Enviro News Wrap: Syria and the Price of Oil; Solar in the Move in the U.S.; Global Warming Splits the GOP

GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:

The Latest Environmental News Headlines
  • Oil, Oil, Oil - the Syrian conflict is pushing up the price of oil, the recovering American economy is pushing up the price of oil, the price of oil will always be high and trending upwards. Producing oil at home is the purported escape from high global prices. But, that is not how oil prices work, you cannot escape the global price of oil.
  • A grand deal on the XL Keystone pipeline between Canada and Obama is underway. The new Canadian approach is to propose a reduction in the pollution of the oil and gas industry overall to justify the dirty XL Keystone Pipeline.
  • While many Americans have moved on from the BP-Transocean-Haliburton Gulf oil spill the clean-up continues. The cleanup effort nears conclusion not as all the oil is removed from the Gulf, but only that which is "feasible." Think about that the next time you see a smiling BP representative on TV talking about how much they care for the region. Care too late that is.
  • Solar PV is exploding in the US. There are many reasons for this but the biggest influence is the federal tax credit. Since all sources of energy are subsidized by the government solar can not continue without a level playing field. It would be more simple to stop giving tax breaks to dirty energy companies, start a small carbon tax that grows with time, and eventually tax breaks for renewable energy would likely not be needed. The other reason why the sector is growing so quickly is the rapid technological innovation for solar. This development will continue and in the next 10 years we will hopefully have flexible, high efficiency solar cells that are cheap and can be installed anywhere.
  • Crowd-funding to finance community renewable energy projects, is the business model of Solar Mosaic. Innovations like this are pushing solar forward.
  • Solar is growing and in places where it is successful the utilities are losing profit and are starting to fight back. To paraphrase Gandhi - First they ignore you, then they mock you, then they fight you, then you win.
  • Not all Republicans are climate change deniers. There is a split amongst Republicans on this issue and I think that as Republicans lose more national elections they will be pressured to come around on this issue.
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