Is Precision Agriculture the Way to Peak Cropland?

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Precision agriculture—a set of technologies that optimize inputs to maximize yields—may be the most important innovation for peaking farming's land footprint in the twenty-first century. In this essay, Breakthrough's conservation director Linus Blomqvist and Applied Innovation's David Douglas examine trends in food demand and crop yields, uncovering how precision technologies like sensors and GPS-guided tractors can help farmers grow more food on less land. (Image credit: Stockr/Shutterstock)

December 7, 2016 |

As threats to wildlife and habitats go, the global expansion of farmland – including land used for crops and livestock – is unrivaled. Forests, grasslands, and wetlands representing more than two-fifths of the earth’s ice-free surface have given way to farming. Over the past half century alone, farmland has grown by more than 400 million hectares – an area nearly half the size of the United States. More than half of recent agricultural expansion in the tropics has come at the expense of old-growth forests. Conversion of natural habitats to farmland has been a leading cause of precipitous declines in terrestrial wildlife populations, which on average fell by more than half between 1970 and 2012.

As threats to wildlife and habitats go, the global expansion of farmland – including land used for crops and livestock – is unrivaled. Forests, grasslands, and wetlands representing more than two-fifths of the earth’s ice-free surface have given way to farming.1 Over the past half century alone, farmland has grown by more than 400 million hectares2 – an area nearly half the size of the United States. More than half of recent agricultural expansion in the tropics has come at the expense of old-growth forests.3 Conversion of natural habitats to farmland has been a leading cause of precipitous declines in terrestrial wildlife populations, which on average fell by more than half between 1970 and 2012.4

If farmland continues to grow over the next several decades, the consequences for habitats and wildlife would be dire. As such, slowing, halting, and eventually reversing the growth in agricultural area must be a top priority – perhaps the top priority – for global conservation.

“Peak farmland” itself does not guarantee an end to habitat loss, since other land uses, especially cities, are expanding.5 And since farming is shifting from temperate to tropical regions, deforestation in the latter could continue, even if farmland stopped expanding on a net global basis.3 Regardless, peak farmland would take a whole lot of pressure off forests and other natural habitats, and enable greater opportunities for conservation efforts like protected areas.

The challenge is daunting. By midcentury, the global population will be approaching ten billion,6 and demand for crops in 2050 could be twice as high as in 2005.7 Crop yields – the amount of crops harvested per unit of land – will have to rise by at least as much as crop demand to avoid further encroachment of cropland into natural habitats.

Dramatic increases in crop yields would not be unprecedented. In the twentieth century, a powerful package of technologies, including better seeds, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, irrigation, and machinery, boosted yields by a factor of two or three, first in the United States and Europe, and later in much of the rest of the world, in what became known as the Green Revolution.8–11

But today, with the exception of Sub-Saharan Africa, this crude but effective recipe has mostly run its course. Applying more fertilizers will increase pollution, not yields. Irrigation has only a modest potential to expand, as many rivers and aquifers are already tapped and subject to many competing demands.12 The groundbreaking new rice and wheat varieties that underpinned early yield gains in places like India and the Philippines were a one-off boost that cannot easily be repeated. Furthermore, several major crop-producing regions have seen yields stagnate in recent years,13 and “yield gaps” – the difference between current and potential yield at a given location – are getting smaller for many crops.14,15

This poses two questions: what sorts of innovations can drive yield improvements once the basic set of modern farming technologies have been adopted – that is, post-Green Revolution – and can these new methods drive rapid enough gains for the world to meet rising food demand without further growth in cropland?

Much of the debate on this issue has focused on biotech, and particularly genetically modified organisms (GMOs). But the emphasis on GMOs – and the heated debates it has given rise to – risks obscuring the bigger picture. In the past few decades, innovators, agronomists, and farmers have developed a powerful suite of technologies and practices under the banner of precision agriculture, which has played a large and underappreciated role in driving up yields and reducing pollution. Looking forward, precision agriculture presents some of the best opportunities to meeting growing global food demand while minimizing environmental impacts. As such, it needs to become a central component of the conversation about agricultural innovation and sustainability.
 

Precision Farming: The Unsung Hero of Agricultural Innovation

The Green Revolution averted a looming food security crisis and spared vast land areas from being converted to cropland, greatly attenuating the loss of wildlife and natural habitats.10,16,17 It also had manifold negative impacts, including pollution from nutrient overload and pesticides, freshwater depletion, and social disruption.10,18 Many of these negative impacts, however, have been mitigated over time, as production increases are stemming less from increasing inputs like water and fertilizers, and more from smarter farming decisions, including more efficient use of these inputs. By one estimate, chemical inputs, land, irrigation, and area expansion accounted for 93% of increased global agricultural production at the height of the Green Revolution in the 1970s, but only 27% in the 2000s. The rest – now representing about three-quarters of production growth – comes from what is called total factor productivity, or more simply, efficiency.19

After a period of blunt and wasteful applications of fertilizers, pesticides, water, and other inputs, agriculture, especially in developed countries, has been cleaning up its act. Farming in many parts of the world has entered an era of “sustainable intensification,” where production continues to increase but with less and less inputs and pollution for each ton of output. Perhaps because of the incremental nature of this shift, it has often escaped notice.

The share of fertilizers that is not taken up by crops and thus escapes into water and air has been declining for decades in developed countries.20–22 In the United States, pesticides have declined both in terms of the absolute amount used and in terms of toxicity.23 Soil erosion is on the decline in developed countries, as is the amount of water used per ton of crops in irrigated farming.20,24 And, by one estimate, global farming generates about 40% fewer greenhouse gas emissions per unit of production than it did 50 years ago.25

Alongside these improvements in input efficiency, yields have also continued to improve, as a result of ongoing seed improvements and what is known as precision agriculture: using the right inputs, in the right amounts, at the right time, for each field and crop.

A new wave of innovators and venture capitalists has brought precision farming to the forefront in the last few years. A long list of promising, if not widely adopted, advanced technologies ranging from satellite imagery to big data to drones is in various stages of development and deployment.26 But while these technologies grab headlines, a set of more prosaic technologies has made precision farming the unsung hero of agricultural advancement, yield gains, and lower environmental impacts for decades.

A big reason precision farming has raised yields in past decades is, perhaps, also the least sexy: plant density. With corn, for example, farmers have gone from 30,000 plants per hectare in the 1930’s to over 80,000 today.27 The implications for how much corn can be produced on a given piece of land are obvious. These gains have been driven by a range of technologies including GPS-driven tractors that can drive straight, tight rows, and planters that can put individual seeds at specified distances.26,28


A GPS-enabled tractor receives detailed location data from satellites to plough crop fields in perfectly straight lines. 

In addition to higher density, higher precision in the application of fertilizers, pesticides, and water helps ensure that fewer plants suffer deficiencies at any time, while also greatly reducing excess applications.14 No plant left behind, one might say. Today it is increasingly recognized that applying smaller amounts of fertilizer at multiple times over the growing season, rather than dumping all of it around the time of planting, can avoid both leaching of fertilizer into the water supplies and late-season nutrient scarcity that can hamper growth.29 New equipment can apply liquid fertilizer right at the base of the plant,30 such that each plant gets its fair share, and vary the application rates across the field in response to small-scale variations in soil conditions.31

Behind these improved machines are farmers equipped with improved data and decision support tools, which help to make better decisions throughout the growing season. Analytics help farmers decide what and when to plant, how densely to plant the seeds, and when water and fertilizer is needed. Increasingly these decisions are optimized for each field based on location, local weather, and soil type.32

While new tools and machinery are important to precision farming with increased yields and efficiencies, few of these practices would have been possible without concomitant developments in breeding and genetics, which are inseparable and co-evolving.27,33 Higher plant density, for instance, can only work with seeds that are bred to cope better in crowded conditions.27,34

Not every yield-boosting farming practice falls under the banner of precision agriculture. Earlier planting, which gives crops more time to grow before harvest, has made an important contribution to raising yields in many places, including the United States.33,35 Crop breeding that confers greater resistance to drought, pests, waterlogging, and cold also contributes to yield improvements.27
 

Is Peak Cropland in Sight?

With developing countries still squeezing the last drops out of the Green Revolution, and developed countries seeing gains from precision agriculture, global yields have, on average, increased steadily over the entire period from 1960 to today.36 But this does not necessarily mean that we are on track to meet future food demand without further expansion of cropland.

Forecasts for how much more crops the world will need in 2050 vary. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) projected an increase in crop demand by 56% between 2006 and 2050.37 Tim Searchinger and colleagues adjusted this forecast to account for revised population growth estimates and the need to ensure adequate nutrition in all world regions, arriving at 69% higher crop demand in 2050 compared to 2006.12 David Tilman and colleagues, using a different methodology, estimated that crop demand would grow by a daunting 100% between 2005 and 2050.7 These estimates do not assume significant growth in biofuels, perhaps the biggest wild card in the equation. They also, quite realistically, do not assume radical reductions in meat consumption or food waste.

While population forecasts and predicted dietary changes explain some of the discrepancies in the food demand scenarios, they cannot explain all of it. Different assumptions about beef production are another important factor. Cattle finished in feedlots are fed grains, in contrast to those raised entirely on pasture. The highest figure for future crop demand7 is based on the assumption that more livestock will be finished in feedlots, thus requiring more grains, whereas the lower two forecasts12,37 assume little change in the overall global proportions of pasture- and feedlot-finished cattle. However, increased use of feedlots reduces the area of pasture faster than it increases the area of cropland, leading to a net reduction in total farmland.38

If demand for crops grows faster than yields, the area required to meet that demand increases. To get a sense of whether we are on track towards peak farmland or not, we need to compare these two trajectories. To do so, the first thing to note is that yields, the amount of crops produced in each harvest, tend to grow linearly, not exponentially, which means that a roughly constant amount is added to the average harvest every year.13 For cereals, this has been a bit over 40 kg per hectare per year, but with increasing yields, the percentage change has dropped from about 3% per year in the early 1960s to about 1% today.12

Projecting historical yield trends for cereals gets us about 45% higher yields in 2050 compared to 2010.12 Deepak Ray and colleagues forecast yields to grow by 67% for corn, 42% for rice, 38% for wheat, and 55% for soybean between 2008 and 2050.39

Most of these forecasts have yields growing slower than projected demand up to 2050, implying that more land would need to be converted to cropland to meet demand. The upshot is that to avoid further expansion of cropland, yields would have to grow faster in the next few decades than they have in previous decades.

Without this acceleration, cropland may need to expand by hundreds of millions of hectares in order to meet demand, potentially exceeding the combined expansion of cropland and pasture between 1960 and 2010.40,41

In addition to increasing the amount of crops in each harvest, farmers can also, under certain circumstances, raise total production by doing more harvests per year. This has contributed to increased production over the past few decades, and could continue to do so in some places,42 although the potential for this is disputed.12

In sum, cropland expansion is not inevitable – but to avoid it, the world probably needs the optimistic scenarios for both crop demand and yields to come true.

A net expansion of cropland between now and 2050 would not necessarily imply that peak cropland is not in sight – only that it will occur at a level higher than today. As more and more people around the world reach the limit of how much food, especially meat, they want to consume, and as population growth continues to abate, global crop demand inevitably slows down. This might allow yield growth rates to overtake demand growth rates and thus start shrinking global cropland area. Peak cropland might be on the horizon – the question is just how much damage will have been done to natural habitats by the time it occurs.
 

Yields: How Much Higher Can They Go?

All of these projections of crop demand and yields are, of course, speculative. How much crops humanity will need by 2050 is sensitive to population growth rates, income growth, dietary preferences, and whether cattle are fed with forage or grains. Wildcards such as the possible diffusion of lab-grown meat are, understandably, totally missing.

Future yield gains are perhaps even more uncertain. There is no guarantee that crop yields will continue rising the way they have over the past half century, a period when the Green Revolution offered an unprecedented, largely one-off boost to yields through relatively simple means like irrigation and fertilizers.

One major challenge to rising global yields is that, in the next few decades, agriculture will have to increasingly grapple with the effects of climate change. While some of these effects, like higher CO2, can boost photosynthesis and yields, increases in droughts, floods, and extreme heat could have major negative impacts.43

But even in a stable climate, yields might not be able to go up forever. There are already worrying signs that yields in certain regions are growing more slowly than in the past, or not growing at all.13,44 In less developed regions, this can be explained by inadequate access to inputs, lack of education, poorly functioning markets, and the like.13,44 Here, yields could begin or resume their upward trajectory if these barriers were removed. More concerning, however, is the evidence that yields in highly productive parts of the world, where markets, technology and so on present less of an obstacle, are starting to stagnate.

Patricio Grassini and colleagues found that areas representing more than one-fifth of global rice, wheat, and corn production have reached what they call “upper yield plateaus” in the last one or two decades.13 This includes one-third of rice production, 27% of wheat production, and 5% of corn production. Upper yield plateaus are now present for rice in California, China, and Korea; wheat in India and northwest Europe; and corn in France and Italy.

While the cause of these trends is hard to establish definitively, we cannot rule out that it is due to crops in these places approaching their potential yields – the yields that could be achieved with the best cultivars and under optimal management, with adequate water and nutrients and without any stress from pests or diseases. These potential yields, which are typically assessed at local or regional levels, are in theory only limited by sunlight and temperature.45 (Under rainfed farming, temporary scarcities of water, which hamper plant growth, have to be taken into account in making a realistic estimate of potential yields across multiple years in any given place.)

With any given set of cultivars, the room for further growth through better agricultural practices is referred to as the “yield gap” – the difference between current and potential yield at a given location.

Potential yields are not fixed, and can be raised, most importantly by creating seeds that have greater photosynthetic capacity and that allocate more of their biomass to the part of the plant that is harvested for human consumption. Breeding that improves resistance to pests, droughts, cold, and other stressors are critical to raising yields on farms, but they don’t count towards potential yields in the strict sense, which assumes that such stressors are absent.45

There are many ways of estimating potential yields, each with its own limitations.45 Rigorous estimates are relatively few and far between, but those that do exist give us a decent picture of the prospects for further yield gains in the most important crops. One should not, however, assume that the potential yield will ever be realized in practice. Farmers do not optimize for yield, but for profit.45 The smaller the yield gap, the harder and more expensive it gets to raise yields, and, at some point, diminishing returns make it uneconomic to try to push yields any further.

For rice, there is little evidence of improvements in potential yields since the first semi-dwarf varieties were introduced several decades ago, and the yield gap appears to be closing in key rice-producing countries like China, Japan, Korea, and India.13,14,46,47 However, there are reasons to think that recent advances in breeding could lift the potential yields significantly. Hybrid rice cultivars can deliver a 15% boost compared to the more commonly used inbred varieties, and new cultivars like the Chinese “super rice” can go even higher.46–49 Meanwhile, large yield gaps persist in many parts of the world – Nigeria, for instance, could nearly triple its rice yields.50

Similarly, corn appears to have seen little if any improvements in potential yields in recent decades, although when resistance to stresses like plant crowding is taken into account, the yields that have been possible with the best practical management have indeed risen significantly.33,51,52 US corn yields, especially on irrigated land, might be approaching a ceiling, although in most regions, several more tons can probably be squeezed out of each hectare.45,53 Elsewhere in the world, corn yields could be dramatically increased. Places like Ethiopia, India, and Kenya are at less than 14% of their potential – allowing for yields to increase by a factor of four or five.50

Wheat stands out as a major cereal crop where significant and consistent progress on potential yields has taken place over the past few decades.46,47 Field experiments in the United Kingdom show that potential yields have actually grown faster than average farm yields, at least until the last decade.33 This would suggest the yield gap has been widening rather than shrinking, giving hope that yields could continue to rise for the foreseeable future. As with rice and corn, many parts of the developing world, such as India and Bangladesh, have yields at less than half their potential for irrigated wheat.50

The number we would all like to see is the global yield gap – how much more crops the world could produce on existing farmland, with existing technologies. Most attempts so far have measured yields within broad climate zones, and defined the yield gap as the difference between the average yields and those in the most productive part of the climate zone.54 A variety of such estimates have tended to cluster around 50%.55–57

Like predictions of future food demand, these estimates are fraught with uncertainty, and are probably not particularly reliable.54 On the one hand, they may not accurately take into account limits on key inputs such as water, both in the form of rain and irrigation potential. On the other hand, by defining potential yields as the highest yields in a region, they do not account for the fact that even those top achievers might be performing well below their potential, especially in places like Sub-Saharan Africa.

