Can Clean Energy Campaigns Stop Climate Change?

Originally posted on Triple Crisis

Can we protect the earth’s climate without talking about it – by pursuing more popular policy goals such as cheap, clean energy, which also happen to reduce carbon emissions? It doesn’t make sense for the long run, and won’t carry us through the necessary decades of technological change and redirected investment. But in the current context of climate policy fatigue, it may be the least-bad short-run strategy available.

You may have lost interest in climate change, but the climate hasn’t lost interest in you. Once-extraordinary heat waves are becoming the new normal. Recent research demonstrates that by now someone “old enough to remember the climate of 1951–1980 should recognize the existence of climate change, especially in summer.” Continue reading…


Clean Energy Standard Unrealistically Harsh And Unsophisticated

This post by Frank Ackerman appeared on ThinkProgress this morning.

Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) has asked the Energy Information Administration to evaluate an unrealistically harsh and unsophisticated clean energy standard,  designed to represent the Republicans’ worst nightmare: every electricity retailer in the country (some of them quite small) must meet a relatively high and rising standard for low-carbon energy, starting very soon, with no trading between companies, banking of excess credits, or other flexibility mechanisms that would soften the blow.

Read the rest of the blog post here.


The American Clean Energy Party

Originally posted on Grist

Last year was a bad year for the future of humans and other creatures of the earth. The US failed to act on climate, and the victory of dozens of Tea Party Republicans in November eliminated any prospect for serious action for at least the next three years.

This is tragic. Barring future technological or political miracles, we have now blown by the chance we had to stabilize the carbon blanket surrounding the planet at 450 ppm of C02. Yet it is not “too late” for action.  Ambitious politics this decade, culminating in carbon legislation in 2013 or 15 or 17, can still stabilize CO2 at 500 ppm. 

Make no mistake: 500 ppm is worth fighting for, each and every day of our lives. Every tenth of a degree matters, and a planet with a carbon blanket that stabilizes at 500 ppm will preserve a dramatically more livable world than will a blanket of 650, or 850 or 1000 ppm. Above all, 500 ppm will give our kids time and a fighting chance to figure out how to roll back concentrations to 450 ppm, and their kids back to 350.

So what’s the plan? How can we build a powerful clean energy majority in Washington, a stronger majority than the one that didn’t get the job done in 2010?

Read the rest at Grist


U.S. Investors Conspicuously Absent From Climate Negotiations

Today’s guest post is by Mindy Lubber, President of Ceres

The absence of U.S. institutional investors at the UN’s Cancun climate change talks that ended on Dec. 10 was a telling sign that there wasn’t much hope for a major treaty that would dramatically shift the risk/reward equation for climate-related investing. 

While their European counterparts advocated for a strong carbon-reducing accord in Cancun, U.S. investors largely stayed at home, where lackluster returns and long-term pension obligations are their more immediate concerns.

For the most part, they made the right call: Though there were silver linings in the negotiations, they still failed to produce a legally binding agreement for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. That means there will continue to be only limited opportunities for low-carbon green investing worldwide. Continue reading…