August 4, 2009

Green Ink: More on Cash for Clunkers, Clean Algae, and Nuclear Waste

Crude oil futures retreated to about $70 a barrel amidst the realization that oil demand has yet to recover, in Bloomberg.

The cash-for-clunkers program seems to have paid more environmental dividends than expected, which is mustering support from once-wary senators and could lead to the program’s renewal, in the WSJ. Similar programs are also working in Italy, France, and Spain, also in the WSJ.

Still, cash-for-clunkers can’t be considered green, argues a WaPo op-ed: The sheer energy cost of tearing up old cars and making new ones makes some greens wince. Jonah Goldberg hates it on economic grounds—it’s the parable of glaziers and the broken window, only it’s broken cars.

Before going on recess at the end of the week, the U.S. Senate has its hands full trying to reconcile competing interests on the energy and climate bill, in the WaPo. Among the big issues are emissions reductions targets, allocations, and the future of nuclear power, in Climate Wire.

Meeting those emissions targets will cost twice as much if nuclear power and clean coal aren’t part of the mix, argues a new report from the power industry, in the S.F. Chronicle.

Still, clean coal has its PR challenges: A coal group was behind the forged lobbying letters that created a firestorm last week, in Politico.

The WSJ edit page weighs in on the climate debate. First, American babies are not the problem, whatever Malthusian doomsayers might say. And China is an example of why less state intervention—not more—is actually good for the environment.

Algae could get a boost from a House bill giving it equal status with second-generation biofuels, including juicy tax credits, in Green Wire. But is algae fuel really any better for the environment than traditional fuels? It all depends on how the stuff is made—and since nobody is producing at scale, it’s too early to say, at Earth2Tech.

The FT’s Energy Source explains just why Britain better not bank on wind power as the source of green jobs—there just isn’t enough demand to support a single factory, let alone swarms of them.

Scientific American has a huge takeout on the problem of nuclear waste, exploring everything from other types of geological storage to reprocessing. The bottom line: Solving the waste question will be a lot easier when politicians get out of the way.

Finally, the Pentagon is mulling new procurement rules which could help turn green rhetoric into green reality, at TNR’s The Vine.


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