Why it’s time to rethink electricity market design to ensure a clean and equitable energy future
This post was originally published on the Law and Political Economy blog. The global energy price shocks of the past two years have made it painfully clear that energy cannot be treated as an ordinary commodity and that many governments have been insufficiently attentive to energy security. Given its dependence on Russian gas, the EU has …CONTINUE READING
We have a White House climate czar. That’s not going to be enough.
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) creates a massive funding program for clean energy and other climate policies. This funding complements regulatory efforts at EPA elsewhere. Yet authority over energy policy is fragmented at the federal level. Without better coordination, there’s a risk that various policies will mesh poorly or operate at cross-purposes. And state governments, …CONTINUE READING
A trio of new laws will power the energy transition.
Passage of IRA was clearly a big deal, with nearly $380 billion devoted to climate and other environmental issues. But IRA is only one of the three big climate bills passed in the ten months. The three represent a concerted effort to accelerate the energy transition. The earliest was the Infrastructure Act last November. In …CONTINUE READING
In climate policy, delay is deadly.
There are a lot of complaints about the very real flaws in the Inflation Reduction Act, tied with arguments that we should wait until we can do something better. In climate policy, however, waiting is dangerous. We’ve already delayed far too long. Further delay means having to cut emission much more rapidly to make up …CONTINUE READING
Decarbonizing trucking comes with some unique challenges.
A quarter of carbon emissions from transportation come from heavy-duty trucks. They are also disproportionate sources of air pollution. Addressing these emissions will be challenging and will require a multi-prong strategy. For distances under a few hundred miles, electrification offers the most promising solution. California and fourteen other states plan to make 30% of new …CONTINUE READING
It’s not us. It’s you.
WORLD: Thanks for the card. . . . But I think we need to talk. FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY: About what? W: About us. FFI: About us?? Can’t it wait until some other time? This is Valentine’s Day, and I’ve made plans for us. Big plans. W: The pandemic has given me a lot of time …CONTINUE READING
After many eons, reliance on combustion for energy is ending.
To head off disastrous climate change, we need to radically transform the modern energy system. We must largely move beyond the use of fire, the first and most important of inventions. The core energy technology used by humans has always involved, in one form or another, burning things up. To a large extent, combatting climate …CONTINUE READING
Utilities control a lot of the power system. How can we get their support for the energy transition?
Investor-owned utilities supply almost three-quarters of U.S. electricity. With some notable exceptions, they’ve tended to drag their feet on the energy transition. In order to push the transition forward, we need to get them on board. This post will try to diagnose the problem and sketch some possible remedies. The proposed Clean Energy Standard is …CONTINUE READING
Businesses have intensified public support for climate action. That could presage a major shift in climate politics.
In the past few weeks, there’s been a notable growth of business support for climate action. A letter from the CEOs of 300 hundred major companies called for a 50% cut from 2005 carbon emissions by 2030. The companies ranged from the utilities to tobacco to investment management. Google, McDonalds, Walmart, and Philip Morris were …CONTINUE READING
State agencies will need help to deal with a fast-changing energy system.
The COVID pandemic has provided a vivid picture of what happens when ill-prepared governments are suddenly hit with huge responsibilities. Underfunded state and local public health agencies were overwhelmed, while governors and local officials found themselves struggling to obtain and distribute vital supplies, from respirators to vaccines. Efforts to accelerate the transition away from carbon, …CONTINUE READING