climate change reports. Other actions taken by the White House involved editing EPA legal opinions and op-eds on climate change. The sheer volume and magnitude of chicanery, when laid out in nearly 30 pages of detail, betrays a remarkably fastidious program of misinformation. I suppose it's in the nature of things that many of the sub rosa efforts to tamper with the findings of real scientists would leak to the press and the Congress. After all, it's only Bush appointees who take an oath -- explicit or otherwise -- to uphold the president. The scientists who work in those appointees' agencies, on the other hand, were apparently pretty upset about all of this.

What are the most important elements in a climate bill?

On Lieberman-Warner, long-term emissions targets, and picking a trajectory

I’ve heard quite a bit of protest about the fact that the Lieberman-Warner climate bill’s long-term target — 70 percent emissions reductions by 2050 — is too weak. In particular, there was much outcry that Sanders’ amendment No. 4, which would have raised it from 70 percent to 80 percent, was rejected (and cries that Sanders was a sellout for voting the bill through anyway). This comes in the context of a larger debate about which of the four elements of climate policy are most important. They are: Short-term emissions targets Long-term emissions targets Allocation of pollution permits, which is, …

Should economics rule?

The only way to a soft landing is down

The only way to a soft landing is down. In a brief article on DeSmog by Emily Murgatroyd, a Cato Institute type, Jerry Taylor, is quoted as saying Scientists are in no position to intelligently guide public policy on climate change. Scientists can lay out scenarios, but it is up to economists to weigh the costs and benefits and many of them say the costs of cutting emissions are higher than the benefits. Can we consider this claim, or is it somehow protected by a taboo? Is one a Marxist or even a Stalinist for pointing out that economists are not, themselves, necessarily right about everything? Economists, meanwhile, claim to have the key to rationality. Their claim is based in their own definition of their field, which is about "how people collectively make decisions", but they proceed very quickly from there to the marketplace via a number of dubious assumptions. The marketplace is real enough, and the fact that it affects the decisions we make is inescapable, but that doesn't prove a claim that economics is uniquely placed to resolve our differences. A claim in more desperate need of challenging I cannot imagine -- yet on it goes, essentially unchallenged in circles of power.

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