Monday, July 12th, 2010
With the recent presidential push for climate change legislation, it is now more important than ever to understand the underlying fundamentals of a key aspect common across all climate bills – the issue of carbon offsets. The most recent bill, the American Power Act (APA), proposed by Senator John Kerry and Senator Joe Lieberman, specifically provides for up to 2 billion offsets/annum spread across international and domestic projects. That’s a significant volume, considering that it translates into almost 40% of the total cap and trade expected until 2020. It will be one of the largest and most intensely scrutinized markets of all time apart from being one of the key mechanisms by which emission reductions are actually achieved. The sheer variety of project types, locations and, standards frequently make carbon trading appear to be as complex as astrophysics for most of us on the ground.
Fortunately though, the last few years of carbon trading and project development in voluntary markets and as part of the Kyoto Protocol have clarified the essential characteristics of good projects. These common principles define good and reliable emission reduction projects from not-so-desirable ones. Faced with a multitude of carbon offset standards (administered by as many independent certification bodies that certify carbon offsets according to a list of predefined criteria), it is important to keep one’s eyes on the prize – real, verifiable emission reductions. In other words, a carbon offset must represent a verified actual ton of CO2 reduced uniquely, without adverse effect on the socio-economic environment, and in addition to any emissions that may have been reduced as a matter of course.
Monday, July 12th, 2010
(Reuters) – Democrats in the U.S. Senate aim to debate in late July a bill clamping down on offshore oil drilling practices and fostering more alternative energy use, but no decision has been made on whether to include controversial climate change provisions, aides said on Friday.
As the Gulf of Mexico oil spill entered its 81st day with BP still unable to plug its leaking undersea well, the Senate was planning a two-week debate on an energy and environmental bill that could start as early as July 19. (more…)
Thursday, July 1st, 2010
After a meeting between President Obama and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators, leading Senate proponents of climate and energy legislation say the only climate bill with a chance of passage this year would be a measure placing a cap on the carbon dioxide emissions of electric power utilities.
At least two Republican senators — Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both of Maine — involved in Tuesday’s meeting with Obama said they would support placing a cap and price on the CO2 emissions of utilities, provided that most or all of the proceeds were rebated to taxpayers.
A key sponsor of climate and energy legislation in the Senate, John Kerry (D-Mass), suggested he might be willing to drop his move to place a cap and a price on CO2 emissions throughout the economy in favor of a more limited bill capping the emissions of electric utilities. (more…)
Thursday, June 24th, 2010
(Reuters) – California environmentalists opened fire on Wednesday on a measure approved for the state’s November ballot that would roll back a landmark law regulating greenhouse gas emissions.
Linking the measure to the historic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Sierra Club and other environmental groups lambasted the measure, noting in a statement that Texas-based oil companies Valero and Tesoro have put money behind it.
The measure, certified by California’s top elections official for the ballot on Tuesday, would suspend the law until the unemployment rate in the most populous U.S. state, currently more than 12 percent, drops to 5.5 percent or less for four consecutive quarters.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the law, AB32, in 2006 (more…)
Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
On Wednesday, President Obama will meet with a bipartisan group of Senators to discuss the need for comprehensive energy and climate legislation this year. Following that meeting, Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, will host a live chat on WhiteHouse.gov to take your questions on energy and climate change legislation.
You can watch the chat live starting at 3 PM EDT on Wednesday June 23, right here on WhiteHouse.gov/live (more…)
Friday, June 18th, 2010
|Article sponsored by The Vote Solar Initiative.
We are standing on the precipice of solar greatness in New York State, and it is because so many of you have taken action. You have written over 1500 letters to your legislators. You have contributed more than 30 official memorandums of support. You have donated generously to our solar billboard campaign, and it became a reality. You have made calls. You’ve told friends, and those friends have told their friends. (more…)
Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
(Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Tuesday pledged to do all he could to contain the BP Plc oil spill and help the Gulf Coast recover.
“We will fight this spill with everything we’ve got for as long it takes. We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused,” Obama said in a televised address.
Obama also said he was happy to take ideas from Democrats and Republicans on broad energy legislation but said the United States could not afford to avoid changes in its energy use.
The high-stakes address to the nation is seen as an attempt to restore public confidence in his handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and drive forward his ambitious plans to cut U.S. dependence on fossil fuels.
BP’s efforts to curb the flow of oil into the sea suffered another setback when a fire aboard a ship collecting the gushing crude forced suspension of siphoning from the ruptured underwater well. But operations were restarted before Obama spoke. (more…)
Monday, June 14th, 2010
Good news from the Buckeye State! The legislature passed important tax reform that drops the tax burden for solar farms from upwards of $100,000 per MW to a flat fee of $7,000 per MW. The bill (SB232) – which is expected to be signed by the Governor any day now – removes a major barrier to large-scale solar development in the state.
Existing Ohio tax law added these unreasonably high costs to the price of developing solar and other (more…)
Monday, June 14th, 2010
For years, free-market fundamentalists opposed to government regulation have sought to create doubt in the public’s mind about the dangers of smoking, acid rain, and ozone depletion. Now they have turned those same tactics on the issue of global warming and on climate scientists, with significant success.
In recent months, a group called the Cooler Heads Coalition — a creation of the Washington-based Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) — has fostered a public image of climate science as a criminal conspiracy. The CEI itself has accused NASA, the largest funder of climate science, of faking important climate data sets. In February, U.S. Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, whose positions are frequently cited and promoted by CEI, called for a criminal investigation of 17 climate scientists from a variety of institutions for allegedly falsifying or distorting data used in taxpayer-funded research. (more…)
Friday, June 11th, 2010
With the clock ticking down on the legislative calendar, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are jockeying to get an energy bill onto the stage that will find the required votes for passage. The goals couldn’t be more clear: enact policy that will save energy, curb greenhouse gas emissions and encourage the production of green alternatives that will reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil. In the wake of the national catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, one might think that characteristic partisan interests and knee-jerk procedural bickering might be put aside in favor of compelling national unity. Yet the legislative waters on the issue remain, for now, murky as usual.