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Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Renewables in the USA

By Dave Elliott

The USA current generates nearly 15% of its electricity from renewables and they are still expanding quite rapidly, with wind at 66 GW and PV soon at 20 GW. This growth has mainly been driven by the simple fact that these options are getting competitive, although, despite continuing political uncertainties and delays, state and federal tax concessions, support schemes and production quotas have obviously also helped.


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Barack Obama tweets about ERL

By Liz Kalaugher

Barack Obama has taken to Twitter to inform his 31 million followers about a recent study published in Environmental Research Letters.

Highlighting a news story published by Reuters, he said: “Ninety-seven per cent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous. Read more: OFA.BO/gJsdFp“.


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Obama’s state of clean electricity – not as different as it sounds

By Carey King

During the annual State of Union address on January 25, 2011, United States’ President Barack Obama spoke briefly about energy policy and a future energy transition. I will focus on a short excerpt of the speech here:

State of the Union: “We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. (Applause.) I don’t know if — I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own. (Laughter.) So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.

Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they’re selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: By 2035, 80 percent of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources. (Applause.)

Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all — and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen. (Applause.)”

First the President is calling for elimination of subsidies to oil companies. Some of these subsidies include decreased royalties and depreciation rules that are not too dissimilar to non-oil energy generation projects. The point of the excerpt I will briefly focus on here is the President’s challenge to generate 80% of US electricity from “clean energy” sources by 2035. The President then defines these clean energy sources where the only one not in commercial production is “clean coal” which we can assume is discussing the capture and sequestration of carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants.


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AAAS: From Darwin to Obama

This year’s American Association for the
Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting has the all-encompassing subtitle
“Our planet and its life: origins and futures”. As AAAS president
James McCarthy put it, “it’s been fun but my advice to any future AAAS
president is to pick a theme with just one word”.

McCarthy explained how
scientists from different disciplines have been joining together to link up our
understanding of the Earth’s systems. In the past it was rare for physical
oceanographers to communicate with biological oceanographers, for example, but
nowadays there’s much more insight into how biology influences climate.

Appropriately enough for a theme that
encompasses the origins of life, the conference kicks off on the 200th
anniversary of the birthday of Charles Darwin, founder of the theory of
evolution. The mid- to late- 1800s, when Darwin’s ideas appeared, also saw the
development of new technologies such as the internal combustion engine and oil
extraction and refinement.

“We were beginning, although no-one knew it at
the time, technologies that today we look to as having significantly altered
the environment of this planet, especially with regards to climate
change,” said McCarthy. “We have choices to make and the choices we
make today will have a profound effect a few decades out. Organisms that have
co-evolved with other species to a particular climate regime now have to

Today is also the birthday of US
president Abraham Lincoln, which prompted a lot of questions for McCarthy at
this morning’s press briefing about the latest US government administration.
“Obama has recruited scientific talent of extraordinary calibre,” he
said. “In energy and environment it would be hard to find better people. I
am very optimistic.” And McCarthy remains optimistic despite the fact that
there will be “distractions, such as the economy”. He reckons that
Obama is “not simply saying let’s invest in climate change research, he’s
saying let’s look at the broader picture, the employment problem – how
renewable energy can create new jobs and improve energy security”.



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