Thursday, December 17th, 2009
A new report from Pike Research of Colorado says the addition of carbon capture systems to power plants will add 50% to 70% to the cost of creating electricity for existing and future plants.
The report, titled “Carbon Capture and Sequestration: Drivers and Barriers, Technology Issues, Key Industry Players, Market Analysis and Forecasts,” adds that such increases in costs will be initially underwritten by governments but gradually passed on to ratepayers.
Wednesday, December 16th, 2009
So, in case you missed it, there is evidently some kind of climate change conference underway this week. And, its not going well. Still, even if we imagine for a moment that a binding international treaty with hard carbon caps could be salvaged from the wreckage in Copenhagen, there is more news from home in the NYT showing that the US is not up to the climate change challenge at home.
We are developing the technology, but Matthew Wald’s story about a “false start” for smart grids in California and elsewhere provides yet another lens to focus on the policy deficit that is crippling every effort at meaningful energy reform. And, with public will degraded by global recession and climate change skepticism calcifying thanks to Climategate, policymakers cannot afford many more (or, anymore?) false starts.
Tuesday, December 15th, 2009
CleanTechies sits down with John Viera, director of sustainable business strategies for Ford Motor Company, for three questions.
CleanTechies: What are your day to day duties and the big picture of your job?
John Viera: Basically, my responsibilities are two-fold. My organization is responsible for our sustainability strategies and also responsible for environmental policy for the company. So, when you think about those two pockets – the sustainability strategy, you can think about it in a couple of different buckets. Everything we do from a sustainability strategy standpoint has to have economic goodness to it. I say that because when we talk about doing things that are environmentally friendly and whatnot, we say that it does need to have a good business case. We’re not the philanthropic arm of Ford. There is a philanthropic arm. It’s called the Ford Fund. And what we do is we set up strategies that make business sense.
Tuesday, December 15th, 2009
The US already has years of experience with Cap and Trade. A sulfur dioxide Cap and Trade program has proven an effective control strategy to lower SO2 emissions. It provides elements of market incentives and provides flexibility to facilities that emit large quantities of the pollutant in several ways.
One of the most important ways is that it permits older facilities which may need to operate for a limited number of years to purchase “emissions credits” to continue operating without installing un-economic emissions controls by purchasing credits. The credits are created by other sources which control their emissions MORE than required under regulations. There is also an overall reduction in the program to benefit the environment so we are not just transferring emission from one plant to another.
Monday, December 14th, 2009
As the UN conference enters its second and decisive week, the calls for strong global action to deal with climate change do not appear to be penetrating inside Copenhagen’s Bella Center.
One week down here in Copenhagen, and an enormous tide of words and images and sounds. There have been nonstop press conferences (the press briefing room at the Bella Center actually has bouncers to make sure the rhythm never stops), and an anarchist can’t throw a rock without hitting a blogger. On Sunday, I attended an incredibly beautiful service at the central Lutheran cathedral, where the Archbishop of Canterbury preached one of the most powerful sermons I’ve heard in years.
Friday, December 11th, 2009
The World Research Institute (WRI) released an interactive Web application yesterday at the COP15 conference. The application allows for easy analysis of a country’s emission reduction pledge and all of the latest developed nation pledges have since been fed into the new application by the WRI.
Thursday, December 10th, 2009
The United States and a coalition of the world’s island nations and least developed countries are placing growing pressure on swiftly developing countries — most notably China — to commit to firm CO2 emissions reductions targets at the Copenhagen summit. As the U.S.’s chief climate negotiator, Todd Stern, told reporters there’s “no way” to solve the global warming problem “by giving the major developing countries a pass,” poor states and island nations proposed that all countries sign an agreement with legally binding CO2 reductions targets. China rejected that idea.
The Alliance of Small Island States — composed of 43 nations highly vulnerable to global warming and sea level rise — was joined by 48 of the world’s poorest countries in proposing that the Copenhagen summit set a goal of holding global temperature increases to 1.5 C (2.7 F) above pre-industrial levels. But as the small nations were making that plea, the UK’s Met Office said that given rapidly rising concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere, meeting a 1.5 C goal was virtually impossible and that holding global temperature increases to 2 C (3.6 F) will be difficult, even in the highly unlikely event that global greenhouse gas emissions peak in 2020.
Wednesday, December 9th, 2009
Research conducted by the University of Bristol, and the University of Leeds in the UK have demonstrated that our climate models may be underestimating the effects of CO2 on global temperatures.
In the long term, the Earth’s temperature may be 30-50 per cent more sensitive to atmospheric carbon dioxide
than has previously been estimated, reports a new study published in Nature Geoscience this week.
The results show that components of the Earth’s climate system that vary over long timescales — such as land-ice and vegetation — have an important effect on this temperature sensitivity, but these factors are often neglected in current climate models.
Tuesday, December 8th, 2009
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The recession has slashed U.S. output of planet warming gases and puts the country on track to reach President Barack Obama’s short-term emissions goal, but cutting the pollution further will take more effort as the economy recovers.
“Losing weight by starving is different than shedding pounds through exercise,” said Kevin Book, an analyst at ClearView Energy Partners, LLC.
He said as the economy recovers electricity demand should rise, pushing up emissions from that sector. That will require the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China to move faster to low-carbon sources like renewable energy if Obama’s short-term goal is to be met, he said.
Tuesday, December 8th, 2009
Delegates from developing nations at the Copenhagen conference were incensed after reading a leaked document purporting to show that a group of wealthy nations intends to sideline the UN in future climate change negotiations and place CO2 emissions restrictions on poorer nations.
The Guardian reported that the so-called “Danish text” — reputedly drafted by wealthy nations including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Denmark — would abandon the principles of the Kyoto Protocol requiring industrialized nations to commit to binding greenhouse gas emissions while poorer nations were not compelled to act. The draft text would hand control over financing climate change projects in the developing world to the World Bank and would make funds given to poorer nations for climate change adaptation contingent on those nations taking actions to reduce emissions.