Sunday, April 05, 2009

Will Obama drive the U.S. to real energy independence and low carbon emissions?

Steve Mufson has an essay on Outlook Section p B02 of the Washington Post, Sunday April 5, “Will Obama’s Revolution Deliver Energy Independence?,” link here.

Obama is saying that he’ll help citizens pay for the green revolution, Oprah (and Nate Berkus) style, weatherizing your home, and installing Thomas Friedman’s smart meters and Energy Internet.

And Obama has some teeth to pull of our skin and put it in the game. That consists of a Surpeme Court decision in 2007, that carbon dioxide qualifies as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. (See the Opinion here; the case was Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency) This would give the EPA the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions without waiting for Congress. “ClearSkiesTV” on March 5 talked about a “cap and dividend” system being proposed.

James E. Hansen has a paper, Dec 8, 2008, “Science-based inputs to carbon dioxide reduction strategies” presented at a briefing “A National Carbon Tax: Another Option for Carbon Pricing” here. He talks about a “carbon tax and 100% dividend”.

Another buzz word is "smart grid" which could give end consumers the ability to sell power back if they use it off-peak and generate it (with solar collectors) on-peak. There will also be a utility policy called "shareholder incentives" and pricing according to how consumers save as well as consume.

Why weren't we doing this the past few years instead of creating financial derivatives that blew up?

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