US energy policy

Toshiba in crisis – US nuclear revival ends almost before it starts

Vogtle 3 and 4 construction site (photo U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission)

With Toshiba in a deep crisis over a massive writedown on its troubled US nuclear subsidiary, Westinghouse Electric, the US nuclear renaissance, which started five years ago, looks to be over already. Independent energy author Dennis Wamsted explains what went wrong. … [Read more...]

Donald Trump’s China First, Russia Second, America Third foreign policy

Chinese President Xi Jinping at Davos photo World Economic Forum

By letting his foreign policy be governed by a simplistic “America First” principle, Donald Trump is achieving the exact opposite of what he intends. His way of putting America First, is enabling China and Russia to position themselves as the paramount nations on the world stage, writes energy and foreign policy specialist Michael Klare. Courtesy of Tomdispatch. … [Read more...]

The $200 billion fossil fuel subsidy you’ve never heard of

flood in the UK in 2007 (photo Shelly Jo)

In the United States, the official “social cost of carbon” (SCC) enters into many rules and regulations, such as fuel economy standards. According to Amir Jina, the SCC, which currently is calculated to be $36 per ton, shows that the U.S. fossil fuel sector gets $200 billion a year in hidden subsidies. The government should use the SCC to increase the carbon price, argues Jina, but the Trump administration is hardly inclined to do so. First … [Read more...]

Is President Trump headed for a war with China? 

US sends nuclear-powered aircraft carriers USS John C. Stennis and USS Ronald Reagan into South China Sea, June 2016, photo: US Navy

The brewing conflict around the South China Sea, with its large oil and gas resources, could easily turn into a catastrophic war between the US and China, writes Rajan Menon, international relations specialist at City College New York and Columbia University. Menon explains what is behind the territorial claims on the South China Sea and why it will be extremely risky for the US to try to confront China there. Courtesy of TomDispatch. … [Read more...]

New President, new electric grid?

electric wires in San Francisco (photo Jon Pekelnicky)

As the new Trump administration considers measures to enhance roads and bridges, they should also focus on America’s ageing electricity infrastructure, writes Dick Munson of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). The U.S. electricity system is shockingly unreliable compared to every other developed nation, notes Munson, and the regulation of the industry is “byzantine”. By focusing on investment, efficiency, and markets, the U.S. could have a … [Read more...]

Separating fact from fiction in newest U.S. federal ethanol study

corn ethanol SUV (photo Nyenyec)

The latest ethanol study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture mixes facts with fictions, writes John DeCicco of the University of Michigan. The study contains fundamental errors that undermine its claims that the use of corn ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions. … [Read more...]

Green power revolution grinds forward, an unstoppable glacier

wind farm north of Corpus Christi Texas photo Drew Kolb

Webster’s defines revolution as “a sudden, radical or complete change.” The ongoing revolution in the United States electric utility industry fits that definition to a T, writes Washington-based energy reporter Dennis Wamsted. The changes have been unbelievably quick (at least by company standards, if not by activists’ desires), and the long-term impacts are going to be both radical and complete. Importantly, in today’s political climate, the … [Read more...]