Feb 29 2012
Feb 29 2012
Feb 20 2012
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Feb 20 2012
The idea behind a carbon tax is that all of a sudden, high-carbon sources of energy start to look less attractive, right? Well, that’s apparently not the case in Australia. Even a Carbon tax on the horizon, investment in coal, the highest-carbon fuel source has increased 62 percent.
See the article here
Why do you think this is? Is it the case, as some have suggested, that government action on CO2 emissions is destined to fall far short of being meaningful? Alternatively, if countries’ domestic policies prevent them from burning coal for electricity, but maintain the attractiveness of mining coal for export, are the countries successfully meeting the objective of lowering carbon emissions?
Feb 16 2012
Last Thursday, Fletcher School Professors William Moomaw and Bruce Everett got together for the ninth time to debate climate change, energy and the environment, at an event in ASEAN auditorium. Professor Moomaw is a Professor of Environmental Policy, and lead coauthor of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, while Professor Everett is a former employee of Exxon Mobil who teaches Petroleum in the Global Economy at the Fletcher School. The debate was organized by the Fletcher Energy Consortium (FLEC). The Center for International Environment and Resource Policy’s writeup of the event here .
Both professors gave the international community a “D” on dealing with climate change and the environment, though for different reasons. Do you agree? Alternatively, have leaders done the best that can be expected under the circumstances, given domestic constraints, structural barriers, and lack of a common frame for responsibility? Or have expectations of the effects of climate change been exaggerated, given the large band of uncertainty in questions about the net warming effects of elements like cloud cover, and potential increased plant growth?
Professor Everett indicated that, given future trends in energy use, efforts we make in the developed world to address Carbon emissions will make little difference in global emissions in the future, since increases in emissions from China and India will dwarf any reductions made in the West. Do you agree? If not, how can the developing world increase access to energy without dramatic increases in Carbon emissions?
Feb 13 2012
This event at Harvard, put on by the Harvard University Center for the Environment, may be of interest to readers of this blog:
Finding secure, safe and reliable sources of energy to power world economic growth will be one of the great challenges of this century. The Harvard University Center for the Environment invites the Harvard community to take up the challenge by participating in this ongoing series of discussions.
Mary D. Nichols, Chairman of the California Air Resources Board
“California’s Low Carbon Energy Future”
Monday, February 27
Mary D. Nichols, Chairman of the California Air Resources Board, will discuss the state’s pioneering climate policies and the future of energy in California and beyond.
Nichols has devoted her entire career in public and nonprofit service to advocating for the environment and public health. In addition to her work at the Air Board, she has served as Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air and Radiation program under President Clinton, Secretary for California’s Resources Agency from 1999 to 2003 and Director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Her priorities as chairman include moving ahead on the state’s landmark climate change program (AB 32), steering the Board through numerous efforts to curb diesel pollution at ports and continuing to pass regulations aimed at providing cleaner air for Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley. She values innovation, partnerships and common-sense approaches to addressing the state’s air issues.
The Future of Energy lecture series is sponsored by the Harvard University Center for the Environment with generous support from Bank of America. This lecture is also sponsored by the Harvard Law School. All of the lectures are free and open to the public. View detailed lecture information at http://environment.harvard.edu/events/2011-11-30/future-energy
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Feb 09 2012
Thanks to Conference Operations Director Kathleen Hurley for sharing this Letter to the Editor.
The Keystone XL pipeline extension is a proposed project to transport synthetic crude and diluted bitumen from Canada’s oil sands in Alberta. The pipeline requires presidential approval before it can go forward. The pipeline has encountered fierce resistance from the environmental community, largely coming from a combination of worries about the large quantity of greenhouse gas emissions coming from production of the fuel and concerns about damage to local environments and aquifers. President Obama had originally planned to postpone the decision until 2013, but was recently required by legislation to expedite the decision-making process, which led him to reject the permit application.
Do you agree with the author of the letter? Are greenhouse gas emissions in canada an appropriate reason to stop a pipeline in the United States? Will the Canadians simply export the oil to the the coast, leading to the same amount of emissions, without creating jobs in the United States?
Feb 08 2012
Well, it’s more like an electric highway. As has been discussed on this blog, the principal challenge for electric vehicles to date has been the limits of battery technology, and the ability to a) drive long distances and b) charge quickly. A group of Stanford researchers have taken an innovative approach to this challenge, suggesting a future in which cars charge as they drive, through infrastructure in the highways that generates magnetic fields to transmit electric currents.
Is this feasible? Is this approach worth the investment? With an infrastructure that is sorely in need of maintenance, is public funding an appropriate avenue for the viability of the electric car, or should the approach be more market-based?