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Japan's Cloud of Secrecy

Nuclear secrecy can be justified in the name of security -- but it can also threaten people's health and safety, as well as the environment.

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Quake Shifts Axis of U.S. Support for Nuclear

As soon as the magnitude-8.9 earthquake had finished moving Japan closer to the United States, it began moving apart American political collaborators supporting nuclear power at home.

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FY2012 Federal Budget Proposal Includes Renewable Energy Funds for Interior and Agriculture Depts

Two of the main public-lands management agencies -- the Departments of Agriculture and Interior -- have included renewable energy projects in their proposed FY2012 budgets. The question is whether Congress can pass a budget that enables these agencies to continue their work toward energy independence and creating clean-energy jobs.

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2011, the Year of Energy Efficiency?

It's that time of year again, time to declare THIS the year of energy efficiency. Will a national sense of austerity bring this fundamental resource to the fore?

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If You Build It (Efficiently), They Will Come: Federal Leasing Rule Is Well-Timed

An early New Year's resolution from the Federal government is laying the foundation for job growth, taxpayer savings and a more energy-efficient commercial building stock in 2011 and beyond.

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Globalizing the Energy Revolution

The U.S. government must do more to promote cross-border innovation and protect intellectual property rights, say the authors of an essay in Foreign Policy Magazine. Are they dreaming?

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California Adopts its Cap-and-Trade Program for Greenhouse Gas Emissions

After a full day of testimony and deliberation on December 16, 2010, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted the state's Cap-and-Trade Program on a 9-to-1 vote. The 10-hour public hearing on the proposed regulation included more than six hours of public testimony, crisscrossing the broad spectrum of stakeholders with an interest in the Program.

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When and How Recovery Act Investment in Clean Energy Pays Off: A Federal Perspective

A new paper from the U.S. Department of Energy explores the ways in which American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investment in clean energy is spurring economic growth and attracting investment from the private sector, and even standing up entirely new industries for the 21st century.

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From COP16 to EU1: Global Climate Policy Goes Regional

UNFCC discussions in Cancun look unlikely to produce meaningful results without U.S. commitments. Regional talks coming up in Europe have better chances of bringing consensus and action.

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ISSP Insight: Cities as Solutions

Next month's newsletter of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals will feature an article about Denmark and Sweden.

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Energy Efficiency Report Names Top Ten States and Policies

The Center for American Progress will release a report today, entitled "Efficiency Works: Creating Good Jobs and New Markets Through Energy Efficiency."

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Leadership Strategies for a Clean Energy Economy

The West Coast Energy Management Congress came to our neck of the woods this year. EMC is among a very few energy conferences that began long before current craze for green, and is still going strong.

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U.K. Rolls Out Carbon Trading for Businesses -- Would the U.S. Adopt It Too?

While the U.S. Congress argues whether or not to adopt climate change legislation that includes cap-and-trade, the United Kingdom has rolled out a new mandatory carbon trading program sweeping in businesses that, up to now, have not been covered by the European Union's Emissions Trading System.

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Federal Buildings Go Green with $4 Billion in Recovery Act Funds

The GSA says it reached the milestone this month of investing $4 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for energy efficiency in federal buildings nationwide.

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A Comeback for Nuclear Power? (NY Times)

The Obama administration has approved a $8 billion loan guarantee to support the construction of two nuclear reactors in Georgia. It's the first step in a play to expand nuclear power as a way to control greenhouse gas emissions and bolster domestic energy production.

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Cities and States Mandate Energy Benchmarking for Buildings

Why are cities and states mandating that building owners measure energy consumption -- and disclose the scores publicly? Denis Du Bois interviews Cliff Majersik, LEED AP, executive director of the Institute for Market Transformation. His nonprofit organization focuses on market-based solutions to advanced green building and energy efficiency. He explains what's behind the new benchmarking requirements.

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New Guidance Issued by Securities and Exchange Commission for Climate Change Disclosures by Public Companies

On February 2, 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") published an interpretive release to provide guidance to public companies on the SEC's existing disclosure requirements relating to climate change. Those requirements apply to registration statements and periodic reports filed under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

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Vancouverism and the Seven-Year Itch

Seven years after winning their bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympics, how are Canadians feeling about the upcoming games? Denis Du Bois talks with Vaughn Palmer, political columnist for the Vancouver Sun.

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The World Bank Group and Sustainable Energy

The World Bank in a Nutshell
The World Bank Group is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world...but what does that have to do with sustainable energy?

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The Key Questions of Corporate Sustainability Can Peer Deep into a Company's Very Purpose

CSR initiatives should answer the questions of why, what, and how it will change us.