How do these factors add up? So far, it is impossible to tell, and we will probably have to wait for projects like the Global Yield Gap Atlas to give us more robust estimates at larger scales.54

Even though the size of the yield gaps, especially at the global level, are unclear, what seems almost certain is that potential yields are not growing at a rate consistent with meeting a 40-70% increase in food demand by 2050.33,46 This means that, even if average farm yields can keep pace with growing demand, the yield gap is likely to shrink, making incremental gains more and more difficult to achieve. This is not a time to sit back and expect peak cropland to spontaneously occur.
 

Agricultural Innovation In the Post-Green Revolution Era

The Green Revolution has not yet reached every corner of the world. Sub-Saharan Africa stands out as the region where farming has modernized the least. For lack of locally adapted seeds and inputs like fertilizers and irrigation – as well as poor infrastructure, markets, and institutions –yields in this region have grown only marginally.8,10,58 The Green Revolution recipe, crude but effective, could still work wonders for this region.59,60 But as more and more of the world has adopted the Green Revolution’s technologies and practices, and as yields gaps likely narrow, it is going to be increasingly difficult to squeeze more crops out of each hectare. This portends an increased role for innovation, as fine-tuning modern agricultural systems requires ever more advanced technology.

Debates around agricultural innovation today often center on the use of biotech and, in particular, GMOs. Widespread resistance to these technologies has been a real obstacle to progress, likely having slowed both innovation and adoption.61,62 If this resistance remains, there is a real risk that important and useful opportunities in crop breeding will be lost. This includes transgenics, where a gene is transferred from one organism to another to confer a particular trait, but also other emerging techniques like gene editing.

Yet despite its outsized attention, genetic engineering is only one of many components of agricultural innovation. First of all, not all biotech is about genetic modification per se. Marker-assisted selection and many other techniques are making a difference to crop breeding without much public opposition.46

Secondly, not all progress in crop germplasm is about biotech. The vast majority of genetic improvements to date have come from conventional breeding,46 where parent seeds are crossed and the best performing progeny are selected for further rounds – a practice that dates back many hundreds of years. Old-school empirical breeding is still the chief way to improve potential yields of crops, since the genetic basis for photosynthesis is far more complex than can be fixed by changing one or a handful of individual genes though genetic engineering.46

GMOs, or more specifically transgenics, have made a noticeable difference to yields of corn, soy, and cotton, by improving resistance to certain pests and enabling conservation tillage, which, in turn, allows for earlier planting and thus more time for the plants to grow.33,63–66

There is every reason to believe that genetic modification, through transgenics and other techniques like gene editing, can continue improving plants’ resistance to stresses like droughts, flooding, cold, and heat, thereby raising yields.67 Even here, though, traditional breeding has so far made faster progress than GM techniques in many cases.68,69 As such, traditional breeding will likely remain a mainstay of genetic improvement for the foreseeable future.46

Thirdly, and most importantly, far from all progress in yields and environmental sustainability is about genetics. Advances in agronomy have to date been at least as important in pushing up yields as has genetics, and there is good reason to think that this will remain the case.

The potential of precision technologies, in particular, is far from fully tapped. Most of today’s precision tools help create uniformity. Closer, straighter rows or single-seed planting are not about adjusting to small-scale variations across fields as much as being consistently accurate and precise over large areas. Tailoring the application of water, nutrients, and other inputs to very fine scales – down to the square meter or even individual plants – is increasingly possible, but its potential to boost yields is, at this point, less well established.14

Many of the tools already exist, including tractor implements that can vary the application of inputs across a field.70 Sensors are becoming better and cheaper, and will increasingly allow farmers to monitor a host of variables, including humidity, soil nutrient content, and even the amount of crops harvested at ever smaller spatial scales.70 Furthermore, per-plant management is already a regular practice in very high-value crops, such as wine grapes, with an expectation that these techniques can be adapted over time to crops with lower per-plant value.26

The weakest link in precision technology today is often the knowledge of how best to use it.14 Just because it is mechanically possible to put different amounts of fertilizer or water in each part of a field does not mean that we know the best amount to put there. Companies, from the biggest corporations to well-funded startups, are investing heavily in the data collection, analytics and decision-support systems that will allow farmers to optimally use precision capabilities.71,72 However, this new wave of agronomic decision support is in its very early stages, and its promise yet to be fulfilled.

In some ways, precision agriculture takes us back to the future. In some developing countries, very small farms tend to have marginally higher yields than somewhat larger farms.73 This can in part be explained by the relatively higher labor input on small farms, which can rely largely on unremunerated family labor.73 Under these circumstances, it is possible to check on every corner of the field on a daily basis, pull out weeds individually, and apply grains of fertilizer in little cups next to each plant – also known as microdosing.

The way that records in the US yield contests are achieved draw from the hands-on farming of the past and today’s practices in developing countries. One of the lessons of these records – as well as the very high yields in field experiments – is simply very intensive, fine-grained management in both space and time, which takes very small-scale variations into account and target management decisions at fine scales.74,75 This is done by farmers and agronomists visiting their plots more frequently, observing the plants and the soils, and fine-tuning their operational plan.74

For all but the poorest countries, these labor-intensive practices are often impractical and uneconomic. Families are smaller, food is cheap and more widely available, and labor is more valuable in other sectors of the economy. In modern, intensive farming, equipment may only go through the field a handful of times per year and the ratio of land to people is such that a very small fraction of the land is visited on foot in any given year.

But today, robots, drones, sensors, and AI software are beginning to make it possible to employ the sort of intensive, fine-grained management practiced by poor farmers and yield contest winners at scales that have been previously unimaginable.26 Soil properties that affect crop performance on the scale of weeks or even days may one day be measured or remotely sensed in ten-square-meter units as compared to every 10 or 100 hectares. Application of fertilizers may be adapted to each little corner of a field, as opposed to a uniform rate across an entire farm.

In short, global agriculture might follow the evolution of global manufacturing from hand crafting to mass production to mass customization, giving each plant the benefit of hand crafting, but with the efficiency of mass production.

The 30 odd years from now until 2050 is a long time in the fast-paced world of innovation. There is no reason to believe that our vision of 2050 agricultural practice will be any more accurate than a 1980’s corn farmer walking into a corn farming operation today. Our GPS-driven tractors, harvesters that create detailed yield maps, and seeds that resist common diseases and pests and can thrive at unheard-of plant densities would all seem other-worldly to a 1980s time traveler. And remember that our 1980s corn farmer had never heard of the Internet.

As a result, there is no reason to believe that we can even enumerate all of the technologies that will be making a difference in crop yield or demand in 2050. Maybe some important ideas will come out of indoor farming and be successfully adapted at mass scale. Maybe our increasing insight into the role of the microbiome in the health of all macro-organisms will yield a wonder, pro-biotic seed coating. Or maybe, like the Internet or GPS, an innovation will be so fantastic that, sitting here 30 years prior, we can’t even see it coming.

In the end, none of these technologies, evolutionary or revolutionary, will be adopted overnight, and their diffusion will depend not just on their cost but also on broader socioeconomic factors.76 Neither success nor failure is inevitable – a lot depends on the choices that are made today by farmers, corporations, nation-states, and international organizations. Progress in breeding and agronomy have been, and will likely continue to be, closely correlated with the resources invested in technological innovation through research in both the public and private sectors, and in agricultural extension to ensure rapid technology transfer.17,77–80

Much work remains to be done to reach peak farmland while minimizing agriculture’s harmful impacts on the environment. Yet the technologies and practices that are being developed and adopted today give us plenty of hope that this can ultimately be achieved.


Comments

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By Another comment on 2012 09 12


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By comment 1 on 2012 09 12


@Peter: Thanks for the comment. I'm glad you hold Breakthrough Institute to a high standard, which we appreciate.

We're actually nearing completion on a comprehensive review of the current state of the art in analysis, modeling, and empirical research into the rebound effect, so stay tuned in January for a very detailed look at this key issue.

You are right that rebound effects do not always eliminate 100% of the energy gains from energy efficiency measures -- a scenario known as "backfire." As you note, however, rebound effects are very real, and have been largely ignored in contemporary energy policymaking. Rebound effects at macroeconomic scales are quite significant, and backfire is even likely in certain circumstances.

To date, most American energy analysts will argue that rebound effects are "real but not significant" and often cite a range of 10-30% as the amount of efficiency savings "taken back" by rebound effects.

Those figures however trace their origin back to a good but limited study of energy consumption rebound among consumers in wealthy countries -- but these are precisely the scope of analysis and sectors of the economy where rebound would be lowest.

Two-thirds of global energy use is in the productive sectors of the economy (industry and business) and there, direct rebounds are typically much larger. Meanwhile, greater and greater shares of energy consumption are in the developing economies, where rebound is also greater, as demand for energy is far from saturated there, and improving the productivity of energy has profound impacts for the pace of economic expansion.

Studies of these micro-scale (or "direct") rebound effects are useful, but efficiency advocates in the U.S. have latched onto this limited research, which (intentionally or unintentionally) distracts attention from macro-rebound, indirect rebound and rebounds in developing nations.

Remember, for Jevons, his focus was on the macroeconomic impacts that are most important, and this was all intuitive. Increase the productivity of any factor and you increase both demand for all factors as well as economic output.

Now, 150 years later, as we consider the ability of efficiency to deliver lasting emissions reductions at a global scale, a growing body of research utilizing a variety of empirical, modeling, and economic methods have shed new light on these complex macroeconomic dynamics in which full-scale rebound resides, and in which the the scale of rebound does indeed become very significant.

And let's all remember, that the only scope that really matters from a climate perspective is the full scale of rebound in the global economy (e.g. one climate, one global economy).

Rebound effects are thus far more significant at this scale of analysis than generally believed, and while Owen may miss the mark once or twice, he is more right than not in his article, and worth reading closely. Stay tuned though for the kind of "nuanced analysis" on the rebound effect you've been looking for in early 2011. Take care,

Jesse Jenkins
Director of Energy and Climate Policy
Breakthrough Institute

By Jesse Jenkins on 2010 12 23


The point you make is a valid one, but your use of characterizing the environmentalist worldview as polarized completely discredits your argument. When people think of "will Change A solve Problem B," there are always entire sets of issues to look at in the middle. Policy is a huge problem with GE crops when it comes down to "patenting life" and who ends up with the cash in their pocket. If GE crops are supposed to prevent human suffering, there's going to need to be some major shifts in economic thinking in order for those crops to get the the people who need them in an affordable way. The insufficient amount of isolated field experiments prior to mass employment is also a problem. We know a lot, but nature's systems are tricky, which requires very very little room for human error. In regard to nuclear, it would be advised that you mention the issues surrounding the waste, which is a primary ecological concern, and what many consider long lasting proof of our hubris. And in reference to the previous comment, the "magic wand" question is completely ridiculous. If you believe that carbon emissions are the only thing we need to confront, you're living under a concrete block. It's definitely the most dramatic, and time-sensitive, but because of that, it's overshadowing other emergencies. What kind of world do you want to live in, and provide for your children? One where people are packed cheek to jowl in steel cities, all of our food now a creation of our intellect and absent any connection to where we had come from? One where there are no wolves, bears, eagles, whales...because they aren't essential to human survival? Humans are an amazing species with amazing potential, but it's time we start recognizing that potential, and as you advocate, actually apply our logic where we need it most.

By Jameson on 2010 05 31


Taka, thank you for your comment.



There are certainly dangers associated with uranium mining, as with any other form of mining, and those dangers are further exacerbated by risks associated with radiation exposure (although coal and other hard rock miners are often exposed to radiation as well, and the burning of coal releases relatively large amounts of uranium and other radioactive materials into the atmosphere as well).



We did not include a factoid for recent fatalities from uranium mining, and much of the earlier mining impacts, such as those in the article you cited, were fueled by demand from the military nuclear weapons apparatus, not later civilian nuclear power operations. Like the early history of coal mining (which we don't include here), the early history of uranium mining is clearly much worse than today's operations, although both coal and uranium mining still have their impacts.



It's also worth noting in this context though, that pound-for-pound, uranium is a couple orders of magnitude more "energy dense" than coal, meaning much much less uranium must be mined, processed, 'burnt' and then reprocessed or stored to produce a given amount of energy, compared to coal. In other words, whereas coal ore, fuel and waste are measured in quantities of hundreds, thousands or even billions of tons, 'equivalent' quantities or uranium are probably described in terms of hundreds of pounds or dozens of tons. Much of the environmental and human impacts of mining and waste thus scale proportionately.



In the end though, as you clearly understand, all forms of energy have their risks and impacts (which was much the point of this post), and the key is to examine their relative risks and impacts to make informed decisions about our energy supply options. Thanks for stopping by Taka. Cheers...

By Jesse Jenkins on 2010 05 17


Any new federal government programs will run into the usual quagmire of influence peddling, favoritism .

By on 2010 05 17


Oil, gas, coal, nuclear energy - is a serious threat to the planet and each of us ... Propose a mutually beneficial partnership for the project a clean energy source which is gravity. For more information visit: www.energyland.org.ua For the interested partner is ready to discuss specifics. Sincerely, Igor.

By Energyland on 2010 05 16


Thanks Phil. This is clearly a complex situation, and I'm not saying Eskom has the best plan to move forward. What I'm trying to draw attention to is the broader complexity of challenges inherent in the intersection of development, energy poverty and climate change.



For a country where energy poverty is widespread, as we agree is the case in South Africa, efficiency doesn't preclude the need for MUCH more energy. In the context of rapidly developing nations, we can talk about the most efficient EXPANSION of energy supplies and economic well-being, but clearly an absolute reduction in energy usage isn't in the cards. They'll need a LOT more energy, and if we don't want to sacrifice climate and environmental goals, we need it to be clean, and if we don't want to sacrifice economic development and poverty alleviation goals, we need it to affordable. Clean, affordable, and abundant. That's the core point I'm trying to raise. While Eskom may not have the best plan to further any of those goals, South Africa's case is emblematic of those interlocking challenges.



When it comes to balancing a renewables-only grid, the technologies "are there" in the sense that they physical exist and are known. The question is if they are affordable and readily scalable in a timely manner to meet expanding energy needs. That remains an open question and is not a trivial matter.



Thanks for the additional information about Eskom's plans. Much appreciated. Cheers,

Jesse

By Jesse Jenkins on 2010 04 02


Different people in the world take the credit loans from various banks, because that is comfortable.

By Tiffany18Callahan on 2010 04 02


As an American from the West Coast who lived in Australia for six months, I can attest to the serious and prolonged burrito drought ravaging the entirety of the continent! Anyone with the gumption to start a burrito chain in Oz could make some good money...

Great profile of a great BTGen fellow. Leigh is missed around here.
Jesse

By Jesse Jenkins on 2010 04 01


Obama should start from scratch, and look for smart, strategic investments that can solve our short-term woes while creating an economy that's built to last. Obama is the best President

By nowgoogle.com adalah multiple search engine popular on 2010 03 17


Don't argue with Bill Gates. He knows what he is saying.

By Eva on 2010 03 16


Jesse-


Sorry for taking so long to reply to your comments. I think I would characterize my position on CLEAR as a willing pragmatist, rather than an ardent supporter of a cap-and-dividend model. That said, a lot has happened since my original comment and scant little of it bodes well for passage of a Waxman-Markey type climate bill--or most any other kind of climate bill, for that matter--in 2010.


First, Democrats in my homeland of Massachusetts somehow lost the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat, fumbling what the mainstream media loves to call the Democrats' "filibuster-proof super majority" (when in actuality, the Democratic Senate Caucus has shown little ability/willingness work together to get any significant legislation passed).


Second,President Obama omitted the projected $646 billion in revenue generated by a cap-and-trade in the 2011 budget, perhaps, signaling the Obama Administration's unwillingness to get behind a pure climate bill in favor of a broader jobs bill or energy bill.


