Carbon Market Conference

7 04 2009

WASHINGTON DC — At a carbon market conference on Tuesday Nancy Sutley, chairperson of the Council on Environmental Quality, emphasized last week’s bill from Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and the regulations it placed on carbon cap-and-trade allowances. She said the energy goals of the bill were inline with those of President Obama.

Nancy Sutley, Chairperson for the Council on Environmental Quality

Nancy Sutley, Chairperson for the Council on Environmental Quality

“In setting out this agenda, the administration has signaled … that the United States is ready to assume leadership in helping to bring the world together to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” Sutley said. “It will also encourage the development and deployment of the clean-energy technologies that will be critical to address climate change, enhance energy security and create jobs that can’t be outsourced.”

The draft of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, introduced by Waxman and Markey, called for a 20 percent decrease in the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions based on 2005 levels, to be achieved by 2020, and an 83 percent cut seen by mid-century.

However, the Waxman-Markey draft did not address how companies will receive their carbon credits. But, Obama said he would like companies to purchase all of their credits at an auction, instead of just being handed them. This would raise hundreds of billions of dollars to fund clean energy programs and give tax breaks to greener companies. But some, including big polluters, say the costs of 100 percent auctions would be too great.

Carbon Offsetting…

25 02 2009

I came across this site that told me I wouldn’t have to feel guilty about my carbon footprint if I took part in “carbon offsetting” programs. The site is aptly named “ClimateCare”

The Reduce and Offset Approach
“For the greenhouse gases we cannot avoid emitting, you can buy carbon offsets.”

If this sounds too good to be true, it is. ClimateCare is just another way to warrant the superfluous consumption of resources and energy.

In actuality, “carbon offsetting” is a myth. The damage we’ve caused to our atmosphere by emitting CO2 is irreversible so why would I pay to have my emissions “canceled out” with clean energy production? It makes no sense.

The Reality of Carbon Offsetting

The Reality of Carbon Offsetting

So what are these offsetting programs offered by ClimateCare?

Apparently, I can fund new stoves for the rural people of Cambodia or I can replace diesel-fueled water pumps in India with “treadle pumps,” which apparently use “human power to pump water from wells.”

New Stoves That "Offset Carbon..." Right

New Stoves That "Offset Carbon" Right...

Why not just use biodiesel to fuel the existing pumps instead of creating an entirely new irrigation system?

Not surprisingly, I realized this program was owned by JP Morgan.

Obama: The Future is Green and Bright

25 02 2009

Last night, in an address to Congress, Obama once again stressed the importance of shifting toward a better environmental policy, based on the future development of, “wind power, solar power, advanced biofuels, clean coal, and more fuel-efficient cars.”

Unfortunately this means that only about 5.5 percent of the stimulus package funds energy and environmental advancements.

Obama's Stilulus Package

Obama's Stimulus Package

Obama made some good points however, especially when he said, “We invented solar technology, but we’ve fallen behind countries like Germany and Japan in producing it. New plug-in hybrids roll off our assembly lines, but they will run on batteries made in Korea.”

Germany is in fact very far ahead of the U.S. in terms of environmental standards. “In 2007 greenhouse gas emissions were down 21.3% in comparison with 1990 levels.

Solar Technology at Berlin-Adlershof

Solar Technology at Berlin-Adlershof

But, the only action Obama has taken in addressing environmental matters so far, was to ask for a, “legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America.”

I think the carbon cap is a good idea, but I’m wondering how Congress will “drive” this “production”, and production of what exactly?

Tall Tales of Clean Coal

30 01 2009

Clean coal does not exist. All plants currently using coal to produce electricity emit CO2 as a byproduct.

Throughout the Obama/Biden campaign our president vowed to “develop five ‘first-of-a-kind’ commercial scale coal-fired plants with clean carbon capture and sequestration technology.” Clean coal plan. I am an Obama supporter, but this claim is unfeasible. Not only will this technology cost extraordinary amounts of money to develop, but after the byproducts from burning coal are “captured and sequestered,” then where do they go?

What happens when those captured byproducts escape? On Dec. 22, 2008 several residents of Knoxville, TN found out first-hand. The Associated Press reported the spill, “sent 1.1 billion gallons of ash and sludge into a rural neighborhood surrounding the plant.” Not only did this mess take about $1 million per day to clean up, but ash containing radium and arsenic were released — both of which can “have serious health implications.”

Furthermore, the EIA (environmental information administration) does not predict any decrease in CO2 emission for the next 15+ years. To see this forecast click here and choose the spreadsheet on the left labeled co2.