The details of the Kerry-Boxer bill published today - the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act – are important, of course. Senator John Kerry’s website has a wealth of explanatory material, including a useful summary and the full text of the 821-page bill. The central features, as expected, are a 20 per cent carbon dioxide emissions cut by 2020, and a cap and trade scheme for emissions, rebadged as a “pollution reduction and investment” programme.
Arguably even more important, though, is the bill’s timing. If the Senate has passed, or come close to passing, a bill to cut carbon dioxide emissions by the time of the Copenhagen climate meeting in December – now just over two months away – the chances of success at that meeting will be greatly increased.
Dave O’Reilly announced today that he will be retiring from his position as chief executive and chairman of Chevron at the end of the year. He says he always intended to retire after 10 years at the top. Besides, the company is in a position of strength and he has built a strong management team.
Those are all good reasons to leave. But I cannot help thinking that he is getting out at just the right time.
China’s recent pronouncements on climate change, and evidence that the country is on track to make an impressive dent in its emissions, have earned the country plaudits from around the world.
China’s contribution is now seen as a positive sign for the Copenhagen talks, surprising many in the US who were used to think of China as a dirty economy.
The Energy Source’s Fiona Harvey took part in a talk on the subject today on US National Public Radio. You can hear it here.
Crude oil prices rose by more than $1 a barrel on Wednesday ahead of the latest US inventories data while gold regained the $1,000 level and base metals staged a broad advance as sentiment towards commodity markets found support from renewed dollar weakness.
GE, one of the most enthusiastic proponents of the “smart grid”, has launched a new website, www.itsyoursmartgrid.com, to try to win public acceptance for the technology.
The initiative from GE, which hopes to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the potentially huge market for smart grid equipment, reveals how the biggest obstacle to the technology is likely to be political and consumer resistance.
For all the benefits of a smart grid, in terms of cutting overall energy use, smoothing demand peaks, reducing transmission losses, preventing equipment failures and enabling investment in micro-generation, it seems many people are quite happy with their old dumb grids.
For all those Europeans disappointed so far with the Obama administration’s efforts to fight climate change, Congressman Ed Markey suggested that they remember the White House’s previous occupant: George W. Bush.
“Remember, Europe didn’t have President Bush in office for eight years,” said Mr Markey, the Democratic co-author of the cap-and-trade bill passed by the US House of Representatives in June.
“We’re trying to make up for lost ground. We’re trying to move as quickly as possible,” he added.
The Prius paved the way for stylish green cars, but we are seeing the rollout of electric vehicles that would not be out of place in the opening scene of a James Bond film. Tesla’s electric Roadster has gotten rave reviews: “The car looks hot and rides hot. It’s a smile machine”, Scientific America’s reviewer says.
Morgan Motor’s fuel-cell electric prototype, the LIFECar, is now in prototype form eliciting reactions at a recent Morgan show in Pebble Beach. Morgan, the (cult) classic English carmaker that limits production of its 1930s-style roadsters to a few thousand a year, is developing the project in connection with Qinetiq. Very sleek, retro-chic (and, more than likely, prohibitively expensive), the Lifecar will set a new standard for green vehicles when it makes its long awaited debut.
The divide between fuel-efficiency and consumer has been bridged with such prototypes. Now the main problem is affordability. Both of these specimens will market at well over $100,000.
CIC buys stake in Kazakh oil and gas group
Investment is third in natural resources in last week (FT)
US climate bill faces stiff Senate opposition
Agreement unlikely before Copenhagen summit (FT)
US companies at odds over green lobbying
Several energy firms quit trade groups (FT)
Oil’s sideways trend points to $70 breakout
NAB analysis shows oil prices to rise (Bloomberg)