Obama cuts coal, a U.S.A. heatwave, and hybrid cars are on the rise
MAP OF THE DAY
Maxim Heat Index Forecast For Thursday, July 4, 2013-Tracked on July 1, 2013 by the National Weather Service.
GRAPH OF THE DAY I
Private and Social Costs of Electricity Generation by Source. The Hamilton Project. May 18, 2011.
GRAPH OF THE DAY II
Monthly U.S. Coal Exports: January 1980-March 2013. EIA. Published in Free Republic.
INTERACTIVE OF THE DAY
The Ins and Outs of Fracking. The Sacramento Bee. June 30, 2013.
An interactive graphic of the fracking process that shows how oil and gas that are inaccessible by conventional drilling are now being extracted.
The reactions to President Obama’s climate speech continue to trickle in from different media outlets:
The Economist uses “uncertain” to characterize the Clean Air Act’s capacity to carry the regulatory load and the President’s ability to achieve any of his goals before he leaves office. The Toronto Star describes the references in the speech to the Keystone XL Pipeline as “deliberately opaque.” Bloomberg maintains the speech’s fine print imposes a “strategy” on the natural gas industry to control methane leaks. The Boston Globe reports that Protestant churches across New England are calling for a divestment from fossil fuel. And, the Washington Post maintains opponents of fracking are disappointed by the President’s embrace of natural gas as a key component of America’s clean energy future.
Policy experts agree the centerpiece of President Obama’s climate agenda revolves around reducing the amount of CO2 emitted by the nation’s coal fired power plants. Reacting to the speech, the Merc urges a robust war on coal. Matt Yglesias reviews the social costs of coal and wants an aggressive and a robust war on coal. Dave Roberts withholds his approval of the President’s efforts until coal leasing and coal exports are curtailed and the EPA’s regulations for old and new power plants have teeth to cut coal’s dirty emissions. Brad Plumer considers the President’s promise to restrict U.S. financing for new coal plants overseas a bright spot. But, Joe Manchin (D-WV) calls the President’s directives on coal “a war on America.” Luckily, the President has DOE Secretary Moniz on his side. Still, coal exports continue to climb. READ»
Californians reacted positively to President Obama’s climate change speech. But, HispanicBusiness.com compared the President’s agenda with passed and pending legislation in California and found California’s energy policies more ambitious. Two recent actions backup the blog’s claim: SB 43 is a trailblazing pilot program for shared renewable energy; and the Clean L.A. Solar Program is the largest urban solar rooftop program in the country. Not to be outdone by the public sector, MidAmerican, a unit of Berkshire Hathaway, announced it sold $1Billion in bonds to build the 579MW Solar Star I and 2 Projects in Southern California. And, while taxes on gasoline increased by 3.5 cents per gallon, San Jose added 38 electric vehicles to its municipal fleet and the first 5 of 25 new electric buses will soon be picking up passengers in L.A.
Electric vehicles accounted for 0.3% of total U.S. auto sales last year; but a poll from Harris Interactive reveals anticipated growth in the sector. Praise for the green design of the Tesla Model S has fanned popular interest in EVs and mollified some of the public’s range anxiety. At the same time, Volvo is conducting a series of experiments that could render the car battery obsolete. The pros and cons of purchasing an EV can be found here and here. Ironically, all this innovation comes at a time when Americans’ love affair with the automobile may be waning. And, as the paradigm shift takes hold, Ray LaHood presents his vision of the U.S.’s transportation future. READ»
122° in Palm Springs. 129° in Death Valley. 107° in Sacramento. 109° in Marysville. 106° in Stockton. National Geographic talks to Harvard climatologist Martin Tingley to see if he can answer the question that’s on everyone’s mind: What’s behind the heat wave hammering the West Coast? READ»
QUOTES OF THE DAY
“Twelve years.” The length of time outgoing Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood believes it will take for the vast majority of the United States to transition to driving hybrid or electric cars, quoted in The Atlantic Wire.
“I think that means something more fundamental is going on.” Michael Sivak, research professor at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute speaking on the change in America’s driving habits, quoted in the NYT.
“…if there was ever a time to worry, this would be it." A civic and emergency official from the Southwest commenting on the dangers posed by the oppressive heat that is plaguing the region, quoted by CNN.
“California benefits enormously from having the federal government step up with a climate program. It can only enhance our activities if we have a strong federal partner.” ARB Chairwoman, Mary Nichols expressing her positive reaction to President Obama’s climate speech.
“Today, I’m calling for an end to public financing for new coal plants overseas unless they deploy carbon-capture technologies, or there’s no other viable way for the poorest countries to generate electricity.” President Obama in his speech on climate change given at Georgetown University on June 25, 2013, quoted in the Washington Post.
REACTIONS TO PRESIDENT OBAMA’s CLIMATE SPEECH
WEST COAST HEAT