Two Numbers: One Matters, the Other Gets All the Attention

Garvin Jabusch This morning, in the realm of those who follow such things, the world became aware of two newsworthy numbers, 69,000 and 400.  The former number is how many jobs were added to the U.S. economy in May according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); the latter is how many parts per million (ppm) in our atmosphere are represented by carbon.  You can guess our opinion: 400 parts per million is a far more significant milestone than the apparent ‘bad news’ of America adding 69,000 more jobs. The jobs number is, at best, banal ephemera....

Alt Energy & Obama’s Inaugural Address

Most people have probably seen and/or listened to Barack Obama's inaugural speech by now. In the second presidential debate, Obama ranked energy as his top priority (the choices offered by the moderator were: healthcare, entitlement reform and energy). As I pointed out earlier this week, the President picked an inner energy and environment circle that is heavily tilted in one direction: combating climate change and promoting alternative energy. We were thus very interested to see if Obama would place a strong focus on energy issues in his inaugural speech given the precarious economic environment. After all, that...

Is The Big Win For The Liberals In Canada Also A Big Win For...

Jim Lane Liberals sweep to victory in Canada; Trudeau to become Prime Minister, pledging sharp increases in infrastructure investment and a renewed focus on clean technology. In Canada, the Liberal party, under the leadership of 43-year old Justin Trudeau, swept to victory in the Canadian federal elections. As of 6am Eastern time, the Liberals have won 184 seats 14 seats more than needed to form a majority government. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party won in 99 ridings, a loss of 60 seats, while the New Democratic Party has reeled in 44 seats, a...

350.org’s Smart New Campaign

Garvin Jabusch Many parallels exist between the college campus divestiture campaigns of the 1980s and today. Both were/are seeking to apply intense student and community pressure to persuade boards of trustees to get endowment monies out of investments in businesses or locations perceived as undesirable. In the '80s it was South Africa and Apartheid that students objected to. Back then, one could almost conceive of college students versus a beleaguered South African government as something of a fair fistfight between entities with comparable chances of winning popular opinion and thus investment dollars to their side. And indeed the students...

Why America Must Focus On Domestic Energy Solutions Instead of Imports

John Petersen On September 17th, the White House released a report titled, 100 Recovery Act Projects That Are Changing America. Since the report included eight companies that were awarded a total of $1.1 billion in ARRA battery manufacturing and vehicle electrification grants in August 2009, I created the following table to summarize the first tier job creation impact. As I pondered over the relatively high cost per first tier manufacturing job, I decided it might be better to look at the overall value chain including second tier job creation impacts (new jobs in companies that...

Obama’s Climate Plan

James Montgomery Yesterday President Obama spoke at Georgetown University about his plans to broadly address climate change. Ahead of his actual talk, the White House released the gist of what he would propose. The EPA, working with states, industry, and other stakeholders, will establish new carbon pollution standards. "Tough new rules" will be established similar to those that exist for toxins like mercury and arsenic. These new rules, as anticipated, will target existing power plants as well as new ones. The federal government will make available up to $8 billion in loan guarantees for "advanced...

Obama’s New Energy and EPA Appointments

Jim Lane   Ernest J. Moniz is the nominee for US Secretary of Energy In Washington, President Barack Obama nominated MIT professor Ernest J. Moniz as US Secretary of Energy, replacing Steven Chu, and nominated Gina McCarthy as EPA Administrator. Moniz is currently serving as the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems, as well as the director of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment. He was formerly undersecretary of Energy and associate director of the White House office...

Shifting the Cost of Pollution

by Debra Fiakas CFA The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to review the recently enacted MATS Rule  -  Mercury & Air Toxics Standards that went into effect at the end of 2011.  At least two dozen states and forty utility companies have filed suit against the EPA over the rule, which is intended to cap mercury and other toxic emissions as well as particulates.  The rules particularly impact power plants that use coal-fired boilers to generate electricity.  The EPA provides an interactive map to see where these plants are located.  They are predominantly in the eastern half...

Renewable Energy Standards: Savvy or Silly?

