Doha was a Dud!

The Doha climate change conference concluded this week with what has become a familiar ring.  Nothing much of import happened and increasingly fewer people noticed.  Oh, the issues at the surface are still the same as they have been since they first flamed out in 2009 at Copenhagen.  These events have become a global debate over wealth redistribution with the poorer countries trying to guilt the richer ones into paying them not to pollute their own backyards----and if that is not silly enough …Continue Reading »

Coal Fights Back, and Wins in Europe

A funny thing is happening on the way to the clean energy future.  While the US government wages a regulatory war on coal fired generation, in Europe, the land of the oh so politically correct the drive for greenhouse gas emissions reduction is meeting a new competitor----reality! The EU emissions trading scheme had fallen on hard times as the number of permits issued was large and demand in a falling economy was weak so prices fell.  Some reforms were made and the freebie credits were reined …Continue Reading »

Will California Hit the Cap and Trade Megamillions Jackpot?

And you thought the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32) was all about limiting greenhouse gas emissions, didn’t you?  Think again. There is a brewing fight in Sacramento over how to spend the gold expected to start pouring in when the Golden State starts its carbon cap and trade program.  The original intent of AB32 was to use the proceeds from the carbon permit auctions to invest in technologies and programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Makes sense, right? But the …Continue Reading »

Regulatory Flexibility

I know, that sounds like oxymoron, but this is an election year and not even the US EPA wants to have too many targets on its back.  So US EPA spews out new rules at a feverish pace fearing that time is running out to do so even while it issues press releases professing new found flexibility to balance legitimate economic, business and environmental concerns. BALANCE!  What a concept! Quit laughing and listen up!  US EPA proposed amendments to the national emission standards for hazardous …Continue Reading »

Death by a Thousand Fracking Rules

In Medieval times one form of dispatching miscreants was called “pressing”.  The punishment involved piling stones on top of the offender one at a time slowly suffocating him from the weight on his chest.  Not only did this rid the kingdom of troublemakers but it had a ”crucify him” like effect on the gathered witnesses lest they forget who is in charge. Fast forward and today we are seeing Federal agency after agency pressing forward with new rules on hydraulic fracturing: DOI BLM …Continue Reading »

My ‘Worry’ List for 2011

Year-end is always a time to look back and take stock of what happened as well as offer predictions for the period ahead.  As a forecaster by profession this is a comfort zone that exists year-round with long term views refreshed typically twice yearly and short-term views more frequently. Predictions, on the other hand, are educated---or uneducated---guesses made based upon gut, instinct or aspiration rather than insight. This is neither a forecast for 2011 nor predictions.  It is instead my …Continue Reading »

Coal in Your Christmas Stocking

"We are following through on our commitment to proceed in a measured and careful way to reduce [greenhouse gas] pollution that threatens the health and welfare of Americans, and contributes to climate change." ---EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in December 23rd press statement. "We're pleased that EPA is working to deliberately bring this dangerous pollution under control, focusing on the biggest polluters first. This is a major endeavor and the timeline laid out in today's announcement balances …Continue Reading »

Hot Air Regulation!

It is risky business poking an angry California bear with new air regulations these days just when we are about to decide whether to suspend the muther-of-all greenhouse gas emission laws in the November election.  But just as early voting is about to begin here in California that is exactly what the clean air regulators here in the Bay Area are doing. The San Francisco Bay Area Air Quality Management District is responsible for clean air regulatory enforcement in the multi-county Bay Area …Continue Reading »

The Dirty Secret of Sustainable Energy

The quest for clean energy sustainability has been waged on a strategy that can be summarized as ‘subsidize the good stuff, and demonize the bad’.  This post is not about climate change risks, it is a focus on a condition precedent to a practicable achievement of emissions reduction goals----baseload generation. Climate change advocates do not want to talk about baseload because it requires consideration of coal or nuclear generation.  Renewable energy advocates do not want to talk about …Continue Reading »

Climate Change Plan B: Exercise Presidential Authority

“Congress’s inability to cap U.S. carbon emissions contributed to the failure to reach a global climate treaty last year in Copenhagen,” said PCAP Executive Director William Becker. “It now appears that Congress has failed again just months before international negotiators are set to reconvene. “Congress has passed the ball back to President Obama,” Becker said. “He should run with it.” The Presidential Climate Action Project (PCAP) is a foundation-funded organization of Natural …Continue Reading »