Climate & Energy

Notable quotable

“It certainly appeared a year ago that we were going to have a national push on ethanol, and we wanted to have the vehicles ready. But we always knew that food-based ethanol would not be the answer. The shift to cellulosic ethanol has been slower than we were led to believe. If we don’t end up with cellulosic ethanol quickly, we are going to hit the wall on ethanol.” – William Clay Ford, Jr., chairman of Ford Motor Co.

Goooaaalll!

What will it take to reduce Washington state GHG emissions 10 million tons by 2020?

Earlier this year, the governor of Washington set an ambitious goal (PDF): reducing the state's greenhouse-gas emissions by 10 million tons by 2020. That would put the state's emissions back to about where they were in 1990 -- roughly an 11 percent decline, all told, from today's levels. Of course, that's only a start. Real climate leadership will require reductions on the order of 80 to 90 percent by the middle of this century. Still, a 10-million-ton reduction in annual CO2 emissions seems like a tall order -- especially since the U.S. Census Bureau projects that the state's population will grow by 20 percent between now and 2020. Measured per person, Washingtonians' greenhouse emissions will have to fall by about one quarter by 2020 to meet the goal. The Washington Department of Ecology recently asked us what it would take to meet that 10-million-ton goal. Based on emissions data compiled by the state (PDF), here's what we came up with:

The price of oil will go ... down

We have $100-a-barrel oil due to speculation and fear

As this Foreign Policy article points out, there is no fundamental rationale for the current prices; oil should be between $40-$60 a barrel, but because of speculation and fear the price has been driven up much higher. The peak oil people love to say "I told you so" when the price goes up. What are they going to say when the price goes down? I expect crickets.

Chatting with Revkin

NYT author discusses recent story on climate ‘centrism’

On Tuesday, NYT environment reporter Andy Revkin published a piece called “Challenges to Both Left and Right on Global Warming.” The following day, I wrote a highly critical response: "Centrist dog food." With typical graciousness, Revkin offered to discuss the piece, so I took him up on it and we fired up a Skype chat. Here is the transcript: David Roberts: Thanks for doing this. Andy Revkin: So I’m always more eager to search for points of agreement than difference. Seems best way to progress. So what do we agree on related to the range of voices out there in …

Tracking Lieberman-Warner: A friendly spin?

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA): "This bill provides billions of dollars for coal. It's like a Manhattan Project for coal." Noted without comment.

Midwestern governors sign greenhouse-gas reduction pact

The governors of six Midwestern states and the premier of Manitoba signed on to the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord yesterday, the first such multistate program in the U.S. Midwest. For those of you keeping track at home, along with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the Northeast and an agreement among West Coast governors, about 48 percent of the U.S. population is now represented in some form of regional GHG reduction program. The Midwest agreement commits Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Manitoba to setting up a regional cap-and-trade system for trading emission credits. Credit trading would begin …

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