Thursday, December 16, 2010

Energy Pipe Dreams

Here is an interesting review of the quest for renewable energy, straight out of Green Central (Portland, Oregon):
In April 2001 the Portland City Council under the leadership of Mayor Vera Katz approved an aggressive plan aimed to combat global warming by decreasing carbon emissions by 10% from their 1990 levels by 2010, thus making Portland an icon in the renewable energy movement. An important part of this plan mandated that the City of Portland acquire one hundred percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2010. This would be accomplished through the purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs) from public utility companies, renewable energy installations at city and county facilities and the sponsorship of local renewable energy projects. Nine years later the City of Portland has demonstrated the ineffectiveness of a government-led push for renewables by utterly failing to achieve its goal of 100% renewable energy. As of 2010 only 9% of the Portland city government’s power comes from renewable energy sources.
Via the Oregonian, via a report by the (free market) Cascade Policy Institute.

Is there any reason to believe that anyone, anywhere, can make reductions in their CO2 emissions until we admit that these reductions cannot be made by willpower alone but require a massive, almost total rebuilding of the energy infrastructure, at all levels?

PS: Beware, though, that the Cascade Policy Institute is another of those conservative astroturf organizations who won't reveal their funding. They aren't interesting in solving the problem, just raising doubts about it.

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