Friday, October 26, 2007

MIT Greenhouse Gas Emissions Prediction & Policy Analysis

The MIT Emissions Prediction and Policy Analysis model is applied to an assessment of a set of cap-and-trade proposals being considered by the U.S. Congress in spring 2007. The bills specify emissions reductions to be achieved through 2050 for the standard six-gas basket of greenhouse gases. They fall into two groups: one specifies emissions reductions of 50% to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050; the other establishes a tightening target for emissions intensity and stipulates a time-path for a “safety valve” limit on the emission price that approximately stabilizes U.S. emissions at the 2008 level. A set of three synthetic emissions paths are defined that span the range of stringency of these proposals, and these “core” cases are analyzed for their consequences in terms of emissions prices, effects on energy markets, welfare cost, the potential revenue generation if allowances are auctioned and the gains if permit revenue were used to reduce capital or labor taxes.

Initial period prices for the first group of proposals, in carbon dioxide equivalents, are estimated between $30 and $50 per ton CO2-e depending on where each falls in the 50% to 80% range, with these prices rising by a factor of four by 2050. Welfare costs are less than 0.5% at the start, rising in the most stringent case to near 2% in 2050. If allowances were auctioned these proposals could produce revenue between $100 billion and $500 billion per year depending on the case. Emissions prices for the second group, which result from the specified safety-valve path, rise from $7 to $40 over the study period, with welfare effects rising from near zero to approximately a 0.5% loss in 2050. Revenue in these proposals depends on how many allowances are freely distributed.

To analyze these proposals assumptions must be made about mitigation effort abroad, and simulations are provided to illuminate terms-of-trade effects that influence the emissions prices and welfare effects, and even the environmental effectiveness, of U.S. actions. Sensitivity tests also are provided of several of the design features imposed in the “core” scenarios including the role of banking, the specification of less than complete coverage of economic sectors, and the development of international permit trading. Also, the effects of alternative assumptionsabout nuclear power development are explored. Of particular importance in these simulations is the role of biofuels, and analysis is provided of the implications of these proposals for land use and agriculture.

Finally, the U.S. proposals, and the assumptions about effort elsewhere, are extended to 2100 to allow exploration of the potential role of these bills in the longer-term challenge of reducing climate change risk. Simulations using the MIT Integrated System Model show that the 50% to 80% targets are consistent with global goals of atmospheric stabilization at 450 to 550 ppmv CO2 but only if other nations, including the developing countries, follow. (Source: MIT)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Inside The Beltway Climate Change Wonk Fight

Sport inside the Beltway. The right and left just love this competition. The left says Julie L. Gerberding's testimony was doctored by the Bush right to water down global warming information. CDC Director Gerberding submitted her Senate testimony to the White House Office of Management and Budget and word gets out that it was doctored down from 14 pages to four. WOW. Now here is a path to climate change solutions.

This sort of dance has happened before. It will happen again. Administration scientists say they are being repressed. The Administration then says they are simply trying to present a 'balanced view.' And around and around we go. The press jumps on it. Congress milks it. And we just have to wait for the next scientific report and it will start all over again. The CDC is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee

China Congress Convenes

China's Communist Party Congress is meeting to make decisions about the next five years. President Hu Jintao addressed the Congress and spoke about economic growth and social protections. There are 2200 party delegates in the Congress.

The Communist Party will maintain its monopoly power and it will continue to allow China to develop its capitalist economy. We want to work with the Chinese Congress and the Hu Administration to promote environmental protection and economic growth.
CPC (Communist Party of China)

Members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee

CPC (Communist Party of China)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

DOE Issues Final Regulations For EPAct Loan Guarantees

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued (Oct 4) the final regulations for the loan guarantee program authorized by Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct). DOE’s action will pave the way for federal support of clean energy projects using innovative technologies and will spur further investment in these advanced energy technologies.

DOE has invited 16 project sponsors, who submitted pre-applications last Fall, to submit full applications for loan guarantees. These projects include advanced technologies involving the uses of biomass, fossil energy, solar, industrial energy efficiency, electricity delivery and energy reliability, hydrogen, and alternative fuel vehicles. Projects supported by loan guarantees will help fulfill President Bush’s goal of reducing our reliance on imported sources of energy by diversifying our nation’s energy mix and increasing energy efficiency. (More)

President Bush Threatens Veto On Energy Bill

President Bush is promoting a "Twenty in Ten" energy legislative package that would reduce gasoline consumption by 20 percent in ten years. The legislation was not adopted by Congress. The administration has subsequently offered a basic framework for an energy bill that would not compel the President's senior advisors to recommend a veto. Such a bill would:

1) Contain an ambitious alternative fuels standard comparable to that proposed by the President in his 2007 State of the Union.
2) Reform and strengthen the fuel economy standard for cars, and maintain separate, attribute-based standards for cars and light trucks, based on sound science, safety, and cost-benefit analysis.
3) Not reduce but instead increase domestic energy production.
4) Not raise taxes nor use the tax code to single out specific industries.
5) Not contain provisions (such as NOPEC) that encourage retaliation against American businesses abroad, discourage job-creating investment in the U.S. economy, and injure U.S. relations with other countries.
6) Not impose price controls that could bring back long gas station lines reminiscent of the 1970s.
7) Not expand the application of the Davis-Bacon Act prevailing wage requirements.
8) Not contain a Renewable Portfolio Standard.

