Monthly Archives: April 2010

The New and Improved Climate 411

In order to better serve our readers, Climate 411 has introduced a new feature: blog highlights. The blog highlights lists the top climate stories of the moment with our comments and expert insights.

We have a team of experts who will be both regularly commenting on relevant stories and contributing original posts when possible. Please let us know what you think of our new format.

A word on our experts:

Mark Brownstein is deputy director of Environmental Defense Fund’s national energy program. Mark leads EDF’s efforts on smart grid deployment, transmission development, wholesale and retail electric market design, and the environmentally sustainable siting of both renewable and conventional utility scale generation. Prior to joining EDF, Mark was director of Enterprise Strategy for Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), where he worked directly with PSEG’s senior leadership in crafting and implementing the corporation’s business strategy.  Mark was also an active member of the U.S. EPA’s Clean Air Act Advisory Committee and New Jersey’s Renewable Energy Task Force. Aside from PSEG, Mark’s career includes time as an attorney in private environmental practice, a regulator with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and an aide to then-Congressman Robert G. Torricelli (D–NJ). Mark holds a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and a B.A. from Vassar College.

Nathaniel Keohane is Director of Economic Policy and Analysis at Environmental Defense Fund, a leading nonprofit advocacy organization based in New York.  Dr. Keohane oversees EDF’s analytical work on the economics of climate policy, and helps to develop and advocate the organization’s policy positions on global warming.  His research in environmental economics has appeared in prominent academic journals, and he is the co-author of Markets and the Environment (Island Press, 2007), and co-editor of Economics of Environmental Law (Edward Elgar, 2009).  Before coming to EDF, he was Associate Professor of Economics at the Yale School of Management.  He lives in New York City with his wife and two daughters. Dr. Keohane received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2001, and his B.A. from Yale College in 1993.

John Mimikakis works to develop global warming solutions within transportation, power-generation and agricultural sectors, by raising support on Capitol Hill for effective greenhouse gas emissions reduction policies. From 2001 to 2006, John was Deputy Chief of Staff for the Committee on Science in the U.S. House of Representatives where he was involved in legislation on a variety of issues, including energy, environment, space exploration and technology policy. Prior to that, John served as a legislative advisor to U.S. Congressman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) on environmental, energy, and agriculture issues. In 1997, John was the American Chemical Society’s Congressional Science Fellow. He holds a P.H.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin and a B.S. from Tulane University.

Gernot Wagner is an economist in the Climate and Air Program. He focuses on carbon finance and works on developing and applying economically sound climate policy in the U.S. and internationally. Prior to EDF, he wrote for the editorial board of the Financial Times and worked at the Boston Consulting Group. Gernot holds a Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government from Harvard and an M.A. in Economics from Stanford.

Posted in Climate Change Legislation, Economics, Energy / Comments are closed

Comments on ‘American Power Act’ op-ed

In his New York Times op-ed, David Brooks compares the current climate surrounding energy legislation with the struggle to build the transcontinental railroad. He notes that

“energy innovation is the railroad legislation of today. This country is studded with venture capitalists, scientists, corporate executives and environmental activists atremble over the great opportunities they see ahead. The energy revolution is a material project that arouses moral fervor — exactly the sort of enterprise at which Americans excel.”

He goes on to say:

“the best vehicle now is the American Power Act, drawn up by John Kerry, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham.”

We believe, based on what we’ve seen the press, that the American Power Act is not just the best option, but also a great option its own right. It does incorporate its fair share of compromises however it also achieves what no other climate and energy legislation put forth to date has managed to do:  it cuts pollution, spurs clean energy investment and provides a real path to 60 votes in the Senate.

Brooks acknowledges the bill’s imperfections as well as its strengths. He highlights the importance of America’s need to develop clean energy sources at home and asserts that that will only happen once regulations are firmly in place.  He describes the clean energy investment market as a would-be juggernaut currently fettered by Congress.

Hopefully Washington will hear Brooks’s message, stop with the “political gamesmanship” as he calls it, and start taking the first steps towards our clean energy future by passing the American Power Act and putting a price on carbon.

Posted in Climate Change Legislation, News / Comments are closed

Comments on yesterday’s top blogs

On E2, Nike, eBay and others are asking Senators to “get stalled climate and energy legislation back on track.”

Reuters reports that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will start analyzing the comprehensive climate and clean energy bill. “The EPA analysis is an important step in the legislative process.” “We are sending the bill to be modeled now with Lindsey Graham’s consent,” Senator Kerry told reporters.

Green Inc. focuses on a new EPA report released yesterday called “Climate Change Indicators in the United States.”  The report is full of interesting data points and graphics including:

  • “The portion of North America covered by snow has generally decreased since 1972, although there has been much year-to-year variability. Snow covered an average of 3.18 million square miles of North America during the years 2000 to 2008, compared with 3.43 million square miles during the 1970s.”
  • “In the United States, greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activities increased by 14 percent from 1990 to 2008.”

Gernot Wagner, EDF economist notes:

“The EPA report is a terrific reminder of the fact that climate change is not some distant phenomenon our grand kids may or may not experience. We can already see some of the direct effects all around us. It’s also good reminder of the certainties among the sea of uncertainties surrounding climate change. We don’t know all the details, but the general direction has become increasingly clear. And the parts we don’t know are even scarier.”

Graph from EPA report Climate Change Indicators in the United States

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Yesterday’s blog highlights

Michael Richards of Treehugger reports on how the Department of Energy will invest over $200M in solar and water power technology over five years.  Richard notes that “it’s a welcome investment since the foundation of any sustainable civilization is clean energy.”

The Wonk Room reminds us “what clean energy reform really means” and how it “will change the status quo, putting America to work building a stronger, fairer green economy.”

In his speech at Siemens Wind Turbine plant in Iowa, President Obama reaffirmed his strong support of climate and energy legislation. The President said:

“I believe that we can come together around this issue and pass comprehensive energy and climate legislation that will ignite new industries, spark new jobs in towns just like Fort Madison, make America more energy independent.  Our security, our economy, and the future of our planet all depend on it.”

Posted in Climate Change Legislation, News / Comments are closed

Highlights from top blogs and news stories in the last few days

The Wonk Room draws attention to a new report that shows how climate legislation will boost the economy. “This CCS analysis finds that instead of slowing the economy, household wealth and jobs will grow faster in a green economy.

Marc Gunther explores the potential of the growing wind power industry and how innovative companies are working to “capture high-altitude wind energy and turn it into electricity for off-the-grid users. Potential customers include the U.S. military, chic eco-resorts in remote locations and poor people in the global south in desperate need of power.”

The Washington Post has an editorial stressing the importance of keeping the climate bill on the Senate agenda this year. The editorial board reminds us that “every year Congress waits to legislate, adequately curbing emissions will get harder and more expensive.”

Posted in Climate Change Legislation, Economics, News / Comments are closed

Yesterday’s blog highlights

On Climate Progress, CAP Senior Fellow Van Jones explains that “the next 40 years of environmental policy will be primarily economic policy as we begin to repower America with cleaner energy.”

On E2 Wire, Senator Kerry asserts that now is the time to pass a climate bill. “We can’t afford to wait and we’ll never have as clear a shot to reach this goal we first set out twenty years ago,” Kerry (D-Mass.) said.

On Grist, Dan Lashof highlights the importance of Earth Day and asserts that we need “more than a celebration. We need a clean energy revolution that creates 2 million jobs, cuts 2 billion tons, and saves 2 trillion dollars.”

Watch the Clean Energy Revolution video that nicely sums up our current situation.


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