Cap and Trade in California

January 31, 2015


In lieu of cake and candles to celebrate the program’s first year and future potential, we’ve published the California Carbon Market Watch: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Golden State’s Cap-and-Trade Program, Year OneThis report is our comprehensive assessment of cap and trade’s inaugural year, and our analyses and interviews with market experts conclude that a strong, healthy, and enduring carbon market has emerged.

We know that California’s program is still young and isn’t the world’s first emission trading program, or even the first in the U.S., so why are we so excited about this milestone? Here are the top four reasons we’re celebrating – and why the global community should, too:

1.      It’s a well-designed program off to a promising start. California has held five allowance auctions to date and they’ve all run smoothly. All emissions allowances usable for compliance in 2013 were sold, auction participation has been strong and allowance prices have remained stable and reasonable. In addition to successful quarterly auctions, a healthy secondary market over the first year suggests that regulated companies are purchasing allowances and thereby incorporating the cost of carbon pollution into their strategic planning. This successful start is due to a commitment to building a solid foundation of principles carried out under the highest of market standards.

2.     With cap and trade in place, the California economy continues to recover. With a price signal now in place for emission reductions, regulated companies can flexibly decide how to reduce their pollution. In addition, clean energy companies and innovators are creating products and services that are transforming California to a clean energy economy. And money raised by the auctions will be invested in this clean energy future, and especially benefit communities hit hardest by climate change. These investments will boost clean tech in California, improve air quality, and create jobs.

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Music Break: Big Scioty

January 31, 2015

Aly Bain – fiddle
Jay Ungar – fiddle
Russ Barenberg – guitar
Jerry Douglas – dobro
Molly Mason – bass
Jim Sutherland – percussion

The Ecology of Death

January 31, 2015

 Walt Whitman – Song of Myself – Section 6:

Tenderly will I use you curling grass,
It may be you transpire from the breasts of young men,
It may be if I had known them I would have loved them,
It may be you are from old people, or from offspring taken
soon out of their mothers’ laps,
And here you are the mothers’ laps.

This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of old
Darker than the colourless beards of old men,
Dark to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths.

O I perceive after all so many uttering tongues,
And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths
for nothing.

I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men
and women,
And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring
taken soon out of their laps.

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Let’s get this party started.

Senator Jeff Sessions, apparently gunning to play Jesse Helms to Jim Inhofe’s Strom Thurmond, took to the Senate floor this week, as one right wing site boasted, to “..tell Warmists to Cool it”, – target rich environment  there

Important that as the hard core climate deniers blow up in their final super nova flare in the coming years, that every one of their political supporters be held to account for the lies, distortions, bad faith and nonsense that they’ll be spewing.

Meanwhile, Robby  Kenner’s new movie ‘Merchants of Doubt”, based on Naomi Oreske’s work, is about to drop – trailer above.  Kenner directed “Food Inc”, which was hugely influential, and much discussed. MOD stands a good chance of becoming that kind of hit, or better, since it will be riding the renewed wave of discussion, and for a lot of folks, awakening, on the climate issue.

Add to the mix that once-firmly climate denying candidates are beginning to shift in response to clear polling data on the issue.  Big development in that Presidential aspirant Mitt Romney announced last week he was “ of the republicans” concerned about climate, and this week dropped out, or was pushed, from the clown car. Several other candidates, including Marco Rubio, and even Rick Perry, showed evidence of reviewing their climate denial rhetoric.
Of course, “ of the republicans” implies that Romney’s internal polling showed there are many more.
So now there’s further confirmation of that.


WASHINGTON — An overwhelming majority of the American public, including half of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times, Stanford University and the nonpartisan environmental research group Resources for the Future.

In a finding that could have implications for the 2016 presidential campaign, the poll also found that two-thirds of Americans said they were more likely to vote for political candidates who campaign on fighting climate change. They were less likely to vote for candidates who questioned or denied the science that determined that humans caused global warming.

Among Republicans, 48 percent say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports fighting climate change, a result that Jon A. Krosnick, a professor of political science at Stanford University and an author of the survey, called “the most powerful finding” in the poll. Many Republican candidates question the science of climate change or do not publicly address the issue.

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A warning to all?

A week ago Ned..uh, I mean, Mitt, … Romney was the first GOP presidential aspirant to acknowledge the reality of human caused climate change.
Now he’s out of the race. Connect the dots?


Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney told close supporters on a conference call on Friday that he will not run again in 2016, saying that he wants to allow other leaders in the GOP to step forward.

“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” Romney said in remarks posted on radio host Hugh Hewitt’s website, which participants on the call confirmed to NBC News as accurate.

Romney told backers he believed that he could have won the nomination but “it would have been difficult test and a hard fight.”

“I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee,” he added.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, widely viewed as the new favorite of establishment Republicans, called Romney a “patriot” in a statement after news of the decision broke.


Romney’s announcement last week that he was “ of the Republicans..” who believe climate change is a major problem, and that humans are causing it.  Now he’s out.
Obviously, this is something that all those “other” Republicans who believe the scientists on climate change will have to factor in.