CLP Group Issues Environmental Reports

The CLP Group has developed a new online Sustainability Report (SR), as well as our Social and Environmental Report 2006 (SER).

New this year, CLP's online SR includes elements and indicators recommended in the Global Reporting Initiative's G3 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. To complement their more concise SER 2006, it provides broader coverage of sustainability and greater depth on issues that are important to their stakeholders. It represents their new reporting milestone in creating a transparent and living report where you can find information that is updated regularly.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

PJM Approves Pepco High Power Lines

PJM Interconnection, the operator of the mid-Atlantic region's electricity grid, has approved a 230-mile high-voltage power transmission line that would begin in Northern Virgina, cut across Southern Maryland, go under the Chesapeake Bay and end in New Jersey. The line would run adjacent to an existing power line. Now the $1 billion power line proposal by Pepco Holdings enters the public review phase. State regulators from Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey will consider the power line and its environmental impact before allowing it to be built.

The addition of transmission lines could help lower "congestion fees" paid by customers in fast-growing regions such as Washington. North American Electric Reliability Corp., the power industry's watchdog and accountability group, released a report this week stating that the electric power industry in the mid-Atlantic region has failed to keep pace with long-term demand. The region will lose the Benning Road and Buzzard Point power plants in the District when they close in 2012. (The Wash Post/Times)

The power line proposals in the Washington region fall under the U.S. Energy Department's national interest designation. Therefore, they will test a new federal law that gives power companies authority to bypass state regulators and secure land through the federal government if their services are deemed vital to national energy interests. Pepco will host public meetings in coming months to discuss the proposal and gather public input. Pepco delivers electricity and natural gas to about 2 million homes and businesses in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and the District.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Mid-Atlantic Region & West Designated Nat'l Power Corridor

The U.S. Department of Energy has declared an area from New York to Virginia to be a National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor (NIETC). This DOE designation gives the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Committion (FERC) eminent domain power to seize land needed for high power transmission lines. The NIETC was created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and gives FERC authority to override local opposition to the siting of transmission lines if a region's power needs are designated as reaching a "critical" level. FERC has made such a designation and now companies will look to DOE if states and local authorities stonewall all transmission plans.

The Center supports the NIETC designation and supported the EPACT of 2005. FERC will only grant eminent domain if utilities prove a serious need for a new line, that they have selected a reasonable location and they have encountered unacceptable delays. FERC will not offer automatic endorsement and we believe the agency will use the eminent domain powers responsibly.

DOE also designated nearly all of Southern California and parts of Arizona as "national interest" energy transmission corridors. Just as in the Mid-Atlantic region, this action allows federal regulators to approve new high-voltage towers and lets private utilities condemn homes and land even if a state agency will not. Six California jurisdictions in their entirety are designated as "national interest electric transmission corridors," including Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Kern and San Diego counties.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Methane-To-Markets Report and Beijing Conference

The Environmental Protection Agency has released a report showing that the United States continues to provide significant support for the Methane to Markets Partnership to reduce emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas over 20 times more potentthan carbon dioxide. Current U.S. Methane to Markets projects, when fully implemented, will deliver estimated annual emission reductions equivalent to more than nine million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

The report, "U.S. Government Accomplishments in Supportof the Methane to Markets Partnership - September 2007," highlights U.S.accomplishments through 2006. Additional highlights from the report include: 1) More than 600 private-sector and non-governmental organizations internationally have signed on to participate in project development activities. This is an increase of more than 250 organizations in the past year. 2) In fiscal year 2006, the U.S. Government dedicated $12.9 million to Methane to Markets, bringing the total U.S. financial commitment to the partnership to more than $18 million since it started. 3) U.S. funding for partnership activities has leveraged public and private sector investment totaling over $261 million. 4) U.S. commitment to the partnership has continued to assist the rapid growth of the program, including the entry of two additional countries and the European Commission, bringing the total number of partners to 21.

Oct. 30 - Nov. 1 in Beijing: the U.S. will co-host with China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and other Chinese ministries and corporations the Methane to Markets Partnership Expo: A Forum for Projects, Technology, Financing and Policy. The U.S and 13 other countries launched the Methane to MarketsPartnership in 2004.

Dingell Floating Carbon Dioxide Legislation

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-MI) is proposing a $50 per ton tax carbon dioxide tax on petroleum and its products, coal, natural gas and other emitting products. He is also proposing a 50-cent per gallon tax on gasoline, jet fuel and kerosene. Dingell also wants to end the mortgage interest tax deduction for house over 3,000 square feet.

The money would increase the earned income tax credit to help low-income people to help offset higher energy prices. Yeah right. Where have we heard that before. And that's what poor people are looking for: a tax credit. Other revenues would go to the federal highway trust fund, with 40 percent going to mass transit and 60 percent to roads. The jet fuel fees would go into the federal airport and airway trust fund.

The Center opposes this plan because it would hurt poor people and the general economy. The Center has a policy of promoting that will create abundant energy supplies at reasonable prices. (Comment on the plan)