Published by On Line Opinion, Australia’s leading e-journal of social and political debate.
Recently, the Australian Greens challenged the Rudd Government to “break the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) deadlock” by implementing an interim price on carbon. The move no doubt stunned many with its pragmatism and has since won the backing of the government’s former chief climate change adviser Ross Garnaut. While the move may give the Greens a PR boost, the proposal will work to strengthen the Coalition’s recent framing of carbon pricing as a “great big tax”. This of course has implications for Labor’s climate policy agenda in an election year.
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Posted in Clean Energy, Climate Policy, Politics, tagged ACES, Cap and Trade, clean energy race, Japan, Offsets, Public Investment, renewable energy on September 9, 2009 |
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Elected less than a week ago, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) may be new to power but according to a recent Bloomberg piece, it has already acknowledged the urgency of the clean energy race. Centered on an aggressive target to reduce carbon emissions 25% by 2020 from 1990 levels and increasing the share of renewables to 10% of its energy mix by 2020, the DPJ has set forth a proposal to achieve those cuts that is on course to outdo its predecessor, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), in both promise and execution.
While many nations’ emissions targets end up as nothing more than empty promises, the DPJ’s proposal outlines plans that include direct investment in clean energy technology that could have a variety of positive impacts on Japan’s clean energy sector and ultimately improve its ability to compete in the clean energy race.
With the intent to expand and improve upon the LDP’s clean energy deployment initiatives and grow the share of renewables in its energy mix, the DPJ is offering increased subsidies for solar photovoltaics as well as planning to extend Japan’s soon-to-be feed-in tariff system, to include all renewables, instead of just solar. (more…)
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Posted in Cap and Trade, Clean Energy, Climate Policy, Congress, Global Warming, Policy, Politics, Technology & Innovation Policy, tagged Cap and Trade, Climate Policy, environmentalism, Politics on June 13, 2009 |
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Climate campaigner and Grist contributor Ken Ward has written an opinion piece that asks an important question: Why do U.S. environmentalists remain irrationally committed to a losing strategy?
Mr. Ward passionately calls on the mainstream environmental movement to cease accommodating industry on the issue of climate change by their support of the Waxman-Markey bill working its way through Congress. To Ward, Waxman-Markey is a “travesty” and environmentalists have framed their decision as choosing between “supporting a joke climate bill, or giving up”, both of which are “forms of despair”.
While mainstream environmentalists have accommodated industry by supporting Waxman-Markey, Ward argues that we must move in a different direction:
“intrepid folks working outside the boundaries of our major organizations have honed all the core elements necessary for an alternative U.S. climate campaign that is pragmatic and idealistic, without being naïve.”
Ward argues, correctly, that the Waxman-Markey bill is woefully inadequate and shouldn’t be supported in its current form. The Breakthrough Institute has written a collection of analyses that show, among other things, that the complete utilization of carbon offsets in the bill could allow emissions in U.S. capped sectors to rise at a business as usual rate through 2030, and how the RES provision will do nothing to increase renewable energy deployment beyond business as usual projections. The latter analysis has since been confirmed by subsequent analyses by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Union of Concerned Scientists.
But it was surprising to see that Ward’s alternative to the environmental community’s accommodation is neither pragmatic nor idealistic, and is wholly naïve.
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The New York Times ran a landmark article today, “Money and Lobbyists Hurt European Efforts to Curb Gases,” about the failure of cap and trade in Europe. It’s required reading for anyone concerned about climate change policy in the United States and abroad. It opens with this:
The European Union started with a high-minded ecological goal: encouraging companies to cut their greenhouse gases by making them pay for each ton of carbon dioxide they emitted into the atmosphere.
But that plan unleashed a lobbying free-for-all that led politicians to dole out favors to various industries, undermining the environmental goals. Four years later, it is becoming clear that system has so far produced little noticeable benefit to the climate — but generated a multibillion-dollar windfall for some of the Continent’s biggest polluters.
As President-elect Barack Obama considers how to curb the gases that contribute to global warming, Europe’s struggle with the problem illustrates the momentous task ahead for the United States.
The piece comes after the GAO just released a highly critical study of the use of offsets in Europe’s Emissions Trading Scheme and amidst the chaotic climate negotiations at Poznan, where several European nations are balking at strict emissions caps. It also comes only a few weeks after President-elect Barack Obama pledged his support for cap and trade at a major climate conference in California.
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