Sunday, September 4, 2016

China and U.S. Clinch New Climate Deal

I've always thought that Obama was just kind of scrambling to do something about climate change, but maybe he's been working on a long term strategy all along. John H. Cushman Jr. at Inside Climate News has a report on how the new China-U.S. agreement is intended to help push along ratification of the Paris climate accords, and what the implications are if it is ratified.

According to the United Nations, the pact's early entry into force would have a "catalytic effect, spurring strong and decisive action" well before 2020. In particular, parties to the agreement would be bound by rules such as those governing "transparency," the ability of nations to monitor each other's compliance. A series of timetables would also kick in further tightening the Paris pledges.
Link:  U.S. and China Ratify Paris Agreement, Upping Pressure on Other Nations

Thursday, September 1, 2016

China Takes the Lead. Go China!

Marlene Cimmons at Think Progress runs down the numbers on how China has taken the lead in moving to a clean energy economy. It's impressive. I remember watching a Fox News special on global warming which argued that the U.S. couldn't do anything about global warming because our efforts would be useless unless the Chinese joined in. So now that China has clearly joined in, what's going to be the excuse now?

“Already, China hosts the largest installed capacities for most types of renewable energy technology,” said Dolf Gielen, director of the International Renewable Energy Association’s (IRENA) Innovation Technology Centre. “China’s progress in this area is just one example of the ongoing, dramatic shift occurring in the global energy system.”

Link:  China Is Emerging As A Global Clean Energy Leader

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

SB 32: California Uber Alles

Brad Plumer at Vox has a great summary of California's new drive to reduce global warming emissions. If we make it, then we're number 1!

Add it up and scenario S3 is serious business. We’re talking about a world where California gets more than 50 percent of its electricity from renewables in 2030 (up from 25 percent today), where zero-emissions vehicles are 25 percent of the fleet by 2035 (up from about 1 percent today), where high-speed rail is displacing car travel, where biodiesel has mostly replaced diesel in heavy-duty trucks, where pastures are getting converted to forests, where electricity replaces natural gas in heating, and on and on.

Possible? Sure. Easy? Hardly. The level of effort is just orders of magnitude different from anything California has done so far.
 I'm amazed that this made it through the legislature, but it did and that makes our job easier. Going forward we just have to support our existing laws.

Link:  California is about to find out what a truly radical climate policy looks like

Thursday, August 25, 2016

California Resolves to Support Carbon Tax

California legislators have passed a resolution calling on the Federal government to enact a reveue-neutral carbon tax.

"... a carbon tax with dividend sharing model, starting at $10 per ton of carbon dioxide and increasing by $10 per ton each year, would reduce carbon dioxide emissions 50 percent below 1990 levels in 20 years. Moreover, the economic stimulus generated by the dividend sharing would, over the same period of time, add 2.8 million jobs to the American economy, compared with a business-as-usual scenario."

Link: California Legislators Want to Tax Carbon, But Give the Revenue to the People

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Carbon Tax in British Columbia is Working Well

I missed this article by Michael Purzycki in the Washington Monthly when it first came out but it's worth posting about now. It's a painfully clear reminder that we know how to beat climate change, it's all a matter of finding the political will and muscle to get it done.

The tax has had undeniably significant effects on the province’s consumption of fossil fuels and, as a consequence, its carbon emissions ... petroleum use per capita fell more than 16% in BC in the first five years of the carbon tax, while it rose 3% in the rest of Canada during the same period ... Canada’s Tokyo target [in global climate change accords] was a 6 percent reduction in 20 years.

And, no, the tax has not hurt British Columbia's economy either.

Link:  A Model Carbon Tax

The Method to Musk's Madness

The dependably interesting Dave Roberts at Vox has an article about how solar roofs fit in with the rest of Elon Musk's strategy for building businesses that fight climate change. I don't know that he's right, but I'd like to see all of Musk's ventures succeed.

But all this talk about the risks Musk is taking misses something key to understanding his ambitions for Tesla. I think it’s safe to say the possibility of failure means something different to Musk than it does to most entrepreneurs.

Link:  Here’s how solar roofs fit into Elon Musk’s master plan

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Solar takes the lead