Even without the Keystone XL Pipeline, 350 ppm of carbon dioxide is no longer achievable

Here’s one slice of irony from today’s protest against TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline surrounding the White House: actually reducing the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere from about 389 parts per million (ppm) currently to the widely-held threshold of 350 ppm is no longer possible. The combined impacts, to name a few, […]

When utilities sidestep renewables mandates, it undermines their credibitlity and state law

A renewable electricity rule or requirement may be on the books in states such as Virginia and Ohio but that doesn’t mean every utility in that state is going to comply with it. Take the ‘illuminating’ cases of First Energy in Ohio and utilities in Virginia, led by Dominion Virginia Power. In the Buckeye state, […]

Fresh messages, new language needed to achieve sustainable energy future; when’s the inflection point?

Advocates of a more sustainable energy future can blame Solyndra, Al Gore, President Obama, James Hansen, Bill McKibben or environmental interests groups such as the 350.org, Natural Resources Defense Council, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club. The fact is a growing number of, if not most, “green” initiatives are not likely to achieve their missions of […]

Solar-powered, net-zero energy homes demonstrate mainstream appeal at U.S. Solar Decathlon

Led by the University of Maryland and Purdue University, the 2011 version of the U.S. Solar Decathlon demonstrated how high-tech energy and common sense are going mainstream, all while zeroing out electricity consumption from the grid. Every step of the way participating students — and perhaps elected officials — garnered valuable lessons for the U.S. […]

THIS is the way to crystallize the risks of dirty power – kudos to American Lung Association

“Log on to LungUSA.org and tell Washington: ‘Don’t weaken the Clean Air Act’ ” is the closing appeal from this 30-second TV commercial running this week at least in the Washington, DC market.  It follows audio of an infant coughing and wheezing in a red stroller / carriage on the National Mall, in a Congressional […]

FAST FIX: Cialdini’s 6 Rules of Influence — Smart Grid marketers take note

One of the most widely respected researchers of human behavior,Robert Cialdini, asserts there are six rules of influence when reaching out to the public.  They may have a lot to contribute to effectively engaging utility ratepayers and consumers about using energy more wisely through smart grid applications. Cialdini serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of […]

Taxing carbon: Congress and Maryland won’t so Montgomery County is trying

The 4th District Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia holds the key to a first-of-its-kind attempt by Montgomery County, Maryland to place a $5-per-ton tax on emissions from the predominantly coal-fired Mirant Corp. power plant in the county. Because it is the only large source of carbon emissions in the county that would be liable […]

New Jersey Gov. Christie says he has a better way than RGGI to cut carbon emissions

That’s the conclusion one could reach after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced the Garden State is withdrawing from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI. If he’s right, he may be on to something because he asserted there are better ways to fight global warming, which he says is real and caused by humans. […]

Defang the EPA on the Clean Air Act, or not? The answer is coming…

The U.S. Senate is preparing to vote on legislation that would take away the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate harmful greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. President Obama opposes it. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has gone so far as to call the maneuver “draconian.” Companion legislation is slated for a vote […]

Fallout from Japan’s nuclear crisis

How will Japan fill the gap left by disabled nuclear power plants? And how will other countries with nuclear power plants react to risks posed by  GE’s boiling water reactors in earthquake-prone regions? The answers may not be known for weeks, or months. But as the earthquake damage assessments become more credible, some implications are […]