January 20, 2022

Talk of Tianjin Climate Conference: China and U.S. Are Electrifying The Car

TIANJIN, China – Whatever the differences that irked delegates from China and the United States during the six days of climate negotiations that ended here on Saturday, divisions principally defined by how each would control carbon emissions and measure progress, the unmistakable conclusion reached by most of the delegates and participants is how closely tied the two nations are to each the other. Lying quietly below the nuanced diplomatic language of frustration and distrust expressed …

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Before Big China Climate Conference, New Senate Support For Clean Energy

I’ll be in Beijing later this week, and then on to Tianjin to cover China’s first UN-sponsored climate summit, which begins October 4. Before leaving, though, I wanted to note that on September 22,  a group of Republican and Democratic Senators sent a rare bipartisan signal to the world that the United States has not abandoned the hard work of reducing climate emissions and speeding the clean energy transition. The group introduced a bill to …

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Responding to a Candidate on Traverse City Biomass Resistance

This morning I received an email message from Tom Mair, a Green Party candidate for the Grand Traverse (Michigan) Board of Commissioners, who wanted to know what I thought about the decision in June by Traverse City Light and Power to abandon its proposal to build a wood biomass plant. I served as communications and engagement consultant on the public hearings the utility held this winter. Tom’s message and my response follow: good afternoon Keith, …

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Michigan’s Unsung Clean Energy Success

Given the dearth of new economic strategies that make sense and actually work, it’s appropriate to again take note of what’s happening here in my home state of Michigan around clean energy development. The more you think about it, the clearer the significance of what Governor Jennifer Granholm (with the president in pix above at July 15 groundbreaking of a new lithium-ion battery plant in West Michigan) has accomplished becomes clearer and clearer. In short, …

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Wind Chill: Young and Old Greens At Odds Over Clean Energy Projects

Gabrielle Gurley, a writer for Commonwealth, the magazine of the think tank MassINC, has a rigorously balanced assessment in the most recent issue of the simmering dispute in American environmentalism about big clean energy projects. All across the country, including Massachusetts, where Gurley bases her reporting, grassroots environmentalists are fighting to block clean energy installations. In the battle between principle and pragmatism, the efforts by older green activists is producing a generational schism in the …

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Obama To Visit Holland, Michigan For Battery Plant Groundbreaking

President Obama will be in Michigan on Thursday for the groundbreaking ceremony of a new LG Chem-Compact battery plant, which will make the power sources for the Chevy Volt, expected to be introduced later this year. The plant is one of 17 new manufacturing facilities in Michigan connected to battery production for electric vehicles. On May 26 ModeShift published a full account of the federal and state-financing that leveraged the more than $6 billion total …

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The New D.C. Drive to a Climate and Energy Bill

Well, now the Senate is getting into the act, at last. Bolstered by new opinion polls and driven by a monstrous blowout that is closing Gulf Coast beaches at the height of the travel season, Democratic leaders stirred into action this week to develop and pass comprehensive climate and energy legislation. They’re following, of course, the president’s lead. On Wednesday President Obama concluded an all hands cabinet meeting at the White House by publicly declaring …

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Massachusetts Biomass Study Finds Caution and Some Optimism in Wood as Renewable Fuel

After six months of evaluation, a Massachusetts research center said yesterday that the greenhouse gas-reducing benefits of replacing coal and natural gas with wood biomass for electrical generation are lower than previously thought. But the study by the Manomet Center for Conservation Science also found that specific wood biomass technologies, particularly state-of-the art wood biomass plants that generate combined heat and power, produce less than half of the CO2 emissions generated by a coal-fired power …

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Most Important Climate and Energy Vote of Year Tests Senate Direction

Late last year when Senator Lisa Murkowski announced she would vigorously oppose any effort to use the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon emissions, environmental leaders in Washington understood the significance of the Alaska Republican’s challenge. A loyal ally of fossil fuel developers, Senator Murkowski attracts more campaign financing from the oil and utility industries than all but two other Senate lawmakers, according to federal election records. The months-long skirnishing between Senator Murkowski and environmental …

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Grassroots Resistance to Clean Energy Projects, A Colorado Example

Kirk Johnson of the New York Times this morning published a interesting piece on how solar energy development in Colorado is being impeded by local resistance to new transmission lines. The many examples of how community or landowner or other resistance to clean energy projects has been well covered here on ModeShift. The trend represents another authentic risk to the nation’s ability to make a transition to a low carbon economy. There are oil companies …

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