David Gold State renewable energy standards have gained momentum over the past decade with 29 states having put in place various types of standard mandates and five more having implemented voluntary standards (34 total).  Now the federal government is looking to get into the game with a bi-partisan bill (S. 3813) aiming to set a minimum national standard. Renewable energy standards certainly feel good, but do they really provide the best path for achieving their goals?  The existing renewable energy standards are savvy in finding a way to reduce fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions while simultaneously being...

Overcoming Hurdles to Clean Energy Commercialization

by David L. Levy In the absence of a global framework for regulating emissions, the future of the planet largely rests on choices by private firms and investors regarding which technologies to pursue and commercialize. Despite the mounting evidence of severe climate change, there is a funding crisis for potential solutions. The Department of Energy released data at the beginning of November showing that global emissions of CO2 rose 6% in 2010, despite the ongoing economic recession. This trajectory is higher than the worst case projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in it’s 2007 Fourth...
REG factory closure

Another Biodiesel Plant Gets The Axe. Here’s Why.

by Jim Lane In another small but sharp blow to the Trump Administration’s strategy for American manufacturing revival, news arrives from Texas of a second smaller biodiesel shuttering owing to “ challenging business conditions and continued federal policy uncertainty,” as Renewable Energy Group (REGI) phrased it in announcing the closure of its15 million gallons per year New Boston, Texas biorefinery.  The company is currently working with plant employees on relocation opportunities within the production network. The tax credit issue The forces impacting the US biodiesel industry at present are complex, but REG in this case is pointing the blame at the biodiesel tax...

Election Does Not Spell Cleantech Doom

With the recent “shellacking” (as President Obama referred to the election results) of the Democratically controlled Congress, much of the buzz in the cleantech space has been doom and gloom.  Is cleantech doomed to a new dark age?  I do not believe so. Energy policy is one area where there is an overlap of goals between the parties.  Members of both parties largely agree that energy is critical to our economic and national security.  And most Republicans do not dismiss out of hand the risks of global warming. I suspect that energy policy will be...
garvin jabusch

Creating a Climate Resilient America: A Green Investment Adviser Testifies To Congress

The prepared remarks of Garvin Jabusch, Chief Investment Officer of Green Alpha Advisors before the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis in Washington, DC, July 25th, 2019. Chairwoman Castor, Ranking Member Graves, committee members, thank you for the opportunity to testify and contribute to this important conversation. Climate disruption and resource degradation present significant threats to and opportunities for American business. Every sector and industry are affected, and my industry of asset management, in its role deploying capital across the economy, is directly exposed to it all, risks and opportunities inclusive. First, risks. The purpose of investing is to preserve and...

Obama Cleantech Stimulus: Bad Policy, Bad Politics and Bad for Cleantech

David Gold The Solyndra debacle is no surprise to this cleantech venture capitalist. The inherent conflict between trying to get money out of the U.S. Treasury as quickly as possible to stimulate the economy and, at the same time, have government agencies that are ill-suited at making business decisions do just that was nothing other than a recipe for disaster. Anytime a government program is giving money to the private sector with the intent of getting the money back, the program is doomed to failure.  Bureaucracies, politics and the lack of a profit motive simply...

Occupy Wall Street and the Next Economy: Clamoring for Solutions

Garvin Jabusch The Occupy Wall Street movement (OWS), now in its fourth week, is getting a lot of media attention. Opinions are divided. By and large, conservatives represent the protesters as 'a mob' (a notable exception is former governor of Louisiana and current GOP presidential candidate Buddy Roemer, who said on MSNBC that "politicians need to listen to these young people, it could change America"). Meanwhile, progressives view them as a justifiable, if not inevitable, reaction to the social inequity that results from a system rigged in favor of the ultra-wealthy. In their foundation document, the ...

Trick and Treat: Energy loans under review, as Hallowe’en looms

Jim Lane The Obama Administration got tricked, and handed out some bad energy loan candy. Turns out that the Washington press corps, and House Republicans, were asleep on the job, too. Until the money ran out, that is. We’re not sure if there’s been any more perfect timing for an Obama Administration announcement, than the news that it will start up an investigation of the DOE loan guarantee program just as Hallowe’en weekend got underway. Hallowe’en, is of course, the time of disguise, the celebration of the macabre, and the ghostly return of the...