renewable energy

A Dozen Strategies for the Struggle With Big Oil

Big Oil will fight against energy transformation. How do we fight back?

The oil industry is enormous – something like 2-3% of global GDP. Individuals firms like ExxonMobil earn tens of billions of dollars each quarter. Controlling climate change will mean drastic curtailment in the coming decades of the industry’s major products. There’s no way that the industry will accept this lying down, and it’s a formidable …

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Climate Politics Down Under

Australia is leaping from the frying pan into the fire.

Australian climate politics has been strange if not chaotic.  And in terms of climate policy, things seems to be going from bad to worse. This is partly a function of general political upheaval. In an enlightening 2018 paper, three University of Melbourne law professors (Baxter. Milligan, and McRae) traced the developments from 2007 to 2016. …

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Renewable Texas: Lessons from the Lonestar State

Texas has the most wind power in the country and is rapidly building solar. How did that happen?

People are often surprised to learn that Texas is the national leader in wind power, with the twice the generating capacity of any other state.  On one notable night in December of 2015, the state got 45% of its power from wind, though the year-round average was only about 10%.  In July of this year, the …

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New York’s Big Move

The Empire State has jumped into the first tier of state climate action.

Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a breakthrough climate change law, the “New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.” What every state does to address climate change is worthwhile, of course, but New York is particularly significant in terms of the national picture. It’s the nation’s third-most populous state and also …

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Is the Sun Finally Rising in the Southeast?

Slowly, and a bit grudgingly, the Old South is moving toward solar.

Southern states like to brag about their sunny weather.  Florida even calls itself the Sunshine State.  Yet the region lags well behind in terms of putting that sunshine to work. But it appears that change is coming.  Solar generating capacity in the Southeast is expected to nearly double over the next three years, though from …

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The Forgotten Environmental Legacy of Jimmy Carter

Carter saved millions of acres of wilderness, signed the Superfund law, and began the renewables revolution.

Many people today know Jimmy Carter as an ex-President who has strongly advocated for human rights. His Presidency is probably best remembered for the Iranian Hostage crisis. His post-presidential career was at least as notable as his time in the White House. Historians find his presidency flawed by micro-management and lack of rapport with the …

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Follow the Money (Again!): New Investment in the World Energy System Still Dominated by Fossil Fuels

Bayswater coal-fired power station, NSW

It’s that time of year again. Last month, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its annual World Energy Investment Report, providing a survey of investment trends in the global energy sector. If you want get a sense of where capital is going in the world energy system, this is one of the best sources out there. …

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Getting to 2050

A roadmap for achieving an 80% emissions cut.

To do its part in keeping climate change to tolerable levels, the United States needs to cut its carbon emissions at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.  That’s not just a matter of decarbonizing the electricity sector; it means changes in everything from aviation to steel manufacture, and reducing not only CO2 but also …

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ARPA-E: Surviving and Thriving Despite Trump

Trump keeps trying to kill it, but the energy innovation hub keeps on going.

In the long run, supporting energy innovation is among the most important things the federal government can do to address climate change. Naturally, Trump wants to end that. In what has become an annual ritual, his most recent budget proposal calls for eliminating the  Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).  The agency’s mission is to support …

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Is Socialism Good for the Environment?

The answer is: “Sometimes yes, sometimes not so much.”

Some of the people who are most fervent about the environment these days describe themselves as socialists.  But is socialism actually a good thing for the environment?  That seems like a significant question in a political context where people on both sides are throwing around the word “socialist” so much, so I decided to see …

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