Wind and solar power up in 2012

Wind energy netted a 16.6 percent increase in year-over-year production, from 120 million MWh in 2011 to 140 million MWh in 2012. Solar, meanwhile, saw its output go from 1.8 million MWh to 4.3 million MWh, a 138.9 percent increase. That’s a greater increase than any fuel, although from a smaller baseline than bigger sources. Natural gas is catching up on coal as the biggest source of fuel for electricity…30-37%

There is no War on Cars. Polluting Cars are subsidized.

Some have suggested that gasoline taxes or mileage mpg requirements constitute a “War on Cars” and suburbs. I disagree, as does Todd Wilton, who said:
“Critics are wrong to claim that raising road tolls, parking fees or fuel taxes is unfair. Does charging admission at movie theatres constitute a “war on film viewers”? Does charging for bread constitute a “war on eaters?” Motor vehicle user fees only finance about half of roadway costs and a much smaller portion of parking facility costs; the rest is financed indirectly through general taxes (for local roads), higher retail prices (for business parking), lower wages (for employee parking), and higher housing costs (for residential parking) (Litman 2009; Subsidy Scope 2009). This funding structure forces people who drive less than average to subsidize their neighbors who drive more than average. Automobile travel also imposes other external costs, including congestion delays, accident risk, pollution emissions, and various economic and environmental costs from fuel consumption. North American fuel taxes are among the lowest among developed countries and have not been raised to account for inflation during the last two decades. These low user fees exacerbate traffic and parking congestions. The pricing reforms that critics call “anti-car” are often the most effective way to address the problems motorists face.”

More good news on solar installations.

A new report released today by SEIA and GTM Research shows that solar energy continues to be one of the fastest growing industries in the country. While the overall U.S. economy grew at a sluggish 1.8% during the first three months of 2011, the domestic PV industry grew at 66% compared to the first quarter of 2010. Domestic manufacturing of PV modules grew at 31% compared to 2010. In total, there is now enough solar energy installed in the U.S. to power nearly half a million homes.

Poll finds more Americans believe in global warming

More Americans today believe that global warming is occurring compared to one year ago, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Stanford University and Reuters news agency and released today.

Currently, 83 percent of all adults surveyed say that global warming has been happening while only 15 percent say they believe that it has not been happening.

The poll finds a statistically significant increase in the number of Americans who believe the Earth has been warming – from 75 percent one year ago in 2010 to 83 percent now.

Environment News Service (http://s.tt/1kVzZ)

Poll:Americans support carbon tax

A recent poll (see a short summary) commissioned by Friends of the Earth and conducted by the leading polling firm Mellman Group found that about 70 percent of Americans had a favorable response to a carbon tax. Support remained high regardless of whether the revenue raised would go to fixing our budget programs or towards dual purposes of helping “solve our budget problems and fund programs that help deal with the effects of climate change and create clean energy jobs.”

Study of subsidies for dirty vs. clean energy

ELI, the Environmental Law Institute, conducted a study of the 2002-2008 period and found that dirty fossil fuels got $72.5 billion in subsidies and tax breaks while clean energy only got $29 billion. And almost $17 billion of that $29 billion went to corn ethanol and only $12 billion to traditional wind, solar renewables. I see corn ethanol as a farm subsidy, not a clean energy source, although if we get algae to grow on the exhaust of coal plants and absorb that CO2 to make algae diesel, I would like that, if it is a reasonable price. See the study at www.eli.org/pdf/Energy_Subsidies_Black_Not_Green.pdf