Politics

Action on federal renewable energy standard

Make your opinion heard

Senator Bingaman is with the majority of Americans in wanting more renewable energy. Accordingly, he has authored legislation that would require utilities to increase renewables in their portfolio to 15 percent by 2020. Senator Domenici is with the craven few who don't want this to happen. Accordingly, he has authored an amendment to redefine qualifying renewables to include nukes and coal. So tricky! But we are on to him. The vote on Domenici's amendment will take place this afternoon. Calls to the following swinging senators by 2 p.m. EDT today could make all the difference. Minn. - Coleman - 202.224.5641 N.H. - Gregg - 202.224.3324 Ark. - Pryor - 202.224.2353 Ark. - Lincoln - 202.224.4843 Kan. - Brownback - 202.224.6521 Ind. - Bayh - 202.224.5623 Ore. - Smith - 202.224.3753 Mo. - McCaskill - 202.224.6154 W.Va. - Rockefeller- 202.224.6472 If you live in or know anyone in these states, consider calling ASAP. Talking points: Hi, my name is XXXX and I'm calling from [city, state]. I'm calling to ask Senator XXXX to oppose Senator Domenici's amendment to the national renewable portfolio standard bill. The amendment would weaken the deployment of truly clean and renewable electricity sources like wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal. The renewable standard is intended to promote our development of clean, new energy sources, not give more subsidies to the coal and nuclear industries. The bill provides a way to save consumers like me money on their utility bills by increasing the competition from renewable energy sources and reducing the demand for natural gas Thank you. Action courtesy of UCS

Two presidential ads on global warming

From the candidates with the best plans and least chances

The two Democratic presidential candidates with the strongest energy plans and, um, least chance of winning have come out with new ads based on global warming. Here’s Chris Dodd’s: Here’s Bill Richardson’s: (via Hugg)

CTL stupid compared to plug-in hybrids, say experts, people who can read

A couple of heavy-duty energy wonks from Carnegie Mellon have this to say: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce is considering enacting policies to subsidize the production of transportation fuel from coal-to-liquid projects. Tepper School of Business researchers determined plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are a far better and less costly choice. — Generating electricity from coal with carbon capture and sequestration and replacing the fleet with plug-in hybrid vehicles could enhance energy security by reducing 85% of motor vehicle gasoline use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle travel by 70%. — Even the most carbon-intensive scenario using plug-in …

25x25

Oregon Gov. signs tough new renewable standard

Kudos to Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who this week signed one of the nation’s toughest renewable portfolio standards: the state’s biggest utilities must deliver 25% of their power from renewable sources by 2025.

Maybe Anne-Sophie Muttered

Tree used for violin bows gets U.N. protection, others slip through the cracks A threatened tree species used in high-quality violin bows gained new protections yesterday — and so did the violin bows. The U.N.’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species added brazilwood to the list of nearly 40,000 species it regulates. Originally, the guidelines would have required violinists to carry permits when bringing their brazilwood bows through customs, but they got a last-minute reprieve; only travelers transporting raw wood will need permits. Whew. “We are inspired by the hope that [the species] will remain a feature of our …

Ceci n'est pas une carbon tax

Color me unimpressed

You can color me unimpressed by the big news today in the Globe and Mail: Quebec just became the first Canadian province to pass a carbon tax. For one thing, the tax is tiny, just 0.8 cents per liter of gasoline, and at comparably low levels on natural gas and diesel. (For non-metricized Americans, that's 3 cents per gallon.) So that makes Quebec's new approach not quite as aggressive as -- to pick just one example at random -- Idaho's 5 cent per gallon increase circa 1996. Now in fairness to Quebec, the new carbon tax revenue, which weighs in at about $200 million, will be spent on seeking greenhouse gas reductions. That's a big improvement over previous gas taxes in the States, where the money normally gets shoveled back into roads. Strangely, however, Quebec's government seems intent on preventing the tax from actually influencing consumer behavior. To wit: Natural Resources Minister Claude Béchard called on the oil companies to be good corporate citizens and do their share to protect the environment by absorbing the cost of the new tax. "We call on their good faith and social responsibility." Wait, what?