Foreign Policy Blogs

Climate and Energy Lists

Climate and Energy ListsHaving done the Year End Review, I’ve been looking a bit at some of the end of year/beginning of year lists lately and thought I’d share some of these.  (Sorry to have been off the air for so long, but I had final papers to evaluate, had shopping to do, letters to write, helped out here while we hosted Christmas Eve/Christmas for a dozen guests and then got away for a few days to Colonial Williamsburg – great spot – and then up to DC to visit.)

You can’t miss with Grist and the World Resources Institute.  Here’s WRI’s Top 6 U.S. climate-policy happenings of 2011 posted at Grist.  Of the 6, 3½ are positive.  That Congress didn’t act and that emissions continue to climb are clearly on the debit side, but that national rules for increasing vehicle efficiency, that California’s ambitious cap-and-trade program progressed toward starting up this year, and that the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative continued to make money for its members are all real pluses.  EPA’s GHG regime also moved forward, in spite of rabid Republican opposition.  (This is the half and half item, as the program is moving forward slowly but, folks, it is moving.  Tortoise and hare?  Sure.  Good lesson for all of us.)

The excellent folks at CERES have noted that 111 climate, energy and sustainability resolutions were filed with 81 American and Canadian companies last year.  As Bernie Sanders would say, “That’s yooge.”  Clean Edge lists their top ten stories in clean tech finance.  There’s more and more money just flowing to clean tech.   (See also GigaOm’s story here about clean tech finance that was prompted by my weighing in on an earlier story.)

Speaking of the good people at GigaOm, see the excellent Katie Fehrenbacher’s top 10 green stories of 2011.  She includes some excellent insights on things ranging from battery technology breakthroughs to cloud computing.  Her colleague, Ucilia Wang, has this compilation of 10 solar trends to watch for in 2012.  What’s ahead?  Among other things, things are taking off in the really rapidly emerging markets for solar in China and India, but elsewhere too, like Latin America and the MENA region.  (For more on the exciting developments there, see also the visionary work by Desertec.) has interesting coverage here:  Top 10 Most-read News Stories of 2011.  Two particularly intriguing stories:  The Rise of Concentrating Solar Thermal Power and Solar Energy Becoming Cheaper than Gas in California?  (Too cheap to meter?  Not quite yet.  Still $1 per watt is on the near horizon.)  Meanwhile, the Smart Grid guru, Jesse Berst, has his Top 9 predictions for 2012.  (I had the pleasure of interviewing Jesse for my article for the American Planning Association a few years back on the Smart Grid.)  For one thing, he’s predicting demand will flatten – see the Rosenfeld Effect in which smart policy promoting energy efficiency = less demand.  Jesse is also saying smart buildings will become integral to the goal in many states of reducing energy demand and that lithium-ion battery prices will plunge, a development critical for furthering our mobile and stationary storage needs.

Let me leave you with the 2011 Climate B.S.* of the Year Awards from Dr. Peter H. Gleick via the always superb Climate Progress.



Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change