Now it's really a question of strategy. Should those advocating for climate legislation continue to push for what is arguably not the strongest cap-and-trade scheme, to be passed by what is arguably not the strongest/most united Democratic Congressional Caucus? Or might it be a better strategy to consider other alternatives? I don't necessarily mean CLEAR specifically, but state, local and regional levels have been where the real innovation in carbon markets, clean energy policy and energy efficiency has been taking place anyway.


Yes, we need federal legislation, but I think it's a mistake to assume the feds have to be the ones to lead on this issue. They will eventually come around one way or the other. But right now, there will be many more immediate victories in this whole thing if we chose to push in places that are more likely to bend.

By Tim on 2010 02 02


ruusia will come back sovit union

By adham on 2010 02 01


Glad to see your Part 2 was more favorable to the CLEAR Act. Advocates for spending the money always seem to assume the money will be well-spent. But check out the "clean" coal, nuclear, and ethanol lobbies. Anyway, there are tons of reasons to return the money to consumers instead, and I think the politics are coming around. In CA, if we wait around much longer there will be a state initiative to suspend AB32. Dividends are the best defense. I don't know where you came up with the idea that dividends are for the "elite." R&D spending benefits PhD's the most until it eventually trickles down to West Oakland in 2030. And without dividends, West Oaklanders would be paying higher prices. Hope you guys can join the CLEAR bandwagon (sure, keep asking for better targets, or for 350, or for where the CERT funding goes), but don't just be the two old guys in the balcony from the muppets.

By Mike S. on 2010 01 29


Pretending there are limitless resources available to support our current economy is the dangerous denial in question. There is no magic silver-bullet technology that makes energy cheap and clean. The obvious (and politically distasteful) answer is to fully pay for the energy we use - which means including a price on carbon for our gasoline and electricity.

The marketplace will adjust, creating entire new industries in both transportation and electricity efficiencies and conservation.

"It is not a momentous technological undertaking," to transform our economy away from fossil fuels. Its technologically possible today, and the "costs" of implementation are actually investments in our collective future.
See Dr. Saul Griffith "Climate Change Recalculated" to understand what it will take to build the renewable energy infrastructure we need.

By LMerry on 2010 01 14


TN writes, "I can find no evidence that you or any of the other prominent bloggers and columnists we cited have ever publicly rebuked Romm for his behavior, which is toxic to civil and healthy democratic discourse."

Nice addition of the "we cited" escape clause. If you look a little more broadly you get William Connolley at Stoat who went after Romm quite harshly long before your post here:

http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2009/06/foaming_at_the_mouth_with_joe.php

Now the funny thing about that is what Connolley had to say about the Superfreaks and how it contrasted with your approach:

"Joe Romm has a fairly characteristic attack; and just for a change I'll agree with him; though he chooses odd bits to assault."

http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2009/10/superfreakonomics_global_cooli.php

Personally I think Connolley is over-harsh with Romm, while I also think Romm is insufficiently cautious about his interpretations of what he's learned.

It's more than clear, however, that Superfreaks wrote a horribly-flawed chapter. While I'm no one of consequence, I was able to write three posts critiquing Levitt and Dubner without once referencing Romm, and I doubt I'm the only one.

I think the most telling part of TN's post was citing favorably to Jon Stewart's puff-piece interview of Levitt, the shoddiest work I've ever seen from Stewart. It was a content-free response that ignored the many substantive criticisms to the chapter, and here we see it repeated again, beyond a few cursory acknowledgments of errors.

By Brian Schmidt on 2009 11 08


You might get the wrong impression, although Eli would not, but some others, not Eli, whem MS writes

"You say above that you actually read the global warming chapter of their book. How curious, then, that you chose not to refer to it in your review."

But if, as Eli did, you read the post, the reason is clear.

"Wm Connolley stopped when he had found ten serious errors, so I'll continue where he left off and see if I can find ten more. To make it more of a challenge, I'm just going to look at the extract that appeared in the Sunday Times entitled "Why Everything You Think You Know About Global Warming Is Wrong"."

Roy would have been proud

By Eli Rabett on 2009 11 07


Tim,



I believe you when you say that you had exaggerated your headline to make a point. In this way your headline was consistent with your exaggerated review, which neither represented the argument of the chapter nor said anything of about what the authors got right about global warming.



Your claim that your ten complaints about the book represent "ten serious errors" is also a gross exaggeration. The first three misrepresent the Caldeira affair. All are minor. And none contradict the larger argument the chapter makes, which is that efforts to reduce emissions have failed, for good reasons. There is a huge technology and price gap between low-carbon power and fossil fuels. Apocalypse mongering will not motivate governments or their citizens to make fossil fuels more expensive. And the religious discourse on climate is counterproductive.



It's quite telling that you chose to not even represent the core argument of the book in your review. You offer not a single sentence that states the argument above. You elevated minor issues -- as did Romm and his other followers -- as a way to get reviewers and readers to dismiss the book. And above in the comments you continued to misrepresent the exchange between the authors and Caldeira.



You say above that you actually read the global warming chapter of their book. How curious, then, that you chose not to refer to it in your review.



Michael

By Michael Shellenberger on 2009 11 07


BTI might improve the quality of the cap-and-trade discussion by more technology assessment for concentrating solar with thermal storage (CCS, or as Joe Romm calls it, solar baseload) and the other elements of "all the technology we need."

The GAO has done some very good work, but it is hard to find links to it. The Vorsana site has some. Gore and other sincere proponents of climate action need to have a fact check source lest they continue to damage the cause by unrealistic technical claims.

By Wilmot McCutchen on 2009 11 07


Michael, the title of my post is hyperbole. Hyperbole is exaggeration for emphasis and is not meant literally. I chose that title to reflect the title for the Sunday Times extract which was "Why Everything You Think You Know About Global Warming Is Wrong". This was also hyperbole and I haven't you notice demanded a retraction.

Tell me, Michael, if someone says: "I'm so hungry, I could eat a horse!", do you point out that their stomach volume is insufficient to hold an entire horse and that if they care about accuract and integrity they should issue a retraction?

If you had read my post you would have noticed that I document ten serious errors just in that extract and not counting the ones that William Connolley found. If you had read my post, you would have noticed that I am not echoing Romm, or taking Romm's word for anything except one quote from Caldeira. I wrote the post after reading chapter 5 of the book because I was appalled at how badly they got the science wrong. I was particularly disappointed because I liked their previous book and had spent a fair amount of time defending it against what I considered unfair criticism.

Try not to fit everything that happens into your feud with Joe Romm.

By Tim Lambert on 2009 11 06


PaulM wrote:


An excellent article. May I correct you on one point. The country's most-read climate blogger is not Joe Romm, but Anthony Watts, whose wattsupwiththat climate blog is read by roughly twice as many internet users as Romms, according to the Alexa web information site. Wattsupwiththat also ranks above climate progress on the wikio list of top science blogs.



PaulM: Thank you for this. I went to Alexa.com and indeed you are correct. We stand corrected. I shouldn't have taken Romm's word for it. We will make the change.

By Michael Shellenberger on 2009 11 06


This discussion is going around in circles, so I'll just repeat a few quick points and leave it at that.



Ted N: It's going around in circles because you continue to shift the discussion away from Romm's latest effort to intimidate and discredit a well regarded journalist who had criticized him.



1) Superfreakonomics made a lot of grave errors and misleading claims about climate science (and about things like solar panels) that had absolutely nothing to do with Caldeira. Given that it's a book a lot of people will likely read and discuss, it was very much worth criticizing and rebutting these errors, which was a big focus of my original post. Complaining that this sort of criticism constitutes "ganging up" or "mobbing" is silly.



Ted: There is much less than meets the eye to the errors that you and other critics have alleged. The number of errors and their magnitude has been exaggerated in order to discredit Dubner and Levitt rather than deal with the main argument of the chapter which is that based upon the last several decades of experience and the current absurdly inadequate efforts to address global carbon emissions, we probably need to start thinking about other ways to deal with climate change.



2) On the Caldeira point: Yes, Dubner/Levitt did misrepresent Caldeira's views, which is bad, but this particular mistake was probably not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, especially given all their other, more serious, errors. If the sentence about the "right villain" had been the only error, it wouldn't have been worth an endless round of blog posts. Alas, it wasn't the only error.



Ted: I think it's been pretty well demonstrated in the comment above that Dubner and Levitt did not misrepresent Caldeira's views. That charge is based upon a single sentence that Dubner and Levitt revised at Caldeira's request. Caldeira did not explicitly ask that any part of that sentence be revised. He offered an ambiguous comment suggesting that he had a somewhat different view than Myhrvold. Dubner and Levitt revised the paragraph in a manner that was entirely appropriate given Caldeira's comment upon reviewing the manuscript. Not much point in debating it further. Folks can make up their own minds.



3) Debating the difficulty of reducing CO2 emissions, and how best to do it, is a totally valid discussion and I hope we have more of it. I certainly don't want to shut down that debate, though I'm sure you'll find some way to accuse me of doing so. In my last comment I should've written "difficulty" rather than "impossibility," but it was just a hasty word choice, not some dastardly attempt to "narrow climate politics."



Ted: I'll accept your explanation that the choice of words in your prior comment was just hasty and not intentional. However this is the second time in your comments to this post that you have had to take back your words. In the first case your word choice implied that we agreed with Superfreakonomics, and in the second that we thought emissions reductions were impossible. In both cases your misstatements indicate a very particular pattern of misunderstanding.

By Brad Plumer on 2009 11 06


Tim,



It is quite revealing that you continue to misrepresent Superfreakonomics even after it has become clear that the authors represented Caldeira's views quite well. That they offered to modify a single sentence is not an acknowledgment that they misrepresented Caldeira.



On October 16 you claimed that "Everything in Superfreakonomics about Global Warming is Wrong". If you believe that then you also believe there is no connection between carbon emissions and global warming, a connection the authors clearly and repeatedly state as a fact.



Admit it, Tim, you mobbed Superfreakonomics on Joe Romm's signal, just like Plumer, Yglesias, Roberts and Krugman did. There's no evidence you read the book before making your claim that "everything" in it on global warming is wrong -- which may be why you don't actually refer to the book in your post, only to an excerpt in the Sunday Times. If you did read the book you grossly misrepresented it. Either way, you did not investigate before making your wild accusations.



If you care at all about accuracy and integrity, you need to retract your post, and correct your comment above.



Michael

By Michael Shellenberger on 2009 11 06


Brad,



I did not suggest in my comment that curbing emissions is impossible and neither do Dubner and Levitt. They do suggest that the current framework for doing so has failed and will continue to fail, that the technological challenges to doing so are a good deal more substantial than you and Romm acknowledge, and that the costs as such, given current technologies are very high and represent a substantial obstacle to effective emissions reduction action. On these points, Dubner and Levitt, Caldiera (the ostensible victim in the drama that you, Romm, and others have manufactured), and Michael and I are in agreement. Indeed, in his correspondence with Dubner and Levitt, Caldiera writes:

"My pessimism stems from the apparent difficulties of solving the "prisoner's dilemma"- and "tragedy of the commons"-type aspects of this problem."


And in his controversial New York Times op-ed from 2007 he is even clearer on this point:

"Despite growing interest in clean energy technology, it looks as if we are not going to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide anytime soon. The amount in the atmosphere today exceeds the most pessimistic forecasts made just a few years ago, and it is increasing faster than anybody had foreseen."


Your reduction and mischaracterization of this view to "the impossibility of emissions reduction" is as good an example as any of the ways that you, Romm, and others in the climate blogosphere continually attempt to narrow climate politics to a pitched battle between those who believe that we are going to eliminate global carbon emissions with light bulbs and off the shelf technologies like wind and solar, and so-called "deniers/delayers" who Romm and others say are undermining efforts to save the planet - in Krugman's words, to "commit treason to the planet."



The fact that Dubner and Levitt have offered to revise a single sentence in the book does not in fact constitute an acknowledgment of significant error in the representation of Caldiera. Caldiera has acknowledged that the book's representation of him is accurate and that the change that Dubner and Levitt in fact made in the manuscript was a reasonable response to his comments. The attempt by Romm and now you to manufacture this revision into a major retraction and acknowledgement of error is a tried and true tactic. Get your opponent to acknowledge a minor mistake and then blow it up to suggest that it is evidence that the entire argument is bogus. It is one reason that retractions and corrections have become so uncommon in contemporary political discourse - because opponents use them to imply much greater error than the corrections themselves actually represent.



Finally, it is pretty clear in the original post, the update, and my comments that we are suggesting that you have participated in the "mobbing" of Dubner and Levitt, not being the primary source of McCarthyite behavior. McCarthyism is a very strong word and a serious charge and we reserve it for Romm. But McCarthyism requires enablers and mobbing, as noted in the post is a common feature of bullying. In the workplace, mobbing refers to "ganging up" by others to harass and intimidate an individual." It is hard not to read your post in the context of the overheated reaction from climate bloggers and conclude that the reaction to Superfreakonomics has been a classic case of mobbing and that you have been party to it.



Ted

By Ted Nordhaus on 2009 11 06


Ted, respectfully, I have to disagree about Caldeira. Dubner/Levitt really did misrepresent his views with that "right villain" sentence, and I'm not going to retract my saying so. I do think Dubner's explanation in his latest post of how the error happened is reasonable (they didn't realize why Caldeira was objecting to the sentence), but it's still an error. As far as I can tell, the main thing Romm got wrong initially was that he claimed Dubner/Levitt never ran the quote by Caldeira. But on his other points, Romm appears to be correct.

Your other argument, that people should've focused more on Dubner/Levitt's points about the impossibility of curbing emissions, rather than their many serious errors and misleading statements, is fair enough, but grave errors in best-selling books always attract more attention than the reasonable points. I guess I just disagree that this counts as McCarthyism.

By Brad Plumer on 2009 11 06


An excellent article. May I correct you on one point. The country's most-read climate blogger is not Joe Romm, but Anthony Watts, whose wattsupwiththat climate blog is read by roughly twice as many internet users as Romms, according to the Alexa web information site.

Wattsupwiththat also ranks above climate progress on the wikio list of top science blogs.

By PaulM on 2009 11 06


Levitt and Dubner claim that Caldeira believes that carbon dioxide is the wrong villain. This misrepresents Caldeira's views. Caldeira saw this line in a draft and objected to it. Even though Levitt and Dubner saw this objection, they left it in. Dubner no longer disputes this. (See his latest post.)

So rather than showing Romm's charge that he misrepresented Caldeira to be false, Dubner now concedes that it was true.

By Tim Lambert on 2009 11 06


Brad,




Thank you for clarifying your intent and correcting your mischaracterization of our views on Superfreakonomics and geo-engineering. There are indeed a number of errors in the global warming chapter of which, as you note, much has been made by you, Romm, and many others.



But there is also much in that chapter that Dubner and Levitt get right, about which much less has been made, most especially the utter insufficiency of current or proposed policies to achieve substantial emissions reductions, the high cost of existing alternative energy technologies, and the resulting high costs of mitigation given current technological options.



These points, largely ignored in the scathing attacks upon the book by you and others, are a good deal more significant than the obsession with Nathan Myrhvold's views about black solar panels or whether Ken Caldiera was accurately portrayed in the book (given what we know of Caldiera's communications with the authors, his prior writing on the topic, and the tepid retraction he has actually requested it is difficult to conclude that he was not fairly and accurately represented).



The main issue at hand remain, which is Romm's effort to intimidate reporters and the tacit acceptance, if not outright approval, of these practices by other bloggers, including you. You piled on once Romm attacked ("mobbing," in the parlance of bullying), reflexively repeating Romm's charges, and casually adding as an update to your post simply that Dubner had responded.



So let's be clear. In the update you never acknowledged that Dubner and Levitt had not misrepresented Caldeira -- a fact which Caldeira acknowledges. You did not mention in your update that Romm had planted Caldiera's quote and misrepresented his correspondence with Caldiera. Nor did you acknowledge that Dubner had shown Romm's charges to be false. Instead, you excused Romm's misrepresentations and your amplification of them because Dubner hadn't corrected the other errors in the book.



Further, in the comment above you misrepresent what you actually said in your update. You wrote, "I thought it was a reasonable response and said so" -- in fact, you said nothing of the sort in your update.



