The United States can reach its Paris climate goals with current and emerging technologies and today’s suite of policy signals, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said. Speaking at an event hosted by the European delegation to the United States, Moniz said the Climate Action Plan that President Obama introduced three years ago could deliver on the U.S. pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions between 26 and 28 percent compared with 2005 levels by 2025 when coupled with technology improvements that are already in the pipeline. But new laws will be needed to put the United States on a path to contribute to Paris’ goal of keeping warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius.
Energy security remains a top concern, even with growing U.S. supplies of oil, natural gas and renewable energy, said U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, kicking off a public forum on energy policies, electric markets and the grid in Des Moines on Friday. “Energy security for the United States is not simply a national issue but an international issue,” Moniz said. “The insecurity of our friends in Europe, for example, directly influences what we can do.
Tesla Motors will accelerate production of all its electric vehicles, pushed by heady demand for its planned midpriced car, the company said yesterday. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla, best known as a maker of luxury EVs, said it’s on track to start making the mainstream Model 3 in 2017. In addition, because of the clamor for that car, Tesla will push up its plan to hit production of 500,000 total cars annually, reaching that road mark by 2018.
The Netherlands’ environment minister described Donald Trump’s views on climate change as “wrong” yesterday, hours after the celebrity businessman solidified his grasp on the Republican nomination for president. A handful of other foreign officials also expressed concern about Trump’s dismissive comments on rising temperatures. Together, those worries might foreshadow international disagreements facing a Trump administration on an environmental issue that 195 nations recently pledged to address as a global threat.
Think, for a moment, of carbon dioxide as garbage, a waste product from burning fossil fuels. Like other garbage, almost all of that CO2 is thrown away — into the atmosphere, where it contributes to climate change. A small amount is captured and stored underground to keep it out of the air. But increasingly, scientists are asking, rather than throwing away or storing CO2, how about recycling some of it?
“We knew we weren’t going to win,” said the Nebraska Peace Foundation’s Mark Vasina, who introduced the proposal for the foundation at the meeting. The goal was to raise the issue, he said. Responding to the foundation’s resolution, Buffett said climate change is highly probable, not certain, and poses “no adverse impact on the insurance business,” Vasina recalled.
A new Fish and Wildlife Service plan to permit energy companies to kill federally protected bald and golden eagles for up to 30 years is drawing mixed reviews from wind and wildlife advocates. The draft rule would give wind farms, power lines and other large projects license to injure, disturb or kill a limited number of eagles in exchange for commitments to avoid and mitigate harm.
It was the second straight year U.S. investment in renewable energy projects has outpaced that of fossil fuels. Robust growth is once again predicted for this year. And while Republican lawmakers in Washington have fought to protect coal-fired power plants, opposing President Barack Obama’s efforts to curtail climate-warming carbon emissions, data show their home states are often the ones benefiting most from the nation’s accelerating shift to renewable energy. Leading the way in new wind projects are GOP strongholds Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, home to some of the leading critics of climate science and renewable energy incentives in Congress. Republican-dominated North Carolina trails only California in new solar farms, thanks largely to pro-renewables polices enacted years ago under a Democratic legislature.
Environmentalists including the Sierra Club immediately used Trump’s expected nomination to criticize the businessman, who has called climate change a “hoax,” voiced opposition to a carbon tax and said he would slash funding for U.S. EPA.
Either way, the data reinforce a common theme since the final Clean Power Plan was unveiled back in August of 2015, and then after it was stayed by the Supreme Court. Namely, this: Even without the plan in place, the U.S. is transitioning its energy system in precisely the direction that the plan would itself require. It’s not yet the law — but it’s already a sign of the times.