Climate talks eye revenue from shipping
PANAMA CITY — With nations facing gaping shortfalls meeting pledges on climate change, several governments and activist groups are pushing to put a price on shipping emissions to fund aid to poor countries.
Commercial ships virtually always run on fossil fuels and produce nearly three percent of the world’s carbon emissions blamed for climate change — twice as much as Australia — but are unregulated under the Kyoto Protocol.
EU Court: Airline Carbon Law Is Legal
DANIEL MICHAELS And ALESSANDRO TORELLO
BRUSSELS—A top European court backed the European Union’s plan to regulate airplane greenhouse emissions against strong international opposition, escalating a diplomatic row between the 27-country bloc and many of the world’s biggest powers.
The Court of Justice issued Thursday a preliminary opinion supporting an EU law forcing any airline landing at or departing from an European Union airport to hold permits to emit greenhouse gases.
Supporters say the law will start cutting carbon-dioxide emissions from air travel and prompt other countries to take similar actions. But critics say the EU has acted unilaterally, exerting authority beyond its boarders, and has created controversy that will delay global efforts. Industry officials say passengers may avoid traveling through the EU, where ticket prices will rise as a result of the plan, and instead travel through hubs elsewhere, such as in the Persian Gulf. (WSJ)
Industry split emerges over biofuels’ indirect impact
European bioethanol producers have broken ranks and urged EU policymakers to introduce rules on the indirect climate impacts of biofuels that distinguish between “good and bad biofuel pathways,” Reuters has learned. (Reuters)
Bill would ease ethanol rule when corn stocks low
Two U.S. lawmakers are seeking to dilute the requirement to blend increasing amounts of ethanol into the nation’s motor fuel mix, aiming to alleviate upward pressure on food prices when corn supplies are short. (Reuters)
September: SUV the Planet
October 4, 2011 5:30 P.M.
By Henry Payne
Under pressure from the White House, Ford removed an ad last month dissing the UAW bailout — an ad that had embarrassed an administration spinning the narrative that it had saved the industry. But with September’s sales numbers, there’s more egg on the White House face: The companies they rescued are prospering because they are selling giant, Obama-hated, gas-guzzling SUVs like hotcakes. (Planet Gore)
Call for Energy Price Controls: Has the 1970s Experience Been Forgotten? (hidden perils of a $3.50/gallon federal price cap)
October 3, 2011
[Editor note: Tomorrow, economist Michael Giberson will critically assess government ‘price gouging’ laws.]
As an economist, whenever I hear the word “shortage” I wait for the other shoe to drop. That other shoe is usually “price control.”
– Thomas Sowell, “Electricity Shocks California,” January 11, 2001.
Like Bill Murray’s weatherman character in the movie Groundhog Day, the American public is obliged to relive certain bad ideas again and again (and again).
Like the movie the idea of price controls for energy keeps coming back, but will we, like Murray’s weatherman, reexamine what leads us to relive such unworkable concepts? The latest contestant in this march of folly was posted recently in the Atlantic Monthly’s business blog. (MasterResource)
Turbulence hits EU airline pollution scheme
Source: Financial Times
By Andrew Parker in London
Airlines face being caught up in a global trade war as opposition grows to the European Union’s controversial plan to make carriers pay for their pollution, the aviation industry’s main representative body warned on Monday.
Tony Tyler, director-general of the International Air Transport Association, told the Financial Times there was a genuine risk that countries outside the EU would take retaliatory action against the bloc’s plan to bring airlines within its carbon emissions trading scheme from January.
On Thursday, an advocate general to the European Court of Justice will issue an opinion on a request by US airlines for non-European carriers to be excluded from the EU scheme. This should give a steer on the subsequent ruling by the ECJ, which the European Commission is confident will side with the EU rather than the US airlines. (SPPI)
Volts For China?
Industrial Policy: Unable to sell its electric cars here, Government Motors plans to partner with the Chinese and possibly give away its taxpayer-funded technology. The administration’s industrial policy picks another loser.
Here we thought the purpose of President Obama’s green jobs and green energy policies was to embrace the technologies and energy sources of the future in order to compete with countries like China. Instead, taxpayer dollars may have once again been wasted — this time to provide jobs for and technology to those we should be competing with.
General Motors Corp., whose international headquarters is in Shanghai, has announced it would be developing an electric car platform with its longtime Chinese partner, the Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corporation (SAIC). The question is why. GM would of necessity have to share some of its technology with the Chinese at the same time it was aiding a U.S. competitor. (IBD)
Breaking Oil’s Monopoly on Transportation
I’ve been thinking about an op-ed in Tuesday’s New York Times written by a former National Security Advisor and a former CIA chief. They propose breaking oil’s monopoly on transportation fuels by introducing more fuel competition at the point of use. This isn’t a new idea, nor is their preferred tactic of requiring all vehicles sold in the US to be flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) capable of running on a variety of fuels. I looked at this in April, following another op-ed by Mr. Woolsey, and several times previously in conjunction with the Open Fuel Standards Act, a piece of unpassed–so far as I know–federal legislation designed to put such competition into effect. The idea is as interesting as it has always been, though several trends pose new challenges for its ultimate success.
