Climate Policy

fund, fund, fund

Popular climate econ model needs major overhaul

Pay attention to the signs.Photo: WCN 24/7True or false: Risks of a climate catastrophe can be ignored, even as temperatures rise? The economic impact of climate change is no greater than the increased cost of air conditioning in a warmer future? The ideal temperature for agriculture could be 17 degrees C (30 degrees F) above historical levels? All true, according to the increasingly popular Climate Framework for Uncertainty, Negotiation, and Distribution (FUND) model of climate economics. It is one of three models used by the federal government’s Interagency Working Group to estimate the “social cost of carbon” — that is, …

on a winding road

Wind power surges forward around the globe

Scotland expects renewables to meet all of its electricity needs by 2025.Photo: Kari GibsonFor many years, a small handful of countries dominated growth in wind power, but this is changing as the industry goes global, with more than 70 countries now developing wind resources. Between 2000 and 2010, world wind electric generating capacity increased at a frenetic pace from 17,000 megawatts to nearly 200,000 megawatts. Measured by share of electricity supplied by wind, Denmark is the leading nation at 21 percent. Three north German states now get 40 percent or more of their electricity from wind. For Germany as a …

gas price snake oil

Fred Upton’s EPA-blocking bill will put more of your money in oil industry pockets

Rep. Upton wants to raise your gas bill.Photo: Mike SchmidCross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Some politicians will say anything to gain from the pain Americans are feeling at the pump. Anyone watching the news knows that pump prices are rising because world-wide demand is recovering after the recession, oil traders are speculating over turmoil in the Middle East, and U.S. oil companies are only too happy to charge consumers higher prices. Yet in the fantasyland that passes for political debate in Washington, House Republicans are going all-out to blame high gas prices on — you guessed it — …

the day after tomorrow happens to be today

Con: Nuclear power is expensive, risky, and some of its proponents are kind of annoying

Today, many outlets report that it’s very likely that the #2 reactor at Daiichi is in full meltdown. There is a strong possibility that rising radiation levels from other sources (such as a pool of spent nuclear fuel rods that is heating up) will force the 50 remaining workers at the plant to evacuate. That would lead to full meltdown of the three previously operational reactors. Pro-nuclear bon vivant William Tucker is suddenly quite popular on the print version of the lecture circuit, and he argues that Japan does not face another Chernobyl. His thesis hinges on the fact that …

nuclear renaissance men

Pro: Japan’s terrible disaster is no reason to stop building nuclear power

Japan is now facing a worst-case scenario for its Daiichi nuclear power plant. But that’s no reason to stop building new nuclear power plants, say a bevy of pundits. Their reasons are myriad. Some, like one Wall Street Journal editor, make the economic argument that all human endeavors are fraught with risk, so this one eensy weensy catastrophe is no reason to continue to unfairly burden nuclear power plants with “artificial obstacles and delay.” Others, like Kevin Bullis at Technology Review, point out that Japan’s Daiichi plant is a “Generation II” type plant, which means it relies on pumps to …

Gas holes

Politifact finds Republican claim to be false; Republicans don’t give a sh*t

Today and tomorrow, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding a markup of H.R. 910, the bill sponsored by committee chair Fred Upton (R-Mich.) that would overturn EPA’s findings on climate science and block the agency from addressing climate pollution. You can watch the webcast here if you have the stomach for it. One thing you’ll notice if you watch is that House Republicans are lying about the bill, about EPA, and about climate change. They are repeating claims that have been debunked dozens of times, by me and many others. They just don’t care. They have an ideology …

The Pepsi to their Koch

Why doesn’t Congress give a damn about climate? Hint: it’s not the messaging

The Greenpeace airship spreads the word.Photo: Gus Ruelas/GreenpeaceAmong other truths made completely clear by the showdown in Wisconsin: the outsized role of the Koch brothers in American politics. Charles and David, the third and fourth richest men in America, first gained notoriety this past fall, when a remarkable exposé by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker showed how they’d funded not only the Tea Party but also the hydra-headed campaign to undermine the science of global warming, all in the service of even more profit for their oil and gas business. But it was in Wisconsin that the down-and-dirty details …

'climate hawks' in the other sense

Oil-fattened Congress well on way to preventing EPA from regulating greenhouse gases

Congress is now moving to make it illegal for the government to regulate greenhouse gases, under any circumstances. Apparently killing off possibly the last chance the U.S. had to act on climate change in time to avoid its worst impacts wasn’t enough to sate their appetite for destruction? On Friday, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce — whose leaders are backed by ag, chemical, and fossil fuel industries — voted to strip the EPA of its existing powers to regulate carbon dioxide, methane, and other agents of global warming. That sucks. What sucks worse: Their efforts might just survive …

8.9 on the dick-ter scale

Guess what else the GOP wants to cut? Tsunami monitoring!

Whatever, my kid can do that.Image: Pacific Tsunami Warning CenterIf we had any evidence that Republican House members were capable of feeling shame, we’d expect them to be so red right now. Mother Jones reports that one of the items on the GOP’s budgetary chopping block is … tsunami monitoring. Last month, they voted to hack out nearly a third of the funding for the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which (go figure) warns about tsunamis in the Pacific: In February, the union representing the National Weather Service warned that the Republican cuts could place the residents of Hawaii in mortal …

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