I have finally found the time to browse through energytransition.de, a website on the German Energiewende set up by the Heinrich Böll Foundation last November. The website covers the Energiewende‘s whys and hows in detail – what’s the rationale, what technologies, what policies, and also what other countries can maybe learn from the German experience. The lead authors are Martin Pehnt from the IFEU Institute, one of Germany’s foremost energy experts, and Craig Morris, a US-born journalist and translator – so the material is both well researched and very accessible. Well worth a visit.
Joe Romm weighs in on the debate about Theda Skocpol’s post-mortem of the US climate legislation (see previous post). And he mostly disagrees with her diagnosis. Contrary to Skocpol’s opinion most of the blame does in his view lie with the White House. Not only does the president have the power to set the agenda, which he didn’t use, in Romm’s view he made a whole series of blunders. The most important of which was the failure to insist that the bill be able to pass through the budget reconciliation process, which does not require a supermajority in the Senate and was used for the health care bill. Also contrary to Skocpol’s view, cap-and-dividend would in his view have had even less of a chance of being passed than the bill that was on the floor since it would have had no business backing.
Moving to a cap-and-trade system that did come into being, it seems there is no floor to the precipitous plunge of EU allowance prices. Thanks to the recession the EU emission trading system is massively oversupplied. Bloomberg reports that Germany for the first time had to cancel an allowance sale due to low bids. Prices have dropped to barely above 5 euros per tonne. Bloomberg quotes E.ON’s CEO Teyssen as calling the EU ETS “a joke the whole world laughs about”. And prospects for restoring scarcity by taking allowances out of the system are vague at best due to opposition by Poland and other countries.
In other happy news, the Guardian reports that according to NASA the Amazon is showing degradation due to climate change.