You know as well as we do that Romm engages in this kind of thing routinely, and that you rushed to pile on to his attacks without investigating for yourself. I can find no evidence that you or any of the other prominent bloggers and columnists we cited have ever publicly rebuked Romm for his behavior, which is toxic to civil and healthy democratic discourse.



Ted

By Ted Nordhaus on 2009 11 05


Ah there is a character limit.

The diode lasers have too high a divergence to be used for the down link and the Nd lasers he proposes are not nearly that efficient. It is tough to see how diode laser pumped Nd lasers could be better than 20% efficient, and more likely much less than that. Then we get to the issue that neither type of laser is eyesafe.



Again, apologies for the divergence, but this actually is an issue that Eli is interested in

By Eli Rabett on 2009 11 05


Sorry, but there are a bunch of straw men being attacked in this post.

I mainly criticized Superfreakonomics for its shoddy and misleading presentation of climate science, as did William Connolley. (That post of mine you linked cites Romm only at the end.) A lot of other critics also focused on serious mistakes in the book that had absolutely nothing to do with Romm. Delong raised a whole slew of concerns. Krugman discussed the book's misreading of Marty Weitzman's research. These were all valid objections, and trying to wave them away as mere "bullying" is wrong.

Look, it would have been perfectly fine if Dubner/Levitt had just wanted to discuss the subject of geo-engineering. Plenty of other people have done so and that's a good discussion to have. But Dubner/Levitt came under fire because there was a lot of rubbish in their book

By Brad Plumer on 2009 11 05


Some others might say (not Eli of course), that you left out a word or two there, so let us look at the entire paragraph, which, as it happened was talking about how geo-engineering would require a world government



"The bottom line is that geoengineering requires fleets of black helicopters to get done. The requirement for something that will not amuse the guys at the Breakthrough Institute and their CEI/Heartland type funders. (OK, that's a WAGNER, but Eli is a smart bunny). Stuff like that on a global scale requires a global Ghengis Khan to pull the strings."



Now, to be charitable, and we are all charitable here, some might say (not Eli, of course) that it is easy to leave out a word or two when you are crying. Eli fully understands that tearing up is a real problem. However, just for the record, because, of course, it makes not a little bit of difference, there is that word -type- of funders and WAGNER, is a Wild Assed Guess, No Explanation Needed and it would appear reasonable to think that BI gets a lot of its funding from libertarian types. Still, there are others, not Eli of course who would like to know who your funders are. That, of course is their, not Eli's interest.



SNIP. TN: Were Herr Professor Halpern not such a lazy bunny he'd hop across the hall to the political science department where they might explain to him that libertarian funders typically don't fund organizations that advocate MASSIVE STATE INVESTMENT IN THE DEVELOPMENT AND DEPLOYMENT OF CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES. But then once a clever bunny gets so far down the McCarthyite rabbet hole such details apparently don't much matter.

By Eli Rabett on 2009 11 05


Thanks for dropping by Mr. Halpern. Coming from a guy who won't comment or blog under his own name and recently smeared us by claiming that we where funded by "CEI/Heartland funders" it should come as little surprise that you would defend Romm's McCarthyite behavior.

By Ted Nordhaus on 2009 11 05


Kloor went looking for a fight and a bunch of links and he found it. Now everyone is whining. As dsquared said:

Okay, point one. The whole idea of contrarianism is that you

By Eli Rabett on 2009 11 05


Our climate has and always will change, sometimes getting colder, sometimes warmer. This is part of nature so it is natural and good. The average global temperature has not risen in the past few years. Still, every century, since the last Ice Age ended about 10,000 years ago, temperatures and sea levels have risen.
Many natural causes, including variable Sun radiation contribute to climate change. Still there is only one thing we hear over and over and it is the greenhouse effect. This is caused mostly by water vapor, which averages about 2% of our atmosphere. In scientific notation 2% is written as 20,000 PPM (parts per million) and therefore water vapor is the most important greenhouse gas. In comparison, carbon dioxide is only an insignificant 387 PPM.
Irrigation for agriculture, and even lawn care, has increased the water vapor in the atmosphere. Worldwide, untold millions of acres are irrigated. That means a lot more evaporation and more water vapor in the air. Twenty-year studies at various locations show that water vapor is increasing at over 100 PPM per year.
Another consequence of irrigation occurs when the water is pumped from wells where the water is not replaced for hundreds of years. This is the case in many desert areas. The water vapor eventually turns to rain and is evaporated again and again. However, within four months, most of the water ends up in the ocean raising the ocean level.
Carbon dioxide is a trace gas and has relatively little effect on climate change. At 387 PPM, it is well within the normal level. In fact, if the concentration falls below 200 PPM, all green plants will die causing widespread famine and death. The optimal level for most green plants is actually about 1,200 PPM.
Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant or smog. (Smog components include sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, ozone, carbon monoxide, but not carbon dioxide.) We exhale carbon dioxide and it is even added to our soft drinks to make them bubble. The majority of American scientists believe it is not a significant climate change gas. Still, ignoring the facts of real science, political science says it is a problem. Through their scare tactics they hope to transfer many billions of dollars from the average hardworking American and give it to their corrupt political friends. It

By Beau Joule on 2009 11 05


Anna, would Michael and Ted be justified in their comments about Romm if your search had come up with those names you want to see (I only recognize two of them)? Your logic escapes me.

McCarthyite behavior is wrong. Period. It has no place in the climate debate or any part of American society. Wouldn't you agree?

By Confused Green on 2009 11 05


> "Anna, this isn't about Morano or Michaels or Harris"



Jesse, this is about saving the world for human habitation - a cause which isn't helped by running a blog that's fixated on Romm to the extent that it hasn't even *mentioned* the most egregious climate inactivists - my Breakthrougn Institute blog Google search returned 0 mentions of Pat Michaels, 0 mentions of Tom Harris, 0 mentions of Marc Morano, and a gazillion mentions of Romm.



If this is what your funders are paying you to do, they're getting their money's worth. If it isn't...

By Anna Haynes on 2009 11 05


One thing is disagreeing with an idea, a another is claiming someone should not or is not allowed to express their views. This is unjustifiable in a democratic society. Disinformation was the same pretext used in mock trials in soviet union and it is not an excuse for silencing, inciting others into trashing someone and the like.

If people don't understand this basic principle, may god help us...

By fd on 2009 11 05


Anna, this isn't about Morano or Michaels or Harris, although I hope you're not excusing McCarthyite tactics even against those you may fervently disagree with. Click through the links to some of Romm's posts included above and you'll see him similarly lashing out against committed grassroots activist organizations like Greenpeace and the Energy Action Coalition, climate reporters like Andrew Revkin (NY Times) and Bryan Walsh (TIME), and of course, those of us at the Breakthrough Institute, who are one and all committed to effective and immediate climate action.

By Jesse Jenkins on 2009 11 05


To quote Deep Climate: "Sure, call out Romm on whatever you think he's done wrong. But how about sparing a bit of that outrage for the likes of Patrick Michaels, Marc Morano and Tom Harris, who have done so much to confuse the public on climate change issues."

But maybe you've already been doing so...let me google...

I guess not. Findings:

* Your search - "morano" site:thebreakthrough.org/blog - did not match any documents.
* Results 1 - 2 of 2 from thebreakthrough.org/blog for "harris" (neither of which was Tom Harris)
* Results 1 - 3 of 3 from thebreakthrough.org/blog for "michaels" (none of which was Pat Michaels)

and

* Results 1 - 10 of about 283 from thebreakthrough.org/blog for romm.

Vision, Michael & Ted, vision...

By Anna Haynes on 2009 11 04


Once I read about this Greentech company in a newspaper. This article is more interesting than that report. Thanks for sharing such nice blog here. I am glad to post here. I like this site very much as it has such nice article.

By accessoires psp on 2009 10 06


If only the "schedules" had a more desirable name...

By Danny on 2009 10 05


I would like to examine why American innovation has so few friends in Congress. I guess the beginning is to look at who the enemies are:



1. Big corporations. They like the status quo, which is predictable and profitable for them, and they don't like new inventions that would make their inventory obsolete and might give competitors an advantage. They don't like clean energy innovations because they might be forced to spend money to install them. They don't like the prospect of new markets that they can't dominate. They contribute heavily to re-election campaigns of their friends in Congress. "What's good for General Motors is good for America" used to be their battlecry, until GM went bankrupt.



2. Academics. Whatever money is available for research somehow winds up going to exotic pure science like string theory, cosmology, particle physics, hot fusion, etc. etc. instead of the grubby applied science and engineering that will be needed for clean energy cheap.



3. Department of Energy. DOE's clean energy research, which is limited to chemical CO2 capture and underground storage (e.g. the FutureGen project), is doomed to failure, like trying to fly by flapping mechanical wings. But that's all DOE is going to look at. Despite a very critical GAO report last year, institutional inertia keeps digging deeper dry holes.



4. Polluters. Despite their green talk, they really want nothing to change.

By Wilmot McCutchen on 2009 10 03


The wind farm would slightly alter the view of the ocean from certain points on Cape Cod, Martha

By creatinine on 2009 10 02


It sounds like something we need right now, jobs and clean energy.

By chris on 2009 10 02


The UCS document has not been published on their website. It was provided to us via email and we have uploaded it here for others to download.

By Jesse Jenkins on 2009 10 01


This is a measured response given how CP has slammed BTI this year. Well done.

BTW, Romm's inside-the-beltway perspective is that ACES is all that DC can muster, no ratification of a climate treaty is possible, and, without ACES, the chance of avoiding klimakatastrophe is zero (and only a little better with it). This is not the same as saying ACES is a strong bill, just as good as it gets.

I think you all would find common ground with the following haiku assessment of ACES:

Jacks or Better

ACES

By Greg Robie on 2009 09 29


By Allexx on 2009 09 28


Nowadays seem to everywhere already alert about energy crisis. It's definitely good way to save the world by start to use green power solution.

By DIY Solar Panels on 2009 09 28


Dominic,

The information I got was pulled from the FAO web site. The publication name is "Global Agriculture Toward 2050," and it was prepared for the FAO Hunger meeting in Rome next month.

The FAO document you cited advocates no-till agriculture as "conservation agriculture." It does not advocate a return to small scale organic farming.

Indeed, it concludes, "Conservation agriculture is not organic farming, but both could be combined, FAO emphazised. In Conservation Agriculture, farm chemicals, including fertilizer and herbicides are carefully applied. Over the years, however, quantities tend to decline."

In other words, FAO's description of conservation agriculture is the improvement of the industrial agricultural path we are on. Sounds sensible.

Michael

By Michael Shellenberger on 2009 09 28


The bottom line for me is that a carbon tax isn

By muskel on 2009 09 26


Certainly Levi makes a strong argument for policy over credit - and recent history seems to support his claims. But an issue of the specificity and scale of policy bubbles to the surface when discussing these ideas of global intentions. The development goals of LDCs and the developed giants are rarely well-aligned (but are not necessarily misaligned), and creating policy that is both applicable and mutually desirable is a challenge that Levi seems to push to the back burner. How can we realistically expect the international community at Copenhagen to achieve action-inducing resolutions if the rifts in states' intentions are left unconsidered? And if all participating nations' goals are influential in the decision making process this December, how can policy be implemented at an efficient and economically viable level? Is it really feasible to allow individual governments to determine their own policy at the level of institutions using a blanket set of international requirements?

By Ben mitzner on 2009 09 08


Just posted this comment on Lisa Jackson's(of EPA) column at the Huffington Post.
Dear Lisa,
We need alternative energy sources to reduce pollution in all communities, whether rich or poor. Wind energy is very important. As head of EPA you should be all for wind energy,
So why don't you do everything in your power to expedite the the permitting process for the Cape Wind project in Nantucket sound off of Cape Cod. This project can provide electricity to 300,000 homes on Cape Cod that currently get there electricity from oil fired power plants.
This project has been blocked wealthy and highly privileged residents of the Cape , Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket that don't want their precious ocean views defiled by gauche turbines. The most prominent opponent of this ecologically sound and necessary project was the late Senator Ted Kennedy. He didn't want to see the turbines from his oceanfront cottage. You no longer have to be afraid of being bitten by the Lion of the Senate. You can move this project along without worrying about offending the Senator now. You can show the ordinary people, unprivileged masses you speak of in your post that you are willing to step on a few hypocritical privileged green toes for the sake of the greater good by permitting Cape wind to go forward now. Show this elitist, selfish, hypocritical, wealthy , Nimby obstructionist crowd that you are willing to stand up them and do what is right for America and Planet Earth.

By Ted Getzel on 2009 08 31


Test 1

By Shane Rathbun on 2009 08 12


Anything change did not happen.
This is sad!

By mortgage_loanmodification on 2009 08 02


Breakthroughs are not that far away, with modest investments in R&D for advanced nuclear power. For example, the liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) can produce electricity cheaper than from coal. This is the only way we will ever convince nations to stop burning coal. You quote Jeffrey Sachs "It is difficult to see how coal-based developing economies such as China and India will subscribe to tight targets on emissions.." as I do in the presentation on the technology and benefits of LFTR. Here is a technology that produces < 1% of the waste of existing nuclear power plants, that runs on inexhaustible (for many millennia) thorium fuel, can burn existing nuclear waste, and is being pursued by hundreds of scientists and engineers, on a voluntary basis, with hardly any R&D funding. Concepts were proven in the 1970s. It now desperately needs funding to actually construct a prototype. Yet a proposal to ARPA-E for a bit over $100,000 to pursue one of the benefits (waste destruction) was rejected. There is a groundswell of consensus that somehow "renewable" or "green" technologies will solve our climate and energy problems, but anything related to "nuclear" is a priori dismissed. Please visit the Aim High presentation about the technology and benefits of the liquid fluoride thorium reactor at http://rethinkingnuclearpower.googlepages.com/aimhigh

By Robert Hargraves on 2009 08 02


Of course, everyone, including Joe Romm, is in favor of discovering clean tech breakthroughs. But just money is not enough -- we need a realistic plan for mission-driven research. We don't need more pure science woolgathering, like string theory, supercolliders, and giant hot fusion projects. But due to the politics of academia and the grant process, that's where the money keeps going. Nor do we need more research on chemical capture and underground storage, which are known to be dry holes. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d081080.pdf

Joe Romm believes that we already have the technology we need for clean baseload power(concentrating solar with thermal storage, CSP) and that therefore all available resources should go to deployment of his suite of solutions. Delaying deployment in the hope that more research may discover better solutions is not a prudent course, in his opinion, given the urgency of the CO2 problem. He has a point: delay can be endless, and research no more than an excuse for doing nothing.



[Teryn Norris: Breakthrough Institute strongly advocates that the federal government invest $30 billion per year in the direct deployment of low-carbon energy sources. We recommend $15 billion per year in clean energy R&D. Joe Romm repeatedly (and willfully, since we've clearly stated our position several times) misrepresents our position on this front, falsely claiming that we are only for radical "breakthroughs" in technology driven by basic R&D.



Whereas the Breakthrough Institute strongly supports public investment in deployment, Romm consistently recycles his assertion that no technological development is necessary to successfully tackle the global energy and climate challenge. After Jesse Jenkins highlighted this issue in a posted titled "Is Joe Romm an Energy Challenge Denier?" we receive no public response from Joe. We therefore conclude that this analysis is correct.
]



I do not agree with him that desert mirrors can save the planet. Water for mirror cleaning and steam turbines is scarce in the desert, and building out the transmission lines to get the power to the cities is going to be very hard. Replacing coal with CSP in the US will be insufficient to make a real difference globally, now that China, India and the rest of the world are intending to burn coal as hard as they can to sustain economic growth.

So we need a clean coal solution. But what we have mandated in Waxman-Markey and in DOE policy is a stubborn persistence in digging deeper dry holes to prove that chemical capture and underground storage are fundamentally dumb ideas. We don't need $150 billion to discover that.

By Wilmot McCutchen on 2009 07 31


The Chinese government has full authority over utilities and wields a strong hand in many investment decisions. That is not the case in the US, so here the amount of government spending isn't the key. The Waxman-Markey bill has emissions targets and a host of policy provisions. The private investments which they'll generate will be worth many times what the bill sets aside for the government to spend. Your piece frets that apples are not oranges; both can be used to make a fruit salad.