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Are Washington State Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rules About to Change?

The Washington Department of Ecology is asking for changes to the state law that directs the agency to issue rules for reporting greenhouse gas emissions starting January 1, 2010. Ecology's goal is, at least in part, to ensure that the State's greenhouse gas reporting requirements are in line with the federal government's.

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"Our Choice" by Al Gore

Former Vice President Al Gore's new book, "Our Choice," exceeded my expectations. It should be required readng for new Chief Sustainability Officers, corporate green team members, and anyone else who has decided to place sustainability closer to the center of what they do.

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Al Gore: Political Will is a Renewable Resource

GREENBUILD-- Al Gore's speech in Phoenix on Wednesday underscored the context in which the green building movement is gaining traction. He called on Americans to find the political will to "pull the common thread" and unravel three crises at once.

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Kerry-Boxer Climate Bill Passes Senate Committee

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer and nine other Democrats passed the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733) out of committee yesterday. It was an important step for the bill to eventually reach the floor, but was it a risky move?

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Senate Debates Climate Legislation amid Competing Forecasts of Its Effects

Senate debates are accelerating this week on Bill 1733, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, despite the ongoing attention to healthcare legislation. Will a bill reach the floor in time for President Obama's trip to Copenhagen?

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President Obama's Energy Speech at MIT

President Barack Obama has been a courageous supporter of clean energy. He spoke October 23, 2009, to an audience of 750 at the MIT campus in Cambridge, MA. Here are our Founding Editor's take-aways from the speech, plus a link to the video and full transcript.

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Northeast Dominates Top 10 List for Energy Efficiency Policies

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy today released the third edition of its State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, which scores and ranks states on the adoption and implementation of energy efficiency policies and programs. Six northeastern states made the top 10; the south is well represented in the bottom-10 list.

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The Nuclear Question

View from the Poletop: Should new nuclear plants be part of the US strategy on carbon reduction and renewable energy? Yes, but not necessarily for the reasons you think.

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ARRA "Retrofit Ramp-Up" To Jump Start an Energy Efficiency Industry

The U.S. Department of Energy is announcing a new $450 million program designed to catalyze a nationwide energy upgrade that could save $100 million annually in utility bills for households and businesses. The Recovery Act's "Retrofit Ramp-Up" program will try new models for rolling out energy efficiency to homes and businesses on a large scale.

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Treasury Issues Guidance for Cash Grants in Lieu of Energy Tax Credits

On July 9, 2009, the U.S. Treasury Department issued guidance for the award of cash grants by the federal government ("Grants") in lieu of energy tax credits under Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ("ARRA").

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FERC Reports a National Assessment of Demand Response Potential to Congress

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) delivered its report to Congress quantifying the potential for demand response in the United States. The report was mandated two years ago by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA 2007) Section 529 (a).

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DOE Announces $1.4 Billion Investment to Reduce Carbon Emissions

On June 8, 2009, the Department of Energy ("DOE") issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement ("FOA") to deploy over $1.4 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to be used to lower our nation's carbon emissions. Applications under this FOA are due August 7, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Most types of entities are eligible to apply.

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Washington Energy Summit: How To Get Stimulus Funds

The stimulus bill has lit a fire under U.S. states to come up with cleantech projects so they can distribute federal funding, at a time when almost every governor already is scrambling to make theirs the state with the most successful transition to a clean energy economy. Washington is no exception. (photos)

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Tea with Lord Nicholas Stern

Conversation with Nicholas Stern, leader of The Stern Review, Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, and former U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer. Subjects include stimulus funds, the upcoming climate policy meetings in Copenhagen, climate change deniers, and carbon tax vs. cap-and-trade.

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How Cleantech Ideas Happen: Report from an Innovation Summit

What is innovation? At its base, it is the act of thinking of something new. The buzzword has been recruited to represent much larger ideas -- from solutions for intractable global problems, to breakthrough technologies for our iPersonal entertainment. Washington's Innovation Summit examined the process of innovation and how it affects business and the economy. (photos)

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Should states with RPS's roll them back due to economic conditions?

The Washington state legislature is debating a bill that would ease many of the requrements of its RPS, passed just a year ago. Other state legislatures and lobbyists surely are watching and considering whether they could do something similar.

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Federal Loan Guarantees for Renewable Energy and Electric Power Transmission Projects

The recently adopted $787 billion economic stimulus package known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 created a temporary program to facilitate the rapid deployment of renewable energy and electric power transmission projects by providing federal loan guarantees for certain projects that commence construction before September 30, 2011.

