Tuesday, September 15, 2015

SB 350 and SB 32: One step forward...

The California Assembly had a chance to push California strongly forward towards the solar conversion, but declined to do so.

Senate Bills 350 and 32 would have done four things to help the progress of the conversion:

1) 350 would have required California electrical utilities to get 50% of their juice from renewable sources by 2030.

2) 350 would have required a 50% increase in the energy efficiency of our existing buildings by 2030.

3) 350 would have reduced the amount of gasoline burned in California by half by 2030.

4) 32 would have required California to reduce its carbon emissions by 80% below 1990 levels, reaching that goal by 2030.

Of those four things, the Assembly went along with the first two. So that's a win. But the goal of reducing gasoline reduction was just dropped entirely from the bill and SB 32 was defeated.

It's disappointing, but I can't feel too bad. If we have a compromise like this every year, then we'll be doing fine. The glass is half-full, and we can just get ready to try for that other half next year.

Here is Grist's summary of what happened.

The Political Clout of the Renewable Energy Industry

Grist is reporting on a new article in Science, "Winning Coalitions for Climate Policy." Unfortunately, Science requires paid access so I won't be able to read it until I get down to the library, but Grist's writeup makes it sound interesting.

The main point is that measures which build up the renewable energy industry, such as subsidies for rooftop solar and requiring utilities to get a percentage of their electricity from renewable sources, build up a constituency for renewable energy which will then provide the political muscle for measures such as carbon pricing. In other words, if you offer the carrot first, you are much more likely to get to the stick later.

This has certainly been the case in Germany, where generous prices paid for renewable energy has built an enormous body of support for anti-carbon policies.

You can find the Grist article here.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fight for SB 350

Speaking very loosely, California Senate Bill 350 will reduce California's carbon pollution by 50% by the time we reach 2030.

These are exactly the kinds of measures we need to be taking now. Governor Brown and the California Democratic leadership have pushed the bill through the Senate, but there is trouble in the Assembly. The culprits are the usual assortment of conservative Republican nutjobs and Democratic crooks trying to hold the bill for ransom in order to extract perks and goodies for their own constitutents.

We need to push to get this bill passed. Below is a link to information about SB 350, and below that is a link to a Sierra Club page that will let you contact your Assembly representative in support of the bill.



Saturday, August 22, 2015

Carly Fiorina and the "Moderate" Republican Position on Climate Change

Another home run from Dave Roberts, reviewing Carly Fiorina's recent comments on the futility of trying to fight climate change. Roberts looks at the ten points that Fiorina tried to make recently, and in so doing he provides a nice little summary of how the transition to renewable energy is going.

I particularly liked point number 2, where Fiorina claims that California's push for renewable energy is hurting the California economy. Roberts points out that home electricity prices have fallen during the push, and that California's economy is growing and that California leads the nation in job creation.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Renewable Energy Moves Ahead of Natural Gas

This is good.


Friday, August 14, 2015

A Battery the Size of Norway

This is great thinking. In order to get off of carbon we need power storage on this level. I hope someone gets this done.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Urban Solar for California

Grist has a report about a new Stanford University study on the potential for putting "utility-scale solar development" into already-developed areas, even urban areas, rather than in open countryside. The advantage, environmentally, is that we wouldn't be sacrificing our wild areas in order to develop our solar capacity.

I can't access the study itself, published in Nature Climate Change. But Grist's summary contains one great number: according to the study, the solar capacity that we could potentially install in our developed areas would produce 20,000 terawatt-hours of power, which is more than three times California's electrical demand. How cool is that?

That extra capacity is particularly exciting for people, like me, who still dream of bringing manufacturing back to California.

Photo: Gabriel Millos, Creative Commons 2.0 BY-SA