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Dickinson to Durban » Summer Reading Responses

Base Load: Where Renewable Energy Resources Fall Short

by Sam Parker ’12 Many, including myself, are demanding a looking for a “renewable energy revolution” and a low carbon economy in this country and the rest of the world.  For the future of our children and our planet, this is something that is an absolute necessity, but often what it lost in this thought is the concept of Base Load or Base Demand.  For those who may not know, defines base load as “the constant or permanent load on a power supply”.  Essentially, all those things are run all day in your home (i.e. refrigerators, heat, a/c, clocks, etc.), place a demand on energy supply all of the time.  Now, how does a renewable energy system work with base load? Not very well.  At present, our base load energy requirements, as well as peak demand … Read entire article »

Filed under: Carbon Markets, Climate Change, Mosaic Action, Summer Reading Responses

What America Can (and should) Learn from Europe

By Timothy Damon ’12 America has a long and proud history of firsts – the first airplane, the first man on the moon, and so forth. This heritage makes it all the more surprising that the United States would give up its leadership in innovation when it comes to the world’s greatest problem: climate change. One of the largest examples is allowing Europe to establish the first-ever market mechanism for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In 2005, the European Union (EU) implemented the Emissions Trading System (ETS), a cap-and-trade system aimed at reducing its GHG emissions. The principle of cap-and-trade (C&T) is relatively simple, and the idea actually came from a previous program the US EPA used to fight acid rain pollution. Basically the government sets an annual limit on GHG emissions … Read entire article »

Filed under: Carbon Markets, Climate Change, Summer Reading Responses

Climate Policy for Dummies

By Dani Thompson ’12 climate change lingo The “Lingo” All definitions below are based on usage in terms of U.S. climate change policy… Market-based approach: A way to control and/or regulate carbon emissions via the economic system. This approach is used in contrast to traditional regulations such as those imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Cap-and-trade: A market-based approach to lower CO2 emissions by distributing carbon “pollution permits”. These permits can be bought, traded, and sold among all parties involved. The number of permits available will be limited so that a “cap” of total carbon emissions will be established. This cap can be lowered to further minimize emissions in the future. In this approach amount of emissions is certain, but cost of permits is not. (Keohane) Safety valve: An optional addition to the cap-and-trade approach which would … Read entire article »

Filed under: Summer Reading Responses

The Key To International Negotiations?

by Claire Tighe ’13 In order to maintain a livable atmosphere for life on Earth, big polluters such as the United States, need to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions. Without either a carbon cap-and-trade system or a carbon tax imposed by the federal government, the future of climate change looks bleak, particularly in relation to the pending international climate change agreements (For a great introduction of the dynamics and concerns of the cap-and-trade system, see Holme Hummel’s slideshow). As economist Nat Keohane presents in his video about cap-and-trade here, a concrete, comprehensive domestic emissions restriction will encourage other international states to create their own policies, or even sign onto a post-Kyoto agreement. If competing countries, such as China, see that the United States has made a commitment to cut carbon, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Carbon Markets, Climate Change, Key COP17 Issues, Summer Reading Responses