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Clean Energy in Federal Budget Proposal

While most of us are slashing budgets for everything, including energy, the federal government's budget for clean energy is poised to jump significantly -- directing a total of $646 billion between 2012 and 2019 to the development of clean energy sources.

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Smart Grid Battle Moves to the States

At the federal level in the U.S., the fight to legitimize the Smart Grid is over. It has been recognized in several key pieces of legislation -- mostly recently the stimulus package -- as an essential national asset. But the federal government has only limited say over the electric power industry. The final say lies at the state level, where public utility commissions oversee the regulated utilities that deliver the lion’s share of the nation's electricity. Here's what that means for Smart Grid proponents.

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Federal Stimulus Provides Major Funding for Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation

The economic stimulus package passed by Congress and signed by President Obama contains good news for supporters of renewable energy and energy conservation.

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New RPS Proposals under Consideration by Congress

Enactment of a renewable portfolio standard ("RPS") has been under consideration in Congress and elsewhere for several years. In a nutshell, an RPS would require that a certain percentage of electricity sold to retail consumers must be obtained from renewable sources, such as wind, biomass, solar, and geothermal. Several states have enacted their own RPS, but to date no action has been taken at the federal level.

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Public Awareness Key Strategy To Combat Global Warming, Says Energy Secretary

Highlights of Steven Chu's first interview since his installation as Secretary of Energy.

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Van Jones on the Green Recovery - Building Priorities Briefing

In this month's briefing: Denis Du Bois grabs his ever-ready shovel -- and microphone -- and digs into the subject of the green recovery. Interview with Van Jones, the founder and president of Green for All, recipient of several awards for leadership in human rights, and author of the book "The Green Collar Economy." (podcast)

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Obama's Energy Plan: Overview

How will Obama's New Energy for America plan create five million new jobs and revitalize a clean energy economy? Here's an overview.

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Carbon Tax vs. Cap and Trade

The best way to start addressing climate change is to yank subsidies from fossil fuels and put a price on carbon dioxide emissions from them. Of the two methods widely discussed for pricing carbon -- cap and trade, and a carbon tax, which is better? Economist Gilbert Metcalf argues his case for a tax.

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Will Energy Secretary Chu Woo China's Cooperation on Energy?

Will Obama's appointment of Stephen Chu as Secretary of Energy make DOE's job in China any easier?

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President Obama's Cabinet for Energy and Climate

What should the U.S. Department of Energy look like in the new era of carbon control, and who should run it? One proposal on the table is to form a National Energy Council.

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Renewable Energy Tax Credits Extended as Far as 2016

On October 3, 2008, President Bush signed into law HR 1424, which includes the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008. The Act extends the Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit that are essential to the growth of renewable energy in the United States. The looming expiration of those credits had the renewable energy industry buzzing with speculation.

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Finance: How Oil-Rich Countries Are Reshaping the World

Harvard Business Review says Gulf countries are investing their wealth in new ways that will engender a broader systemic change in international trade and finance in the decades to come. FORTUNE says $500 oil is coming and we'll be lucky to get through it without "blowing each other up." What's your opinion?

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Questions of Energy Security: Ask the Candidates (NY Times)

In an op-ed in the New York Times, Philip Bobbitt and John C. Danforth pose several questions to both Barak Obama and John McCain. One is related to energy. Denis Du Bois proposes an answer.

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Nuclear: French Utility is Banking on Nuke Growth in U.S.

French utility EdF roughly doubled its ownership stake in Constellation Energy to 9.51 percent at an estimate cost of a half-billion dollars. Is EdF counting on an increase in U.S. support for nuclear following the elections?

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'Smart meters' May Soon be Outdated (LA Times): Misinformed Column Illustrates PR Challenge

An LA Times columnist's misunderstanding of the smart grid points out one of the toughest hurdles for advocates: explaining it to the general public and media.

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How To Win the War on Global Warming (Time)

The upcoming issue of Time Magazine will be all about "How to win the war on global warming." It's interesting to note that this is the cover story in all worldwide editions of Time, except for Europe. That edition focuses on US-UK relations.

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China Olympics: Green Will Take a Bronze behind Human Rights

I thought the Beijing Olympics would create a world platform for progress on the environment. Turns out I was wrong. An older and stronger issue is taking the lead.

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Energy Security versus Environmental Stability (KCRW)

Can the U.S. have energy security at the same time it tries to cope with global warming? Warren Olney of KCRW's "To the Point" podcast looks at some of the contradictions we face as the U.S. searches for a coherent energy policy.