By jay alt on 2009 07 31


Let the politicians spin. Let Asia take over as the supplier of the cheapest windmills (they are the inevitable source of cheaper anything). Spend money to train a bunch of guys on how to fix alternate energy machines for "green collar jobs." Piddly, incremental changes for way too much money and little return.
Meanwhile, what Americans should do is what we are best at: INNOVATE. Create "magical solutions" in the true sense - go for creative destruction via totally out of left field solutions. Experiment. Entrepreneurs go for it! Panic is right around the corner and we cannot predict what the solutions will be. Throw out seed money. Fund basic research and playgrounds for really smart, creative people. Give a monster prize for something that generates energy at some ridiculously low price.
I don't think the government can do it as a "Man to the Moon" effort because there will not be just one solution. And the answers aren't going to come from straightforward engineering or straight-jacketed bureaucracies. Smart grid? Not if we need to build a massive infrastructure to get there. We need something more like the way the Internet grew - organically, chaotically.
We need good old American Wild West adventurers to solve this problem. Let's figure out how to get out of the way and cheer 'em on!

By Georjean Adams on 2009 07 30


Weaker legislation?? Invest more! The energy and power sector creates and sustains millions of jobs. One of America

By Maura on 2009 07 29


I think we still have to wait for a while to get the real effects of the stimulus plan. It will take several years to get back on the track again.

By Inversiones inmobiliarias on 2009 07 29


Apart from the grid connected solar power plants, the Indian government is also focussing on roof top solar power plants. Utilities such as NDPL (Delhi state power distribution utility) have come up with net metering schemes for roof top power systems connected to the grid. This would boost the solar power market through distributed generation.


For more information visit http://www.solarindiaonline.com/

By Nimisha Garg on 2009 07 28


Green Energy
I think clean energy is a point which should be considered by each person in particular, not only by the government.
Two years ago, my brother, who is an inventor, created a solar-powered mini-electric station, which we use up till now, and half a year ago a small electromobile for kids, now he is working on other useful things, and he does not need billions of dollars for this. He takes his ideas mostly from
So I think we should not only sit and wait for help from the authorities. We can start making our planet clean today!

By Lucy on 2009 07 27


Anyone who has taught science or read Tom Friedman's book, The World is Flat knows that our culture has become not only complacent but lazy in promoting science, technology, engineering and math. This will be part of our downfall if we don't correct it soon. Thank you for bringing this to light and call to action.

By Glenn Fay on 2009 07 27


Please drop us a comment: What do you think the U.S. needs to do to win the clean energy race?

By Jesse Jenkins on 2009 07 27


"but he kept the details vague"

All politicians are the same, even this one that holds so much hope for the USA!

By Nuera Green Network on 2009 07 27


"getting most Americans to realize that the only way to solve the problem is"

I think this is where the problem ultimately lies, it will take another 10 years to get 'most' Americans onside.

By Gotta Go Green on 2009 07 27


I believe the most productive application for photovoltiac solar panels is at household level, rather than in vast arrays at centralized locations far from urban settings.

When a household has the means to recharge the battery pack of a plug-in hybrid vehicle, they gain the choice of driving or cutting utility bills. Imagine; this incentivizes the reduction of both driving and household energy consumption.

The households with a modest photovoltiac panel system and plug-in hybrid vehicles can survive an emergency grid failure indefinitely! They gain the means to more closely monitor household energy consumption. Their routine driving evolves into shorter trips whereby in time more trips become possible without having to drive. Walking and bicycling thus become more viable travel options, and mass transit more practical to arrange.

You should see how this is a 'breakthrough' concept. Run with it.

Art Lewellan
Author, "The Seattle Circulator Plan"
(blacklisted in Seattle)

By Art Lewellan on 2009 07 23


Perhaps the reason that China, South Koream, and Japan are pushing ahead faster is that their relative amount of LNG imports are higher. My own experience in Korea was the observation that they went heavy into nuclear in the 80

By R Margolis on 2009 07 21


A quick comment - why all the harping on
emission reductions in capped US sectors?
Do you or do you not agree that global greenhouse
gas emissions would decrease by the amount mandated by the bill (ie by an amount equal to 20% of US emissions by 2020, etc.)? And isn't that what
ultimately matters?

By Prasad Kasibhatla on 2009 07 21


Hi Katherine, thanks for the comment. The WashPo figure is an annual figure ($44-66 billion annually) and the figure above is the sum-total of the 10 year investment plan China is reportedly planning ($440 to $660 billion over ten years). Hope that explains it.

By Jesse Jenkins on 2009 07 20


There would be a huge demand for solar energy in China and India. The right government investment policies will definitely help to grow the industry.

By Magniwork Generator on 2009 07 19


I think there may be a typo here. The Washington post article lists China as planning to invest 44-66 billion. Thanks for the great analysis.

By Katherine Philipson on 2009 07 19



Many are waiting for the marvel from him now.
But there will be change at a price of only large victims i think.
Under very long time.

By Loan modification on 2009 07 17


It is great news to hear that China and India are so committed to large scale solar power. Having visited India several times recently, it is obvious that they are in a near crisis situation with regard to air quality in the large cities. But with a large commitment like this there is good chance for reversal. It is kind of alarming to see the US potentially falling far behind in the area of cutting edge green technology, as this would be squandering a huge and vital economic opportunity.

By memory foam on 2009 07 17


Despite the questionable science around global warming or climate change, we are likely to replace most of our fossil fuels with fuels from agricultural products in the next century. As a result, these fuels will be carbon neutral.

For the Natural Laws of Innovation see http://hallingblog.com/2009/07/15/natural-laws-of-innovation-1/

By Dale B. Halling on 2009 07 16


All these words, but not one word about the two instances of the most dangerous word in ACES, nuclear!

By Harold One Feather on 2009 07 13


This is something that I posted on climateprogress.org on July 9, responding to Joe Romm's blog about James Hansen's HuffingtonPost article. This has relevance to "The Need for a New Framework ..." (aka "Plan B"), so I'm cross-posting it here. (Joe Romm has not yet released this from moderation quarantine -- not sure if he's going to. Some readers may find my perspectives to be offensive or objectionable.)



***



For all of Waxman-Markey's faults, I think it gets two things right: (1) allowance set-asides to fund tropical forest conservation, and (2) a meaningful price floor. These measures move U.S. policy closer to the rational and pragmatic goal of minimizing emissions within limits of cost acceptability. However, they leave W-M with no coherent policy foundation, because its other regulatory mechanisms -- the cap, trading, economy-wide linkage, banking, borrowing, and offsets -- all operate to achieve the converse objective of minimizing costs within limits of a predetermined (and unsustainable) emission cap.



The irrationality of the latter objective is demonstrated by the U.S. SO2 trading system, which continues to focus regulatory incentives on further cost reductions -- not emission reductions -- even when allowances are selling at a fraction of what was expected when the cap-and-trade system was enacted, and even when quantifiable benefits of further emission reductions would exceed costs by a factor of 25.



[Note to JR re "... So they do more than is necessary ...": That is because of banking, which has the effect of shifting the over-allocation into future compliance periods. They do more now only so they can do less later.]



Suppose that the SO2 allowances had been sold at fixed price (no emission cap), with sales revenue distributed according to the same proportionate allocation formula that was used for allowance allocation (or any other preferred formula). If the price were set at the lower limit of the original expectation level (about $650/ton, compared to the actual market of about $200/ton) then SO2 scrubber technology would have been adopted much sooner, and the more ambitious goal of the EPA's recent Clean Air Interstate Rule might have been achieved years ago without further regulatory intervention.



But that's not the kind of program that Hansen and other carbon-tax advocates are propounding for GHG regulation. Their proposals are very similar to Obama's original 100% auction, 80% tax dividend plan, the main difference being that allowances would be sold rather than auctioned. Obama, to his credit, knows how to recognize a brick wall when he sees it and he backed off on his original plan. The carbon-tax lobby, by contrast, is still banking its head against the wall in its insistence that carbon taxes operate primarily to extract revenue from the regulated industry. In my view, it is this dogged and dogmatic adherence to a "punitive" regulatory approach that leaves W-M as "the only game in town".



However, if tax revenue is used only to finance or incentivize emission reductions in the taxed industry, then I think there would be three consequences: (1) Industry costs would be dramatically lower (even if emission-reduction incentives are much higher than cap-and-trade's), so pricing instruments would lose their political stigma. (2) Price certainty, in addition to low costs, would make pricing instruments much more attractive to industry. (3) Pricing instruments would be more compatible with sectoral policies having limited scope, and hence limited political opposition. (Monolithic, economy-wide policies like W-M's tend to lead to "monolithic, economy-wide" political opposition, but the rationale for economy-wide linkage disappears when the policy objective is minimum emissions -- not minimum costs.)



Passage of W-M is not a sure bet, so it would be prudent to start thinking about some kind of viable "Plan B".


By Ken Johnson on 2009 07 11


400 million dollars to develop technology that already exists. What a bargin! Does anyone in the government pay attention to anything that goes on outside of the beltway? Save the taxpayers some money and do some research on the internet.

By sohbet on 2009 07 10


400 million dollars to develop technology that already exists. What a bargin! Does anyone in the government pay attention to anything that goes on outside of the beltway? Save the taxpayers some money and do some research on the internet.

By sohbet on 2009 07 10


Thanks for the sharing this website. it is very useful professional knowledge. Great idea you know about company background.
web application development

By nirenjan.raj on 2009 07 10


To the guy above, I guess it depends what state the carbon is in...lots of things are good until they are modified or used in high quantities.

I pray that electric cars become a reality in the next 10 years because of our terrible reliance on oil.

By Green Recycling Gal on 2009 07 09


He wouldn't need an artificial volcano - just lift the sulfur controls on coal burning plants.

Of course, the government would never think of doing something so simple.

By Sam on 2009 07 09


Alisha,

Great post. I too am jazzed about a VW plug in hybrid diesel. The is the best of all worlds
1- internal combustion engine that can be fueled with bio fuel (i.e. home brewed bio diesel made from used vegetable oil)
2- electricity generated from renewable sources to charge the battery.

There are several studies that point out the emission reductions that can be realized by replacing crude oil (i.e. gasoline) with electricity (even produced from dirty coal). EPRI and NRDC did one such study (http://www.sce.com/PowerandEnvironment/ElectricTransportation/News/epri-study.htm).

Controlling emissions is easier to do from stationary sources (read power plants) than moving vehicles.

I am a proud owner of a plug in hybrid. Namely a 2005 Toyota Prius that was upgraded with a Hymotion 5KW Lithium Ion battery back made by A123Systems. The car gets over 100MPG during the summer months for over 30 miles. The electricity is generated from my rooftop 4.7KW solar array. I live in upstate NY and produce over 6MW of electricity per year. Yes, I said UPSTATE NY!

I am living proof that using clean decentralized renewable power can be used for transportation to displace non renewable fossil fuel.

By Christian Grieco on 2009 07 09


Re "a New Framework": One alternative approach is the following:

"A Decarbonization Strategy for the Electricity Sector: New-Source Subsidies"

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1427106

(This is a draft publication submitted to Energy Policy.)

By Ken Johnson on 2009 07 08


After some simulation, I think the real problem with the reserve is not that it violates the cap, but that it fails to address volatility. It turns out to be hard to generate price trajectories that release many allowances, and those that are released are self-defeating because they compete with open-market stabilizing operations. See http://blog.metasd.com/2009/07/07/strategic-excess-breakthroughs-nightmare/ and preceding entries.

By Tom Fiddaman on 2009 07 08


Nice thoughts has been added. needs no addition
Shelly Smith
===========================

foreclosure auctions

By foreclosure auctions on 2009 07 08


I am glad that China and India are cooperating on Launch New Solar Energy Projects.

By solar panels on 2009 07 08


Breakthrough Institute Team,
I would love to feature this article on my solar news site - solarfeeds.com - with your permission. I will linkback, etc. and even set up your blog as a contributor if you want. please email me to discuss. thanks!

By scott weitzman on 2009 07 08


Big emitters of CO2 (e.g. coal-fired power plants) pretend in public that they really want to do something. But the economic reality is that pollution control costs money, and doesn't increase profits, therefore shareholders don't like it. The last thing the big emitters want to see is new technology that solves the problem they create, because the EPA might compel them to buy it.

Knowing that the potential customers are so reluctant, private sector technology developers are not willing to spend money on R&D for clean tech no one will buy. So the "free market innovation" that policy makers count on to address the CO2 problem faces a strong headwind.

If there were a realistically high price on CO2 emissions, something near what it would actually cost per ton, with no bogus Nigerian tree offsets, then there might be an economic incentive for a breakthrough. But after ACES it is clear that this will not happen.

So that leaves government research as the only hope. But ACES killed that hope too. Even if there were adequate money available for a serious research effort, it would probably go into the usual DOE dry holes: chemical capture, sequestration, hot fusion, particle physics, etc. That's the inertia to be overcome by Secretary Chu, who seems to have been appointed to be the fall guy for Congress and the Obama Administration, with all of the responsibility and none of the resources for doing the job.

By Wilmot McCutchen on 2009 07 04


There is already a solution for CO2. It is called Nuclear Power. The French already get 90% of their electricity from Nuclear Power and Hydroelectricity.

The trouble is the Greens would rather melt the icecaps than admit that Nuclear Power is part of the solution.

By Joel Upchurch on 2009 07 04


Exactly our point, R... Browner's legislation based approach may work for something like the banning of BPA in plastics, but just yesterday I was at the store looking for a sports bottle and saw that manufacturers are already taking it out voluntarily--in response to public pressure and the threat of bad PR!!! When legislation can only accomplish things that good PR pressure can do much quicker-- a BPA ban is right now stalled in the Senate!-- what we need is an innovator at the head of our energy and climate task forces, someone who's not afraid to break some of the old paradigms. Unfortunately, Browner just isn't it.

By Tyler Burton on 2009 07 01


To get rid of CO2 the way we got rid of lead and asbestos would require a much more massive substitution. There are simply not that many existing ways to make energy without using carbon and many of those require energy storage technologies that do not exist currently. Maybe that is why so many politicians seem to bury their heads in the sand on the climate issue.

By R Margolis on 2009 07 01


nice info

By John on 2009 07 01


I'm just passing by, having discovered this blog from another, but I wanted to point something out when it comes to oil prices that few seem to be aware of.

When priced in gold, the price of oil has been amazingly stable over the last 60 years, even during periods of extreme volitility, such as last years run up to almost $150/bbl and during the OPEC embargo. Just take the gold price in any given period, divide by oil price in the same period, then divide that result into a troy oz (approx 31.1 grams) to get the bbl cost in gold grams. It has remained around 3 grams over the last 60 years.

http://goldprice.org/james-turk/uploaded_images/Oil-Price-780567.GIF

http://goldprice.org/james-turk/2006/09/8-things-everyone-should-know-about.html

What we see is mostly the fluctuations of the currencies, namely the dollar. Btw, as of this writing, oil costs about 2.35g/bbl, well below the 60 year average.

By JustPassingBy on 2009 07 01


Wow. You are voicing the concerns of the wrong critics. People who can get away with saying that any law to reduce carbon emmisions must raise prices and make it painful for the consumer with a straight face must really hate the United States of America.



Do not get me wrong. Green initiatives and a move toward renewable energy is needed. It does not need to ruin the economy, cause economic stife within the family unit and work soley through negative reinforcement.


Instead how about if this blog was truly a blog of BIG ideas. How about if we promote green initiatives through incentivizing and how about if we move to carbon neutral energy by looking at Nuclear.



What this site and many like it fail to realize is that Nuclear is not a dirty word. New Nuclear technologies can be used to actually REDUCE the amount of nuclear waste we have on hand already. By reproccessing existing waste we can produce energy and reduce the toxicity of said waste as well as it's unstability.

By Bryan on 2009 07 01


(1) There's an important incentive in the pre-implementation phase here that isn't acknowledged. In the run-up to the implementation of a cap and trade system with free auctioning (and before the free allocation plans are defined), firms could have an incentive to increase (or not reduce) their emissions or perform other "gaming" techniques to maximize the number of allowances they receive. And this creates an extremely cumbersome bureaucratic process for allocating allowances, as compared to auctioning. Of course, this depends on how the allocation process is defined in the bill, and I haven't had time to take a deep dive into this part of the bill. If you do, let me know what you find.



