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 …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
While the Feds backpedal, the states move forward on clean energy.
Every day seems to bring more news of the Trump Administration’s dogged efforts to reduce environmental protections and accelerate climate change with increased carbon emissions. But, as has been true since Trump took office, the picture at the state level is much different. State governments across the country have accelerated their efforts to decarbonize, while …CONTINUE READING
California has long led the push for renewable energy mandates, and others are catching on
California’s renewables portfolio standard (RPS) is a flagship component of the state’s robust portfolio of climate change policies. The RPS is complex, but the basic concept is simple: state law requires electric utilities to procure a minimum percentage of their retail electricity from qualifying renewable sources under rules set by the California Public Utilities Commission. …CONTINUE READING
The federal estimate of energy-related carbon emissions in 2050 should get our attention.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) issues projections for future energy use across all sectors of society. They aren’t really predictions of our energy future — they are more like conversation starters. In fact, some researchers suggest that EIA shows a consistent bias by forecasting more energy use than actually occurs. Yet, …CONTINUE READING
How would we go about decarbonizing the most needy U.S. states?
Progressives are calling for a Green New Deal. The details are still very fuzzy, despite the House resolution introduced by Markey and Ocasio-Cortez. That proposal as a ten-year timetable to eliminate carbon, which is highly unrealistic. Nevertheless, it’s worth thinking about what an all-out effort to decarbonizing the economy would look like. The Green New …CONTINUE READING
We can think of the energy system as a kind of ecosystem, and renewables as an invasive species.
As I’ve discussed the earlier three posts in this series, it is possible to imagine a cycle of positive feedback, in which the history of past climate efforts increases the likelihood of future ones and even draws more jurisdictions into the effort. But it is also possible to imagine that bottom-up efforts might not catch …CONTINUE READING
Proposal for massive government investment in decarbonization of the economy could have long-term political benefits, if it’s done right
The new House Democratic majority takes over this week. In the period between the midterm elections and now, one major issue that has been discussed is the path forward for the Democrats on climate policy. Led by freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, activists have called for the new majority to set up a special House committee …CONTINUE READING
Answers reside deep in the heart of Texas
Texans have a few things to teach policy advocates about the way to incite and bolster political will for climate action at the local level. This is not a claim based on a lack of climate action, but rather because of a new surge of it. The majority of Texans have begun to recognize the …CONTINUE READING