Climate Compass Blog

Comparing Domestic and International Provisions in Energy-Climate Legislation

Provisions in any legislation can be confusing. Trying to compare similar provisions across different bills can compound the confusion. To help make things more clear, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change has released two additional side-by-side comparison charts, one on domestic offset provisions, and the other on international offset provisions, of this Congress’ energy and climate legislation.

Standing Up for Cap and Trade

Cap and trade has gotten a bad rap. It’s been vilified as a national energy tax, an elaborate Ponzi scheme, and a giveaway to corporate polluters.

While these attacks are wrong, they succeeded in shaping the political discourse around national climate and energy policy, which undoubtedly contributed to last week’s decision by Senate leaders to delay consideration of legislation that would limit greenhouse gas emissions.

This is unfortunate. We need a national policy to reduce emissions, and, as our new white paper shows, cap and trade is still the best, most cost-effective way of doing so. When lawmakers turn their attention back to this issue — as  they must — they should make cap and trade a foundational element of the policy response to climate change. 

Understanding GHG Emissions from Plug-In Electric Vehicles

A hot topic in environmental circles lately has been the impact plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) will have on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Some are optimistic about PEVs’ emission reduction potential, while others are pessimistic. The truth is, not surprisingly, somewhere in between. In order to reduce emissions from the transportation sector, we must both move to low carbon fuels (including electricity, which has zero GHG emissions from the tailpipe) and reduce the carbon intensity of the electrical grid.

"Climategate" Scientists Exonerated

I posted previously on the controversy surrounding emails that were hacked from a computer server at the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in the U.K. The emails revealed the private exchanges of several prominent climate scientists dealing with their science and their reactions to climate change deniers who requested access to their private computer files and intellectual property. The contents of the emails suggested to the untrained eye that the scientists had manipulated data and tried to undermine the scientific peer-review process. From my reading of the emails, I judged that nothing of the sort had happened. Since my last writing on the topic, five separate independent investigations (3 in the United Kingdom and 2 in the U.S.) of the matter have concluded that there was no mishandling of data or other wrongdoing beyond some foot-dragging in response to Freedom of Information requests by climate change deniers. The clear message from these investigations is that proper scientific methods were followed and the integrity of climate science remains solid as a rock. 

Midwest States Pursue Clean Energy and Jobs – and Highlight Role for Feds

The Midwest Governors Association (MGA) recently held a briefing in Washington for congressional and federal agency staff to highlight key regional developments in clean energy job creation. As the Senate prepares to take up energy legislation this summer, state government officials and representatives from business groups and environmental organizations in the Midwest described the progress they have made promoting renewable energy in order to create jobs, benefit the environment, and increase energy security.