(2) You're still not addressing my first point, which is that free allowance distribution significantly reduces what is arguably the most important component of cap and trade, major public investments in clean energy technology. Given that these public investments are likely to produce more developments in clean energy tech than the very low carbon price in ACES will -- and given that making clean energy cheap is arguably the single most important factor for achieving global emission reductions -- how does it make sense to argue that free distribution vs auctioning results in the same environmental result? Yes, in a closed system, free distribution and auctioning may achieve the same result, but the mass majority of future emissions will come from developing countries, and the public investments we make in energy technology are critical for addressing those.

By Teryn Norris on 2009 06 30


"free allowance distribution doesn't produce the right incentives ... because it doesn't provide as strong of an incentive for polluters to reduce their emissions"

This just isn't true. Money is money. Energy companies are going to try to maximize profits all the same (despite some, i.e., utility companies, being heavily regulated), and if they can reduce emissions for less than the market price of a carbon permit, they'll do so. Also, large companies aren't like ordinary people; they pay the utmost attentions to finances and the bottom line.

Auction or no auction, emission reductions will be the same.

By Stephen Collins on 2009 06 30


Thanks for your comments. There are a number of reasons why free distribution of permits is problematic:



(1) Free distribution of allowances reduces or eliminates the single most important component of cap and trade, the revenue stream for direct public investments in clean energy technology. The world's top energy experts have consistently called for $30 billion/year of federal investment in clean energy RD&D, and our analysis shows that a full suite of RDD&D requires $50 to 80 billion per year in the United States. ACES would only invest around $10 billion due to the small number of auctioned allowances.



(2) Free distribution of allowances to utilities and other energy industries can enrich corporate polluters. That's why Budget Director Peter Orszag stated, "all of the evidence suggests that what would occur is the corporate profits would increase by approximately the value of the permit." Pew Environment Group(which ironically is a member of US-CAP) strongly emphasized this point in a review of the European ETS:



"Free credit giveaways can lead to windfall profits and do not guarantee that costs are not passed on to consumers. A significant portion, if not all, of allowances should be auctioned, generating revenue that can be used to protect vulnerable populations and spur clean technology innovations that ultimately lower the cost of compliance. Windfall profits in the electricity sector were another unintended consequence of free allocation within the EU ETS. In countries such as Germany, the power producers received permits at no cost but decided to charge consumers the full market price of these allowances.7 As a result, electricity prices rose, yielding large profits for utilities.8 If allowances had been auctioned, revenues could have been redirected to assisting low-income customers and other vulnerable populations, as well as to other beneficial purposes such as helping industries retool production and supporting the development of clean energy and carbon sequestration technologies"



Congressman Waxman argues that free distribution is designed to protect ratepayers, yet actual consumer advocacy groups like Public Citizen argue that the bill doesn't do enough to protect ratepayers. Public Citizen writes:



"Proponents of the legislation claim that the legislation shields electricity ratepayers from major rate increases by requiring them to only use the free emission credits for the benefit of ratepayers. But a careful reading of the legislative language suggests that the lack of any definition of what constitutes a "benefit" will be interpreted differently by the 50 state utility commissions that the legislation bestows wide latitude to design allocation of the allowances... it is clear that the decentralized, cumbersome nature of the LDC mitigation approach has been prioritized to preserve jurisdictional exclusivity for the Energy & Commerce Committee at the expense of superior mitigation mechanisms... that would leave competing congressional committees in charge of the disbursement of funds."



(3) As President Obama made clear in his statement, free allowance distribution doesn't produce the right incentives, not only because it is much more prone to gaming and windfall profits, but because it doesn't provide as strong of an incentive for polluters to reduce their emissions.

By Teryn Norris on 2009 06 30


Another big part of the acid rain story that generally doesn't get told was the deregulation of the railroads (starting with the 1976 Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act), which made it much cheaper to ship low-sulfur coal from Western coal fields. That meant that by the time the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments established the SO2 emissions trading system to stop Acid Rain, fuel-switching to low-sulfur coal was economically feasible, even for coal plants in the East, and compliance with the regulations was easy. While Natural Gas may provide some low-cost fuel switching, there's simply no analogous way forward to the completely transformed, low-carbon global energy system necessary to stop global climate change.

By Jesse Jenkins on 2009 06 30

Linus Blomqvist

Linus Blomqvist is Director of Conservation at Breakthrough. He coauthored the report Nature Unbound and has been published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution and PLOS Biology, among other top-ranked journals. @linusblomqvist

 

David Douglas

David Douglas is Vice President of Applied Invention, a company that invents, designs, and prototypes technology solutions for major industry partners, including work in industrial agriculture. He serves on the Board of CO2 Sciences, Inc., is an advisor to DarkSky, LLC, and is a Breakthrough Senior Fellow (2009).

 

THE FUTURE OF FOOD

A Breakthrough Series

 

An Introduction: The Future of Food
by Ted Nordhaus


 

Video: Visualizing Agricultural Innovation
by Breakthrough

 

 

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PUBLICATIONS

Nature Unbound

by Linus Blomqvist

 

FURTHER READING

The Environmental Case for Industrial Agriculture

by Ted Nordhaus

 

How Land-Efficient Is Organic Agriculture?

by Mark Lynas

 

The Future of Food

by Michael Lind

 

A Marriage of Two Agricultures

by Jason Sibert

 

Beyond Food and Evil

by Emma Marris

 

IN THE NEWS

Linus Blomqvist, Ted Nordhaus, and Michael Shellenberger, "How Modern Agriculture Can Save the Gorillas of Virunga," September 15, 2015

 

Justin Fox, "We Might Be Near Peak Environmental Impact," September 11, 2015

 

Eduardo Porter, "A Call to Look Past Sustainable Development," April 14, 2015

 

Eric Holthaus, "Manifesto Calls for an End to 'People Are Bad' Environmentalism," April 20, 2015

Ted Nordhaus is a leading global thinker on energy, environment, climate, human development, and politics. He is the co-founder and executive director of the Breakthough Institute and a co-author of “An Ecomodernist Manifesto."

 

FURTHER READING

The Pope and Climate Change
by Ted Nordhaus

 

Trump and the Environment: A Round-Up
by Alex Trembath and Emma Brush

 

The Coming Baby Bust
by Ted Nordhaus

 

COP21 and the Shift Towards Pragmatism
by Ted Nordhaus

 

How to Think About Our Environmental Future
by Linus Blomqvist

 

A Climate Movement At War
by Steve Rayner

FURTHER READING


Jessica Lovering, "Radiation and Reason: An Interview with Dr. Wade Allison," August 11, 2016



Jessica Lovering and Amber Robson, "All Pain, No Gain: Closing Diablo Canyon Will Cause Costs and Emissions to Rise," June 30, 2016



Will Boisvert, "Not Dead Yet: Global Nuclear Industry Picked Up Steam in 2015," April 22, 2016



Jessica Lovering, "How Much Radiation Is Too Much? An Interview with Edward Calabrese," April 20, 2016


PUBLICATIONS


MORE FROM BREAKTHROUGH ON NUCLEAR ENERGY

"Frequently Asked Questions About Nuclear Power"

 

"Moderate Environmentalists Go Nuclear"

 

"Top Climate Scientists Urge Support of Nuclear Power"

 


Jessica Lovering, Ted Nordhaus, and Michael Shellenberger, "Out of the Nuclear Closet," September 2012


IN THE NEWS


Editorial Board, "Don't Give Up on Nuclear Energy Yet," September 5, 2013


Eduardo Porter, "Coming Full Circle in Energy to Nuclear," August 20, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "New Nuclear Reactor Designs Could Address Safety and Cost Concerns," August 5, 2013
 


Amy Harder, "Can the US Government Revive Nuclear Power?" November 23, 2014


Tim McDonnell, "Obama's Deal with China Is a Big Win for Solar, Nuclear, and Clean Coal," November 12, 2014


Ashutosh Jogalekar, "Making Nuclear Energy Cheap," June 20, 2014


Martin LaMonica, "U-Power's Truck-Size Nuclear Power Plant," May 15, 2014

Robert Bryce, "A Nuclear Option for Energy," May 9, 2014


Ben Geman, "Greens Still See Red On Nuclear," February 2, 2014


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Can Climate Skeptics Save the Planet?" September 27, 2013


Ashutosh Jogalekar, "Nuclear vs. Renewables: A Tale of Disparaties," August 22, 2013


Bob Dreyfuss, "The IPCC Report and Nuclear Energy," August 21, 2013


Eduardo Porter, "Coming Full Circle in Energy, to Nuclear," August 20, 2013


Mark Halper, "Newfangled reactors will slash costs of nuclear power," July 16, 2013


Eliza Strickland, "Can Nuclear Reactors Be Cheap?" July 12, 2013


Fred Pearce, "New Green Vision: Technology As Our Planet's Last Best Hope," July 15, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "Nuclear Energy is Largely Safe. But Can It Be Cheap?" July 8, 2013


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Going Green? Then Go Nuclear," May 22, 2013


Joe Garofoli, "Some Environmentalists Back Nuclear Power," June 13, 2013


Robert Bryce, "Rise of the Nuclear Greens," March 7, 2013


Colbert Report, "Tonight's guest: Michael Shellenberger explores global energy consumption, nuclear power and lessons from Frankenstein," January 28, 2013


Tim Wu, "If You Care About the Environment You Should Support Nuclear Power," January 24, 2013

MARIAN SWAIN


Marian Swain is a Senior Analyst at Breakthrough Institute. Her research focuses on land-use issues related to energy and agriculture. Current projects include quantifying the land footprint of energy production and examining the role of energy in resource substitution. She has written on environmental topics for VoxSlate, and the San Francisco Chronicle
 

 

How Land Efficient is Organic Agriculture

by Mark Lynas

 

The Future of Food

by Michael Lind

 

A Marriage of Two Agricultures

by Jason Sibert

 

Is Feedlot Beef Better for the Environment?

by Marian Swain

 

Bitter Harvest: How How Anti-Technology Environmentalists Have Reversed the Green Revolution

By Robert Ziegler

 

Can We Grow More Food on Less Land?

By Jon Fisher

 

Nature Unbound

by Linus Blomqvist

 

The Environmental Case for Industrial Agriculture

by Ted Nordhaus

 

FURTHER READING


Mark Lynas, "The Truth About Genetically Modified Food," May 6, 2013


Mark Lynas, "Why I Was Wrong About GMOs," January 28, 2013
 


Mark Lynas, "How Genetically-Modified Crops Can Save Hundreds of Thousands from Malnutrition," March 7, 2013

 


Stacy Philpott, "Farm to Fable," March 26, 2014

Jessica Lovering

Jessica Lovering is Director of Energy at Breakthrough. She coauthored the report, How to Make Nuclear Cheap, as well as many analyses on nuclear energy policy. @J_Lovering

 

FURTHER READING


Jessica Lovering, "Radiation and Reason: An Interview with Dr. Wade Allison," August 11, 2016



Jessica Lovering and Amber Robson, "All Pain, No Gain: Closing Diablo Canyon Will Cause Costs and Emissions to Rise," June 30, 2016



Will Boisvert, "Not Dead Yet: Global Nuclear Industry Picked Up Steam in 2015," April 22, 2016



Jessica Lovering, "How Much Radiation Is Too Much? An Interview with Edward Calabrese," April 20, 2016


PUBLICATIONS


MORE FROM BREAKTHROUGH ON NUCLEAR ENERGY

"Frequently Asked Questions About Nuclear Power"

 

"Moderate Environmentalists Go Nuclear"

 

"Top Climate Scientists Urge Support of Nuclear Power"

 


Jessica Lovering, Ted Nordhaus, and Michael Shellenberger, "Out of the Nuclear Closet," September 2012


IN THE NEWS


Editorial Board, "Don't Give Up on Nuclear Energy Yet," September 5, 2013


Eduardo Porter, "Coming Full Circle in Energy to Nuclear," August 20, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "New Nuclear Reactor Designs Could Address Safety and Cost Concerns," August 5, 2013
 


Amy Harder, "Can the US Government Revive Nuclear Power?" November 23, 2014


Tim McDonnell, "Obama's Deal with China Is a Big Win for Solar, Nuclear, and Clean Coal," November 12, 2014


Ashutosh Jogalekar, "Making Nuclear Energy Cheap," June 20, 2014


Martin LaMonica, "U-Power's Truck-Size Nuclear Power Plant," May 15, 2014

Robert Bryce, "A Nuclear Option for Energy," May 9, 2014


Ben Geman, "Greens Still See Red On Nuclear," February 2, 2014


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Can Climate Skeptics Save the Planet?" September 27, 2013


Ashutosh Jogalekar, "Nuclear vs. Renewables: A Tale of Disparaties," August 22, 2013


Bob Dreyfuss, "The IPCC Report and Nuclear Energy," August 21, 2013


Eduardo Porter, "Coming Full Circle in Energy, to Nuclear," August 20, 2013


Mark Halper, "Newfangled reactors will slash costs of nuclear power," July 16, 2013


Eliza Strickland, "Can Nuclear Reactors Be Cheap?" July 12, 2013


Fred Pearce, "New Green Vision: Technology As Our Planet's Last Best Hope," July 15, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "Nuclear Energy is Largely Safe. But Can It Be Cheap?" July 8, 2013


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Going Green? Then Go Nuclear," May 22, 2013


Joe Garofoli, "Some Environmentalists Back Nuclear Power," June 13, 2013


Robert Bryce, "Rise of the Nuclear Greens," March 7, 2013


Colbert Report, "Tonight's guest: Michael Shellenberger explores global energy consumption, nuclear power and lessons from Frankenstein," January 28, 2013


Tim Wu, "If You Care About the Environment You Should Support Nuclear Power," January 24, 2013

MARIAN SWAIN


Marian Swain is a Senior Analyst at Breakthrough Institute. Her research focuses on land-use issues related to energy and agriculture. Current projects include quantifying the land footprint of energy production and examining the role of energy in resource substitution. She has written on environmental topics for VoxSlate, and the San Francisco Chronicle
 

Do High Agricultural Yields Spare Land for Conservation?

by Linus Blomqvist

 

How Land Efficient is Organic Agriculture

by Mark Lynas

 

The Future of Food

by Michael Lind

 

A Marriage of Two Agricultures

by Jason Sibert

 

Nature Unbound

by Linus Blomqvist

 

The Environmental Case for Industrial Agriculture

by Ted Nordhaus


IN THE NEWS


Linus Blomqvist, Ted Nordhaus, and Michael Shellenberger, "How Modern Agriculture Can Save the Gorillas of Virunga," September 15, 2015


Justin Fox, "We Might Be Near Peak Environmental Impact," September 11, 2015
 


Eduardo Porter, "A Call to Look Past Sustainable Development," April 14, 2015
 


Eric Holthaus, "Manifesto Calls for an End to 'People Are Bad' Environmentalism," April 20, 2015
 

 

Ted Nordhaus is a leading global thinker on energy, environment, climate, human development, and politics. He is the co-founder and executive director of the Breakthough Institute and a co-author of “An Ecomodernist Manifesto. 

 

BREAKTHROUGH JOURNAL ISSUE 6
 


AFTER THE GREAT TRANSFORMATION

by Ted Nordhaus


DOES CAPITALISM REQUIRE ENDLESS GROWTH

by Harry Saunders


 

HIGH-TECH DESERT

by John Fleck

 

MODERN POPE

by Sally Vance-Trembath

 

TAKING MODERNIZATION SERIOUSLY

by Michael Lind

 

AFTER THE BABY BUST

by Paul Robbins

 

SUBSCRIBE TO BREAKTHROUGH JOURNAL

RAY ROTHROCK

A former nuclear engineer and longtime venture capitalist, Rothrock is a partner emeritus at Venrock and the CEO and Chairman of RedSeal, Inc. As an investment expert in energy and technology, his current work revolves around investment in advanced nuclear; in this capacity, he has testified before the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future and co-produced the documentary film Pandora’s Promise, in addition to serving on many advisory boards, including DOE’s Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee.

