Hard Questions for T. Boone PickensBy Mary Hutzler -- January 5, 2009 11 Comments
T. Boone Pickens is holding a town hall meeting on the Pickens Plan tomorrow at Rice University. His presentation, hosted by the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, deserves some hard questions and frank answers. Here are some suggested questions.…
Speaking Truth to Wind Power (Testifying against Ontario’s Green Energy Act)By Michael Trebilcock -- April 16, 2009 5 Comments
My wife and I (like many other residents) chose a retirement home in Grey Highlands because it is one of the scenic treasures of southwestern Ontario, dominated by the Niagara Escarpment, Beaver Valley, Lake Eugenia, the Saugeen River, and rolling rural countryside, woodlands, and wetlands. Now, however, the residents of Grey Highlands and the many tourists and visitors it attracts (major drivers of the local economy) are threatened with the prospect that its landscape will be blighted by 400-foot, 35-story-high industrial wind turbines that cause documented health and environmental risks, dramatically lower property values and impact one’s quality of life.
The Green Energy Act (Bill 150), now before the Ontario Legislature, is designed to expedite this process by taking planning responsibilities away from local municipalities like ours and remitting key decisions to subsequent ministerial regulations, leaving local residents no say in matters that will dramatically impact their lives and those of future generations.…
CO2 Cap-and-Trade Meets the (China) Dragon: Why Legislating Trillions of Dollars in Regulatory Costs Would Be Climatically InconsequentialBy Donald Hertzmark -- May 13, 2009 8 Comments
[Editor’s Note: Projected emissions from China will more than cancel the effects of Waxman-Markey in the year 2050 when the proposed law’s 83% cut in U.S. emissions would be fully imposed. This finding, calculated with the assistance of Chip Knappenberger and the MAGICC model, is part of a wide-ranging analysis below. Discussion, comments, and questions are invited by the author.]
The Waxman-Markey climate bill–characterized as a “648 page cap-and-trade monstrosity” by Al Gore’s mentor, James Hansen–is intended to bring the U.S. into line with Europe and Japan on CO2 policy. But as I have explained previously, the current U.S. policy discouraging new coal and new nuclear capacity will:
- Make the U.S. more dependent on energy imports,
- Drive up generation costs,
- Artificially incite demand for fickle natural gas, and related infrastructure such as LNG regasification facilities, and
- Increase reliance on old coal and old nuclear for baseload power, resulting in less efficient, less clean, and less reliable electricity.
“Green” China: Big PR vs. King Coal (move over dung, primitive biomass, and Waxman-Markey)By Donald Hertzmark -- June 24, 2009 9 Comments
In a previous post, CO2 Cap-and-Trade Meets the (China) Dragon, I described China’s rising greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as a “one-country negation” to the Waxman-Markey climate bill (HR 2454). “The expected growth of coal-fired generation in China over the next 20 years will result in a net increase in CO2 emissions from their power sector of more than ten times that of reduced U.S. emissions due to coal constraints,” I concluded. This is good, not bad, insofar as dung and wood are terrible things to burn.
Given China’s path, unilateral U.S. actions like Waxman-Markey are futile, symbolic measures. Indeed, U.S. industry would move to China to transfer emissions (called “leakage“) under a stringent U.S. carbon-dioxide regime.
A PR Moment from China
The Chinese government recently announced its intent to reduce the energy efficiency of its economy (GJ/$GDP) by 20%, invest something like $586 billion in renewable energy technologies, improve the power grid and other infrastructure by 2020, and phase out its older, less efficient coal-fired power plants with newer models, including supercritical (higher pressure boiler) technologies.…