CBO Blasts Ethanol

An article published last Thrusday by the Washington Times suggests that federal support for corn ethanol has large negative consequences and a dubious impact on the environment. It seems that the Congressional Budget Office is catching up to the many critics of ethanol (for some of our own criticism of ethanol, feel free to check here). This should be the final nail in the coffin for aggressive corn-based ethanol policies. Continue reading

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Transatlantic Carbon Trade

New York Times

Out of Brussels comes word that the European Union wants to work with the United States to lead a cap-and-trade emissions system for wealthy nations. A well-implemented cap-and-trade system has the perks of providing an absolute maximum for the traded emissions, and of taking advantage of the efficiency of the competitive market equilibrium (the CME is always in the Core, to put it technically). In short, an ideal cap-and-trade system allows for fully effective environmental regulation within the market system, rather than throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Unfortunately, the EU plan previously has been the model of how not to implement a cap-and-trade system. Individual countries would routinely demand vastly overinflated quotas so that they would not have to make an effort to actually restrict emissions. The New York Times says however, that word out of Europe is that they are well on their way to improving the system: Continue reading

Carol Browner Tapped as ‘Climate Czar’

Along with Obama’s appointment of Stephen Chu to Energy Secretary comes word that he has chosen a so-called ‘climate czar’. Browner will likely be instrumental in implementing Obama’s climate policy. Like Obama, she supports a cap-and-trade policy, an extremely promising way to reduce greenhouse gases. In fact, Browner called for the winner of the 2008 election to pursue capping with tradable permits months ago:

Browner’s resume includes a record-long tenure as Administrator of the EPA. As the New York Times reports, she began the fight to regulate greenhouse gases as part of the Clinton Administration only to have the Bush Administration undermine the authority of the EPA and the Supreme Court. The creation of a ‘climate czar’ post, and the appointment of someone with Carol Browner’s credentials and principals may be very good news for those concerned about the environment and climate change.

Worsening Greenhouse Gas Picture

Over the past month, new information has provided even more reason to get serious about greenhouse gases. Peat which has been absorbing  atmospheric carbon is drying out, and even more alarming, some scientists believe the carbon situation has already gone too far.

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Continuing the Fight Against Buzzwords – “Green Job”

President-elect Obama’s proposed economic stimulus package, with the goal of creating millions of “green jobs”, seems like a panacea able to fix our ailing economy, cut our reliance on foreign energy and mitigate the effects of climate change. While the details and price of the plan have not yet been worked out, we know that it would include funding for state projects to improve infrastructure and public transit, provide further subsidies for renewable energy, as well as facilitate the implementation of residential “smart” meters as the first part of process to make the energy grid more efficient.
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Newsbusters Blog, RNC Caught in a Lie

Newsbusters, a blog founded to provide Republican leaning political metacriticism, broke a story suggesting that Barack Obama intended to bankrupt the coal industry. To people familiar with Senator Obama’s policies, it should be obvious that this is pure spin.

Mr. Obama was asked about how he would regulate coal power plants. He essentially said that his goal was not to stand in the way of coal power plants, that by and large he would not target coal-fired power plants. Instead, Mr. Obama advocates an aggressive greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program, a system that is unbiased, because it applies to all firms, and that instead of going against the market mechanism, taps into it in order to reduce pollution (see this previous cap-and-trade post).

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Ethanol Myths? A Thorough Exploration

Add the US Department of Energy to the growing list of ethanol apologists that insist on jumping aboard a sinking ship. They have an entire webpage devoted to debunking five so-called “ethanol myths”. In our look at each “myth” we will see that with all their resources the best the DoE can do is cast a pebble of doubt into the vast sea of ethanol criticism. As we will see, at times they do everything short of outright lying just to protect the image of ethanol.

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