Climate & Energy

Oh, jeez, not another carbon offset post ...

Just when you thought it was over

Spreadsheets are wonderful things. Rhett Butler has put together a really nice cost analysis comparing the value of tropical peat bogs to palm oil. In a nutshell, this chart shows how much money the owners of these peat bogs could make in the next thirty years, depending of course on the future prices of palm oil and carbon offset credits:

Mystery ads

There’s a series of very strange political videos out recently on YouTube. They parody Republicans, but purport to be campaign ads for Rudy Giuliani. Nobody knows who’s making them, or why. So mysterious! This one’s …

Some good news about coal

For once

It's typically held that the market will price in all current information. To avowed economists, this means markets can virtually predict the future. If you buy that logic, the market may be signaling something environmentally positive about coal and carbon legislation. This from Greenwire ($ub. rqd):

To the rescue!

A new group called The Elders to solve globe’s problems

Singer Peter Gabriel and industry titan Richard Branson conceived, and have now convened and funded, a group called The Elders, a small collection of eminent global statesmenpersons who, it is hoped, will be able to …

Precaution? Are you mad?

Ignore those flashing lights! Full speed ahead!!

Yawn. Another story about the way production of biofuels (inferior substitutes for a commodity that is wasted in gargantuan quantities daily) consumes many times their weight in water, a truly vital liquid. The money quote, the perfect encapsulation of all that is stupid, is here: State Sen. David Johnson, the top-ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, said he will not support regulations on how ethanol facilities use water until he sees proof that Iowa's aquifers are in trouble. You go, Senator! Never address a problem until it's a crisis, that's the spirit! You are a true credit to your species, sir.

Your mileage may vary

Why bicycling is 25 percent better than you thought

Your car's greenhouse-gas emissions are about 25 percent worse than you think. How so? Well, for each gallon of gas you burn in your engine, there's the climate equivalent of another quarter-gallon or so embedded in your consumption. What that means is this: the gasoline you use didn't just magically appear in your tank -- it was extracted, refined, and transported to your local station. And all that activity released emissions. It's a curiosity of our energy system (and other systems too, such as our food system), but it's a curiosity that bears closely on our thinking about how to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Stay with me for a moment. It's usually assumed that each gallon of gas releases about 19.5 pounds of CO2 into the sky. (Some quibble, and argue that it's 19.4 or 19.6. But whatever.) Basic physics dictates that a gallon of gasoline combusted will release a more-or-less fixed amount of CO2. But from a public policy perspective, physics isn't the whole story.

More fresh, hot data nuggets on carbon offsets

Highlights from a report on the state of the U.S. carbon market

Yesterday morning I attended a "special presentation" of the carbon market survey David summarized earlier. The panel discussion was a chance for the report's authors to present the findings to industry participants. A couple of further comments, for those interested in this topic:

Who says solar is expensive?

DIY solar

DIY Solar. Love it. Just don't let your homeowner's association see it. In other news, at the American Solar Energy Society conference in Cleveland last week, First Solar -- the same First Solar that recently announced the sale of $1.28 billion worth of modules -- gave a presentation in which they announced that based on current cost curves, they will be selling around $1.25/W in the 2010-2012 time frame. That, friends, is cheap solar. If the industry can continue to bring down installation costs commensurately -- and that is done by developing local solar programs, creating local solar markets, and investing in local solar installers -- then solar will be at grid parity in a lot of locales.

Exporting our greenhouse gases to China

China’s emissions aren’t really China’s

If you want a Chinese perspective on global warming, a good place to start is this China Daily opinion piece, "Climate change is reshaping global politics." Pang Zhongying, a research fellow with the Joint Program on Globalization under the CRF-Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, makes some points worth remembering, especially: Western countries and industrialized Asian nations like Japan and the Republic of Korea have moved many of their factories to developing countries such as China and India, where cheap labor allows them to manufacture at lower costs than at home. This globalization of production has resulted in the discharge of much more waste in poor nations that otherwise would have been released in developed countries. As a matter of fact, not all of the greenhouse gases released "in China" or "from China" are really "China's". Think of our large and growing trade deficit with China as the U.S. exporting industrial greenhouse-gas emissions. Worse still, China has a more coal-intensive industrial base, so producing things there generates far more pollution than if we had produced the same goods here. This post was created for, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

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