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IRS Clarifies Deductions for Energy-Efficient Building Improvements

The IRS this week issued concerning the deduction for energy efficient commercial buildings under section 179D of the Internal Revenue Code, including guidance regarding the deduction allocable to designers of government-owned buildings.

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Globe Conference Draws Business and Sustainability Leaders to Vancouver from around the World

GLOBE 2008-- If you know about Globe, then you know this is one of the biggest international events about sustainability. If you haven't heard of Globe, I can tell you it is not yet-another-upstart conference to tap into the environmental revival. The Globe 2008 conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, is also one of the longest-running conferences for sustainable business, having started in the early 1990s. (photos)

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Coal Power's Deja-Meltdown

The government's futuristic "clean coal" power project has joined the long list of scuttled coal plants. The death spiral of coal energy is reminiscent of the 1980s popular blockade of nuclear plant construction. Investors and even the Bush administration are backing out. Was "An Inconvenient Truth" the "China Syndrome" of coal?

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Solar Financier's Outlook is Bright; Tax Credits' Future is Cloudy

RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD 2008 -- Adding solar power to your building is getting easier, thanks to a financing model borrowed from utility-scale renewable energy projects. Power purchase agreements are now an option for getting your own clean energy source, without laying out the capital. But even big projects don't happen without the right incentives in place. Some important federal subsidies are due to expire if Congress doesn't act soon to extend them. Will that happen in an election year? Does this dark cloud cast gloom on renewable energy's future? Denis Du Bois asks Mark McLanahan of MMA Renewable Ventures about his expectations for the production tax credit, the investment tax credit, and the global economy.

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Mayor Marks Kyoto Anniversary with Home Show Tour

Seattle Home Show -- Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels commemorated the anniversary of the Kyoto Protocol on opening day of the 64th Annual Seattle Home Show with a short speech and a tour of energy-efficiency and renewable-energy exhibits here.

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FY 2009 Budget Request Means Big Cuts for Efficiency, Renewables

The total FY 2009 request for the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is a 27 percent cut from the FY 2008 level. Nuclear and "clean coal" are obvious priorities for the Administration, with increased budget proposals for each.

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Deep Layoffs Announced at Yucca Mountain (AP)

Yucca Mountain's tunnel is closed and most workers have gone home.

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Summary of the Energy Independence and Security Act, H.R. 6.

The Energy Independence and Security Act was signed into law moments ago by President Bush. This Energy Priorities summary, based on a list provided by Rep. Jay Inslee's (D-WA) office, focuses on the highlights of the bill. Renewable electric energy provisions are in Title VI; green building provisions are in Title IV.

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Keep your Eye on the Bali Conference

The conference of representatives of over 180 countries started Monday, December 3, 2007, and will continue for two weeks. The objective is to launch negotiations for the international agreement that will take over when the current Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

The surface layer of news coverage will be about the fireworks when the U.S. refuses to back carbon limits, but there's much more going on there. The outcome will affect our power prices and American exports -- i.e., U.S. competitiveness -- through 2050. Here are some links to help you follow the events.

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Patrick Moore Should Be Proud of China's Energy Plans (NY Times)

Not only is China doubling its nuclear energy capacity by 2020, it's on a hydro spree that appears to abandon the ecological values we take for granted in the developed world.

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IPCC Fourth Report Summary

The IPCC's Synthesis Report, the fourth and final installment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is due in a few weeks. Just the Summary for Lawmakers is more than meaty enough to consume your idle reading time this weekend. Thankfully, our staff has extracted the key points and boiled 23 pages down to 2.

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Sport Utility Buildings and McMansions: The Latest Battlefront (Forbes)

I've been interested for several years in the concept of building systems as (very big) hardware platforms for increasingly sophisticated software. Mark Mills dug into this topic uncharacteristically far (for Forbes) this week. Maybe the idea is catching on.

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UN Report Describes Risks of Inaction on Climate Change (NY Times)

A United Nations panel of scientists meeting has concluded in Valencia, Spain. The scientists' final report, released today, describes the mounting risks of climate change in language that is more specific and forceful than its previous assessments. Here are links to the report, the IPCC web site, and a New York Times article about it this morning.

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High Hopes and Slender Means for IPCC's Parent (The Economist)

When it comes to getting global carbon emissions under control, The Economist's Green.view column says the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is more of a distraction than a savior. Overall the Economist comes down on this IPCC co-creator pretty hard -- too hard.

