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News & Views Curation

November 30, 2011

Pipeline Politics

Senate Republicans introduce a bill to compel federal approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and say they seek Democratic support.

Brazil/China: Don't Do It In Durban

Brazil sides with China against a new UN climate treaty being considered at the Durban, South Africa meeting.

Solar Progress Without Loan Guarantee

Business plans to install PV on homes at US military bases will go ahead despite a turn-down for a federal loan guarantee.

Try Not To Despair

While the gap between talk about climate action and global realities is profound, more facts are now available, so don't despair.

Reprieve For Reactor

Federal authorities override Massachusetts efforts to block the renewal of an operating license for the Pilgrim nuclear power plant.

Let's Look At The Record

EPA responds to utility critics of proposed air toxics rules in very fine print.

Benchmarking Starts Here

NYC issues it's first in-depth report on benchmarking the energy performance of municipal buildings and explains how they stack up compared to similar facilities around the nation.

November 29, 2011

Getting Halfway

What would it take for California to to get halfway to its goal of cutting GHGs 80% by 2050, more research and development of new technologies or more deployment of what is now available?

Durban: The Opposite Of Great Expectations

The current international climate treaty talks being held in Durban, South Africa do not come with high hopes.

Norway: Climate-Friendly Not

GHGs from Norway's oil and gas industry make the country a per-capita global emissions leader despite its green domestic policies.

Grid-Free Power

Aided by government incentives, a new fuel cell promises to make users energy independent and able to unplug from the grid.

Global Warming Trend

2011 is on course to be the eleventh warmest in 150 years, even with the cooling impact of La Nina.

Energy Policy 101

What role should government play in the energy economy as a whole and why is government investment key?

November 28, 2011

The Sun Rises In The East

On eastern Long Island, Brookhaven Labs hosts a 32 MW solar array and will analyze weather conditions and power output to create a more seamless system.

Insensitive Science

To track climate science at work, spend some time with this detailed response to the headline-making paper estimating the sensitivity of the climate to carbon emissions.

Renewable Stock Index

The New York Stock Exchange and Bloomberg New Energy Finance to establish three regional stock indexes to track investment in the renewable energy.

Giant Utility Gets Greener

Duke Energy makes the business case for renewables by purchasing a 300 megawatt of wind power and a 1 MW solar project.

Redirecting Energy Support

Instead of pouring tax dollars into costly, current-generation renewable energy projects, redirect them toward R&D for a new generation of efficient, clean and cheap power supplies.

Turkey: First Carbon Moves

While not required to cut carbon emissions, Turkey will pass a law requiring them to be measured, reported and verified

Israel: The High Cost Of Water

The high cost of fresh water in Israel both cuts consumption and raises hackles, with desalinization - however energy-efficient, - as a major expense.

Lobbying Works

Reviewing a decade of White House rule-making, including environmental standards, shows the impact of industry lobbying, although it varies with administration.

Don't Cut Super-Warming Emissions

Despite broad international agreement, China and India kill off a Montreal Protocol amendment to curtail emissions of hydroflurocarbons - super-powerful greenhouse gases - starting in 2014. [Climate Wire $ubs]

Clean Tech VC: Past and Future

An insider's overview of US clean tech venture capital action from 1995- 2011 shows a peak of seed money investment in 2008 and then a sharp contraction - no surprise there - but the future could be brighter.

November 27, 2011

Drilling For Jobs

A factory under construction in Ohio to make steel tubes for use in domestic oil and gas drilling will employ 350 workers.

November 26, 2011

Dense Is Smart

Now's the time to reverse the tide of office development from suburban sprawl to downtown density.

November 25, 2011

China: Trillions For New Economy

Over the next five years China plans to mobilize $1.7 trillion on growing clean energy technology and products as well as energy efficiency, calling them 'strategic sectors'.

Watch Out For Sock Puppets

Bobby Kennedy, Jr. calls attacks on government-supported renewable energy projects bad for America.

Science At Work

A new study argues rising CO2 levels may not make the planet that much warmer, but there are caveats.

Denmark: 50x20

Denmark aims to get 50% of its electricity from wind power by 2020.

Germany: Maxing Out The Grid

The antiquated German electric power grid operates at the edge of capacity as alternatives are needed to replace nuclear supplies and new transmission projects are slow to start up.

Storage Options

While the financial failure of a New York company using flywheels to store electric power for the grid made headlines, transmission line construction costs make other storage technologies competitive.

Buy Nothing Day

Will buying nothing on Black Friday make the world a little greener?

