Climate & Energy

More proof that coal ain't cheap

Duke wins approval for a $3100/kW plant

From E&E News ($ub req'd): Indiana has approved a $2 billion, 630 MW integrated gasificiation/combined cycle coal plant. Two billion divided by 630 MW = $3,174/kW. If we assume that coal equity investors expect to recover their investment over 20 years, with an 11 percent return, that works out to 5.7 cents/kWh just to pay off the capital for the power plant. Add in another 3 cents or so for transmission and distribution, and a couple cents for fuel and operating costs, and this plant will work out to over 10 cents in retail prices. This in a state where the current average retail electric rate is 6.79 cents/kWh. So why was it approved? Simple: "In the Midwest, coal is plentiful and low-cost, and finding ways to burn it cleanly is fundamental to meeting our customers' demand for power," Duke Energy Indiana President Jim Stanley said in a statement. The head spins. Excerpts of the story below the fold.

George Bush fetes Al Gore in Oval Office

Yesterday, George W. Bush fulfilled the U.S. president’s traditional obligation to fete the winners of the Nobel Prize in the Oval Office — including, of course, Peace Prize Laureate (and, in the minds of some, …

Notable quotable

“Here is my guess, and I know that I’m right. I will bet my car, in fact. Bush will come out, this president when he leaves office, will come out in the next decade or …

The GOP and climate

One small step for Republicans on climate, but giant leaps still needed

I've noticed recently that some conservatives -- particularly Andrew Sullivan -- have offered kind words to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for being the only presidential candidate in the Republican field to take the climate change issue seriously. It's difficult to know what to make of this. On the one hand, the country would be in a much better position to seriously address the crisis if John McCain's environmental views fell in the mainstream of his party, instead of where they actually fall -- radically at odds with the views of his party's leaders, virtually all conservative thinkers, and almost every last pundit on the right. If that's ever going to change, it will probably require more people like Andrew Sullivan to highlight -- and praise -- the fact that McCain isn't a typical right-wing denialist or industry shill. At the same time, though, this really brings to light just how far behind the issue green conservatives are, and, as a corollary to that, the fact that the party of the filibuster is light years away from accepting the sort of legislation that will be necessary very, very soon if the problem is to be addressed adequately.

Not-so-great grandfathering

Cap-and-trade vs. a carbon tax

I don't know what to say about this article, which is largely a critique of a grandfathered "cap-and-trade" system for reducing greenhouse emissions. On the one hand, I shouldn't complain. Any serious discussion in the press of climate policy is welcome. But on the other hand -- jeez, is it so hard to get climate policy right? My problem isn't so much that the article gets things wrong (though it does). It's that it tells, at most, half the story of cap-and-trade -- not even the important half.

Northern Ireland and Japan plagued by jellyfish

We’re sure you have plenty of fodder for eco-nightmares, but let us add another: killer jellyfish. Last week, a horde of jellies covering an area of 10 square miles (!) attacked Northern Ireland’s only salmon …

Response to Jeremy Carl, part two

There are some compelling reasons to focus on cleaning up rather than abandoning coal

In my previous post, I argued that if developing nations refuse to alter their escalating reliance on dirty coal, we’re all screwed. If they are willing to consider more expensive (at least in the short-term) …

World’s poor to be shafted most by climate change, U.N. report says

It’s official: The world’s poorest people will be the most screwed over by climate change and its ill effects, including drought, agricultural failures, water shortages, disease, flooding, and all the rest, according to a new …

Our defining moment

The next president needs to move with speed and clear vision on mitigating climate change

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. Rajendra Pachuari. As I mentioned in a previous post, many of my colleagues in climate-action circles are delighted at the detailed commitments the presidential candidates in the Democratic field are making around global warming. It seems ungrateful to ask them for more. But ask we must. We need to know what they'll do to act quickly. And we need to hear their unifying vision for the post-carbon world. On speed: We've all read Jim Hansen's warning that the international community must take significant action within a decade if we wish to avoid the most dangerous consequences of global warming. Now the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has moved up the deadline. In announcing the IPCC's final report on Nov. 16, Rajendra Pachuari warned, "If there's no action before 2012, that's too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment."

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