"Energy and Global Warming News for May 5: Can clean energy revive U.S. manufacturing?"
The manufacturing sector in the United States continues to shrink “” but could the renewable-energy rush spur a manufacturing revival?
A number of solar-panel factories are coming online in the United States… Makers of wind turbines are also establishing factories in the heartland, where the factories’ proximity to wind farms on the Plains slashes the cost of shipping the giant machines from Europe.
[M]any renewable-equipment manufacturers want to set up operations in the United States because they perceive it to be the largest market for the technologies in the years ahead. (Tax credits in the stimulus package for domestic production of renewable-energy equipment also help.) A key factor in bringing SolarWorld to Oregon, said Mr. Klebensberger, was the work force “” and especially Oregonians’ “belief in change and how important renewables are.” Proximity to a cluster of semiconductor factories, some of whose workers SolarWorld has recently poached, was another attraction.
After a brief but lively internal debate, the Obama administration has decided not to seek an immediate phase-out of , a potent group of climate-warming gases, under a treaty aimed at protecting the ozone layer.
A number of lawmakers, foreign governments and environmental advocates had urged the administration to offer an amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the international treaty on ozone-depleting substances, calling for the rapid elimination of HFC’s. Some officials at the State Department and the Environmental Protection Agency had pushed for such a course, but the White House decided on a more moderate approach to give it negotiating room in upcoming rounds of climate and environmental talks.
For more on why the White House is taking this unexpected apprach, see SolveClimate’s “Administration Rift Over Handling of Super GHGs Continues.”
House and Senate bills on transmission siting “jeopardize” the East Coast’s wind power industry, 10 governors from mid-Atlantic and New England states said in a letter to congressional leaders yesterday.
The transmission proposals are biased against the significant onshore and offshore wind development of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic coast, while making all customers pay for the transmission to the Midwest wind generation, the governors wrote.
“This ratepayer-funded revenue guarantee for land-based wind and other generation resources in the Great Plains would have significant, negative consequences for our region: It would hinder our efforts to meet regional renewable energy goals with regional resources and would establish financial conditions in our electricity markets that would impede development of the vast wind resources onshore and just off our shores for decades to come,” the letter states.
In a speech in Toronto on Friday, Lord Nicholas Stern, the economics adviser to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the author of a massive 2006 study on the cost of climate change, outlined in broad strokes a potential international deal to confront global warming “” the objective of a global conference on climate change to be held in Copenhagen this December.
The good news, he told the Economic Club of Toronto, is that efforts to bring atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations down to 50 percent of 1990 levels will account for just 2 percent of global GDP, in terms of higher costs. “It will be a tremendous investment,” Mr. Stern said.
In a stunning reversal from his predecessor, Gov. Mark Parkinson on Monday signed an agreement ending a two-year fight over plans to build coal-fired power plants in western Kansas.
The compromise allows Sunflower Electric Power Corp. to build one 895-megawatt coal-fired power plant near Holcomb, instead of two 700-megawatt plants that were repeatedly blocked by Kathleen Sebelius when she was governor.
In exchange for the go-ahead, Sunflower will build more wind turbines and agree to more pollution controls and a greater investment in energy efficiency.
In the hotly debated arena of global climate change, using short-term trends that show little temperature change or even slight cooling to refute global warming is misleading, write two climate experts in a paper recently published by the American Geophysical Union “” especially as the long-term pattern clearly shows human activities are causing the earth’s climate to heat up.
About three-quarters of the world’s fossil fuel reserves must be left unused if society is to avoid dangerous climate change, scientists warn.
More than 100 nations support the goal of keeping temperature rise below 2C.
But the scientists say that without major curbs on fossil fuel use, 2C will probably be reached by 2050.
Compiled by Max Luken and Carlin Rosengarten