Unstructured Finance

Getting down to business at U.N. climate talks a hard task

August 4, 2010

A U.N. concession to delegates at this week’s climate talks in Bonn to take off jackets and ties due to recent high temperatures may be going to some participants’ heads.

Now in the movies: The gentle giant

July 16, 2009

Gentle giant

German utility RWE – Europe’s fifth-largest power company and the continent’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxcide – has resorted to a new way to counter what it sees as a fundamental misunderstanding about power companies.

Are Pop Rocks to blame for global warming

April 23, 2009

poprocksJust how far is the U.S. government willing to go to cut carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

Floating a balloon, adding to global warming?

April 2, 2009

climatebillDemocrats floated big plans to tackle climate change proposals in the U.S. Congress this week but realistically there will be much more hot air — both from industry and politicians — before this bill is turned into law.
 
The draft legislation, running hundreds of pages, will now be considered by the House Energy and Commerce Committee in coming weeks along with all manner of panels. And, oh yes, the Senate, home of the filibuster, will also get to weigh in.
    
At the heart of of the legislation is Cap and Trade — a panacea for those who believe greenhouse gas emissions are warming the planet to dangerous levels and a boon to those who think the sinking economy makes this the dumbest time to anchor industry with more costs.
    
“This legislation will create millions of clean energy jobs, put America on the path to energy independence, and cut global warming pollution,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman.
    
Sounds good but Waxman is a Democrat from California, where these ideas are more readily embraced.  
    
Listen to what a guy from Texas thinks: “Tuesday’s cap and trade bill marks a triumph of fear over good sense and science and it couldn’t come at a worse time because it proposes to save the planet by sacrificing the economy,” said Representative Joe Barton, the senior Republican on the energy and commerce panel.
 
In a cap and trade system, power plants and other industries would need permits for every ton of carbon dioxide they emit. Unused permits could be sold to other companies, but overall emissions would gradually drop.
    
Under the proposal that uses 2005 as a base year, U.S. carbon emissions would have to be reduced by 20 percent by 2020, 42 percent by 2030 and 83 percent by 2050. Those goals are a tad more aggressive than what President Barack Obama had proposed.
    
Now let the games begin. Very few seem ready to predict when a climate change bill will pass but most say it won’t be this year — especially if Democrats in Congress decide to give Obama’s health care plans the priority.
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So there certainly will be a lot more talk, much of it heated. And one other thing is for certain: each yearly delay will mean the United States, as the world’s largest emitter, will spew another 6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Did you power down for Earth Hour?

March 29, 2009

The Las Vegas strip (below) and other global icons went dark on Saturday for Earth Hour.