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Try as they might, the Supreme Court won’t be able to stop technologies whose time has come.

Reuters:

While the Clean Power Plan was expected to be the main tool for the United States to fulfill its part of the pact, White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters in a briefing that it was only one part of the nation’s response to climate change.

The long-term extension of the tax credits for renewable energy last year will continue to provide momentum that will transition the power sector toward cleaner sources of energy, Schultz said.

“The inclusion of those tax credits is going to have more impact over the short term than the Clean Power Plan,” he said.

Greentech Media:

As installation costs continue to decline and retail electricity rates climb, residential solar economics have become increasingly attractive across the United States. According to the latest report from GTM Research, U.S. Residential Solar Economic Outlook: Grid Parity, Rate Design and Net Metering Risk, 20 U.S. states are currently at grid parity, and 42 states are expected to reach that milestone by 2020 under business-as-usual conditions.

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With 200 nations having declared that the age of fossil fuels is coming to an end, the costs of using less energy thru efficiency almost zero, and the price of renewable energy continuing precipitous drops – the message to markets is becoming increasingly clear.

The fossil fuel industry has entered a period of instability and turbulence that will precede a general stagnation, and in coming decades, a contraction.

New York Times:

MIDLAND, Tex. – On the 15th floor of an office tower in Midland looms a five-foot-long trophy black bear, shot by the son of an executive at Caza Oil & Gas.

But it is Caza that has recently fallen prey to a different kind of predator stalking the Texas oil patch: too much debt.

While crude prices have dropped more than 70 percent over the last 20 months, a reckoning in the nation’s vast oil industry has only just begun. Until recently, companies were able to ride out the slump using hedges to sell their oil for higher than the low market prices.

In recent months, however, most of those hedges expired, leaving a number of oil companies low on cash and unable to pay their debt. More broadly, energy executives and their lenders are realizing that a recovery in oil prices is at least a year away, too long for many companies to hold out.

Energy executives and their bankers are bracing for a prolonged downturn that could remake the energy industry in a way not seen since the turmoil of the late 1990s gave rise to mega-mergers like Exxon Mobil.

If prices hold at such low levels — oil traded near $28 on Tuesday — as many as 150 oil and gas companies could file for bankruptcy, according to IHS, an energy research firm.

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Twila Moon PhD is a Greenland expert and great communicator. Here she is with a 5 minute take on her Greenland studies, showing how to keep it simple, stay out of the weeds, and connect the science with real people.

Description:

The popular science storytelling event Ignite@AGU returned to the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco, CA. Sponsored by NASA’s Applied Sciences Program and held in partnership with the ESIP Federation and AGU’s Earth and Space Science Informatics Section, the event enables scientists to showcase their professional and personal interests through fast-moving, creative presentations.

The movie was “Joe” in 1970, and it made Peter Boyle and Susan Sarandon famous.

One of the key lines was revealing in that it shows how right wing invented “facts” are not a new feature of American politics – they’ve just been turbo-boosted by the Fox News echo chamber.  In an updated version, the character would more likely be saying, “The world hasn’t warmed in 18 years. Ted Cruz has the satellite data.”

Best visual metaphor I’ve seen.

 

I was at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco when news of the Paris agreement came through, so had the chance to collect fresh reactions from some of the best climate experts on the planet.

Generally, hopeful reactions, mixed with a warning. And, Jeff Goodell of Rolling Stone on  the difference between “should”, and “shall”.

court

Another gem from the most destructive Supreme Court in history.

<political comment>I keep remembering the Ralph Nader rallying cry from the 2000 election – “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between Al Gore and George Bush.”

dime

If disastrous terror attacks, wrongheaded catastrophic wars, and economic collapse don’t stick in your memory – well – this court keeps reminding us – that there really was a dime’s worth of difference.
Something to remember in this contentious primary season.</political comment>

First place to go for analysis is Joe Romm and Climate Progress.

The shocking decision by the five conservative Supreme Court justices to “stay” the EPA’s carbon regulations for power plants does not, by itself, destroy what’s left of the Court’s reputation — or even doom the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP).

Heck, it doesn’t even mean that the United States won’t be able to hit the CO2 reduction target it pledged with the other nations of the world in the Paris Agreement. Indeed, I expect with or without the CPP, the U.S. is probably going to meet its Paris pledge, its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), to cut greenhouse gas pollution 26 to 28% below 2005 levels in 2025 (see below).

The Court’s stay just stops the EPA from from starting to implement its “Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units” probably until the Court itself rules on it — assuming that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit rules for the EPA and then the Supreme Court agrees to hear the appeal.

Senior White House officials said on a media call Tuesday evening that this was a temporary procedural determination that does nothing to affect the soundness of the rule, nor the White House’s determination to proceed with the rule and to cut emissions. They expressed confidence that the administration’s climate targets were achievable, citing momentum in the renewable power sector.

Of course, if the Roberts court ultimately decides to kill the rule 5-4 then that decision will immediately become the leading contender for the worst Supreme Court decision in U.S. history. After all, if the nations of the world ultimately don’t avoid catastrophic warming and if the U.S. is seen as bearing a significant portion of the blame — two entirely plausible outcomes — then future generations and historians will be judging the Court’s decision while suffering in a world with a climate that has been irreversibly ruined for centuries.

The untenability of the decision is pretty clear-cut for two reasons. First, the Supreme Court itself said back in 2007 in Massachusetts vs. EPA that the EPA was legally required to put in place such standards once CO2 was scientifically determined to endanger public health and well-being, which it obviously does. As Dave Roberts wrote in 2013: “Once more, with feeling: the EPA is required to regulate carbon from existing power plants.”

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