Across The Shale Bridge

One bridge to a low carbon economy could appear with access to shale gas, especially in the US and to a lesser extent in Europe & Asia.

Tailing Climate Politics

Consider how statistical 'fat tails' of low-probability, high-risk events plague climate action decision-making.

Power Concedes Nothing Without A Demand

Apply the evergreen observation,"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." to the politics of building the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

November 23, 2011

Google: Green Energy Czar Gone

With the departure of its 'green energy czar', Google abandons research on technologies to make renewable power sources cheaper than coal.

UN: Expect More Heat

UNEP reports that the world might miss its GHG emissions-cutting targets for 2020 by billions of extra tons.

UK: Success Not Guaranteed

The British energy efficiency program will fail if it cannot address homeowners' concerns about cost, hassle and lack of trust in contractors. However, industry analysts forecast a global boom in energy efficient building with ESCO's leading the way.

Walk On Water

Columbia University proposes using harbor dredge material to construct a land bridge from Lower Manhattan to Governors Island to boost both development and tax revenue.

November 22, 2011

Follow The Leaders

Even without national policy or international agreement on climate action, there is leadership that counts at the 'subnational' scale.

The Federal Role For Fracking

EPA Administrator Jackson speaks about the agency's current hydrofracking research and what might lie ahead.

Citizen Sentries

New York City grass roots environmentalists meet with officials over management plans for Jamaica Bay.

Canada: Pipeline's Exxon-Like Attitude

The XL Pipeline, with plans to ship oil-sands across US, takes a long-term 'Exxon-like' view of its business prospects.

A Little R and D Would Go A Long Way

Harvard researchers find doubling current federal spending on energy R & D would be a key driver to attracting billions in private low-carbon energy innovation investment, but other supporting policies are equally essential.

What's English For Non-Defense Discretionary Spending

With the Super Committee failure to come up with budget proposals, consider the energy, infrastructure and environmental implications of looming automatic federal budget cuts.

Hedging Against Weird Weather

As world weather patterns get more turbulent, countries work with the World Bank and others to hedge against the destructive impacts.

A New Four Six Letter Word

Why would an international investors association drop the word "carbon" from their business name?

Auto Eco-Advertising

The public face of car companies is electric and fuel efficient, but what are consumers buying?

Global Shifts In Renewable Energy

While Europe and the US are less attractive for renewable energy projects, China stays in first place and Brazil moves up the list.

Grow Your Own

Power outages and grid unreliability drive demand for on-site fuel cells and more.

November 21, 2011

Denial In The Media

While it's no surprise that Fox news air a lot of climate denial stories, it is surprising to see how little coverage climate news gets on MSNBC or CNN.

What, Me Hurry, Not

The EPA will miss a December deadline to propose regulations of GHG emissions from oil refineries.

Climate Info -- Fuggedabout It

Congress kills a proposal to establish a 'one-stop' center for climate information

Things Could Be Looking Up

Maybe, just maybe, the influence of climate deniers is on the wane. Even more reason to understand the folks in 'uncertain center'.

November 18, 2011

Go Further On A Gallon Of Gas

Making the reality-based case for the federal rule requiring vehicles to get 54.5 MPG.

Adapting To Climate Weirding

While the IPCC refines the current state of knowledge about what to expect as the climate changes, the urgency of undertaking adaptive actions is clear right now.

Australian: Financing Clean Energy

Linking Australia's new Clean Energy Finance Corporation & Renewable Energy Agency with the nation's price on carbon could be the start of something big.

Rick Perry Gets Two Pinocchios

The Washington Post Fact Checker looks into Rick Perry's claims about air pollution cuts achieved by his administration.

Japan: Tracking CO2

Carbon dioxide emissions related to power generation in Japan rose 4.4% last year, but are slightly below their 2007-08 peak.

Antarctica And Us

Changes in the remote Antarctic Pine Island Glacier will matter close to home.

Morocco: Money and Mirrors

The World Bank will loan Morocco $297 million toward building a $1 billion power plant using mirrors to concentrate the power of the sun but it will not adopt a policy to restrict loans for coal-burning power plants [Climate Wire $ub]

On The Rail Budget Trail

Congress' budget negotiators zero out funds for high-speed rail, but preserve some system upgrade support and most of the Second Avenue Subway and East Side Access money.

November 17, 2011

Spain: Investors Enraged Over Solar Cuts

Foreign investors, claiming retroactive decision-making, seek arbitration with the Spanish government over its cuts to solar power subsidies.

