California is about to embark on the creation of the world's most aggressive greenhouse gas market in the most energy efficient state in the United States.
Already the state has enacted the most progressive renewable energy and demand response initiatives in the country with a Renewable Portfolio Standard of 20
percent by 2010 (which will most likely rise to 33.3 percent by 2020), a $2.9 billion solar initiative, and an accelerating demand response regime. California has also recognized that to get significant greenhouse gas reductions you must burden share among all sectors for those reductions not just electric utilities like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the Northeast does.
Entering a carbon constrained world will take time because transforming the U.S. economy is very complex. Unfortunately, many Americans lack patience and expect quick fixes to our energy and environment problems. They don't exist as it took decades to create the problems and will take decades to fix them. More importantly, time is necessary to develop, deploy and scale the roll out of environmentally benign technology. California's Silicon Valley has learned that the energy and environmental crisis is not an IT solution and has now undertaken the learning curve that is necessary to understand the complexity of the world's largest business called energy. It is a $5 trillion business and will require what Enron called “iron in the ground” and advanced engineering and technology solutions which will require hundreds of billions of dollars of capital investment. The emerging carbon markets are now bringing an uplift to cleantech investment, and as a colleague in cleantech has mentioned to me carbon is the “missing link” in accelerating clean technology deployment.
The U.S. Federal government invented the concept of cap and trade by taking a financial instrument from the mortgage-backed securities market and applying it to air quality attainment for acid rain remediation. It worked. The concept was proposed by the U.S. delegation at the Rio Climate Convention in 1992 and was ironically opposed by the European Union at the time. Today, we are at a cross roads to create a very viable and effective environmental financial market for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Because this market is starting all over the world, the timing is now appropriate for the United States to lead the way once again. The real market for the abatement of CO2 and other greenhouse gases begins next January 1, 2008. The train has now arrived, and we need to get on board. We need to stop posturing that voluntary technology programs or voluntary carbon offsets will get us anywhere when see
greenhouse gas emissions rising each year in the United States. They are now estimated to rise by another 19 percent over 2000 levels by 2020 according to the U.S. government. This is on top on an annual increase of about 1 percent per year since the 1990s.
NOTE: Peter was the technical consultant on this film.
Oilpro was recently invited to privately screen a new documentary on the US shale revolution, Breaking Free. Scheduled for release this fall, the film tells the story of the US unconventional revolution through the voices of a broad array of academic experts and industry officials. The film also fairly engages the prevailing criticisms levied at fracing, including alleged water contamination and induced seismic activity. In a time when the medium of film is largely used by fracing opponents, this piece is a refreshing presentation of the other side of the story. Importantly, while the film's creator is an advocate for fracing, the film does not come across as overt pro-industry propaganda. Instead, Breaking Free presents a balanced view of the facts of fracing, even giving airtime to skeptics of the process. We commend the producers for the fairness and openness of the film. In this post, Oilpro Columnist Jeff Reed presents a discussion of the issues, a review of the film following our private viewing, and a trailer.