Wednesday, January 27, 2010

US federal climate change legislation continues to brew on a back burner, although with last week's change to the Senate balance, the focus should be on enacting realistic measures that will provide a benefit but are politically viable. In addition to Martha Coakley, other losers may include the notion of a cap-and-trade mechanism, which even the lopsided Senate hinted it could not pass. We are more likely to end up with a watered-down bill that offers more carrots for good behavior than sticks raising the cost of "bad" behavior. (Think of increased incentives for efficiency upgrades, but not increased taxes on the rest of us who don't change our wicked ways.) Remember that in the meantime, EPA continues to move forward with its own administrative regulation of carbon emissions, which many consider likely to be more costly than any congressional action.

Following on yesterday's news of lackluster demand for wind turbines, Michigan (with 143 MW of installed wind capacity) and Minnesota (with 1,809 MW of wind) both report declines in the rate of new wind capacity being developed. (Meanwhile, China installed 12,000 MW of wind in 2009, nearly doubling its total wind capacity. The US added 9,000 MW in total.)

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