Is the Post Fossil Fuel Era Now Inevitable?

January 2016 -by Michael Northrop - via Huffington Post. Ambassador Laurence Tubiana, France’s point person for COP21, wisely explained a year ago that Paris will be judged a success if it leads to the conclusion that the shift to the post fossil fuel era is inevitable. That feeling of inevitability, she reasoned, will underpin the massive shift of trillions of dollars required to pay for the low carbon transition. The positive conclusion of the Paris conference on December 12, coupled with the enormous array of commitments made before, during, and after the COP, indicates that a massive systemic change is afoot. Let’s review. First, what happened in Paris between November 30 and December 12? Second, what else has happened before and since that adds to the growing sense of inevitability? In Paris.  At the formal conference venue some of the well reported highlights included: The largest gathering of heads of state in history on November 30. The approval of an agreement to tackle climate change by 196 nations on December 12. The formal submission of 188 national climate action plans, and

January 11th, 2016|Energy Policy, Research|

Appealing to our ideas of legacy may help combat climate change.

January 2016 - by Ezra Markowitz and Lisa Zaval - via Washington Post. Here’s the secret to making people care about climate change: Make them think about their legacy. In a series of psychological studies we conducted over the past two years with Americans from across the country, we found that simply asking people to reflect upon how they want to be remembered by future generations can lead them to engage in more “helping behavior” in the present, particularly when it comes to protecting the environment... Read full article: Here's the secret to making people care about climate change    

How Can We Pay for the New Energy Economy?

This article was originally published on Huffington Post, on December 19, 2015, by William S Becker. This is Part 2 in a two-part post. Part 1 is at this link. Many a great idea has been deflated by a simple question: "That's nice, but who's going to pay for it?" That question hovered like a cloud over the international climate conference in Paris a week ago. Simply put, the goal of the agreement at that conference is to build a world in which we achieve and sustain universal prosperity without plummeting into a future of irreversible climate catastrophe. It's a great goal, but who is going to pay for it? The Paris agreement does not adequately address this question, although it does reinforce the need for wealthier countries to provide technical and financial help to poor and more vulnerable countries so they can grow their economies in climate-safe ways. That is easier said than done, however. Countries that industrialized generations ago like the U.S. and members of the European Union now face the very expensive job of repairing and upgrading

December 19th, 2015|Energy Finance|

COP-21 international climate agreement in Paris

December 2015 - The United States joins 195 other nations at COP-21 in Paris, resulting in a historic international climate action agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. PARIS – The world made history at approximately 7:25 p.m. Paris time on Saturday when 195 nations did something that had never been done before. They all agreed on something. The “something” is really something: a global commitment to confront global climate change after 21 years of diplomatic wrangling. In the plenary hall at a former airport in Paris, there were tears among the hundreds of delegates and support staff who worked for years toward this achievement, climaxing in more than two weeks of around the clock effort to reach that moment on Saturday. Among them were a tired Secretary of State John Kerry and an obviously delighted Al Gore, who has dedicated years of his life and has taken enormous abuse for his efforts to persuade the world that climate action threatens our survival. Read more here: The World Has Spoken in Paris

California Cap-and-Trade November Auction Results

November 2015 - via California Legislative Analyst’s Office On November 24, 2015, the California Air Resources Board released summary results from the cap-and-trade auction conducted on November 17, 2015. Allowance prices were slightly higher than recent auctions, but, overall, the results were similar to recent auctions. Allowance prices were near the minimum price, and all of the allowances offered for sale were purchased. Based on the summary results, the state will collect $657 million in cap-and-trade auction revenue from the November auction. (The actual amount of state revenue will be determined in a few weeks and will depend on the future exchange rate between U.S. dollars and Canadian dollars. Please see the summary results for more details on the process for collecting proceeds.) Revenues Still Tracking Slightly Higher Than Most Recent Administration Estimate. The November auction is the second of four quarterly auctions scheduled in 2015-16. The Governor’s May Revision assumed $2 billion in revenue in 2015-16, but the 2015-16 budget does not include an explicit revenue assumption for 2015-16. If the remaining two auctions have similar results to the last few

Voters Prefer Candidates who Support Climate-Friendly Policies

October 2015 - via Yale Project on Climate Change Communication Our new national survey finds that majorities of registered Democrats, Independents and liberal and moderate Republicans want climate action, will vote for candidates who will support it and represent the mainstream of American voters. The survey also finds that conservative Republicans’ views are often different from the rest of American voters. For example: • Registered voters are more likely to vote for a presidential candidate who strongly supports action to reduce global warming (36% are more likely to vote for such a candidate, 16% are less likely). Only conservative Republicans are less likely to vote for such a candidate. • Likewise, registered voters are less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who strongly opposes action to reduce global warming (43% are less likely, 13% are more likely). Only conservative Republicans are more likely (slightly) to vote for a candidate who strongly opposes action to reduce global warming. • The 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference (often referred to as COP21) recently concluded in Paris, leading to an international agreement

Americans Support an International Climate Agreement in Paris

October 2015 - via Yale Project on Climate Change Communication Most Say an Agreement is Important and Countries Should Do More About Global Warming The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference opens in Paris on November 30. In preparation for the negotiations, each country was asked to submit their own national action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and over 90% have done so, including the United States. President Obama is now going to Paris to press for an international agreement to reduce global warming. What does the American public think? In our recent national survey, we asked Americans about the U.N. Summit in Paris, how much the U.S. and other countries should do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and whether the U.S. should only act if other countries do. A large percentage of Americans (71%) say it is important to reach an agreement in Paris this year to limit global warming and 43% say reaching an agreement is very or extremely important. A large majority of Democrats say an agreement is important (85%), as do nearly 2 out of

Corals cope with pH-altered waters

October 2015 - via Nature Journal Some corals seem to be resilient to ocean acidification. As carbon dioxide emissions rise, ocean waters are absorbing more of the gas and becoming less alkaline, threatening the ability of corals and other marine organisms to make skeletons and shells. Lucy Georgiou at the University of Western Australia in Perth and… Read more: Corals cope with pH-altered waters

Candidates take note: GOP voters increasingly believe humans play role in climate change

September 2015 - by Todd Robberson - via Dallas Morning News GOP presidential and congressional candidates can no longer point derisively at environmentalists and scientists as alarmist tree-huggers merely for asserting that global climate change is real and that human activity is playing a role. It turns out that most self-identified GOP voters feel the same way, according to new poll results by a Republican polling group. Read more: Candidates take note: GOP voters increasingly believe humans play role in climate change

Extreme weather, made by us?

September 2015 - via Science Journal Anthropogenic climate change is expected to increase the frequency of heat waves and other extreme weather events (1). When such an event occurs, it is natural to ask whether it can be attributed to human activities. Conventional wisdom has long held that although it is possible to attribute an increase in the frequency of extreme events to human activities, the same is not true of individual events. Recent studies that appear to identify the role of anthropogenic climate change in, among other events, the 2010 Russian heat wave (2), the 2013 Australian heat wave (3), and the ongoing drought in California (see the photo) (4) suggest that this conventional wisdom has been overturned. But has it? Read more: Extreme weather, made by us?