renewable energy

Fighting Global Warming in a Chilly Judicial Climate

A 6-3 conservative court is bad news for climate action. Here’s a threat assessment.

With Romney’s announcement this morning that he would support consideration of a nominee before the election, it now seems virtually certain that Trump will be able to appoint a sixth conservative Justice. How will that affect future climate policy?  Here is a preliminary threat assessment. The answer varies, depending on what policies we’re talking about. …

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Planning a Green Recovery

Don’t let the opportunity for a green stimulus go to waste.

The economy crashed during the lockdown. Although a recovery has begun,  government action will probably be needed to sustain it. We should seize this opportunity to make progress on sustainability. It’s hard to know the long-term economic impact of the pandemic. As Nobel-prize winning economist Robert Schiller has said, “Big events like a pandemic have …

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Tapping the Earth’s Power

Geothermal power could play an important role in decarbonization.

There’s been a lot of recent interest in geothermal energy. It can complement other renewables as they become a bigger part of the power mix. A recent study by DOE suggests that geothermal capacity could reach 60 Gigawatts by 2050. The basic technology is pretty simple: drill down into a reservoir of super-hot water (up …

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Climate Action in the States

Climate progress continued despite Trump

Trump’s election in 2016 didn’t halt or even slow action in the states on renewable energy and climate change.  Things have hit “pause” during the pandemic, but that should be only temporary. All of this ferment at the state level should help lay the groundwork for future federal action.  Here’s what’s been happening in some …

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Red States, Blue Governors

Democratic governors in deep red states can only do so much.

Democrats flipped a number of statehouses in the past two years.  In some of those states, the new governors have faced GOP legislatures.  Their travails indicate some of the limits of what a new President could accomplish with a GOP Senate. North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Kansas are three cases in point.  I want to ask …

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Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste

Coronavirus, Climate Change, and the Global Energy Transition

There has been no shortage of commentary on what the Coronavirus pandemic means for climate action and for the energy industry.  Obviously, it is too early to draw firm conclusions, but the last several weeks have made clear that the crisis is affecting the entire energy economy in profound ways and that our collective response …

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Charging Consumers for Imaginary Power Needs

FERC is distorting energy markets in the name of perfect competition.

Last year, the GOP majority on FERC decided that state clean energy policies were distorting energy markets in the country’s largest grid region.  Because they provided incentives for power producers, FERC ruled, those policies should be considered subsidies. It directed grid operators to introduce new policies to counter those subsidies and halt the dreadful onslaught …

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2019 in Renewable Energy

The move toward renewables is continuing despite Trump.

Despite the efforts of the Trump Administration, renewable energy has continued to thrive.  Key states are imposing rigorous deadlines for reducing power generation from fossil fuels.  Economic trends are also supporting renewables. In the first half of 2019, Texas produced more power from renewables than coal. Texas may be content to rely on market forces, …

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Things to Be Thankful For

Despite the Trump Administration’s efforts, there are rays of hope.

Three years into the Trump Administration, we’re now accustomed to waking up every morning to learn about a new attack on the environment.  But there are also some things to be thankful for. Here’s how I started a similar post in 2017, just a year after the 2016 election: “Overall, it’s been a pretty lousy …

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Climate Policy at Midcentury — Africa

If we’re not careful, African emissions could rival those of China and India today.

If current projections hold and nothing is done to change the trend, Africa could emit as much carbon as the U.S. or even China today. We can’t allow that to happen.

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