In a history-making move for clean energy, the Obama administration today, for the first time, proposed a rule to restrict carbon dioxide on existing power plants.
With billions of dollars of prospective markets for renewable energy and energy efficiency in the federal government sector, I am astonished at how uncoordinated companies are in this area. As one who guides federal facility managers, as well as companies aspiring to enter the market, I have some first hand perspective.
In a surprising report released today by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, researchers looked at the impact of the two most common terms for human-induced climate warming—global warming and climate change—on Americans.
The authors found that the term “global warming” is associated with greater public understanding, emotional engagement and support for personal and national action than the term “climate change,” which is often favored by scientists.
Among other findings, the report—What’s In A Name? Global Warming vs. Climate Change—showed the term “global warming” appears to be associated with:
- Greater certainty that the phenomenon is happening, especially among men, Generation X (31-48) and liberals.
- Greater understanding that human activities are the primary cause among Independents.
- Greater understanding that there is a scientific consensus about the reality of the phenomenon among Independents and liberals.
- More intense worry about the issue, especially among men, Generation Y (18-30), Generation X, Democrats, liberals and moderates.
- A greater sense of personal threat, especially among women, the Greatest Generation (68+), African-Americans, Hispanics, Democrats, Independents, Republicans, liberals and moderates.
- Higher issue priority ratings for action by the president and Congress, especially among women, Democrats, liberals and moderates.
- Greater willingness to join a campaign to convince elected officials to take action, especially among men, Generation X, liberals and moderates.
While for some in-the-know, the two phrases are often seen as synonymous, the report—which analyzed three separate studies—clearly shows that they mean different things to different Americans. The general public tends to favor the term “global warming”—and perhaps we should take note.
The need for climate mitigation seems to be growing more urgent by the day. Just this month, the Obama Administration released the National Climate Report which concluded that global warming is increasing the frequency of extreme weather events, Center for Naval Analyses released its National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change report saying that climate change is a “catalyst for conflict” and University of California, Irvine conclusively stated that the West Antarctic glacier has melted past the point of no return and will inevitably raise sea levels by up to four feet.
Yet, the climate deniers still wield alarming influence. Big contenders with even bigger pocket books, like the Koch Brothers, are able to pump money into anti-climate campaigns, bills and agendas, drowning out the voices of scientists who continue to prove that climate change—or, global warming, rather—is real, caused in part by humans and happening right now.
Could the expression “climate change” be the culprit for the lack of action taken on the issue? Cognitive meaning can and does change, so perhaps with the continued use of “climate change,” it will come to acquire a similar meaning as “global warming” in the minds of Americans. But language choices can influence public policy. The terms we use to describe our world shape the way in which we see it. And, as with most things, the key to mobilizing the public is to appeal to emotions on a personal level, which as this study has shown, might be better conjured by a simple change of phrase.
Ohio can no longer be counted as one of the 29 U.S. states that is working to satisfy its renewable portfolio standard. Yesterday the Ohio general assembly approved a bill to freeze the standards for electricity efficiency and generation from renewable sources.
The Obama administration has taken a lot of heat for creating climate change rules that bypass Congress. But recent court decisions are bolstering the president’s clean air agenda – and they come at a crucial time.
As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prepares to release draft regulations for greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector on June 2nd, this week ENE released a report describing how the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) provides a proven, effective model for reducing power plant emissions.
For many, the decision to get out of fossil fuels is an easy one. It may be because it's the right thing to do, or because we see the risks of investing in businesses built around an unsustainable economic paradigm. This article is not about that decision; it's about what to do next.
Back in May, I had the opportunity to catch a presentation by Paul De Martini of the Newport Consulting Group and the California Institute of Technology, at a CleanTech OC smart grid event in Irvine, California. De Martini previously served as chief technology officer for Cisco’s Global Energy Networks Group, and also as vice president of Advanced
Ohio is debating the sharpest break from a three-decade campaign by 29 U.S. states to reduce reliance on fossil fuels by promoting power from renewable sources.
Texas both produces and consumes more energy than any state in the U.S. It controls one-quarter of U.S. proven oil reserves. Energy companies looking to grow or to establish a U.S. presence set up operations in Texas. The primary electricity transmission system in Texas is independent of the rest of the country (a long-time source of pride). The Electric Reliability Company of Texas, or ERCOT, is responsible for regulating the generation and supply of power to 85 percent of the state, except the extreme eastern and western portions.
Bracing for greenhouse-gas rules from the Obama administration, two industries are staking out different positions. Coal companies are pledging to sue. Electric utilities are ready to talk.
Does nuclear energy deserve a seat at the table alongside renewable energy technologies in weaning us off of fossil fuels and transitioning into a cleaner energy world? A new report published yesterday suggests not only will newer small modular reactor (SMR) technology be at least as expensive as larger reactors, it won't fit the needs of a more flexible grid system, and its development will siphon away funding from the truly renewable energy options that need it.
The Obama administration is considering cutting greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants by reaching beyond the plants themselves — an unusual approach that could run afoul of anti-pollution laws.
It was said that when the State of Oklahoma asked its favorite son, Will Rogers, if they might sculpt his likeness for inclusion in the United States Capitol's statuary, the cowboy from Oolagah gave his consent only on the condition that his statue face the House chamber so he could "keep an eye on Congress." Indeed, Rogers' is the only of the 100
New York State is pushing its utility industry to shift away from a century-old business model into a system that can accommodate more power from solar and wind.
April showers fell on both the broad market and clean energy stocks last month, but my picks weathered the storm relatively well. My clean energy benchmark (PBW) was down 5.9 percent since the last update, and my broad market benchmark (IWM) fell 1.7 percent.
General Electric Co. is in talks to buy Alstom SA, the French builder of trains and power plants, people with knowledge of the matter said, in what would be GE’s biggest acquisition ever.
Earlier this year I worked as an election judge for the city of Minneapolis. It was the city’s second experience with ranked choice voting, a system where instead of voting for a single candidate, you get to pick your top three choices. If your first choice candidate is mathematically eliminated from winning, your vote is reallocated to your seco
IKEA is at it again. In an effort to achieve its goal of producing more renewable energy than it consumes by 2020, the retail giant announced yesterday that it has purchased the 98-MW Hoopeston wind farm in Illinois. This purchase marks its first wind project investment in the U.S. and largest renewables investment globally. IKEA will own the wind farm and U.S.-based developer Apex Clean Energy will manage the project.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Wyden has officially begun consideration of legislation to reinstate a suite of tax credits that big polluters and their allies succeeded in getting Congress to let expire, including vital, commonsense policies that promote clean energy.