Daily Archives: June 1, 2015

Renewable Energy: Technology, Trends, and Economics


Published on Feb 6, 2013

Learn more and download handouts at http://www.eesi.org/020513_renewables

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) organized a briefing about the important and growing role that renewable energy plays in the American energy mix.

• Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn (U.S. Navy, Ret.), President, ACORE – http://youtu.be/mxc-uKqRiGs?t=3m59s
• Steve Chalk, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy – http://youtu.be/mxc-uKqRiGs?t=11m29s
• Shirley Neff, Senior Advisor, Energy Information Administration – http://youtu.be/mxc-uKqRiGs?t=33m19s
• Mark Fulton, Former Managing Director, Deutsche Bank Asset Management – http://youtu.be/mxc-uKqRiGs?t=43m45s
• Dr. Robert Ichord, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Energy Resources, U.S. Dept. of State – http://youtu.be/mxc-uKqRiGs?t=57m35s
• Carol Werner, Executive Director, Environmental and Energy Study Institute (Moderator)

Renewable energy resources — including water, wind, biomass, geothermal, and solar — are abundant and geographically diverse across the United States, and are used to generate electricity, provide thermal energy, fuel industrial processes, and produce transportation fuels. The deployment of renewable energy technologies has grown rapidly in recent years as their costs have decreased substantially and as the nation looks to meet growing demand, diversify its energy supply, promote energy security, and reduce carbon emissions.

Renewable electricity generation has grown 62 percent since 2001, and in 2011 represented 12.7 percent of total U.S. electricity generation. Furthermore, 12,956 megawatts of renewable energy capacity was installed in 2012, accounting for 49.1 percent of all new electrical generating capacity in the United States. The briefing provided an overview of renewable energy technologies, domestic and international deployment trends, and exciting market and economic conditions.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Carbon Expo: Jonathan Grant, PwC


Published on Jun 1, 2015

Carbon Expo (27/05/2015) – Jonathan Grant, PwC speaks to RTCC

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Shake Harvard free of fossil fuel investments – Opinion – Bill McKibben

Pat Greenhouse/Globe staff/file

Harvard students staged a sit-in in February at Massachusetts Hall to protest the school’s decision not to divest from fossil fuels.

By Bill McKibben April 07, 2015

To understand why prominent Harvard alumni are joining students to demand their alma mater divest its fossil fuel stock, consider how the university has behaved.

Here was the scene last fall. In New York, 400,000 climate protesters marched down 6th Avenue, the largest demonstration about any issue in the United States in years. Also, the World Council of Churches, representing 580 million Christians, announced plans to divest its fossil fuel holdings. Then members of the Rockefeller family — the first family of fossil fuel — took the same step.

And in Cambridge? After huge majorities of Harvard students asked for divestment, and after a letter signed by much of the faculty backed the request, the Harvard Corporation septupled its direct investments in fossil fuels. Most of Harvard’s investments are secret, but in the relatively small portion of its portfolio that it discloses, it increased by a factor of seven its investment during the third quarter of 2014. Talk about sending a message.

The biggest of those new investments illustrates everything that’s wrong with Harvard’s stance, and helps make it clear why prominent alumni from Cornell West to Bevis Longstreth (two-time Reagan appointee to the SEC) to Natalie Portman have called for sit-ins in Harvard Yard later this month. According to an investigation by Chloe Maxmin, a student co-founder of DivestHarvard, the university plunked down $57.4 million for a stake in Anadarko Petroleum, one of the country’s biggest independent oil and gas exploration firms. Anadarko not only played a cameo role in the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, but also just paid the federal government $5 billion to settle the “largest environmental contamination case in American history.”

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Time for Harvard to cut its investments in fossil fuels – Opinion – The Boston Globe


By Ann Berwick June 01, 2015

A debate about whether universities should divest their investments in fossil fuels is roiling campuses nationwide. Stanford University’s decision last year to divest from coal companies has turned up the heat. The controversy was elevated by student sit-ins at Harvard, accompanied by a supporting letter from well-known alumni, in response to President Drew Gilpin Faust’s decision not to divest.

There are thoughtful arguments against divestment, but they should not prevail.

Divestment opponents maintain it has no effect on a company’s share price, and that the market will immediately absorb any shares that are shed. They claim divestment damages schools’ investment portfolios — and by extension, their primary educational mission — while removing progressive voices from the governance of fossil fuel companies. They also doubt we can, or should, divest from a product that we need to rely on, and wonder where the divestment line should be drawn — there are other businesses and industries that might make the socially-conscious squeamish.

All points worth considering, but the counterarguments are more compelling.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Distinguished Rhodes alums disagree on TPP trade deal — but miss massive climate impact of carbon-intensive Asian trade patterns.

Rhodes scholars distinguish themselves over their whole careers, in many cases ending up in charge of major institutions. The trouble is that in this process they often lose sight of the larger issues at stake for humanity and end up fighting fiercely for parochial causes.

A case in point couldn’t be more dramatic than it has been in the recent difference between Ash Carter (Connecticut, St. John’s, 1976) — currently, Secretary of Defense, on the one hand, and Robert Reich (New Hampshire, University, 1968) — former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Their differences are clear enough.

Ash Carter says the TPP deal is crucial for U.S. “strategic” (ie. military) interests in the South China Sea. Bob Reich points out the the TPP will be a disaster, potentially riding rough-shod over labor, food safety and environmental regulations. It will reportedly allow any corporation to sue any state or government entity that tries to implement regulations that might “limit” its profitability.

Sadly, neither of these two distinguished Rhodes alums confront the most pervasive and enduring global impact of any deal which might be reached. Whatever is concluded and whenever it is implemented, any deal will inexorably expand and accelerate the rate of global fossil fuel consumption. Long-distance trade in carbon-intensive manufactured goods and factory-farmed agricultural goods cannot help but send the whole world in the wrong direction based on increased — not diminished — fossil carbon consumption.

As Forbes has pointed out, perhaps we can start to exchange ideas in this “Climate Change and Sustainability” group as a means of starting to think about a global ecological perspective that might help us to make the necessary transition beyond the world of fossil-fuel dependence and toward sustainability.