John Kerry and Lindsey Graham offer bi-partisan proposal on climate legislation
Democrat John Kerry and Republican Lindsey Graham don’t agree on much. The above photo from FOX News Sunday shows the two Senators sparring in the fall of 2008.
The two Senators, however, have teamed up to write a compelling Op-Ed in today’s New York Times in which they argue for a bi-partisan approach to addressing climate change legislation. This is a must-read for anyone who cares about this issue, and it could offer some real momentum for an issue that many believe will be stalled in the Senate.
If Lindsey Graham is on board, one would think that he could bring along more Republicans. One reason Graham is on board, and there’s hope to bring along more Republicans, is the emphasis on using nuclear power as one of the options. The left needs to become pragmatic over nuclear power, and realize that it offers the key to obtaining broad support.
Kerry and Graham also signal that a compromise is needed on domestic drilling. The clean energy revolution will not happen over-night, and if we need to rely in the short term on some fossil fuels, it’s better for the U.S. economy to use more domestic oil. We certainly shouldn’t subsidize it, but in the context of a carbon tax or cap-and-trade, permitting more domestic production makes tons of sense, particularly given the current economic crisis.
Hopefully, this can be the starting point for a grand bargain on energy.
Posted in: Conservation, Energy Independence, Global Warming, Renewable Energy, Sustainability
Tags: bi-partisan climate change legislation, bi-partisanship, cap and trade, carbon tax, clean energy compromise, clean energy revolution, climate change, climate change legislation, domestic oil production, Fox news, grand bargain on energy, John Kerry, Lindsey Graham, New York Times, nuclear power
Natural gas vs solar
Read this article about the battle between natural gas and solar power in Colorado and you’ll get a great idea of the complexity surrounding the clean energy issue. Over time, this stuff will get sorted out, and the subsidies for clean energy clearly have a positive impact. That said, there’s legitimate concern that all the competing interests will create a nightmare set of regulations once Congress gets through with the new climate bill.
This presents another compelling case for a simple carbon tax over cap-and-trade legislation.
Posted in: Renewable Energy, Sustainability
Tags: cap and trade, carbon tax, carbon tax vs cap-and-trade, Colorado natural gas industry, Colorado solar industry, natural gas, Natural gas vs solar, solar, solar panels, solar panels photo, solar panels pic, solar power
George Soros will invest $1 billion in clean energy
George Soros is getting serious about climate change.
Billionaire George Soros, looking to address the “political problem” of climate change, said he will invest $1 billion in clean-energy technology and create an organization to advise policy makers on environmental issues.
Soros, the founder of hedge fund Soros Fund Management LLC, announced the investment in Copenhagen yesterday at a meeting on climate change sponsored by Project Syndicate. The group is an international association made up of 430 newspapers from 150 countries.
“I want to apply rather stringent criteria to the investments,” said Soros in an e-mailed message. “They should be profitable but should also actually make a contribution to solving the problem.”
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Soros has said he prefers a greenhouse-gas tax because carbon emission-trading systems, which are used in Europe, can be manipulated by investors.
It will be interesting to see if the advocacy by Soros helps to tip the debate in the U.S. towards a carbon tax as opposed to cap-and-trade.
Posted in: Global Warming, Renewable Energy
Tags: cap and trade, carbon emission-trading systems, carbon tax, clean-energy, climate change, George Soros, George Soros green, George Soros photo, George Soros pic, George Soros picture, greenhouse-gas tax, Project Syndicate
China pushes wind and solar power while the United States dithers
Conservatives love arguing that it’s pointless to battle global warming when countries like China are growing and adding pumping more carbon into the atmosphere. In one sense they have a point, but what if China invests heavily in renewable energy? Also, while doing so, what if they take the lead in green manufacturing and technology?
As the United States takes its first steps toward mandating that power companies generate more electricity from renewable sources, China already has a similar requirement and is investing billions to remake itself into a green energy superpower.
Through a combination of carrots and sticks, Beijing is starting to change how this country generates energy. Although coal remains the biggest source of energy and is almost certain to stay that way, the rise of renewable energy, especially wind power, is helping to slow China’s steep growth in emissions of global warming gases.
While the House of Representatives approved a requirement last week that American utilities generate more of their power from renewable sources of energy, and the Senate will consider similar proposals over the summer, China imposed such a requirement almost two years ago.
This year China is on track to pass the United States as the world’s largest market for wind turbines — after doubling wind power capacity in each of the last four years. State-owned power companies are competing to see which can build solar plants fastest, though these projects are much smaller than the wind projects. And other green energy projects, like burning farm waste to generate electricity, are sprouting up all over the country.
This oasis town deep in the Gobi Desert along the famed Silk Road and the surrounding wilderness of beige sand dunes and vast gravel wastelands has become a center of China’s drive to lead the world in wind and solar energy.
A series of projects is under construction on the nearly lifeless plateau to the southeast of Dunhuang, including one of six immense wind power projects now being built around China, each with the capacity of more than 16 large coal-fired power plants.
Each of the six projects “totally dwarfs anything else, anywhere else in the world,” said Steve Sawyer, the secretary general of the Global Wind Energy Council, an industry group in Brussels.
In one sense, this is not a zero-sum game. We want China to make this progress, and it’s encouraging to see these investments in a country that until recently was becoming an environmental nightmare. Also, green technology will spread quickly around the world, and many green jobs involving installation and maintenance cannot be outsourced.
That said, it’s pathetic to see the Chinese move boldly in this area while we have one political party in the United States that resists investments in green energy for all sorts of reasons.
Posted in: Energy Independence, Global Warming, Renewable Energy
Tags: cap and trade, coal power plants, coal power plants in China, Global Wind Energy Council, green energy superpower, green technology, green technology in China, reducing carbon emissions, solar power, solar power in China, Steve Sawyer, wind power, wind power in China
We’re launching this blog at a time that’s very exciting for those of us who want to see a greener future for America and the world. For years we have relied on abundant but dirty energy. Now we’re seeing the ill effects of these practices.
Due to a number of factors ranging from global warming to our dependence on foreign oil, a consensus is building around the notion that we need to change things here at home. There will be plenty of discussion and disagreement around the specifics, but most agree that we can make tremendous progress by encouraging conservation and renewable fuels.
The House just passed a cap-and-trade bill, so the debate will be heating up. We hope to contribute by highlighting information and arguments that will help advance the debate.