This has been a historic week in the U.S. for several reasons – important decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court and President Obama’s June 25th climate change speech at Georgetown University (We Need to Act) and the follow-on announcement on U.S. policy toward financial assistance for new coal power plants overseas. I had not planned on ‘blogging’ on this latter issue today until I read the attached article in today’s Washington Post (US policy on coal power plant financing) and quickly came to believe that it was so important that it could override what I had already planned to write about. I see it as contributing an important and desirable element of an emerging national policy on global warming/climate change and related energy technologies. Nevertheless, I continue to believe that a long-term, enduring and economically impactful national energy policy requires Congressional action in addition to Presidential administrative action. In my view the U.S. Congress has been dysfunctional in this regard in recent years, disregarding the long-term interests of the nation in favor of short-term political and related vested interests. This is a significant change from the 1970’s, when the two major political parties had their usual ideological disagreements but came together, after the Arab Oil Embargo, to pass energy legislation that was deemed to be in the national interest (Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975/EPCA, Pub.L. 94-163). I will be writing more about this in future blogs.
I will conclude this blog by bringing to your attention a recent article in the e-journal Sun & Wind Energy 6/2013 (Energy policy – Scotland). It touches on the benefits to Scotland of its energy policy, and headlines the article by stating: “Governments still lacking a comprehensive federal policy on renewable energy and carbon management could learn a lot from Scotland.” I include the article’s opening paragraph as a further ‘tease’:
“Scotland’s government has made a strong commitment to renewable energy. The small country is now the largest offshore wind market in the world, thanks to its government, which provides a favorable market through a plan that calls for meeting 100% of electricity demand with renewable resources by 2020. As a result of that plan and abundant offshore wind energy resources, offshore wind energy may provide half of the country’s total energy demand by 2020.”