climate change mitigation

A Ray of Hope [Breaking News]

President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a major deal on climate change this morning.  As summarized by the Washington Post, China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, pledged in the far-reaching agreement to cap its rapidly growing carbon emissions by 2030, or earlier if possible. It also set a daunting goal of …


Going for Broke at the Climate Casino

The new Nordhaus book is good as far as it goes. But its analysis is muddled in crucial respects.

I finally had a chance to read Nordhaus’s new book, The Climate Casino, on a long flight.  There are some goods lessons in the book. The book makes the case for serious mitigation, even rhough Nordhaus takes a fairly optimistic view about adaptation. Nordhaus also tells us that “it would be relatively inexpensive to slow …


The Significance of EPA’s Proposed Power Plant Standards

Although they won’t have immediate impacts, EPA’s proposed rules for new coal plants will indirectly help shape the future of the industry.

There’s an uproar over EPA’s proposed rules for CO2 emissions from new coal plants, even though no one expects anyone to build a new coal plant for at least a decade.  I’ve argued (here and here) that the industry won’t have standing to challenge the rules because they won’t have any imminent impact.  In fact, …


Capturing Carbon

A recent CRS report provides a wealth of information about carbon capture.  You can learn a lot about the various technologies and how close or far they are from possible adoption.  But for most of us, the technical details matter less than the answers to some key questions: Is carbon capture technically feasible?  Can it …


Clearing Up the Standing Mystery in the Biomass Case

In a post last week, I expressed puzzlement about the D.C. Circuit’s failure to discuss standing in Center on Biological Diversity v. EPA, which involved EPA’s decision to delay greenhouse gas regulations for facilities burning biomass. The question of standing in climate change cases has been controversial, so this mystery sparked extensive discussion among environmental …


Good News On U.S. Carbon Emissions

At Copenhagen, President Obama pledged to cut carbon emissions by 17% by 2020 below 2005. According to Resources for the Future (RFF), the most respected think tank on energy issues, the U.S. is “on course to achieve reductions of 16.3 percent from 2005 levels in 2020.”  RFF identifies three contributing factors:  EPA regulations under the …


Putting a Cap on the Green Paradox

The Green Paradox holds that emission control measures scheduled for the future can backfire.  Foreseeing a smaller market in the future, fossil fuel sellers decide to unload more of their reserves now by cutting prices.  A recent report from Resources for the Future provides more details if you’re interested (though the details don’t matter for …


Rebound Redux

I’ve posted  previously about the rebound effect.  Improving energy efficiency frees up money, which can be used to purchase more of the same product or different products that use energy.  This “rebound” cuts away at the energy savings and correspondingly at the carbon reduction achieved through energy efficiency.  Everyone seems to agree that the rebound …


EPA Takes the First Step

The  NY Times has a story about EPA’s climate change regs that doesn’t contain anything newsworthy but does get the facts right.  The key facts are these: 1.  EPA has little choice about regulating given the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act in 2007. “With Mr. Obama’s hand forced by the mandates of …


Carlson to Nat’l Academy of Sciences panel on mitigating climate change

Contributor Ann Carlson’s too modest to post this herself, but she’s recently been named as one of two lawyers to the National Academy of Sciences’ expert panel on “limiting the magnitude of future climate change.”   (The other is CARB chair Mary Nichols.)  As called for by Congress, NAS is convening experts from across disciplines to produce …