Below, could this be an indicator?  Radio blowhard, oxycontin addict, climate denier,  and 4 x married champion of family values – Rush Limbaugh gives the Republican reaction to Romney’s newly found acknowledgement of science.

UPDATE: Below, Rush takes credit for US climate denial:

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Making Pot Greener

January 30, 2015

The War on Drugs was the original template for the “culture war” wedge issues that paralyze our political system today – most critically, from this blog’s perspective, around climate change.

Now that we’re all pretty much agreed that the drug war is, and has been, a ruinously expensive, murderously ineffective, unfairly prosecuted, racist failure – and polls tell us that  legal marijuana is coming,  can we set about making it more climate friendly?

Oregon Public Broadcasting:

Marijuana growing operations can be major power hogs. Now that they’re legal in Oregon and Washington, experts are looking for ways to make them more energy efficient.

Indoor pot growing operations use as much electricity per square foot as data centers, according to energy attorney Richard Lorenz with Cable Huston.

“Just growing four marijuana plants uses as much energy as running 29 refrigerators,” he said. “The carbon output is incredible.”

But growers don’t want to sacrifice the quality of their product to save energy, according to John Morris, policy and regulatory affairs director for the energy-efficiency consulting firm CLEAResult.

Lorenz and Morris spoke at an Oregon Environmental Business Council event Wednesday in Portland that focused on the power demands of legal marijuana.

Morris said LED grow lights don’t work as well as they need to for the industry to start swapping out their power-hungry incandescent grow light bulbs. And lights, he said are only a third of all the energy requirements for indoor growers.

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Above average broadside video from Environmental Action.   Climate denying politicians seeking science love online.
It’s tough when 97 percent of the science community doesn’t support you, but you can still get action if you’re willing to pay..


What the Oil industry has in mind for America, is that the entire country become something of a resource colony, with boom and bust cycles disrupting and ultimately impoverishing communities all across the continent.  If you look at the map of shale resources above, you can see that North Dakota is not the only target by a long shot.
For now, the Oil price roller coaster is disrupting that plan.

Washington Post:

They threw a fracking party in Illinois, and hardly anyone showed up.

More precisely, two months after the state completed a long regulatory process and opened the door to hydraulic fracturing, only one company applied. The state hired 36 employees and five lawyers to handle the expected rush of applicants, reported the Chicago Tribune, “for work that doesn’t exist.”

This after a land rush by energy companies in Southern Illinois that saw them buy tens of thousands of acres anticipating a North Dakota-style energy boom that would create 10,000 jobs.

The disinterest is attributed to the sharp decline in oil and gas prices globally, which makes fracking unprofitable — at best a break-even proposition, at worst a big money-loser.

“Smart people don’t invest in things that break-even,” said energy expert Arthur Berman in “I mean, why should I take a risk to make no money on an energy company when I can invest in a variable annuity or a REIT that has almost no risk that will pay me a reasonable margin? Oil prices need to be around $90 to attract investment capital. So, are companies OK at current oil prices? Hell no! They are dying at these prices.

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NASA Maps Greenland in 3-D

January 29, 2015

Mindblowing. This is why we love science.

Above, aspiring Republican Senate candidate. Could he be headed for disappointment?

Last week’s Senate’s sideshow vote on “whether Climate Change was real” seemed a bit lame to me, and the results useless. But with tentative, but continued trial balloons on the issue from several Presidential aspirants, I think it does fit  that there is a sense of unease in the GOP,  heading into the ’16 election, that the party is poorly positioned – in an area that is clearly coming into its own, and will only fester.
Indeed, years of hostility and neglect may already have left the party permanently damaged in the estimation of future historians, if there are any.

E &E News:

“We had a chance to vote, and people cast the votes they believed in,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who voted for the amendments offered by Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.). “That’s all it amounted to.”

But others noted that Republican Senate leaders evidently saw an upside in giving GOP members the chance to go on the record now, after many have used the “I’m not a scientist” line to studiously avoid doing so for years. Now their votes declared that climate change is real and industrial greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to it.

Those who follow Republican climate messaging say that at least some of the amendment supporters were motivated by political considerations. Seven of the 15 Republicans who voted for one or both of the amendments — and Hoeven himself, who voted against his own amendment for strategic reasons — are up for re-election next year. Several are running in blue and purple states where President Obama won handily in 2012. And Hoeven’s own office has acknowledged that his amendment — which held that man-made emissions are driving climate change without qualifying that impact as “significant” — was intended to give cover to some of his GOP colleagues.

Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), two of the most vulnerable Republicans up for re-election next year, voted for both the Hoeven and the Schatz amendments — the latter of which stated that human emissions were a “significant” climate driver. Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who are also running in swing states, backed the Hoeven language.

David Jenkins, president of Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship, said that the pivot appeared to be calculated.

“It seems like there is sort of this recognition that the Republican message on climate needs to change,” he said.

Jenkins saw last week’s votes as part of a continuing evolution in the Republican message on warming — which started with denial that warming of any kind is occurring, moved through noncommittal statements about the role human emissions play, and has now arrived, for some, with an acknowledgement that man-made climate change is real.

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