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Energy Bill 2007 Could Give Renewables the Green Light -- or a Lump of Coal

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 enacted renewable energy tax credits, but most expire at the end of 2008. That tosses many tax and regulatory policies back up in the air. Congress has been working on energy bills aimed at weaning the U.S. off oil, creating American jobs and addressing climate change. What will be in the 2007 energy bill, and what do renewable energy industry executives foresee if it passes -- or if it doesn't?

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Global Warming: Looking Further (Strategic News Service by Mark Anderson)

Global warming will be one of the themes of the 2008 Future in Review conference organized by Mark Anderson's Strategic News Service. In an SNS Special Letter, Anderson shares the transcript of "Looking Further," an interview about climate change between futurist Glen Heimstra (Futurist.com) and author Kim Stanley Robinson (“Mars” and “Science In The Capital” Trilogies). The elite ranks of SNS subscribers pay dearly for Anderson's insightful newsletter subscription. But we're bringing this interview to you, compliments of SNS and Energy Priorities.

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"Apollo's Fire," Jay Inslee's Apollo Project, the Book

In 1961 John F. Kennedy called for his nation to put a man on the moon in ten years. That was a formidable challenge -- and today's energy challenge is even greater. Congressman Jay Inslee has been calling for an end our oil addiction and the accompanying transformation of our economy. He calls it the Apollo Project for energy and his new book, "Apollo's Fire," spells out his vision.

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Nuclear Renaissance: Far from a Sure Thing (Power Engineering)

World leaders are saying there is no solution to global warming that does not include nuclear power. The administration has had six years and the Energy Policy Act to reinvigorate the fission industry. No company, however, has broken ground -- or committed to break ground -- on a new nuke plant in the U.S. What's holding things up?

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Book Review: "Lights Out"

Why our electricity system is headed for a state of emergency, and what can be done to head it off: My two-sentence review of "Lights Out" by Jason Makansi, plus why I liked it and where it falls short.

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Utilities Could Buy Credits to Meet Renewable Energy Minimums

California's Renewables Portfolio Standard requires utilities to obtain 20 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2010. The California Public Utilities Commission is examining the potential use of renewable energy credits for compliance with the RPS.

Almost half the states have passed an RPS of some kind. Should utilities be allowed to buy RECs from other regions to meet their RPS, rather than build renewable energy sources in the state?

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Africa Power Crisis (NY Times)

Windpower in Namibia, free fluorescent bulbs in South Africa, industrial customers paid to switch off equipment during periods of high demand. These progressive ideas are but a postscript in the story of the power crisis in Africa. Most of the sub-Saharan nations face electricity shortages and unprecedented power crises that mirror -- or presage -- the U.S. experience. Their solution: more power plants, if they can build them.

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Europe's Energy Market Now Open -- Sort of

The European Commission set the beginning of July 2007 as the deadline for having a completely open retail energy market in the European Union. Residential customers should be able to choose their power and gas suppliers, just as business users can. In most countries, they still cannot.

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Bush, Born-Again Environmentalist?

Quick take on an unexpected pronouncement by George Bush in favor of reducing carbon emissions.

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IPCC Fourth Assessment Defines Role of Buildings in Climate Change Mitigation

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is developing the fourth in a series of reports on climate change. "Climate Change 2007" is also known as the Fourth Assessment Report. A preview of a section of the report includes recommendations for how buildings and industrial sites can help to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

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France Gets X Percent of its Energy from Nuclear Plants

Does France really get 78 percent of its energy from nuclear power? Well, not really. But don't ask its politicians for the answer. In fact, the truth is hard to find.

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Legislators Propose Bundle of Bills To Reduce Carbon Emissions (UPI)

Legislators proposing two carbon-capture bills in the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee say the technology is necessary to coal's future. A third bill, if passed, would greatly reduce emissions through energy efficiency.

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Solar America Initiative

Energy Minute: The U.S. Department of Energy announced $168 million in funding to accelerate solar energy technology development. This brief podcast explains what the research will accomplish and how it will happen. (podcast)

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Save the Planet -- Or Else (Newsweek)

In the short term there will be winners and losers from climate change. Who are they? In this special double issue devoted to global warming ("Living With Global Warming" in overseas editions), Newsweek takes a look at many aspects of the phenomenon.

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Supreme Court Decision Reaches Beyond Tailpipes and Power Plants

These days even the war on the environment is going badly. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled twice this week on carbon emissions cases that will affect businesses worldwide.

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TMI's 28th (NY Times)

On March 28, 1979, America's worst commercial nuclear accident occurred inside the Unit Two reactor at the Three Mile Island plant near Middletown, PA.

