Climate & Energy

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 …

New version of Lieberman-Warner circulating

Via EE News (sub rqd), there’s a new version of the Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade bill circulating: An aide to Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), a lead co-author of the bill, said one of the biggest changes involves an “upstream” cap placed on the heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions that come from natural gas processors. With the new bill’s natural gas section, more than 80 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions that come from the U.S. economy will be covered under the legislation. Previously, the bill dealt with about 75 percent of the U.S. economy. Another change in the legislation speeds up by five …

Energy efficiency just leaves more money to squander, says study

As more and more vehicles and appliances become energy efficient, Americans save money — then spend that money on more and bigger vehicles and appliances, a new study finds. Sigh.

Lewis Black on global warming

Problem solved?

U.S. emissions go down!

The White House issued a press release yesterday about the report (PDF) by the Energy Information Administration that U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions for 2006 were 1.5 percent below the 2005 level. Here is the text of the press release: STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT I was pleased to receive the Energy Information Administration's final report today, which includes U.S. greenhouse gas emissions for 2006. The final report shows that emissions declined 1.5 percent from the 2005 level, while our economy grew 2.9 percent. That means greenhouse gas intensity -- how much we emit per unit of economic activity -- decreased by 4.2 percent, the largest annual improvement since 1985. This puts us well ahead of the goal I set in 2002 to reduce greenhouse gas intensity by 18 percent by 2012. My Administration's climate change policy is science-based, encourages research breakthroughs that lead to technology development, encourages global participation, and pursues actions that will help ensure continued economic growth and prosperity for our citizens and for people throughout the world. Since 2001, we have spent almost $37 billion on climate science, technology development, and incentives and international assistance. Recently, we convened representatives of the world's major economies -- the largest users of energy and largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions, from both developed and developing nations -- to discuss a new international approach on energy security and climate change. Our aim is to agree on a detailed contribution for a new global framework in 2008 that would contribute to a global agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change by 2009. The United States looks forward to working with partners to reach consensus on a "Bali Roadmap" at the upcoming UN meeting on climate change in Indonesia in December. Energy security and climate change are two of the important challenges of our time. The United States takes these challenges seriously, and we are effectively confronting climate change through regulations, public-private partnerships, incentives, and strong investment in new technologies. Our guiding principle is clear: we must lead the world to produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and we must do it in a way that does not undermine economic growth or prevent nations from delivering greater prosperity for their people. There are a few noteworthy aspects to the report and this press release.

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