Politics

RPS, as viewed from the states of the Old Confederacy

Their reasons aren’t all that unreasonable

Yesterday, I spoke to a group of manufacturers in Arkansas. Throughout the conference there was a fair amount of pride in the successful squashing of Bingaman's RPS bill -- and for reasons that are not entirely unreasonable. Among the speakers was the chair of the Arkansas Energy Commission, who said that he personally objected to the bill because it was unfair. Specifically, it would not allow Arkansas to count their existing hydro-electric capacity in the RPS targets, but would allow existing wind to count. From his perspective, this looked like a sop to Bingaman's wind-rich home district, and while we might personally dispute this interpretation, it is easy to see how it could happen. It is further proof for my earlier point that a path-based RPS is bound to fail, for the simple reason that you will never get a majority of states to agree that a wind/solar dominated RPS is in their interests. Change the structure so that it provides incentives for the goal rather than the path and you could break the southern opposition. There are more low-zero carbon fuels out there than are dreamt of in current RPS philosophies. If your state is long on biomass, bagasse, waste heat or wind, those should all be eligible -- not because we redefine our eligibility targets, but because we define the goal in terms of carbon reduction and then open up the door to any path that can get there. Until then, we're not going to get an RPS.  Note that the southern utilities are boasting about their success in killing this last one -- let's not give them more to crow about. From Greenwire (sub. rqd.): Southern utilities led effort to squash Senate RPS proposal ATLANTA -- Southern utilities played key roles in the effort to undermine plans in the Senate last week to require power companies to generate at least 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy. The fingerprints of the Tennessee Valley Authority and those of the Tennessee Valley Power Providers Association, whose members distribute TVA power to nearly 9 million customers in the South, were all over the successful effort to keep the so-called renewable portfolio standard (RPS) out of the sweeping Senate energy bill.

Is this the right time to attack Dingell?

He’s pro-carbon tax, anti-CAFE — which matters more?

Last week, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), chair of the Energy & Commerce Committee, dropped this bomb (sub. rqd.): My own judgment is that we are going to have to adopt a cap-and-trade system and some form of carbon emission fee to achieve the reductions we need. Lest you missed it, “carbon emission fee” is clever poli-speak for carbon tax. Meanwhile, the liberal grassroots group MoveOn has launched a full frontal assault on Dingell, with radio ads calling him a "Dingellsaurus." They’re joined by several other groups, including Greenpeace, which has called for Dingell’s ouster as chair of the E&C Committee. …

Soil: The secret solution to global warming

A nifty video

Quantum Shift TV has made a video about the coming farm bill called "Soil: The Secret Solution to Global Warming.” It opens with Canadian superstar farmer Percy Schmeiser, and segues into a smart discussion of farm bill politics. It’s about 9 min. long. Check it out:

Science: Eh, who cares?

Hansen says scientists need lovin’, too

NASA climate scientist James Hansen has a new paper out, titled “How Can We Avert Dangerous Climate Change,” which is actually a slightly-edited version of his testimony before Congress in April. The paper is available online here (PDF), and it’s worth checking out, of course. But also interesting is the preamble Hansen included in his email announcing the new paper: President Eisenhower was arguably the last United States President to seek and value advice of scientists. As discussed by John Rigdon in June 2007 Physics Today, scientists played important roles in the World Wars, but they did not have substantial …

15 Green Politicians

From mayors to heads of state, politicians the world over are going green. Check out our list of top achievers, then tell us which political leaders you’d nominate in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Photo: Thomas Hawk via Flickr Arnold Schwarzenegger The Governator has truly pumped up environmental action in California. He made the state a global leader on climate change by signing into law the landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which commits the state to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. He’s also done some heavy lifting to …

Global warming and direct action

To act not to act

I regularly receive a letter from Ted Glick, the coordinator of the U.S. Climate Emergency Council, who recently was arrested for hanging a banner on the NOAA building to protest their mishandling of climate information. He has joined with others in calling for a fast on September 4th: We are calling on thousands of Americans to voluntarily give up food for one day on September 4th, 2007. Other participants will fast even longer beginning on that date, some for weeks. Our appeal to you is to consider joining us in this climate initiative called, "So Others Might Eat: The Climate Emergency Fast." ... What will we be calling for? Three things: no new coal or coal-to-liquid plants; freeze greenhouse gas emissions and move quickly to reduce them; and a down payment of $25 billion for energy conservation, efficiency and renewable energy. Ken Ward has recently posted here about the efficacy of protest. The problem as I see it is that in the past, direct action and protest have had very clear achievable goals, whereas in the case of global warming, we know we want drastically reduced carbon emission, but the devil is in the details.

What average folk want from climate policy

Namely, for someone else to pay for it

Somebody on Gristmill recently mentioned this study, I think. (Who are you, mysterious misremembered person? ['Twas JMG!]) Anyway, it was a survey done with 1,200 or so adults. They were presented with three climate policy options: 1) “Standards” or “mandates”: The government tells companies exactly how they must generate electricity or manufacture vehicle fuel to achieve a cut in emissions. 2) Emissions Tax: The government taxes companies for their greenhouse gas emissions. 3) Cap-and-Trade: The government imposes a cap on companies’ greenhouse gas emissions, but allows companies to trade permits – which represent the right to emit a certain amount …

Where the conservative base is now

Take a National Review cruise to find out

Holy mother of something or other, you gotta read this story. Here’s how it begins: I am standing waist-deep in the Pacific Ocean, indulging in the polite chit-chat beloved by vacationing Americans. A sweet elderly lady from Los Angeles is sitting on the rocks nearby, telling me dreamily about her son. “Is he your only child?” I ask. “Yes,” she answers. “Do you have a child back in England?” she asks me. No, I say. Her face darkens. “You’d better start,” she says. “The Muslims are breeding. Soon, they’ll have the whole of Europe.” I am getting used to such …

Update on House energy bill sausage making

Mixed news

Now that the energy bill has gotten through the Senate, the fight has moved to the House. Here’s an update, from my rapidly dwindling free-trial-period subscription to CongressNow: An expected push by House Democratic lawmakers to raise federal fuel economy standards and create new renewable electricity mandates will likely be deferred until the full House debates comprehensive energy legislation later this year, environmentalists and industry officials said today. “I think they’ll make those moves on the floor,” said one industry lobbyist this morning. House Energy and Commerce Committee members Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) are reportedly considering offering …

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