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Solar America Initiative Starts Not with a Bang, but with a Whimper

The U.S. Department of Energy announced $168 million in funding to accelerate solar energy technology development, positioning the money as a giant boost to the future of photovoltaics. Will this really make solar cost-competitive with grid power in the next eight years? How meaningful is this announcement to businesses?

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CEOs Urge U.S. To Double Energy Research Funding

The pro-innovation group TechNet, whose membership includes top executives from more than 115 tech firms, believes the move away from nonrenewable sources of electricity and fuel will require timely, active support from federal and state government. The group issued an agenda that would focus national attention on expanding policies that encourage the development and adoption of sustainable technologies.

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When Will Demand Response Be as Accepted as Daylight Savings Time?

Demand response has been around for many years, but it still hasn't caught on at a national level here in the US. Participants still are pioneers -- they need a willingness to wade through the options and paperwork, not to mention dealing with immature technologies and managing their programs with sketchy data.

When will demand response become a mainstream resource? I went to America's most progressive state for demand response, and asked the top regulator and top grid operator to get specific about when demand response will be commonplace. (podcast)

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Demand Response: Experts and Businesses Discuss the Challenges Ahead

California's big three utilities have 2,660 MW of demand response enrolled, ahead of the regulators' policy goal for next summer. Enrollment is not the same as participation. Do companies have enough price elasticity to participate? If so, is demand response cost-effective for utilities? Can participating companies recover the cost of the necessary equipment? Who pays the price?

Blogged live from a meeting entitled "Demand Response: Simple Solutions, Real Savings, Fast Payback," this article grew as the meeting proceeded. It's still in its rough form, but nonetheless full of interesting information and perspectives. I invited readers to post questions using the comments form at the bottom of this article, and I posed some of them to the speakers and panelists.

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Will 2007 Be the Year for U.S. Carbon Legislation?

Interview with Peter Fusaro, the founder of Global Change Associates, an energy and environmental advisory, and the author of "What Went Wrong at Enron." (podcast)

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Will 2007 Be the Year for U.S. Carbon Legislation?

Interview with Peter Fusaro, the founder of Global Change Associates, an energy and environmental advisory, and the author of "What Went Wrong at Enron." (podcast)

Continue reading "Will 2007 Be the Year for U.S. Carbon Legislation?" »

Climate Change: America Blinks First

After several years of imagining that the U.S. can live by a separate standard than the rest of the developed world, the Bush administration has begun to soften its stance on climate change. How far off is the U.S. carbon cap and trade system?

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NREL Leader Urges Investing with the Long View to Sustain Renewable Industry's Growth

Life is good for renewable energy companies, but sustained success will require a sustained commitment, says National Renewable Energy Lab director Dan Arvizu. He spoke at the Power-Gen Renewable Energy and Fuels 2007 conference in Las Vegas Nevada last week. Here are the highlights of his keynote address. (podcast) (photo)

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Regulators Put Nuclear Plant on the Most-Watched List for Safety Violations (AZ Republic)

Desert dwellers know they can cope with the heat by cool seeking the shade of a Palo Verde tree. But operators of Arizona's Palo Verde nuclear plant are in the hot seat, and relief might be years away.

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France Tells U.S. to Sign Climate Pacts or Face Tax (NY Times)

Kyoto countries have hinted loudly that there might be consequences for trading partners who have not signed onto the accord. France's President Jacques Chirac is the latest to reiterate the prospect.

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Ice Energy's "Ice Bear" Keeps Off-Peak Kilowatts in Cold Storage to Reduce HVAC's Peak Power Costs

In many regions of the U.S., utilities are feeling the heat. Peak power demand threatens their ability to deliver as much energy as customers need on hot afternoons. Ice storage air conditioning shifts a major commercial energy load into off-peak evening hours, saving money for businesses and reducing pressure on the grid. California's new building energy code makes load shifting a necessity for many new facilities. (podcast) (photo)

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European Utility Expands its Echelon Automated Metering Infrastructure

A San Jose company is boasting the largest intelligent metering infrastructure -- and it's in Sweden. Vattenfall AB has ordered 500,000 units from Echelon, and eventually could deploy automated meter reading equipment and software to three-fourths of its one million customers.

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Iraqi Insurgents Attack Capital's Weakness: Its Power Grid

Iraqi insurgents are waging war on the electric grid around Baghdad, and winning.

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Americans Favor Taxing Carbon, Poll Says

A new poll also shows that Americans are worried about global warming -- 58 percent say global warming will have a "great to extreme" impact on their children's future -- and two out of three agree it will adversely impact the U.S. economy over the next ten years.