Faster Than You Think

In a hurry? New York City's Select Bus Service will get you there faster.

You Tube In The Basement

Check out this YouTube clip of how an apartment building in Queens, NY can save big on its energy budget.

Germany: Solar Anxiety

Alarming the solar industry, the German government seeks to cut subsidies and PV installation targets in 2012.

Let's Look At The Record

A review of 40 years of US regulations disproves the notion that environmental protection has damaged the economy. And now for some recent job figures.

High Speed Rail Gathers Steam

BY 2014, twenty-four countries will have high speed rail, up from fourteen today.

Having It Both Ways

Congress member and Solyndra-slayer Fred Upton sought federal funds in 2009 for several Michigan businesses including a now-failed solar firm.

Don't Be Duped

How can the five-part Greenwashing Index help consumers make eco-smart choices?

November 16, 2011

Climate Change In New York

Here's the good news, by 2080 New York will be able to grow European-variety wine grapes. Here's the other news.

Code Green

New York City will propose changes to its powerful zoning rules to accomodate green building features like more insulation or roof top solar panels.

Hot Graphics

Consider what can and cannot be learned from the latest animated climate data graphs.

UK: BBC No Show In US

Questions are raised about why the final segment of a BBC documentary about the changing Arctic and Antarctic climate will not be aired in the US.

China: The Climate's New Best Friend

With the US remaining adamantly opposed to international action on climate change, Chinese self-interest might drive the action agenda.

Australia: Gas Drilling Stinks

Opposition to coal-seam drilling (think hydrofracking) attracts unusual political allies in Australia, a country known for its long droughts and strong land rights.

France: 24x25

If elected, the the French Socialist and Green parties vow to shut down 24 of the nation's 58 nuclear power plants by 2025.

Science At Work

New studies about the impact of aerosol pollution on climate change point in diverse directions and raise questions for future research.

A History Of Energy Subsidies

Failed solar panel maker Solyndra was neither the first nor the only energy industry company to receive government subsidies.

November 15, 2011

Plug Into The Bronx

The Bronx will soon be home to a company that makes and services battery-powered trucks.

Zoning The City

Can't be at the ZtC conference? Read the blog

EPA Friended By Utility

The President of Duke Energy publicly supports establishing a carbon cap & trade program and EPA rules to cut sulfur, nitrogen and mercury pollution.

RGGI's A Winner

The three year old Regional Greenhouse Gas Emissions Initiative gets high marks for cutting fossil fuel use and adding to the economy of northeast states.

UN: GHG Monkey Business But Markets Not DOA

Research finds corruption and collusion in the UN GHG-targeted Clean Development Mechanism, citing an absence of viable governance mechanisms, but don't discount carbon trading markets.

Canada: Rerouting The Pipeline

Anyone who thinks the US delay in approving the Keystone pipeline from Canada will stop the flow should think again.

Debating Renewable Subsidies

The New York Times attack on current patterns of renewable energy subsidies gets a feisty response.

Australia-India: End The U Ban

The Australian Prime Minister proposes to lift a ban on exporting uranium to India, it's third largest trading partner.

Finland: Finishing A Finicky Reactor

Five years late and billions over budget, a French-built nuclear reactor under construction in Finland could reshape the world's energy options.

November 14, 2011

Economic Speculations

Making the case for why $172 billion in government spending on energy research and innovation since 1961 has probably paid off. Consider these past federally-supported energy tech achievements and what to turn to next.

Certifiably Sustainable

As a general contractor, master plumber or master/special electrician, now you can apply to become a Certified Sustainable Contractor in New York City.

Power Surge

Despite the general gloom about the European economy, low prices still spur the purchase of wind turbines.

Real World Impacts Of Climate Science

A new IPCC report spelling out areas of climate science uncertainty could make it tougher for developing nations to get mitigation and adaptation support.

On-Bill Financing On The Way

Soon, some New York homeowners will be able to repay NYSERDA loans for energy efficiency improvements on their utility bills.

Africa: Running Dry

Nations that rely on the Nile and Limpopo Rivers are at risk from a hotter and drier Africa.

Solyndra: Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda

Digging into the demise of Solyndra reveals bright business big-box prospects for what could have been.

FAQ's On Climate Science

Looking for a refresher on how hot is too hot or what do concentrations of atmospheric CO2 explain?

UK: From Brownfields To Home

The Cameron government lists 83,500 government-owned brownfields available for housing construction on a 'build-now-pay-later' plan.

