Headlines with the “Huh” Factor
by Bill Chameides | September 28th, 2010
posted by Erica Rowell (Editor)
The island of Palau is apparently looking to expand its economic base of tourism, agriculture, and fishing with its deal to drill exploratory oil wells. The good news? The president reportedly promised to use any proceeds “to make Palau a green country.”
Sometimes the news just makes you shake your head.
Paving the Way for Oil in Eden
Palau, a low-lying island nation located in the Pacific, is incredibly beautiful and ecologically pristine. That’s not just my opinion; PBS featured it among the 18 “magical vistas” covered so far in its Living Eden series on natural history. Now comes an interesting twist: the island, with guidance from the World Bank, has inked a deal with an oil exploration company to drill two exploratory wells by May 2011 to assess just how much petroleum lies beneath paradise.
It could be worse. At least they’re not putting up a parking lot.
Chamber of Commerce Endorses WV Dem, An Obama Rubber Stamp?
Joe Manchin, the Democratic governor of West Virginia, is running for the U.S. Senate seat long held by the late Robert Byrd. His Republican opponent, businessman John Raese, accuses him of being a rubber stamp for Obama’s environmental agenda. What’s interesting is that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, not exactly a cheerleader for the president’s environmental programs, endorses Manchin. Can this be? Yes, the chamber endorses Manchin (as does the National Rifle Association).
But what about Manchin as an Obama rubber stamp? Hardly. Manchin has made his opposition to the House’s cap-and-trade bill crystal clear, and voiced disdain for similar environmental proposals put forth this year (see here and here).
What Manchin has endorsed is a state law that would require West Virginia to get 25 percent of its electricity from alternative or renewable energy facilities, including “clean” coal, by 2025. (Read about “clean” coal here, here, and here.)
Somehow during election season, an endorsement for a somewhat diversified electricity portfolio has been translated into a “cap and trade Manchin-style.” A new ad released by the Raese campaign today echoes that mistranslation: “It’s Obama’s cap-and-trade bill, West Virginia-style.” And the ad itself echoes what Raese said in an interview with RealClearPolitics on Sunday: “Do the people of West Virginia trust a governor in the state of West Virginia who has already implemented cap and trade here in West Virginia?”
Huh? Even California’s cap-and-trade bill won’t be implemented until 2012. You’ve heard the expression, “If you build it, they will come”? This political season it could be: “If you say it, they will believe.”
80 percent Vs. 15 Percent: Germany Dreams Big as U.S. Inches Toward Progress on Renewables
The only environmental energy bill that has a hope of passing in the Senate’s soon-to-arrive lame duck session is a provision that would require utilities to derive 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2021. Fifteen percent may be ambitious for the United States but not for Germany.
The Germans reportedly already have us beat with 16 percent of their electricity coming from renewables, and, thanks to a far-reaching, innovative energy plan ($ub req’d), are moving toward a target of 80 percent by 2050. And they’re not stopping there. They’re trying to figure out how to power their grid 100-percent by renewables. It’s not only possible, Jochen Flasbarth, the head of the German Federal Environment Agency, told ClimateWire ($ub req’d); it’s “also needed.”
Lest you think there’s an economic cost to bear, the German economy is set to grow by 3 percent this year, compared to U.S. growth projections of 2.6 percent. How does Germany fuel its economic growth? In part via exports of wind turbines and solar panels. What else?filed under: economy, energy, faculty, oil, renewable energy
and: cap and trade, Germany, Joe Manchin, John Raese, Palau, renewables, solar, U.S. Chamber of Congress, U.S. Congress, West Virginia, wind