Climate & Energy

Response to Jeremy Carl, part three

The question for China and India is not whether to make the transition away from coal, but how soon

In part one I made the point that if China and India develop along the same path as the West, we’re all doomed. This fact is becoming increasingly clear to everyone. One way or another, whoever foots the bill, they’ll have to change, and that means shifting to a more expensive-in-the-short-term source of electricity, of which clean coal is but one example among many. In part two I acknowledged that there are powerful arguments — mainly social and political rather than economic or technological — that clean coal is the most obvious short-term choice (and thus that we should focus …

Another distraction debunked

Fertilizing the ocean with iron looks to be just so much ... fertilizer.

U.S. could slash emissions at little cost through boosted efficiency, says report

The U.S. could significantly slash its greenhouse-gas emissions “at manageable costs to the economy,” says a new study from consulting firm McKinsey & Company. Assuming no significant change in consumer lifestyle, researchers did an in-depth cost-benefit analysis of various options for reducing GHG emissions. Their conclusions: “clean coal” is expensive and unproven, increasing renewable energy sources would make a relatively modest contribution, and raising efficiency of buildings, appliances, and automobiles would be the easiest and, in the end, cheapest way to do the job. The key would be to incentivize manufacturers and builders to boost efficiency, says the study, as …

Biden his time

Joe Biden rolls out climate and energy plan

Unless the Democrats manage to blow the '08 elections, or some other calamity strikes, a president who is ready to seriously confront the climate crisis will be sworn into office in January 2009. Following in the footsteps of other Democratic candidates, Joe Biden unveiled his climate and energy plan on November 20, 2007. Biden's plan looks a little bit generic compared with the offerings we've seen from Edwards, Dodd, Richardson, Obama, and most recently, Hillary Clinton, which are all either more ambitious or more detailed. He sets the right targets, though, albeit with a nod at all of the expected interest groups -- both good (solar and wind) and bad (coal and corn). Now if we could only get past the whole filibuster problem ...

It can be done

McKinsey & Co. on how to reduce greenhouse gases

McKinsey & Company is a very large, very old, very prestigious consulting company. They’ve just released an ambitious report called "Reducing U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: How Much at What Cost?" Here’s what they did: Starting in early 2007, a research team from McKinsey worked with leading companies, industry experts, academics, and environmental NGOs to develop a detailed, consistent fact base estimating costs and potentials of different options to reduce or prevent GHG emissions within the U.S. through 2030. The team analyzed more than 250 options, encompassing efficiency gains, shifts to lower-carbon energy sources, and expanded carbon sinks. Here’s what they …

Bali eve

Delegates of all stripes prepare for the trip to Bali

Post by Kelly Blynn, Step It Up 2007 Around the world, an estimated 10,000 bureaucrats, ministers, activists, climate skeptics, industry lobbyists, and students are packing their bags and making last-minute preparations for their descent upon the small Indonesian island of Bali, for two weeks of hashing it out on what the world's going to do next on the issue of global warming. Anyone who has anything (good or bad) to do with this problem will be there -- whether it's Greenpeace, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Confederation of European Paper Industries, the World Coal Association, or ... me, a Step It Up organizer.

Kansas Supreme Court to hear case against landmark coal-plant permit denial

In October, Kansas made an important first by denying a construction permit to a coal-fired power plant due to its carbon dioxide emissions, saying such emissions could harm human health and the environment. The companies behind the $3.6 billion project, as well as other business groups, were outraged by the decision. (Enviros rejoiced.) Attack ads were launched and lawsuits filed seeking to overturn the decision. Those suits have now been taken up by the state Supreme Court with a precedent-setting decision expected … well, sometime. Industry, enviros, and others will be watching closely. Go Kansas!

Somebody didn't get the environment vs. economy memo

Over 150 companies worldwide sign climate petition in advance of Bali

More than 150 companies worldwide, representing some $4 trillion in market valuation, have signed the Bali Communiqué: As business leaders, it is our belief that the benefits of strong, early action on climate change outweigh the costs of not acting: • The economic and geopolitical costs of unabated climate change could be very severe and globally disruptive. All countries and economies will be affected, but it will be the poorest countries that will suffer earliest and the most • The costs of action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change are manageable, …

A political issue

Partisan debate on climate change vs. unity

A couple nights ago I spoke briefly and rather aimlessly at the first Seattle EcoTuesday. I mentioned that the leading Democratic candidates all have detailed, creditable climate and energy plans, and the leading Republican candidates don’t. Afterward, a guy pulled me aside to scold me for "making it a political issue." It’s something I hear a lot, and I remain utterly baffled by it. The assumption seems to be that politics is bad and that the ideal state would be unity. That’s just … creepy. This is an enormously significant policy challenge facing a democracy, where different citizens and groups …

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