Respected UC Berkeley economist Dr. Severin Borenstein released a blog yesterday that included at least one point we can agree on: fossil fuels are cheap. But Borenstein missed the boat in dismissing significant new research that traces 63 percent of heat-trapping emissions to just 90 institutions, including oil giants Exxon-Mobil, BP, and California-based Chevron, suggesting that holding fossil fuel producers accountable is a “copout.” Read More
December 17th, 2013
December 11th, 2013
Part three of a three-part blog series.
Last week some colleagues and I published an article in the Electricity Journal showing that almost 60 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired generators could be candidates for closure based on their poor economic profile relative to competing cleaner options like natural gas and wind. We also found that a modest carbon price of $20/ton of CO2 would more than double that figure to nearly 138 GW, reducing CO2 emissions by up to 745.7 million tons. You can read more about our analysis here and in blog posts by my colleagues Jeff Deyette and Steve Clemmer. Read More
Who Is Responsible for Climate Change? New Study Identifies the Top 90 Producers of Industrial Carbon Emissions
November 21st, 2013
Today’s publication in the journal Climatic Change by Richard Heede on Tracing anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement producers, 1854–2010 provides a robust scientific basis for motivating fresh thinking and dialogue about responsibility for taking action to address climate change. Read More
September 27th, 2013
In his “To Be or Not to Be” soliloquy, Shakespeare’s Hamlet eloquently presents each of us with an opportunity to wrestle with the timeless question of how to respond to the slings and arrows of life’s outrageous fortunes.
With today’s release of the Summary for Policymakers of Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) presents us with a very different opportunity to wrestle with our collective response to the slings and arrows of unabated carbon emissions on our warming planet. To be sure, the formal language of the IPCC is far less eloquent than Shakespeare’s, but the authoritative and cautiously-written climate science synthesis provokes us to confront profoundly important questions – questions that are hugely time-sensitive, not timeless. Read More
September 18th, 2013
The President’s Climate Plan announced in June touts natural gas as an important climate solution, as I discussed in a recent blog. This week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking the first step in implementing one of the key components of his plan by re-issuing carbon standards for new power plants. The next and more important step in this process is for the EPA to issue draft carbon standards for existing power plants by June 2014. (For more details, see this blog by my colleague Rachel Cleetus).
While standards for existing plants will help reduce power sector carbon emissions, they could lead to an overreliance on natural gas if they are not designed in the right way. In addition, the U.S. will need to make much deeper cuts in emissions to limit some of the worst impacts of climate change, as I discussed in my blog in July. A new UCS report released today shows that a transition from a coal- to a natural gas-dominated electricity system would not be sufficient to meet U.S. climate goals. Instead, a diversified electricity system—with amplified roles for renewable energy and energy efficiency and a modest role for natural gas—would both limit the threat of climate change and mitigate the risks of an overdependence on natural gas. Read More
April 22nd, 2013
Are you looking for an entertaining and engaging way to make a difference this Earth Day? Consider hosting a Cooler Smarter trivia event! It will put you on the path of being a low-carbon leader, and help challenge, inform, and inspire your family and friends to lower their carbon footprint. Read More
May 9th, 2012
[Co-written with Peter Frumhoff, Director of Science & Policy/Chief Scientist, Climate]
In public talks about climate science, my colleague, Peter Frumhoff and I often show images of the projected rapid increase in global emissions of carbon dioxide, the most important heat-trapping gas. Read More