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View Diary: Good news on climate (51 comments)

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  •  The Microwave carbon emission regulation (16+ / 0-)

    contains more than meets the eye:

    Last week, the White House put up a blog post touting new energy-efficiency standards for microwave ovens. Thrilling, right? Halfway down, it mentions that “the underlying analysis of these standards includes an update to the social cost of carbon values.”
    *  * *
    Here’s the result [of the update]:

        The [social cost of carbon] estimates using the updated versions of the models are higher than those reported in the 2010 [report]. By way of comparison, the four 2020 SCC estimates reported in the 2010 [report] were $7, $26, $42 and $81 (2007$). The corresponding four updated SCC estimates for 2020 are $12, $43, $65, and $129 (2007$).

    You don’t have to be an economist to see that the second set of numbers is about 60 percent higher than the first. Why the big jump? It sounds like it mostly had to do with the models updating their estimates of damage from sea-level rise, though there are several other factors as well. (Suffice to say, the news from climate scientists lately has not been good.)

    Regardless, this is really something to pause and take note of:

    The federal government just bumped up the cost of carbon by 60 percent. This will, all things being equal, increase by 60 percent the amount of carbon mitigation that can be economically justified.

    •  Now if we could just tax carbon accordingly (4+ / 0-)

      we could really get somewhere. Even if we could only get rid of carbon subsidies and exemptions from environmental laws…

      But there is even better news. We are approaching parity in the loaded cost of energy between renewables and carbon. Half the world is expected to reach parity by 2015. That means that it will be cheaper to invest in renewables than in coal and oil for baseline power, and even gas for peak generation will be phased out as we get better at storing energy.

      We know how to get rid of petroleum fuels for cars, trucks, and trains, or replace them with biofuels not derived from corn and other food crops. We should be able to fuel aircraft with biofuels, too.

      The funny thing about tipping points is that nothing seems to happen until you reach one, and then it all starts happening at once. When we reach the financial tipping point, it won't matter who denies the science. Coal-fired power plants will no longer be able to get funded.

      Then we can start to discuss how quickly to retire existing plants.

      Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

      by Mokurai on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 03:17:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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