Greenllight For Mojave Solar Power

A 250 MW solar power project in the Mojave Desert gets the regulator's OK on a power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric.

November 13, 2011

Windfall For Texas Schools

What's the story behind a wind power deal in Texas that turns out millions of dollars for local school districts?

November 12, 2011

Stormy Weather For Solar Panels

China threatens to freeze solar panel projects in the US in retaliation for trade complaints made by seven firms.

November 11, 2011

Parsing The XL Pipeline Decision

Was environmentalists' opposition to the XL tar-sands pipeline the key factor in the Obama Adminstration's decision to postpone it?

No Future For Future Gen

Prospects darken for developing the nation's first carbon capture & storage facility.

November 10, 2011

Egypt: Wind Power Taking Off

Egypt starts on a journey to build 7,200 MW of wind power over the coming decade.

Regulate Us, Please

Some big power suppliers, spent billions to comply with 2012 clean air rules and the political threat of derailing them will harm corporate market positions.

Unnatural Water

EPA test find 2-Butoxyethanol, a chemical associated with hydrofracking, in a Wyoming aquifer.

The Bright Side Of Solar Power

A look at solar power projects in California shows it's no time to pull the plug on the renewable source of power.

Attention Must Be Paid

While there could be some work-around on the EIA call to change our carbon-loving ways by 2017 or else, why gamble?

Retrofit Roundup

Don't miss this summary of the good news about the energy efficient building retrofit movement.

Climate Deniers and U-Turners

Review the record of what the current crop of Republican Presidential hopefuls have said about climate change and see what's changed.

Pipeline Version 2.0

The State Department is likely to call for rerouting the transcontinental tar-sands pipeline coming from Alberta, Canada

Watts On The Roof

California climbs higher with one gigawatt of solar power now installed on its rooftops.

November 09, 2011

Putting A Dollar Value On Energy Efficiency

An analysis of 19,000 affordable housing units in NYC with energy efficiency upgrades finds yearly savings of $310.

Learning To Trust

Overwhelmed with the task of validating stories reporting on climate change? Here's some help.

UK: Power Combine To Capture Carbon

Energy firms join forces to push for the UK's first carbon capture and storage facility at a Scottish power plant.

Join The Renewable Energy Debate

The Economist invites you to weigh in on a debate over the value of subsidizing renewable energy development.

Germany: Here Comes More Sun

Europe's largest solar power array, able to provide 91 MW of electricity, will open near Berlin this year.

Obama Launches CO2 Rule Action

President Obama announces the EPA will craft rules to control CO2 emissions from new power plants under existing Clean Air Act powers upheld by the Supreme Court.

Fracking Where It Hurts

Preliminary findings from the University of Texas report that while hydrofracking does not seem to imperil underground water resources, it is more harmful to surface conditions than other gas extraction methods.

Playing With Fire

The International Energy Agency warns that absent bold policy and investment strategies now to create energy efficiency and low carbon technologies, the world will remain chained to fossil fuels and a much hotter planet.

Creative Nuclear Financing

A Florida law allows utilities to charge customers now for the cost of constructing nuclear power plants that may never be built.

November 08, 2011

UK: Solar Jobs In Peril

With cuts to feed-in tariffs, 50% of solar power jobs in the UK are predicted to go dark.

Visually Disturbed By PV

Residents of Easthampton, MA protest the installation of solar panels on a local landfill, calling it visual blight.

Australia: Carbon Mission Not Impossible

Australia passes a carbon tax law, which converts to a cap and trade market for setting prices in 2015.

New Yorkers Should Love Biking

An ode to bike riding in New York and a comment.

Inner Mongolia: Climate Tourism

Take a tour of Inner Mongolia, the capital of coal mining and GHG emissions in China.

Spain: Doing Well Is Not Enough

While Spain is a leader in renewable power and high-speed rail, it still gets 75% of its power from fossil fuels.

November 07, 2011

Scare Tactics

With the closure of the Indian Point nuclear power plant high on Governor Cuomo's to-do list, the fight over how to keep the lights on heats up.

Feeling Good Isn't Good Enough

Why polls showing Americans' good feelings about clean energy don't translate into effective political action .

Germany: Greens Are The New Normal

The Green Party has created a pivotal place for itself in German electoral politics.

The Delancey Underground

An abandoned rail terminal near the Williamsburg Bridge could become New York City's first subterranean park.

France: Atomic Campaign Issue

The Socialist Party candidate for the French presidency is attacked for proposing less reliance on nuclear power.

