Nuclear Power: Climate Activists Disagree

NUCLEAR POWER:
CLIMATE ACTIVISTS DISAGREE

For my first post of the New Year I settled on nuclear as it’s the optimal resource for energy systems in society—energy dense, dispatchable, zero-emissions, and technologically advanced and the resource itself is cheap. It’s my sincere hope that the debate on the growth and development of nuclear power in the U.S. will be broached this year with rationale, logic, sobriety, and common sense given the challenges we’re facing. There is too much at stake and we have too many environmental constraints and economic goals in play to allow this resource to fade away or simply disappear from our industrial DNA while other countries throughout the world wisely invest in it and leverage its benefits in growing and developing their own economies. Continue reading “Nuclear Power: Climate Activists Disagree”

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The Paris Climate Talks

ECONOMIC IMPERATIVES OF
THE PARIS CLIMATE TALKS

One analogy used in characterizing global climate change is: “Earth has a fever”. To extend the analogy a little further, when a body has a fever it’s expedient to provide a diagnosis, prognosis and, if possible, therapy. In this case, the diagnosis has been determined to be greenhouse gas emissions, particularly CO2, and the prognosis is that Earth’s climate system will change with consequences detrimental to human society. As for the therapy, that’s where the politics, rhetoric and posturing begin, with rationale, logic and common sense often being the first casualties. Continue reading “The Paris Climate Talks”

Weekly Post: Nov. 8-14

CARBON AND CLIMATE

  • Paris Climate Talks
    The Paris climate talks begin in a couple of weeks and some encouraging news from a recent study shows that CO2 emission intensities (on a per capita basis) are decreasing in 11 of the G20 countries. At the same time, the sticky issue of money and financing has moved to the forefront of pre-talk chatter.

Continue reading “Weekly Post: Nov. 8-14”

Weekly Post: Oct. 18-24

REGULATIONS

  • THE CARBON RULE IS LAW
    EPA Carbon Rule Hits the Federal Register: Is Now Federal Law
    This past week in energy (at least in the U.S. and in Georgia) was punctuated by what happened toward the end of the week: EPA’s carbon rule for power plants (aka, the Clean Power Plan) was posted on the Federal Register and, thus, becomes federal law. Before the CFR could hit the final HTML button to post it electronically, 24 states and a coal mining company filed lawsuits challenging the rule’s legality. Georgia, one of the 24 states filing suit, has the support of Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division in its challenge to EPA. In the days leading up to the rule’s publication, EPA’s chief air regulator, Janet McCabe, expressed confidence that the rule would withstand the legal challenges. Time will tell—albeit a very long time. While I can’t attest to all the legal grounds on which these lawsuits are being filed, from what I understand about 111(d), states traditionally have had a significant role in developing and implementing the standards for sources, and I’m not sure EPA maintained that role for states when they came up with this rule. EPA has a Clean Power Plan website where you can peruse through the technical details and EPA’s promotion of the rule. Legalities aside, my own assessment of the rule is that it’s just bad energy policy. You can read my editorial at Insider Advantage’s James Magazine, starting on page 10.
    Though states have filed suit, the timing of this CFR publication more than likely circumvents any court action prior to the Paris talks. Politics matters. So does timing.

Continue reading “Weekly Post: Oct. 18-24”

Commentary: Nuclear Support

While nuclear has plenty of detractors, it also has key support from well-informed individuals from environmental and climate change camps. Former EPA Administrator Carol Browner promoted the obvious in September of 2014: Nuclear energy as a fundamental tool in addressing climate change (1) and, more recently, another former EPA Administrator, Christine Todd Whitman, added her support to nuclear as a key energy resource that meets power generation needs in ways renewables can’t (2). This places Browner and Whitman in camp with other pragmatists such as climate change pioneer James Hansen, who also supports the deployment of nuclear power in addressing climate change issues (3, 4). Continue reading “Commentary: Nuclear Support”

California’s SB 350 Legislation

Post written by Haley Daniel

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed new legislation, SB 350, to set renewable energy goals for the state to be reached by 2030. The new legislation builds off of California’s existing Renewable Portfolio Standard of 33%. SB 350 sets a new goal for 50% of energy to be generated from renewable sources by 2030 and for the rate of energy efficiency savings in California buildings to double by 2030. This legislation is part of an overall goal for the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by the year 2030, and also before the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. The image below shows current trends and forecasted plans for the percentages of various renewable sources in California’s energy mix. Continue reading “California’s SB 350 Legislation”