Tuesday, July 14th, 2009
President Obama is the only person capable of speaking directly to the American people in a way that will correct the course of climate change legislation in Congress before it is too late. Congress has never been closer to enacting a price on pollution related to global warming than it is today but proposed legislation is in serious jeopardy of being torpedoed by misinformation and most importantly, a lack of leadership. Congress risks the viability of climate change law further by the method in which it passes related legislation; climate change is a long-term fight and the public must perceive it to be like other continuing programs like Medicare and Social Security.
Propaganda about the effects of cap-and-trade on the economy is one of the primary factors that could bring it down in the Senate. The opposition framed cap-and-trade as a threat to economic growth and a national energy tax; in response supporters of legislation have described it as a jobs bill. Neither are entirely true but the opposition’s argument is easier to believe, despite evidence to the contrary. (more…)
Monday, July 13th, 2009
In a move that will surely provide an additional boost for the alternative energy industry, and perhaps T. Boone Pickens‘ plan, the US Department of Treasury has finally released guidelines for claiming the grants instead of the federal tax credit. Applications will be submitted online. However, the Treasury will not be accepting applications at this time.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed in February allowed for business taxpayers to apply for direct payments instead of claiming a tax credit on their income tax return. This applied to the credit under Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) Section 45 (Energy Produced for Certain Renewable Resources) and IRC Section 48 (Energy Credit). Property that applies to this includes geothermal, biomass, micro wind turbines, and solar amongst others.
Sunday, July 12th, 2009
Even as the irrepressible T. Boone Pickens had to scrap his “Pickens Plan” on Tuesday, in part due to a paucity of transmission capacity, last week brought another hurdle for the chances of building out the transmission infrastructure that Pickens and the country will need to bring more renewable power on-line. Why am I not surprised that we are not all rowing in the same direction here?
Earthjustice and a dozen other environmental groups filed suit against the feds on Tuesday, challenging the designation of the national interest corridors called for in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Friday, July 10th, 2009
Concerned by the environmental impact of water bottles, the 2,500 villagers of Bundanoon have now banned the sale of bottled water. This might make them the first community in the world to do so. More than 350 residents went to the polls, with only two people voting against the ban – including a representative from the bottled water industry, BBC reports citing ABC news. Even the local stores supported the vote. Visitors won’t get punished for breaking the ban, but they will be “encouraged to fill a reusable container from water fountains in the main street.” Neat!
Thursday, July 9th, 2009
I’m glad that they are so proud of themselves for unanimously agreeing to do nothing! Leaders of the G8 leading industrial countries have agreed to try to limit global warming to just 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels by 2050.
Pretty farcical on so many levels, but on a personal, empathetic, level I’m happy for poor (rich?!) Mr Berlusconi who got a chance to shed some of the stress he’s been feeling at home with a photo op and stroll with our vaunted supreme leader and the other, merely mortal, leaders of the developed world.*
Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
The U.S. Senate has begun hearings on legislation to place a ceiling and a price on carbon emissions, and Democratic leaders say they are as many as 15 votes short of the number to ensure passage. The Washington Post reports that to pass the 1,400-page bill, Senate Democratic leaders may be forced to make so many concessions to industry that the legislation could lose the support of environmental groups, most of which have endorsed the bill.
The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly approved the legislation last month after softening emissions targets and agreeing to initially give away — rather than auction — the permits that large-scale emitters must obtain to release greenhouse gases.
Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
The best way to ensure that industrialized and developing nations fairly share the burden of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is to set national targets based on the number of wealthy people in each country, a new study suggests.
Reporting in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Princeton University recommended that the roughly 1 billion people whose affluent lifestyles make them high carbon emitters should determine how much CO2 each country is permitted to emit under any new climate treaty. Most of those 1 billion people live in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and other developed countries, but an increasing number of well-to-do people with a large carbon footprint will live in China, India, Russia, Brazil, and other developing nations. A climate treaty that focuses on levels of affluence in each country will help bridge a major negotiating divide between rich and poor countries, the study said.
Tuesday, July 7th, 2009
Much of the debate over the formation of a cap & trade system under the Waxman-Markey bill focused on whether initial allowances should be auctioned off or merely given away and how the system would act. There was little discussion about the impact a federal cap & trade system would have on states, which have already established or at the very least have set the wheels in motion regarding a state or regional cap and trade system. Most notably, this refers to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Western Climate Initiative, and California.
Wednesday, July 1st, 2009
The US Environmental Protection Agency today announced the next steps in a coordinated strategy to reduce emissions from ocean-going vessels. EPA is proposing a rule under the Clean Air Act that sets engine and fuel standards for U.S. flagged ships that would harmonize with international standards and are expected to lead to significant air quality improvements throughout the country, especially near ports.
“These emissions are contributing to health, environmental and economic challenges for port communities and others that are miles inland. Building on our work to form an international agreement earlier this year, we’re taking the next steps to reduce significant amounts of harmful pollution from getting into the air we breathe,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. (more…)
Wednesday, July 1st, 2009
Ken Salazar's solar array and cowboy hat combo should be more common under the plan announced yesterday for the Southwest
Yesterday’s big announcement by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar heralded what may be a new era for solar power, as thousands of acres of federal land in six Southwestern states were set aside to become a special federal solar energy zone designed to facilitate siting, construction and deployment of as much as 70,000 MW of new solar capacity.
Today, it is wind’s turn in the sun. The front page of the Boston Globe and local broadcast reports are abuzz with the news that Governor Deval Patrick’s administration has released a new plan to re-zone state coastal waters to better balance the need for marine ecological protections with the hope that Massachusetts can harvest more of its offshore wind as useful electricity.
In the absence of all of the plan’s details (a full presser was scheduled for the afternoon of July 1 at the New England Aquarium in Boston), the media has already shifted to score-keeping. There is at least one clear loser, as the plan deals a death blow to a particular Buzzards Bay proposal for 300 MW of offshore wind. The wind farm would sit in what is now a restricted area.