US Coal Exports Do Not Offset Massive Emissions Reductions from Natural Gas

A Response to CO2 Scorecard

Despite declining emissions, cleaner air, and falling energy prices, natural gas opponents continue to look the gift horse that is the US shale gas revolution in the mouth. The latest canard comes from CO2 Scorecard, the policy wing of environmental consultancy Performeks LLC. Some readers will recall that last year, CO2 Scorecard released a study claiming that rising natural gas generation accounted for only about a quarter of US emissions reductions from 2011 to 2012. Now, in a recent report, which has been cited by the AP and Mother Jones, they claim that rising gas generation accounts for all of the increase in US coal exports. This analytical sleight of hand leads them to claim that fuel switching from high-carbon coal to lower carbon natural gas in the U.S. power sector has resulted in a net increase in global CO2 emissions.

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The Romance of Ecomodernism

Pragmatism, Romance, and Urban Renewal at Breakthrough Dialogue 2014

People will be drawn to an ecomodernism when it combines a romantic love for nature with the pragmatic use of technology and development. That was the advice offered by Emma Marris, Mark Sagoff, and Reihan Salam in the final panel of Breakthrough Dialogue 2014.

“Environmentalism has many characteristics of a religion — a religion I’m a member of,” said Marris. “But if we care about outcomes, pursuing personal eco-sainthood is not the most efficient means of getting to those outcomes,” Marris said. “Can we have a movement with excitement and enthusiasm but without the religiosity?”  

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Energy For All* – But Make Sure to Read the Fine Print

Why We Need to Be Careful with How We Generalize Energy Needs

Meet Doña Maria (pictured above). She is a mother, housewife, agricultural worker, and shopkeeper, who lives with her two daughters in a rural community located approximately 30 kilometres from Nicaragua’s capital city, Managua. Until recently, she was one of 1.4 billion people on this planet without access to electricity.

That was until Doña Maria participated in a program that provided her family with a solar home system (SHS). The SHS means that Doña Maria has electric lighting – she no longer suffers the polluting kerosene lamp or strains her eyes with the low luminescence of a candle. Doña Maria can power a limited number of small devices, which means she does not have to travel to the nearest grid-connected town to recharge her mobile phone.

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Electrify to Adapt

Tanzania to Use More Natural Gas and Coal to Combat Energy Poverty

Despite facing a direct threat from climate change, Tanzania plans to rely heavily on coal and natural gas for its future energy needs as the country strives to develop its economy.

The east African nation has suffered from a growing energy deficit in the last several years, caused partly by recurring droughts that have crippled hydropower capacity. Critics say the government has mostly failed to tap the country’s other renewable energy potential to help bridge the power gap.

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How the US-Africa Summit Can Catalyze Africa’s Rise

Gas and Hydro Set to Dominate Africa’s Energy Sector

When African heads of states descend on Washington, DC, next week for the US-Africa Leaders Summit, hosted by President Obama, the challenge of raising millions of Africans out of energy poverty is poised to take center stage. Adding to this conversation are the Electrify and Energize Africa Acts, two parallel pieces of legislation being moved through the House and Senate (respectively). If enacted, the legislation ensures the government will create a framework to increase electrification in sub-Saharan Africa, at no additional cost to US taxpayers. 

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A High-Energy, Low-Footprint Planet

Why We Can Expect Peak Impact by the End of this Century

Most of us tend to think that the more energy we consume, the more we destroy the planet. But according to Linus Blomqvist, Director of Research at the Breakthrough Institute, just the opposite may be true: a world with cheaper, cleaner, and more abundant energy might improve the wellbeing of the growing human population and, at the same time, leave more land for natural habitats and wildlife. 

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“Let It Go”

Japan's Fukushima Ice Wall is Unnecessary and Fuels Irrational Fears

What if Iceman from the X-Men could put a frozen ice wall around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant so that no radiation could get out? I’d be all for it.

Actually, that’s more likely than you might imagine.

For the past three years, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has faced an uphill battle of restoring public trust in their ability to manage the ongoing cleanup of the crippled Fukushima Daichi plant. 

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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
 


Fred Pearce, "World's poor need grid power, not just solar panels," August 5, 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


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