The op-ed was apparently timed to mark the introduction of a new group called the United States Energy Security Council, the membership of which constitutes a who’s who of national security and energy leaders. The Council’s issue statement is worth a read and stands apart from some other similarly-well-intended efforts for its clear recognition that our energy security problem with oil has nearly nothing to do with electricity, and thus won’t lend itself to leverage from renewable electricity sources until large numbers of electric vehicles are on the road. That could take decades, as I’ve noted elsewhere. However, I wish the group had spent more time pondering the source of oil’s natural monopoly in transportation energy, because I think it might have given them pause concerning methanol, one of the competing fuels they’re trying to promote. (Energy Tribune)
U.S. Battery, Plug-in Car Push Costs Exceed Rewards, New Study Says
U.S. government incentives to spur a market for battery-powered autos aren’t a cost-effective way to cut oil use and tailpipe emissions compared with boosting sales of hybrids and plug-in cars that go short distances on electricity, a study said.
Battery breakthroughs, more-expensive oil and a more- efficient electric power grid will be needed to justify the expense, weight, and assembly-related costs of “large battery pack” cars, according to the review by Carnegie Mellon University, Arizona State University and Rand Corp., published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Hybrids similar to Toyota Motor Corp.’s Prius and plug-in hybrids that go about 10 miles on battery power offer fuel-use and carbon-exhaust savings similar to more advanced rechargeable models such as Nissan Motor Co.’s electric Leaf and General Motors Co. (GM)’s Volt, and at lower cost, the study found. (Bloomberg)
Hyundai Motor not planning all-electric cars: reports
A vice chairman of Hyundai Motor said South Korea’s top automaker does not plan to mass-produce a pure electric vehicle, expressing skepticism about the future of the much-touted technology, according to media reports. (Reuters)
Electric Car Revolution Remains a Distant Prospect
The Frankfurt Motor Show is devoting an entire exhibition hall to electric mobility this year — but truly marketable electric vehicles are conspicuous by their absence. The technology is being developed more slowly than expected. It will be a long time before the world can bid farewell to the combustion engine. (Spiegel)
Ford’s Green Pose
September 13, 2011 1:00 P.M.
By Henry Payne
Under its environmentalist chairman, Bill Ford, Ford Motor Company has preened green, touting its “Ecoboost” engines and hiring Hollywood greenie Ed “Ford Gets it” Begley Jr. as its 2011 Detroit Auto Show spokesman to tout its commitment to a zero-emission electric world.
So this month, Ford began spreading its gospel to the world with construction on a new $1 billion electric manufacturing plant in India, right? Wrong. The new facility will produce 270,000 internal combustion engines a year as Ford targets a goal of 50 percent global growth by the middle of this decade to 8 million vehicles a year.
That’s a lotta ICE engines. So much for Ford’s other goal of decreasing global emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
Clearly, Ford separates the green church from the state of its bottom line. (Planet Gore)
Analysis: Electric car hype hiding a quiet revolution
Electric cars and hybrids may be capturing headlines and the imagination of green-leaning consumers around the world as one automaker after another announces plans to push into the brave new world of fossil fuel-free mobility.
But away from the spotlight, carmakers have been quietly delivering significant cuts in CO2 emissions with some re-engineering of internal combustion engines, technology advances, weight reduction and aerodynamic improvements.
Increasingly stringent fuel economy standards in Europe and the United States that were mandated due to climate change concerns have been the main catalyst. Yet with rising fuel prices and a waxing awareness of global warming, consumers have also been clamoring for more fuel-efficient vehicles. (Reuters)
Does this Fat Make Me Look Green?
The Department of Energy’s daily compilation of stories they believe will make their black hole for hard-earned taxpayer money look edgy and swell includes a fashionable note today:
LATER ALLIGATOR: Per The New York Times, researchers at the University of Louisiana think they have identified a potential source for biodiesel that currently goes straight to landfills: alligator fat, about 15 million pounds of it every year: http://goo.gl/jtEsn
So. This is what an agency designed to reduce our dependence on foreign oil (squirrel!) is on to now. Who would have thought the handbag industry would get America moving again? Yes, yes, I know. It beats using the stuff that works and of which we have more than anyone else.
UPDATE: An IER expert writes in to temper my enthusiasm. “Hey…1.25 million gallons is 1/36000th of our diesel consumption, so if we just find 35,999 other species to grind up into our tanks, we’re home free.” (American Spectator)
August Volt/Leaf Sales
August sales are out for the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt.
It’s no longer even a real competition as the Leaf is beating the Volt more than 4 to 1. Chevy moved 302 Volts, Nissan sold 1362 Leafs. Nissan looks good by comparison to Chevy, but the number is still far short of their goal to sell half-a-million EV’s a year by 2013. (Daily Bayonet)