White House: Beware False Dichotomies

Calling the environmental v the economy argument bogus, the White House blasts opposition to EPA regulation of cross-state air pollution.

World Bank: Climate In Focus

The World Bank Climate Investment Fund commits $1 billion to eight countries for social and economic benefit projects to help arrest and adapt to climate change

On The Wind Frontier

The Bonneville Power Administration finds better places to store wind power --with its customers.

Benchmarking Thrills

Compare and contrast New York City's benchmarking law with Canadian voluntary programs.

Now Hear This

Seven reasons why the public shuts out climate information and advocacy.

Solyndra Is Dead, Long Live Solar Power

The failure of Solydra should be seen as a technological and market success of the falling price of solar power.

November 06, 2011

Celebrating Climate Denial - The Comic Strip

To laugh

November 04, 2011

Remember, Mother Nature Bats Last

The Sierra Club offers an urgent reminder about what it means to live on a planet with finite resources.

November 03, 2011

Holland: Funding 14x20

Holland ups its renewable energy funding to 1.7 billion euros to meet its 14x20 target.

China v US: The PV Market

Low-cost solar panels made in China are gaining a market edge over more advanced but more costly US products, but GE is undaunted.

Fiddling While Rome Burns

The long-running Solydra song and dance in Congress is what passes for political debate over energy policy in Washington. House Dem compares GOP Solydroids to birthers. Meanwhile DOE says renewable energy loan program procedures could be improved

Looks Pretty From Outer Space

NASA photos freaky Snowtober storm over the northeast.

Scotland: Battery-Powered Ferries

The world's first hybrid-electric ferries will sail around the Inner Hebrides in 2013.

Coal's Still King

Think the world will break its addiction to coal anytime soon? Think again.

Costly Compared To What

California's high speed rail proposal has a hefty price tag of $98 billion, but building roads to move all the rail users would cost $171 billion.

1.7 Trillion Tons Of Bitumen

Drill into this fine print to calculate the carbon and climate implications of plans to drill and pump 1.7 trillion tons of bitumen from the Alberta, Canada tar sands. Don't skip the readers' comments.

November 02, 2011

Auditing Green Buildings

Federal auditors report that the government's portfolio of green, occupied buildings really does outperform conventional real estate.

Join The Energy Debate

The New York Times offers readers the opportunity to respond to a dollars and cents attack on renewable energy and government support.

Don't Be Fooled

Why is asking if some freakish storm or drought is the result of climate change is the wrong question.

DOE Watchdog Bites

The inspector overseeing how DOE spent $35.2 billion stimulus dollars to testify the agency flubbed its job.

China and US Bond On Carbon

China, the US and 24 other countries call for exemption for their airlines from the proposed EU regulation of the industry's carbon emissions.

The Illuminating App

Now there's a free app to help consumers find the best energy-saving light bulbs for them.

India: Solar Power Rising

Predictions of a non-subsidized 40% drop in the cost of solar power could make it competitive with fossil fuels by 2015.

Battery Reincarnation

The most expensive part of electric vehicles, the battery, could have a second life adding storage capacity to the power grid.

November 01, 2011

Pipeline Face-Off

The Nebraska legislative session starting November 1 about the proposed Canadian oil-export pipeline could determine the project's future.

Canada: Energy Efficiency Warranty

A new type of property insurance policy covers the performance of energy efficiency upgrades and requires ongoing monitoring of a building's energy performance.

The Big Climate Chill

Evidence abounds that much of the world is losing momentum on cutting carbon emissions.

When Simple Gets Complicated

Researchers rethink the popular recommendation about painting roofs white to help cool the planet.

Good Reasons To Have A Government

Economic growth is tied to innovation and government provides five essentials for innovation to occur.

Auto Dealers Fight Efficiency

Because the federal financial bailout kept auto makers from fighting improved fuel efficiency rules, auto-dealers are jumping in to stop the proposed 54x25 standard.

Unmasking ATI

Who is the American Tradition Institute and why is it suing a climate scientist iunder the Virginia Fraud Against Taypayers Act?

Retrofit Power Tools

What are the key tools for making energy efficiency retrofits of commercial buildings the new normal?

UK: Solar Support Sliced

The UK government plans to cut solar PV feed-in subsidies 50% by the end of the year, raising fears of crushing the move to renewables.

Climate Data Central

Whether you are a scientist, citizen or app developer, this on-line access portal could be just what is needed to access climate data and assess scientists' working models.

Building For 7 Billion

With global population at 7 billion and rising, can we build our way to a sustainable planet?