15 April '10
7:35 AM UTC
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Top Ten Players in Green Energy

March Top Ten Players In Green Energy

Welcome to the March edition of G.E.R.’s Top Ten Players in Green Energy. This month Chevron and its pragmatic green strategy takes the lead. Our ranking looks back over the previous month and  takes into account a player’s ability to influence the cleantech industry, whether it be because of a forceful policy position, access to funding or a combination of the two.

1: Chevron

Over the last decade, some oil and gas majors jumped right into the green energy revolution, hoping to leverage their considerable cash and energy expertise into a profitable sideline in renewables. That tactic has not weathered the recession well, as BP has shown in the last year. Enter Chevron with a new approach. The California-based company has been easing into green energy with an eye towards making its core oil and gas business less energy intensive. In March, The company opened Project Brightfield, an 8-acre facility to test solar panels under different conditions and compare the performance against benchmark technologies. Chevron is also testing concentrating photovoltaic technology at a mine in New Mexico and solar steam technology in Central California. It’s not a strategy that’s going to save the world, but it is moving green energy forward.

2: Steven Chu, Energy Secretary

Every day, there is one thing you can be sure Energy Secretary Chu thinks about: China, and how can the U.S. beat the rising green power to lead the global green economy. These days, the Secretary is not mincing words, reminding anyone who’ll listen that failure is not an option. He’s blunt and says that  right now, void of any climate change law and paralyzed by the loud voices of climate change deniers, the U.S. is losing that race! At a press briefing last month, Chu told reporters that on China, “the U.S. should sit up and take notice.” He added: “The [Chinese] leadership increasingly sees economic opportunity in cleantech… Having missed the industrialized revolution and the semiconductor revolution, they do not want to miss this opportunity.”

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19 March '10
11:12 AM UTC
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  Policy

New Senate Climate Bill Rearranges the Deck Chairs

The new and improved (?) senate climate bill is being rolled out in secret meetings  and, it seems, being strategically leaked to test the reaction.

The headline numbers are familiar (17 percent reductions below 2005 levels in 2020; 80 percent by 2050) but the rest of the bill seems intended to confuse opponents of prior bills by incorporating cap and dividend and a carbon tax. The deck chairs, as they say, are being rearranged. How does the ship look now? Read More »

30 December '09
8:51 AM UTC
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French Government Scrambles to Rescue Carbon Tax [UPDATE]

Its back to square one for President Sarkozy's carbon tax

It's back to square one for President Sarkozy's carbon tax

UPDATE | 10:10 AM: The tax was set at 17 euros ($24.38) per ton of carbon-dioxide emissions. However, to ensure passage the legislation ended exempting almost 93 percent of all industrial carbon emissions in France. Read More »

9 November '09
11:38 AM UTC
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Baucus Puts Together A Strange Witness List for Climate Bill Testimony

UPDATE: Congress Matters of what we were writing about earlier: Sen. Max Baucus is stacking the deck against the Kerry-Boxer climate change bill in order to weaken it. Notably, the American Council on Capital Formation, where witness Margo Thorning works, has received a little over $1.6 million from Exxon Mobil since 1998. Let’s see, just for fun, if natural gas, which Exxon has been pushing recently, in her testimony tomorrow.

ORIGINAL POST: Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, will get his chance to tear into climate change legislation that is, at best, adrift and without a hope of passing in its current form.

Baucus, the only Democrat who voted against the Kerry-Boxer legislation in the Environment and Public Works Committee, has promised deference in at least the allocation of allowances.

He ClimateWire’s Darren Samuelsohn:

“I don’t want to say we’re going to do something totally different,” he said. “I’m respectful of the House allocation.”

But, if the is any indication, he’s going to look at import taxes to protect American manufacturing and more nuclear. At least two out of the five witnesses , curiously, don’t support climate change legislation at all. Read More »

2 October '09
12:23 PM UTC
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More on Exxon’s Tillerson and The Carbon Tax

WSJ’s Environmental Capital, riffing on our earlier post on Exxon Mobil head Rex W. Tillerson, . If so many influential players support a carbon tax, can it be all bad?

A movement, like the call for a carbon tax, that can gather Al Gore, James Hansen, Rex Tillerson, Peter Orszag and Greg Mankiw under one roof must have something going for it.

One thing that a carbon tax has going for it: simplicity (though, again, Joe Romm at Climate Progress argues that is a fallacy). You need only look at the doorstops that are Waxman – Markey and Kerry – Boxer – which is amazingly vague, even at 800-plus pages – to see that cap-and-trade is not simple.

A particularly of the cap-and-trade v. carbon tax comes from, of all places, ESPN.com’s Tuesday Morning Quarterback column, which is written by policy wonk Gregg Easterbrook. It bears the catchy title, “Al Gore Heartbroken That World Refuses to End”, and please note, Easterbrook is, in most respects, not a conservative:

The current House-passed greenhouse gas bill, stalled in the Senate, is nightmarishly bad legislation – more than 1,400 pages of special-interest favors for political donors, command-and-control bureaucracy and handouts to the privileged. If enacted, it will do little to reduce greenhouse gases, while discrediting the notion of climate change legislation. Artificial global warming stands a better chance of being prevented if the House bill is mulched for recycling and a simple carbon tax enacted.

Which brings us back to Rex Tillerson, “that the American people want climate policy to be transparent, honest, and effective.” It’s certainly a fair point, but until Exxon starts lobbying (read: throwing lots of dollars around) for a viable carbon tax, it will be tough to believe that the company wants climate change legislation of any sort.

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