Are Bike Sharing Programs Truly Green?

In London, Bike Sharing Adds Cars to the Road

Bike share programs might seem like the ultimate environmentally-friendly mode of urban transportation. As more people hop on bikes, the thinking goes, the use of cars will drop.

But researchers have found that the math isn’t quite so simple. According to a new study, London’s bike share program actually increases the number of automobile miles driven per year, partly because trucks are needed to ferry bikes between stations.

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High-Energy Africa

Development Experts Make the Case for Big Investments in Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa has experienced massive economic growth over the last decade, but in order for this growth to translate into significant development outcomes, big investments will be needed to provide electricity to the 600 million sub-Saharan Africans who lack it, said a panel of development experts at Breakthrough Dialogue.

Lack of cheap and reliable energy is a significant barrier to continued economic growth. While some advocates have suggested that small-scale, distributed renewable energy technologies can meet the needs of sub-Saharan Africa, two of the panelists argued that Africa’s power sector will much more diverse, and, at least in the near future, dominated by hydro and fossil fuels. 

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Can California Desalinate Its Way Out of a Drought?

New Technologies Promise Lower Costs and Fewer Environmental Impacts

This article was first published at Yale Environment 360 and is reprinted with permission.

A ferry plows along San Francisco Bay, trailing a tail of churned up salt, sand, and sludge and further fouling the already murky liquid that John Webley intends to turn into drinking water. But Webley, CEO of a Bay Area start-up working on a new, energy-skimping desalination system, isn’t perturbed. 
 

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High-Efficiency Planet

Efficiency Gains Have Driven Cost Declines and Increases in Energy Consumption – Will the Trend Continue or Peak?

When most people think of energy efficiency, they think of modern amenities, like their squiggly compact fluorescent light bulbs. But according to one of the world’s experts on the history of energy, lighting has become more efficient for 700 years — and much cheaper as a result. 

“Over the last 700 years, there has been a 10,000-fold decline in the cost of lighting,” explained London School of Economics professor Roger Fouquet at Breakthrough Dialogue. “Between 1800 and 2000, there was a 1,000-fold increase in lighting.”

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The Power of Nationalism

The Romantic Roots of the Antinuclear Energiewende in Germany

The Energiewende is the world’s most audacious energy policy experiment and comprises Germany’s biggest infrastructure project since post-Second World War reconstruction. No other national energy policy has attracted such international interest, nor polarized opinions. Energiewende — literally translated as “energy turn” or “energy transition” — has two main elements — a withdrawal from nuclear power and an increase in the use of renewable energy.

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Unleashing Africa

How the US Can Light Up the Futures of the 1.4 Billion People Living Without Electricity

What is “energy poverty”?

Energy poverty simply means a lack of affordable, reliable electricity needed to support a comfortable, prosperous standard of living. Billions of the world’s energy poor aren’t connected to any power source. And for those who are connected to the grid, the actual flow of electricity is sporadic and blackouts frequent.

Because of outdated and insufficient infrastructure, many countries do not generate enough electricity to meet growing demand, leaving actual consumption at extremely low levels. The average American uses about 13,200 kWh/year. By comparison, here are the averages for citizens in a few African countries (and Todd’s fridge):

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Prepare for High Energy Growth, Climate Experts Warn

International Energy Agency Faulted for Unrealistic Projections

World leaders are failing to come to grips with the implications of rapidly rising energy consumption for climate change, climate experts said at last week’s Breakthrough Dialogue.

“If everyone in the world were to consume energy at Germany’s highly efficient levels,” explained Roger Pielke, Jr., an environmental studies professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, “global energy consumption would need to triple or quadruple. How do we provide the energy equivalent of adding 800 Virginias while meeting climate goals?”

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Energy and Climate

Over the last decade, Breakthrough Institute has emerged as one of the world's leading voices for a more pragmatic, pro-technology, and pro-growth approach to climate and energy policy. Given how central energy is to human well being, we believe that making dirty energy expensive is untenable for the global poor. Instead, the Energy and Climate Program is focused on making clean energy cheap through technology innovation to deal with both global warming and energy poverty.

PROGRAM AREAS

 
Energy & Climate   Energy Efficiency
       Policy
 
  Renewables         Natural Gas

     Nuclear

Publications

How to Make Nuclear Cheap: Safety, Readiness, Modularity, and Efficiency (July 2013)


 

Coal Killer: How Natural Gas Fuels the Clean Energy Revolution
(June 2013)


 

Beyond Boom and Bust: Putting Clean Tech on a Path to Subsidy Independence
(April 2012)



More Publications

 

Analysis and Opinion

Carbon Taxes and Energy Subsidies

The History of the Shale Revolution

Nuclear Energy 

Historic Paths to Decarbonization

Climate Economics

Energy Efficiency and Rebound

Climate Legislation
 

Breakthrough In the News
 


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


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


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


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Global Warming Scare Tactics," April 8, 2014


David Rose, "The Real Cost of Climate McCarthyism," April 5, 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


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


Max Luke and Jenna Mukuno, "Boldly Going Where No Greens Have Gone Before," January 8, 2014


Ben Geman, "Environmentalists Face a Day of Reckoning on Keystone Pipeline," December 30, 2013


CNN Crossfire, "Is Nuclear Power Safe?" Debate Between Ralph Nader and Michael Shellenberger, November 7, 2013

Steve Fuller, "Nintey-degree revolution," October 24, 2013


Simon Greer, "A Healthy Challenge to Fracking Groupthink?" October 15, 2013


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


Staff, "The Striking Challenge of Fracking: Who Does It Benefit and Who Gets Hurt," October 2, 2013


Steven Hayward, "Ronald Binz's German Dream," September 30, 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


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


Arden Dier, "iPhone Uses More Power Than Fridge," August 15, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "The Surprisingly Large Energy Footprint of the Digital Economy," August 14, 2013


Carmel Lobello, "Your iPhone Uses More Energy Than A Refrigerator," August 14, 2013


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


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


Fareed Zakaria, "What We're Reading," August 1, 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


Margaret Wente, "Staying Cool? Thank Nuclear Power," July 18, 2013


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


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


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


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


James Conca, "What's Wrong With Obama's Energy Policy? July 8, 2013


Walter Russell Mead, "Shale Gas is Fracking Green," July 6, 2013


Kevin Begos, "Obama Fracking Support In Climate Speech Worries Environmental Groups," June 27, 2013

Kevin Begos, "Industry Giant GE Aims to Improve Fracking," May 27, 2013


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


Andrew Sullivan, "Another Look at Nuclear," May 17, 2013


Ken Silverstein, "Does Shale Gas Production Alter Equation for Climate Change?" May 5, 2013


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


Kevin Begos, "EPA Methane Report Further Divides Fracking Camps," April 28, 2013


Alex Trembath and Matthew Stepp, "Fight Coal, Not Keystone," April 8, 2013


Doug Allen, "The Fracking Divide," April 4, 2013


Brad Plumer, "Natural gas isn’t the only reason U.S. carbon emissions are falling," February 15, 2013
 


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


Ed Crooks, "Balance of Power," December 6, 2012

 

 





Kevin Begos, "Fracking Developed With Decades Of Government Investment," September 26, 2012


 

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
 

People

Alex TrembathAlex Trembath, Policy Analyst

 

 

Jessica Lovering

 

 

Jessica Lovering, Policy Analyst

Max Luke

 

 

Max Luke, Policy Associate

Burton Richter

 

 

 

 

Burton Richter, Senior Fellow

 

 

Jane Long

 

Jane Long, Senior Fellow

 

 

 

More People