Environment Forum

Microsoft talks carbon-free power

Microsoft Corp Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie – the guy in charge of the company’s $9 billion research budget and deep thinking — sat down with Reuters to talk about clean energy — carbon free, not necessarily renewable, in his view. Following are a couple of excerpts.

Mundie talks about why wind and solar power may not be huge players on the renewable energy scene.

Mundie discusses his affinity for novel nuclear approaches.

Mundie shares his thoughts on clean energy road blocks.

Video editing by Courtney Hoffman

A tax by any other name…

Can semantics help save the planet?

A showdown between leaders of Chevron Corp and the Sierra Club on Wednesday night revealed a number of shared beliefs between the two California institutions, particularly about the need for a transparent way of pricing carbon.

The debate at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club on Wednesday night pitted Chevron CEO David O’Reilly against Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, and both agreed that limiting carbon emissions should involve some sort of levy imposed by the government – if only there was a word for such a thing.

“It would be much cleaner if there was a transparent cost on carbon that one could see,” O’Reilly said.

Is geoengineering the climate a policy option?

The current issue of the American magazine Foreign Affairs has a thought-provoking piece that asks if the geoengineering option shouldn’t be used as a last resort in the battle against climate change. You can see the introduction to the article here (but will need to be a registered user to read all of it online).

 Climate geoengineering is a thinly explored branch of science which to date has seen little in the way of peer-reviewed research. Some of its advocates envision global systems which would launch reflective particles into the atmosphere or position sunshades to cool the earth.

Another approach is to dump iron dust into the sea to spur the growth of algae that absorb heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the air. When algae die, they fall to the seabed and so remove carbon.