 

FURTHER READING



Jesse Jenkins, "Which Nations Have Reduced Carbon Intensity Fastest?" April 3, 2012



Roger Pielke, Jr, "Clean Energy Stagnation," July 9, 2013



Max Luke, "Nuclear and Gas Account for Most Carbon Displacement Since 1950," September 3, 2013


PUBLICATIONS

MORE FROM BREAKTHROUGH ON NUCLEAR ENERGY
 

"Frequently Asked Questions About Nuclear Power"

"Moderate Environmentalists Go Nuclear"

"Top Climate Scientists Urge Support of Nuclear Power"

 


Jessica Lovering, Ted Nordhaus, and Michael Shellenberger, "Out of the Nuclear Closet," September 2012

 

IN THE NEWS


Editorial Board, "Don't Give Up on Nuclear Energy Yet," September 5, 2013


Eduardo Porter, "Coming Full Circle in Energy to Nuclear," August 20, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "New Nuclear Reactor Designs Could Address Safety and Cost Concerns," August 5, 2013
 


Amy Harder, "Can the US Government Revive Nuclear Power?" November 23, 2014


Tim McDonnell, "Obama's Deal with China Is a Big Win for Solar, Nuclear, and Clean Coal," November 12, 2014


Ashutosh Jogalekar, "Making Nuclear Energy Cheap," June 20, 2014


Martin LaMonica, "U-Power's Truck-Size Nuclear Power Plant," May 15, 2014

Robert Bryce, "A Nuclear Option for Energy," May 9, 2014


Ben Geman, "Greens Still See Red On Nuclear," February 2, 2014


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Can Climate Skeptics Save the Planet?" September 27, 2013


Ashutosh Jogalekar, "Nuclear vs. Renewables: A Tale of Disparaties," August 22, 2013


Bob Dreyfuss, "The IPCC Report and Nuclear Energy," August 21, 2013


Eduardo Porter, "Coming Full Circle in Energy, to Nuclear," August 20, 2013


Mark Halper, "Newfangled reactors will slash costs of nuclear power," July 16, 2013


Eliza Strickland, "Can Nuclear Reactors Be Cheap?" July 12, 2013


Fred Pearce, "New Green Vision: Technology As Our Planet's Last Best Hope," July 15, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "Nuclear Energy is Largely Safe. But Can It Be Cheap?" July 8, 2013


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Going Green? Then Go Nuclear," May 22, 2013


Joe Garofoli, "Some Environmentalists Back Nuclear Power," June 13, 2013


Robert Bryce, "Rise of the Nuclear Greens," March 7, 2013


Colbert Report, "Tonight's guest: Michael Shellenberger explores global energy consumption, nuclear power and lessons from Frankenstein," January 28, 2013


Tim Wu, "If You Care About the Environment You Should Support Nuclear Power," January 24, 2013

Jessica Lovering

Jessica Lovering is Director of Energy at Breakthrough. She coauthored the report, How to Make Nuclear Cheap, as well as many analyses on nuclear energy policy. @J_Lovering

 

FURTHER READING


Jessica Lovering, "Radiation and Reason: An Interview with Dr. Wade Allison," August 11, 2016



Jessica Lovering and Amber Robson, "All Pain, No Gain: Closing Diablo Canyon Will Cause Costs and Emissions to Rise," June 30, 2016



Will Boisvert, "Not Dead Yet: Global Nuclear Industry Picked Up Steam in 2015," April 22, 2016



Jessica Lovering, "How Much Radiation Is Too Much? An Interview with Edward Calabrese," April 20, 2016


PUBLICATIONS


MORE FROM BREAKTHROUGH ON NUCLEAR ENERGY

"Frequently Asked Questions About Nuclear Power"

 

"Moderate Environmentalists Go Nuclear"

 

"Top Climate Scientists Urge Support of Nuclear Power"

 


Jessica Lovering, Ted Nordhaus, and Michael Shellenberger, "Out of the Nuclear Closet," September 2012


IN THE NEWS


Editorial Board, "Don't Give Up on Nuclear Energy Yet," September 5, 2013


Eduardo Porter, "Coming Full Circle in Energy to Nuclear," August 20, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "New Nuclear Reactor Designs Could Address Safety and Cost Concerns," August 5, 2013
 


Amy Harder, "Can the US Government Revive Nuclear Power?" November 23, 2014


Tim McDonnell, "Obama's Deal with China Is a Big Win for Solar, Nuclear, and Clean Coal," November 12, 2014


Ashutosh Jogalekar, "Making Nuclear Energy Cheap," June 20, 2014


Martin LaMonica, "U-Power's Truck-Size Nuclear Power Plant," May 15, 2014

Robert Bryce, "A Nuclear Option for Energy," May 9, 2014


Ben Geman, "Greens Still See Red On Nuclear," February 2, 2014


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Can Climate Skeptics Save the Planet?" September 27, 2013


Ashutosh Jogalekar, "Nuclear vs. Renewables: A Tale of Disparaties," August 22, 2013


Bob Dreyfuss, "The IPCC Report and Nuclear Energy," August 21, 2013


Eduardo Porter, "Coming Full Circle in Energy, to Nuclear," August 20, 2013


Mark Halper, "Newfangled reactors will slash costs of nuclear power," July 16, 2013


Eliza Strickland, "Can Nuclear Reactors Be Cheap?" July 12, 2013


Fred Pearce, "New Green Vision: Technology As Our Planet's Last Best Hope," July 15, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "Nuclear Energy is Largely Safe. But Can It Be Cheap?" July 8, 2013


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Going Green? Then Go Nuclear," May 22, 2013


Joe Garofoli, "Some Environmentalists Back Nuclear Power," June 13, 2013


Robert Bryce, "Rise of the Nuclear Greens," March 7, 2013


Colbert Report, "Tonight's guest: Michael Shellenberger explores global energy consumption, nuclear power and lessons from Frankenstein," January 28, 2013


Tim Wu, "If You Care About the Environment You Should Support Nuclear Power," January 24, 2013

BREAKTHROUGH JOURNAL ISSUE 6
 


AFTER THE GREAT TRANSFORMATION

by Ted Nordhaus

 

HIGH-TECH DESERT

by John Fleck

 

MODERN POPE

by Sally Vance-Trembath

 

TAKING MODERNIZATION SERIOUSLY

by Michael Lind

 

AFTER THE BABY BUST

by Paul Robbins

 

LOVE AND VINYL CHLORIDE

by Michael E. Zimmerman

 

SUBSCRIBE TO BREAKTHROUGH JOURNAL

Jessica Lovering

Jessica Lovering is Director of Energy at Breakthrough. She coauthored the report, How to Make Nuclear Cheap, as well as many analyses on nuclear energy policy. @J_Lovering

 

FURTHER READING



Jesse Jenkins, "Which Nations Have Reduced Carbon Intensity Fastest?" April 3, 2012



Roger Pielke, Jr, "Clean Energy Stagnation," July 9, 2013



Max Luke, "Nuclear and Gas Account for Most Carbon Displacement Since 1950," September 3, 2013


PUBLICATIONS

MORE FROM BREAKTHROUGH ON NUCLEAR ENERGY
 

"Frequently Asked Questions About Nuclear Power"

"Moderate Environmentalists Go Nuclear"

"Top Climate Scientists Urge Support of Nuclear Power"

 


Jessica Lovering, Ted Nordhaus, and Michael Shellenberger, "Out of the Nuclear Closet," September 2012

 

IN THE NEWS


Editorial Board, "Don't Give Up on Nuclear Energy Yet," September 5, 2013


Eduardo Porter, "Coming Full Circle in Energy to Nuclear," August 20, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "New Nuclear Reactor Designs Could Address Safety and Cost Concerns," August 5, 2013
 


Amy Harder, "Can the US Government Revive Nuclear Power?" November 23, 2014


Tim McDonnell, "Obama's Deal with China Is a Big Win for Solar, Nuclear, and Clean Coal," November 12, 2014


Ashutosh Jogalekar, "Making Nuclear Energy Cheap," June 20, 2014


Martin LaMonica, "U-Power's Truck-Size Nuclear Power Plant," May 15, 2014

Robert Bryce, "A Nuclear Option for Energy," May 9, 2014


Ben Geman, "Greens Still See Red On Nuclear," February 2, 2014


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Can Climate Skeptics Save the Planet?" September 27, 2013


Ashutosh Jogalekar, "Nuclear vs. Renewables: A Tale of Disparaties," August 22, 2013


Bob Dreyfuss, "The IPCC Report and Nuclear Energy," August 21, 2013


Eduardo Porter, "Coming Full Circle in Energy, to Nuclear," August 20, 2013


Mark Halper, "Newfangled reactors will slash costs of nuclear power," July 16, 2013


Eliza Strickland, "Can Nuclear Reactors Be Cheap?" July 12, 2013


Fred Pearce, "New Green Vision: Technology As Our Planet's Last Best Hope," July 15, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "Nuclear Energy is Largely Safe. But Can It Be Cheap?" July 8, 2013


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Going Green? Then Go Nuclear," May 22, 2013


Joe Garofoli, "Some Environmentalists Back Nuclear Power," June 13, 2013


Robert Bryce, "Rise of the Nuclear Greens," March 7, 2013


Colbert Report, "Tonight's guest: Michael Shellenberger explores global energy consumption, nuclear power and lessons from Frankenstein," January 28, 2013


Tim Wu, "If You Care About the Environment You Should Support Nuclear Power," January 24, 2013

HARRY SAUNDERS


Harry Saunders is a Senior Fellow at Breakthrough Institute and the managing director of Decision Processes Incorporated.

 

BREAKTHROUGH JOURNAL ISSUE 6
 


AFTER THE GREAT TRANSFORMATION

by Ted Nordhaus

 

HIGH-TECH DESERT

by John Fleck

 

MODERN POPE

by Sally Vance-Trembath

 

TAKING MODERNIZATION SERIOUSLY

by Michael Lind

 

AFTER THE BABY BUST

by Paul Robbins

 

LOVE AND VINYL CHLORIDE

by Michael E. Zimmerman

 

SUBSCRIBE TO BREAKTHROUGH JOURNAL

TED NORDHAUS


Ted Nordhaus is Cofounder and Executive Director at the Breakthrough Institute.

 

BREAKTHROUGH JOURNAL ISSUE 6
 

 


DOES CAPITALISM REQUIRE ENDLESS GROWTH?

by Harry Saunders


 

HIGH-TECH DESERT

by John Fleck

 

MODERN POPE

by Sally Vance-Trembath

 

TAKING MODERNIZATION SERIOUSLY

by Michael Lind

 

AFTER THE BABY BUST

by Paul Robbins

 

LOVE AND VINYL CHLORIDE

by Michael E. Zimmerman

 

SUBSCRIBE TO BREAKTHROUGH JOURNAL

FURTHER READING



Jesse Jenkins, "Which Nations Have Reduced Carbon Intensity Fastest?" April 3, 2012



Roger Pielke, Jr, "Clean Energy Stagnation," July 9, 2013



Max Luke, "Nuclear and Gas Account for Most Carbon Displacement Since 1950," September 3, 2013


PUBLICATIONS

MORE FROM BREAKTHROUGH ON NUCLEAR ENERGY
 

"Frequently Asked Questions About Nuclear Power"

"Moderate Environmentalists Go Nuclear"

"Top Climate Scientists Urge Support of Nuclear Power"

 


Jessica Lovering, Ted Nordhaus, and Michael Shellenberger, "Out of the Nuclear Closet," September 2012

 

IN THE NEWS


Editorial Board, "Don't Give Up on Nuclear Energy Yet," September 5, 2013


Eduardo Porter, "Coming Full Circle in Energy to Nuclear," August 20, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "New Nuclear Reactor Designs Could Address Safety and Cost Concerns," August 5, 2013
 


Amy Harder, "Can the US Government Revive Nuclear Power?" November 23, 2014


Tim McDonnell, "Obama's Deal with China Is a Big Win for Solar, Nuclear, and Clean Coal," November 12, 2014


Ashutosh Jogalekar, "Making Nuclear Energy Cheap," June 20, 2014


Martin LaMonica, "U-Power's Truck-Size Nuclear Power Plant," May 15, 2014

Robert Bryce, "A Nuclear Option for Energy," May 9, 2014


Ben Geman, "Greens Still See Red On Nuclear," February 2, 2014


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Can Climate Skeptics Save the Planet?" September 27, 2013


Ashutosh Jogalekar, "Nuclear vs. Renewables: A Tale of Disparaties," August 22, 2013


Bob Dreyfuss, "The IPCC Report and Nuclear Energy," August 21, 2013


Eduardo Porter, "Coming Full Circle in Energy, to Nuclear," August 20, 2013


Mark Halper, "Newfangled reactors will slash costs of nuclear power," July 16, 2013


Eliza Strickland, "Can Nuclear Reactors Be Cheap?" July 12, 2013


Fred Pearce, "New Green Vision: Technology As Our Planet's Last Best Hope," July 15, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "Nuclear Energy is Largely Safe. But Can It Be Cheap?" July 8, 2013


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Going Green? Then Go Nuclear," May 22, 2013


Joe Garofoli, "Some Environmentalists Back Nuclear Power," June 13, 2013


Robert Bryce, "Rise of the Nuclear Greens," March 7, 2013


Colbert Report, "Tonight's guest: Michael Shellenberger explores global energy consumption, nuclear power and lessons from Frankenstein," January 28, 2013


Tim Wu, "If You Care About the Environment You Should Support Nuclear Power," January 24, 2013

MICHAEL E. ZIMMERMAN


Michael E. Zimmerman is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Cultural Evolution and the author of Environmental Philosophy: From Animal Rights to Radical Ecology.

 

BREAKTHROUGH JOURNAL ISSUE 6
 


AFTER THE GREAT TRANSFORMATION

by Ted Nordhaus


DOES CAPITALISM REQUIRE ENDLESS GROWTH

by Harry Saunders


 

HIGH-TECH DESERT

by John Fleck

 

MODERN POPE

by Sally Vance-Trembath

 

TAKING MODERNIZATION SERIOUSLY

by Michael Lind

 

AFTER THE BABY BUST

by Paul Robbins

 

SUBSCRIBE TO BREAKTHROUGH JOURNAL

SALLY VANCE-TREMBATH


Sally Vance-Trembath is Professor of Theology at Santa Clara University.

 

BREAKTHROUGH JOURNAL ISSUE 6
 


AFTER THE GREAT TRANSFORMATION

by Ted Nordhaus


DOES CAPITALISM REQUIRE ENDLESS GROWTH

by Harry Saunders


 

HIGH-TECH DESERT

by John Fleck

 

TAKING MODERNIZATION SERIOUSLY

by Michael Lind

 

AFTER THE BABY BUST

by Paul Robbins

 

LOVE AND VINYL CHLORIDE

by Michael E. Zimmerman

 

SUBSCRIBE TO BREAKTHROUGH JOURNAL

HARRY SAUNDERS


Harry Saunders is a Senior Fellow at Breakthrough Institute and the managing director of Decision Processes Incorporated.

 

BREAKTHROUGH JOURNAL ISSUE 6
 


AFTER THE GREAT TRANSFORMATION

by Ted Nordhaus

 

HIGH-TECH DESERT

by John Fleck

 

MODERN POPE

by Sally Vance-Trembath

 

TAKING MODERNIZATION SERIOUSLY

by Michael Lind

 

AFTER THE BABY BUST

by Paul Robbins

 

LOVE AND VINYL CHLORIDE

by Michael E. Zimmerman

 

SUBSCRIBE TO BREAKTHROUGH JOURNAL

PAUL ROBBINS


Paul Robbins is Director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. 

 

BREAKTHROUGH JOURNAL ISSUE 6
 


AFTER THE GREAT TRANSFORMATION

by Ted Nordhaus


DOES CAPITALISM REQUIRE ENDLESS GROWTH

by Harry Saunders


 

HIGH-TECH DESERT

by John Fleck

 

MODERN POPE

by Sally Vance-Trembath

 

TAKING MODERNIZATION SERIOUSLY

by Michael Lind

 

LOVE AND VINYL CHLORIDE

by Michael E. Zimmerman

 

SUBSCRIBE TO BREAKTHROUGH JOURNAL

MICHAEL LIND


Michael Lind is co-founder of the New America Foundation, and a contributing editor to Politico, The National Interest, and Salon. He is also the author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States.