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Growing Number of States Requiring Alternative Energy (USA Today)

Voters around the U.S. are pushing electric utilities to generate a percentage of electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar power. Will this push the Feds to pass a national RPS, and would that be a good thing?

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Who Owns Solar Renewable Energy Credits?

Renewable energy credits (RECs) are earned as power is produced, and can be sold to companies who want to offset their carbon output. That's an incentive to companies installing solar, but when California said "mine," solar companies screamed.

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AquaEnergy Bouyed by Regulatory Progress (Puget Sound Business Journal)

Wave energy company AquaEnergy Ltd. of Seattle is through an environmental assessment and is ready to apply for a permit to install its offshore buoys. The passage of Washington's I-937 was good news for the company and its parent, who expects to go public within weeks.

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Europe Hit by Massive Blackouts (Le Monde)

Five million French and countless others were deprived of electricity for about an hour on Saturday night, 4 November 2006. The blackout also hit Germany, Italy, Belgium, Spain and Portugal.

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European Energy Usage Pushes the Limits (Deutsche Welle)

Many EU countries are getting nervous about having enough electricity supply to meet peak demands. Although Europe is not expecting widespread blackouts on the scale of those in the U.S. in 2003, a new report says energy conservation and investments in alternatives are urgent.

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Renewable Energy Initiative Puts 15-by-20 Plan on Washington's Ballot

Washington state voters will decide whether to compel utilities to choose renewable energy sources. The initiative is about keeping Washington from slipping backward while other states advance in their renewable energy use.

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Nuclear Power Is No Hedge against Uncertain Gas Prices (Energy Journal)

In the UK's deregulated energy markets, power producers are free to choose nuclear over fossil fuels for their new plants. Should they? A lead article in the latest edition of The Energy Journal concludes that nuclear is not a wise economic investment, so power producers will continue to choose natural gas to fuel new plants.

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Global Warming: A Sputnik Moment? (Radio Open Source)

Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth" bears bad news, but perhaps it's just what entrepreneurs and scientists have been waiting for. This may be the opportunity for the U.S. to take the lead in the new energy economy. What will it take?

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Energy Policy Act Compromised by Presidential Signing Statements

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 explicitly protected any DOE or NRC employee who tells Congress about possible violations of the Atomic Energy Act. But President Bush reserved the right to silence the would-be whistle blowers, using a little-known legislative practice.

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Innovation Modeling Comparison Project (Energy Journal)

What is the relationship between policy change, technological change, and climate change? A special issue of The Energy Journal examines various models for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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Energy Policy: Shifting Landscape for Clean Tech Startups

The State of the Union Address surprised many observers with its focus on renewable fuels. How will this seemingly sudden policy change -- and policy in general -- affect the business plans of companies in the renewable energy sector? Three experts discussed the topic at the Clean Tech Investor Summit.

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Bush State of Union Address Renews Focus on Energy with Biofuels Emphasis

President Bush renewed his call for building new nuclear power plants in the US, and gave highlights of his plan for displacing petroleum fuels with biofuels, in his State of the Union Address today

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State Legislators Propose a Renewable Fuels Standard for Washington

What do you get when you put venture capitalists, environmentalists, farm-district politicians, biofuels producers, and a petroleum distributor, all in one room? Sounds like trouble, but these people gathered to support an initiative that may come before the Washington state legislature in 2006. (with podcast)

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20 NIMBYs Dead in Clash with Police in Eminent Domain Dispute (AP)

Police fired into a crowd, killing between 10 and 20 villagers protesting property confiscation and the loss of agricultural land for the construction of a wind power generating facility in China.

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Dependence on Foreign... Biodiesel?

The sun is shining on the biodiesel industry, and every agricultural state has a plan to make hay. Or soybeans, as the case may be. But biodiesel importers might rain on their parade.

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Utilities Face Environmentalists in Court on Charges of Global Warming (Energy Biz)

Eight states and the city of New York continue to pursue their global warming lawsuit against five of the largest U.S. utilities.

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So When Exactly Is Daylight Savings Time?

The most-reported aspect of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was the extension of Daylight Savings Time. It does not take effect until 2007. Here are the dates.

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The French Nuclear Lesson (Energy Biz)

Magazines serving the utility industry are understandably biased in favor of nuclear energy. In the current climate of zeal for a nuke revival, it is important to keep the facts straight.

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Refineries Top Political Agenda in Both Washingtons (Reuters)

Bush calls on lawmakers to give oil companies a break. Oil companies, despite record profits, won't build refineries without federal assistance. Northwest legislators, meanwhile, want to build a biodiesel plant to boost the economy and promote cleaner fuels Washington state, and they have the money to fund it. Both proposals would increase supply, although their economic and environmental impacts would be dramatically different.

