Carbon Pricing in the U.S. Congress

Carbon pricing has seen a rocky road in the U.S. Congress.  After a slow start with proposals as early as 1990,  a push with bi-partisan support came in 2003-2008.  But by the 111th Congress (2009-2010) Democrats were the primary proponents. The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill passed the House after significant compromising in 2009, but failed in […]

California’s Ambitious Goals

California is pushing the limits to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  In the session just closed, the State Legislature passed two bills to reduce emissions by 40% of 1990 levels by 2030 – SB 32 (F. Pavley) requiring the change, and its companion bill AB 197  (E. Garcia) requiring additional accountability for it and special considerations for disadvantaged communities. Governor Brown […]

Changing Republican Spirit

Congressional Republicans and climate change.  You know what Republicans think, right?  Not so fast.  Some Congressional Republicans are moving away from the party line to proactively reach toward a clean energy future.  This is an excellent opportunity – both economically and politically . In recent years, many conservatives and Republicans have individually spoken out on the importance of action on […]

Forum: Enthusiasm and Frustration

A November 2 carbon pricing forum in Berkeley, California met with audience enthusiasm for putting a price on carbon, and frustration that more wasn’t happening. Frustration was aggravated by an announcement  the day of the forum by Christiana Figueres, UN climate chief, that carbon pricing would not happen at the Paris talks . The educational forum “Solving the […]

Advancing from the “Bottom Up”

There are some “top down” systems of pricing carbon.  China announced last month that it would put a national cap and trade system in place starting in 2017.  (Ironically this market-based approach is being introduced in a centralized bureaucracy.)  The European Union continues with an emissions trading scheme (cap and trade).  And increasingly other nations are adopting some sort of […]

RGGI Lookin’ Good

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) of nine northeastern states has been a boon to the nine member states’ economies while CO2 emissions from power plants have dropped by about 18%, according to a report released today. How much of the emissions reductions was actually due to the cap is arguable.  The original cap was far above the […]

Republican Opportunity?

The Republicans have an opportunity now to put forward legislation for a price on carbon and lead the way into the 2016 elections. Outrageous? Maybe not. The tide is beginning to turn– just beginning. Three key factors: (1) more and more Republicans and some conservatives are espousing a price on carbon as a market solution to reducing greenhouse […]

The Drying of California

On April 1, California’s Governor Brown accompanied water officials to the Sierra Nevada to measure snowpack and learn just how bad the drought is.  Pretty bad.  They went to an elevation of 6,800 feet to a station where snow depth has been measured since 1941, with an average April 1 snow depth of 66.5 inches.  […]

Why Is Antarctic Sea Ice Growing?

Antarctic sea ice areal extent is indeed growing.  Does that mean Antarctica is cooling? Nope. In what feels like a counter-intuitive statement, the ice is in fact growing because the glaciers are melting. That probably needs some explanation. Land glaciers in Western Antarctica are melting , and melt is accelerating in parts of the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet. Glaciers are […]

Temperature and Trust

A fundamental piece of evidence for a warming climate is the long term temperature trend. Particularly important is the trend in the past 100 years. Since the 1970s the temperature trend has shown a jagged but consistent increase. But can we trust the data? The short answer is yes. But a longer answer is needed […]