Big Business usually loves it when the GOP goes to war over federal rules.
But not when it comes to light bulbs.
This year, House Republicans made it a top priority to roll back regulations they say are too costly for business. Last week, the GOP won a long-fought battle to kill new energy efficiency rules for bulbs when House and Senate negotiators included a rider to block enforcement of the regulations in the $1 trillion-plus, year-end spending bill.
The rider may have advanced GOP talking points about light bulb “freedom of choice,” but it didn’t win them many friends in the industry, who are more interested in their bottom line than political rhetoric.
Big companies like General Electric, Philips and Osram Sylvania spent big bucks preparing for the standards, and the industry is fuming over the GOP bid to undercut them.
After spending four years and millions of dollars prepping for the new rules, businesses say pulling the plug now could cost them. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association has waged a lobbying campaign for more than a year to persuade the GOP to abandon the effort.
Brazil, caretaker of the world’s largest rain forest, is about to enact broad new regulations that opponents say could loosen restrictions on Amazon deforestation and increase the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The move comes after two years of often roiling debates and dozens of hearings across the country over how to update a 1965 law that was designed to control slash-and-burn agriculture. Backers say the proposed Forest Code bill, which is expected to be signed into law early next year, would protect the Amazon while easing the regulatory burden on small farmers.
Brazil, a leader on climate change and host of next June’s U.N. Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, is charting a climate strategy shaped by domestic politics and economic concerns that sometimes appears at odds with its international environmental rhetoric. Such domestic pressures — clear also in increasingly influential developing countries such as China and India — have created uncertainty over how the world will curb its carbon output by the end of the decade, even as negotiators gear up to forge a new global warming pact by 2015.
“It sends a mixed message because Brazil has positioned itself as a country that’s committed itself to saving the forest cover to the benefit of the world,” said Christian Poirier, Brazil program director for Amazon Watch. “The new forest code flouts all that.”
The development of coal ”mega-mines” in central Queensland such as the massive China First project will destroy the world’s chance of keeping global warming to 2 degrees, Greenpeace says.
In its submission tomorrow to the federal government on the environmental impact of mining magnate Clive Palmer’s $7.5 billion China First mine, the environmental group will say that this and other big projects in Queensland’s Galilee Basin will lock in huge coal exploitation for decades to come.
”If this goes ahead, it will destroy our chances of keeping global warming to 2 degrees,” Greenpeace campaigner John Hepburn said.
The International Energy Agency recently reported that the world needed to make ”urgent and radical policy changes” if it was to stick to the internationally agreed goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees by the end of the century. The agency drew up a ”carbon budget” that would allow the world to meet that target.
After decades of global competition and collaboration, many solar markets around the world have reached grid parity—the point at which generating solar electricity, without subsidies, costs less than the electricity purchased from the grid. In other words, solar technology is ready to be a major contributor to solving our planet’s energy and environmental crisis.
However, trade protectionism threatens to inhibit the solar industry at the very time when it is breaking through to a new level of global interdependence, collaboration, and maturity.
On October 18, the U.S. government was asked to impose tariffs on imports of Chinese solar cells and modules, based on the argument that China-based producers have been heavily subsidized and are selling solar products at unfairly low prices. Perhaps not surprisingly, some Chinese companies have now asked the Chinese government to impose tariffs on imports of American solar products, arguing that U.S.-based producers have been heavily subsidized, too. And just like that, the production of affordable and competitive solar products has become a political liability in the world’s two largest producers and consumers of energy.
India’s Rajasthan state started accepting bids from developers to set up 200 megawatts of solar power projects in an area that has the country’s second-most solar radiant exposure.
The state plans to auction contracts for 100 megawatts of photovoltaic plants and 100 megawatts of solar thermal plants, Naresh Pal Gangwar, chairman of the state-run Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corp. said today by telephone.
Reliance Power Ltd. (RPWR), Shriram EPC Ltd. (SEPC) and SunEdison, the solar development unit of MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (WFR), are among companies that are developing projects in Rajasthan, believed to have some of India’s most promising resources to develop energy from sunlight with its sprawling desert terrain.
Solar thermal technology uses sunlight to heat liquids that produce steam for generators, while photovoltaic plants use panels to turn sunlight directly into power.
Mitt Romney took a jab at GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich today during a town hall meeting for an ad the former speaker filmed with Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi aimed at spreading awareness on climate change.
Asked about his views on global warming by an audience member, Romney responded without missing a beat, “First of all, I’m not planning on cutting an ad with Nancy Pelosi.”
The crowd erupted in applause.
“In all fairness, Speaker Gingrich also said that was the biggest mistake of his life,” Romney quickly added, laughing.
Romney was referring to an ad, titled “We Can Solve It,” that was released in 2008 and featured Gingrich and then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sitting on a couch together urging people to address global warming.