 

BREAKTHROUGH JOURNAL ISSUE 6
 


AFTER THE GREAT TRANSFORMATION

by Ted Nordhaus


DOES CAPITALISM REQUIRE ENDLESS GROWTH

by Harry Saunders


 

HIGH-TECH DESERT

by John Fleck

 

MODERN POPE

by Sally Vance-Trembath

 

AFTER THE BABY BUST

by Paul Robbins

 

LOVE AND VINYL CHLORIDE

by Michael E. Zimmerman

 

SUBSCRIBE TO BREAKTHROUGH JOURNAL

JOHN FLECK


John Fleck is an adjunct faculty member and writer-in-residence in the Water Resources Program at the University of New Mexico.

 

BREAKTHROUGH JOURNAL ISSUE 6
 


AFTER THE GREAT TRANSFORMATION

by Ted Nordhaus


DOES CAPITALISM REQUIRE ENDLESS GROWTH

by Harry Saunders

 

MODERN POPE

by Sally Vance-Trembath

 

TAKING MODERNIZATION SERIOUSLY

by Michael Lind

 

AFTER THE BABY BUST

by Paul Robbins

 

LOVE AND VINYL CHLORIDE

by Michael E. Zimmerman

 

SUBSCRIBE TO BREAKTHROUGH JOURNAL

NATURE UNBOUND
 

 

AN ECOMODERNIST MANIFESTO
 

 

LESSONS FROM THE SHALE REVOLUTION
 

 

HIGH ENERGY INNOVATION
 

 


IN THE NEWS


Linus Blomqvist, Ted Nordhaus, and Michael Shellenberger, "How Modern Agriculture Can Save the Gorillas of Virunga," September 15, 2015


Justin Fox, "We Might Be Near Peak Environmental Impact," September 11, 2015
 


Eduardo Porter, "A Call to Look Past Sustainable Development," April 14, 2015
 


Eric Holthaus, "Manifesto Calls for an End to 'People Are Bad' Environmentalism," April 20, 2015

IN THE NEWS

Will Boisvert and Michael Shellenberger, "For the climate, save N.Y. nuclear plants: Less nuclear = more carbon," December 7, 2015
 


Eduardo Porter, "New York Times Column on Ecomodernist Manifesto," April 14, 2015
 



Michael Shellenberger, "The climate war is over," December 2, 2015
 


Eric Holthaus, "Bernie's New Climate Change Plan Is an Environmentalist's Dream, Except for This One Thing," December 7, 2015


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Campaign to stop fracking sacrifices nature for ideology," July 16, 2015


Michael Lind, "The Case for Ecomodernism," May 26, 2015

Eric Holthaus, "Manifesto Calls for an End to 'People Are Bad' Environmentalism," April 20, 2015


Eduardo Porter, "Federal Role in Recent Drop in Oil Prices," January 20, 2015

Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Want to Save the Planet? Say Bye-Bye to Nature," April 22, 2015


Andrew Revkin, "Another Round on Energy Rebound," October 24, 2014

Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "The Problem With Energy Efficiency," October 8, 2014

Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Allay or Adapt? The Real Climate Change Debate is About Technology," October 2, 2014

Russel Gold, "Why Peak-Oil Predictions Haven’t Come True," September 29, 2014

FURTHER READING



Jesse Jenkins, "Which Nations Have Reduced Carbon Intensity Fastest?" April 3, 2012



Roger Pielke, Jr, "Clean Energy Stagnation," July 9, 2013



Max Luke, "Nuclear and Gas Account for Most Carbon Displacement Since 1950," September 3, 2013


PUBLICATIONS

MORE FROM BREAKTHROUGH ON NUCLEAR ENERGY
 

"Frequently Asked Questions About Nuclear Power"

"Moderate Environmentalists Go Nuclear"

"Top Climate Scientists Urge Support of Nuclear Power"

 


Jessica Lovering, Ted Nordhaus, and Michael Shellenberger, "Out of the Nuclear Closet," September 2012

 

IN THE NEWS


Editorial Board, "Don't Give Up on Nuclear Energy Yet," September 5, 2013


Eduardo Porter, "Coming Full Circle in Energy to Nuclear," August 20, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "New Nuclear Reactor Designs Could Address Safety and Cost Concerns," August 5, 2013
 


Amy Harder, "Can the US Government Revive Nuclear Power?" November 23, 2014


Tim McDonnell, "Obama's Deal with China Is a Big Win for Solar, Nuclear, and Clean Coal," November 12, 2014


Ashutosh Jogalekar, "Making Nuclear Energy Cheap," June 20, 2014


Martin LaMonica, "U-Power's Truck-Size Nuclear Power Plant," May 15, 2014

Robert Bryce, "A Nuclear Option for Energy," May 9, 2014


Ben Geman, "Greens Still See Red On Nuclear," February 2, 2014


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Can Climate Skeptics Save the Planet?" September 27, 2013


Ashutosh Jogalekar, "Nuclear vs. Renewables: A Tale of Disparaties," August 22, 2013


Bob Dreyfuss, "The IPCC Report and Nuclear Energy," August 21, 2013


Eduardo Porter, "Coming Full Circle in Energy, to Nuclear," August 20, 2013


Mark Halper, "Newfangled reactors will slash costs of nuclear power," July 16, 2013


Eliza Strickland, "Can Nuclear Reactors Be Cheap?" July 12, 2013


Fred Pearce, "New Green Vision: Technology As Our Planet's Last Best Hope," July 15, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "Nuclear Energy is Largely Safe. But Can It Be Cheap?" July 8, 2013


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Going Green? Then Go Nuclear," May 22, 2013


Joe Garofoli, "Some Environmentalists Back Nuclear Power," June 13, 2013


Robert Bryce, "Rise of the Nuclear Greens," March 7, 2013


Colbert Report, "Tonight's guest: Michael Shellenberger explores global energy consumption, nuclear power and lessons from Frankenstein," January 28, 2013


Tim Wu, "If You Care About the Environment You Should Support Nuclear Power," January 24, 2013

PUBLICATIONS
 

 

ANALYSIS AND OPINION
 

FAQ on Nuclear
 

Nuclear and Renewables At A Glance
 

Cost of German Solar Is Four Times Finnish Nuclear
 

Nuclear and Gas Account for Most Carbon Displacement Since 1950
 

Subsidies for Solar Two Times Higher Than for Nuclear in California


BREAKTHROUGH IN THE NEWS
 


Amy Harder, "Can the US Government Revive Nuclear Power?" November 23, 2014


Tim McDonnell, "Obama's Deal with China Is a Big Win for Solar, Nuclear, and Clean Coal," November 12, 2014


Ashutosh Jogalekar, "Making Nuclear Energy Cheap," June 20, 2014


Martin LaMonica, "U-Power's Truck-Size Nuclear Power Plant," May 15, 2014

Robert Bryce, "A Nuclear Option for Energy," May 9, 2014


Ben Geman, "Greens Still See Red On Nuclear," February 2, 2014


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Can Climate Skeptics Save the Planet?" September 27, 2013


Editorial Board, "Don't Give Up on Nuclear Energy Yet," September 5, 2013


Ashutosh Jogalekar, "Nuclear vs. Renewables: A Tale of Disparaties," August 22, 2013


Bob Dreyfuss, "The IPCC Report and Nuclear Energy," August 21, 2013


Eduardo Porter, "Coming Full Circle in Energy, to Nuclear," August 20, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "New Nuclear Reactor Designs Could Address Safety and Cost Concerns," August 5, 2013


Mark Halper, "Newfangled reactors will slash costs of nuclear power," July 16, 2013


Eliza Strickland, "Can Nuclear Reactors Be Cheap?" July 12, 2013


Fred Pearce, "New Green Vision: Technology As Our Planet's Last Best Hope," July 15, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "Nuclear Energy is Largely Safe. But Can It Be Cheap?" July 8, 2013


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Going Green? Then Go Nuclear," May 22, 2013


Joe Garofoli, "Some Environmentalists Back Nuclear Power," June 13, 2013


Robert Bryce, "Rise of the Nuclear Greens," March 7, 2013


Colbert Report, "Tonight's guest: Michael Shellenberger explores global energy consumption, nuclear power and lessons from Frankenstein," January 28, 2013


Tim Wu, "If You Care About the Environment You Should Support Nuclear Power," January 24, 2013

JOHN MORGAN

John Morgan is Chief Scientist at Pooled Energy, a startup electricity company building smart grid technology.  He is Adjunct Professor in Electrical and Computing Engineering at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, with a PhD in Physical Chemistry and postdoctoral experience in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware. He has led industrial R&D programmes in microfabrication, microfluidics and nanotechnology and is an inventor on about 80 patents. You can follow John on Twitter at @JohnDPMorgan.

 

PUBLICATIONS



ANALYSES
 

Historic Paths to Decarbonization
 

Carbon Taxes and Energy Subsidies
 

Renewables and Nuclear At A Glance

 

BREAKTHROUGH IN THE NEWS



Walter Russell Mead, "Fuzzy Math Can'd Hide Shale Boom's Green Credentials," August 21, 2014


Brad Plumer, "There's a big gap between Obama's climate ambitions and his actual policies," June 9, 2014


Jim Manzi, "Energy in the Executive," June 4, 2014


Justin Gillis and Henry Fountain, "Trying to Reclaim Leadership on Climate Change," June 1, 2014


Jim Manzi, "The New American System," April 2014


Jennifer Dhouly, "Some Say Keystone Fight Distracts From Broader Climate Aims," February 16, 2014


Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, "Environmentalists Made a Big Mistake By Focusing All Their Attention on Keystone," February 6, 2014


Matthew Stepp and Alex Trembath, "A Climate Policy That Would Actually Work," October 11, 2013


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Can Climate Skeptics Save the Planet?" September 27, 2013


Christopher Colford, "Innovator-in-Chief: The Public Sector," September 3, 2013


Martin Wolf, "A Much-maligned Engine of Innovation," August 5, 2013


Clyde Prestowitz, "Thank Washington for Shale Gas and Oil," August 1, 2013


Andrew Revkin, "The Silent Partner Behind the Shale Energy Boom -- Taxpayers," July 31, 2013


Max Luke and Alex Trembath, "The Bridge to Zero Carbon," July 25, 2013


Russell Gold, "Rise in U.S. Gas Production Fuels Unexpected Plunge in Emissions," April 18, 2013


David Leonhardt, "It's Not Easy Being Green," February 10, 2013


 

David Leonhardt, "There's Still Hope for the Planet," July 21, 2012
 

 


Editorial, "The End of Clean Energy Subsidies?" May 5, 2012
 

 




Keith Johnson, "Subsidies for Clean Energy Get Fresh Look," April 17, 2012

ERLE ELLIS



Erle Ellis is an environmental scientist at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a leading theorist of the Anthropocene, the age of humans.

 

THE RETURN OF NATURE

by Jesse Ausubel


REWILDING PRAGMATISM

by Martin W. Lewis


THE LONG ANTHROPOCENE

by Erle Ellis

 

HUMANS HAVE SHAPED EARTH FOR MILLENNIA

by Fred Pearce

 

A GOOD ANTHROPOCENE?

by Breakthrough Staff

 

ECOMODERNISM AND THE ANTHROPOCENE

by Ted Nordhaus, Michael Shellenberger, and Jenna Mukuno


 

EARTH MAKERS

by Joseph Mascaro

ADAPTATION FOR A HIGH-ENERGY PLANET


HIGH-ENERGY INNOVATION

 


OUR HIGH-ENERGY PLANET


PUBLICATIONS



ANALYSES
 

Historic Paths to Decarbonization
 

Carbon Taxes and Energy Subsidies
 

Renewables and Nuclear At A Glance

 

BREAKTHROUGH IN THE NEWS




Walter Russell Mead, "Fuzzy Math Can'd Hide Shale Boom's Green Credentials," August 21, 2014


Brad Plumer, "There's a big gap between Obama's climate ambitions and his actual policies," June 9, 2014


Jim Manzi, "Energy in the Executive," June 4, 2014


Justin Gillis and Henry Fountain, "Trying to Reclaim Leadership on Climate Change," June 1, 2014


Jim Manzi, "The New American System," April 2014


Jennifer Dhouly, "Some Say Keystone Fight Distracts From Broader Climate Aims," February 16, 2014


Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, "Environmentalists Made a Big Mistake By Focusing All Their Attention on Keystone," February 6, 2014


Matthew Stepp and Alex Trembath, "A Climate Policy That Would Actually Work," October 11, 2013


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Can Climate Skeptics Save the Planet?" September 27, 2013


Christopher Colford, "Innovator-in-Chief: The Public Sector," September 3, 2013


Martin Wolf, "A Much-maligned Engine of Innovation," August 5, 2013


Clyde Prestowitz, "Thank Washington for Shale Gas and Oil," August 1, 2013


Andrew Revkin, "The Silent Partner Behind the Shale Energy Boom -- Taxpayers," July 31, 2013


Max Luke and Alex Trembath, "The Bridge to Zero Carbon," July 25, 2013


Russell Gold, "Rise in U.S. Gas Production Fuels Unexpected Plunge in Emissions," April 18, 2013


David Leonhardt, "It's Not Easy Being Green," February 10, 2013


 

David Leonhardt, "There's Still Hope for the Planet," July 21, 2012
 

 


Editorial, "The End of Clean Energy Subsidies?" May 5, 2012
 

 




Keith Johnson, "Subsidies for Clean Energy Get Fresh Look," April 17, 2012

FURTHER READING



Jesse Jenkins, "Which Nations Have Reduced Carbon Intensity Fastest?" April 3, 2012



Roger Pielke, Jr, "Clean Energy Stagnation," July 9, 2013



Max Luke, "Nuclear and Gas Account for Most Carbon Displacement Since 1950," September 3, 2013


PUBLICATIONS

MORE FROM BREAKTHROUGH ON NUCLEAR ENERGY
 

"Frequently Asked Questions About Nuclear Power"

"Moderate Environmentalists Go Nuclear"

"Top Climate Scientists Urge Support of Nuclear Power"

 


Jessica Lovering, Ted Nordhaus, and Michael Shellenberger, "Out of the Nuclear Closet," September 2012

 

IN THE NEWS


Editorial Board, "Don't Give Up on Nuclear Energy Yet," September 5, 2013


Eduardo Porter, "Coming Full Circle in Energy to Nuclear," August 20, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "New Nuclear Reactor Designs Could Address Safety and Cost Concerns," August 5, 2013
 


Amy Harder, "Can the US Government Revive Nuclear Power?" November 23, 2014


Tim McDonnell, "Obama's Deal with China Is a Big Win for Solar, Nuclear, and Clean Coal," November 12, 2014


Ashutosh Jogalekar, "Making Nuclear Energy Cheap," June 20, 2014


Martin LaMonica, "U-Power's Truck-Size Nuclear Power Plant," May 15, 2014

Robert Bryce, "A Nuclear Option for Energy," May 9, 2014


Ben Geman, "Greens Still See Red On Nuclear," February 2, 2014


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Can Climate Skeptics Save the Planet?" September 27, 2013


Ashutosh Jogalekar, "Nuclear vs. Renewables: A Tale of Disparaties," August 22, 2013


Bob Dreyfuss, "The IPCC Report and Nuclear Energy," August 21, 2013


Eduardo Porter, "Coming Full Circle in Energy, to Nuclear," August 20, 2013


Mark Halper, "Newfangled reactors will slash costs of nuclear power," July 16, 2013


Eliza Strickland, "Can Nuclear Reactors Be Cheap?" July 12, 2013


Fred Pearce, "New Green Vision: Technology As Our Planet's Last Best Hope," July 15, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "Nuclear Energy is Largely Safe. But Can It Be Cheap?" July 8, 2013


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Going Green? Then Go Nuclear," May 22, 2013


Joe Garofoli, "Some Environmentalists Back Nuclear Power," June 13, 2013


Robert Bryce, "Rise of the Nuclear Greens," March 7, 2013


Colbert Report, "Tonight's guest: Michael Shellenberger explores global energy consumption, nuclear power and lessons from Frankenstein," January 28, 2013


Tim Wu, "If You Care About the Environment You Should Support Nuclear Power," January 24, 2013