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Two Years After the Northeast Blackout, Has Anything Changed? (NPR)

The large-scale blackout that hit the Northeastern U.S. on August 14, 2003, could happen again. The comprehensive energy bill supports a conventional, centralized system for electricity. Grid modernization, distributed generation, and a more resilient electric grid are still a distant vision, even though the technology is here today.

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Nuclear Redux (FORTUNE)

President Bush's support of nuclear power has brought a noticeable increase in advertising and contributed articles by the nuclear industry. Today's FORTUNE carries a five-page special advertising section sponsored by two nuclear associations and Southern Company. Here's an analysis of the industry's advertising message.

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Bush Talks of Energy Technology at Small Business Conference

President Bush spoke to an audience of small-business leaders and took the opportunity to promote a comprehensive energy policy that includes the Nuclear Power 2010 and Clear Skies initiatives. In a speech that focused on petroleum, some other sources of energy -- hydrogen, wind, and energy efficiency -- also earned mentions.

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Earth Day Is a Good PR Day for Politicians: Energy Bill Passes House

The U.S. House of Representatives hurried to approve an energy bill this week, just in time to make Earth Day news coverage. It passed a bill that would open ANWR to oil drilling and continue billions in benefits to energy industries. But could this bill reduce the nation's hunger for electricity and thirst for oil?

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Bush Uses Radio Address to Urge Congress to Pass an Energy Bill

"Demand for electricity has grown more than 17 percent in the past decade," President Bush said in his weekly radio address, "and we continue to import more than one-half of our domestic oil supply." The address reiterated the administration's attention to energy, as Congress begins this week to debate national energy policy legislation.

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Webster's Enters "Nucular" in Dictionary; President Bush on Hand

President Bush spoke at a ceremony marking the addition of the word "nucular" in America's best-selling dictionary.

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Nuclear Power Is Good: U.S. and Iran Have No Argument There (New York Times International)

"...the United States and Iran discovered this week that they had something in common. They are both passionate cheerleaders for nuclear power. It's just that the United States wants to deny Iran the right to develop its own nuclear power capacity."

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Vive la Nucleair Waste: France Deals with Legacies of its Nuclear Programs

France gets the majority of its power from nuclear plants. Parliament issued a report in March, 2005, on the problem of France's radioactive waste. Its recommendations confirm the status quo: waste storage and decontamination research.

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White House Signals Renewed Interest in Energy Policy

President Bush spoke in Columbus, Ohio to promote his proposed energy plan. He discussed each of the cornerstones of the plan -- increasing conservation and efficiency, increasing domestic production, diversifying the energy supply, and modernizing the grid. He also discussed his contingency plan for the stalled Clear Skies Initiative.

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Bush Views Energy Innovations During Visit to Lab

The president visited Columbus, Ohio to promote his energy policy and see developments toward energy efficiency, grid technology, nuclear energy and cleaner coal.

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2005 Energy Bill: Businesses Are Watching Closely

The pending Energy Policy Act of 2005 will have positive and negative effects on energy businesses. Tax incentives are one way the government helps cover the financial risk of technological innovation. The passing of incentives has an economic impact on specific industry sectors. Subsidized electricity from renewable sources are more closely cost-competitive with power from subsidized coal and natural gas, but still more expensive. Clean coal technologies and nuclear power are part of a complex web of history, regulation and politics.

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Energy Policy: Outlook for Compromise

Discussion of energy policy legislation is due to start in February, 2005. The Senate's version is the likely starting point for discussions. How can four years of strong disagreement give way to a balanced energy plan? Two broad approaches have become clear. Whether either approach will lead to a successful policy is yet to be seen.

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Energy Policy Legislation: Better Luck This Time

Congress is working on energy policy legislation that will affect American businesses for at least the next decade. The contentious round of debate has lasted almost four years, so far. National energy policy primarily concerns itself with petroleum and related emissions. Electricity is bundled into the discussion as an afterthought. Recent events have thrust electric power into the limelight for the upcoming debate.

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When Carbon Becomes Money (New Academy Review)

Michael Northrop and David Sassoon describe how carbon has become an important currency in much of the developed world, with the advent of the EU emission trading market and the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol next month.

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Developing Regional Climate Solutions (Seattle Times)

The authors describe how simple, focused climate policies can improve regional economic competitiveness while encouraging private investment in clean energy and climate solutions.

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