October 17, 2011
A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) finds that fossil fuel extraction is highly concentrated: seven countries and one region, the Middle East, account for over two thirds of the world's resources of oil, gas, and coal that results in global carbon emissions. The authors argue that cutting emissions could be significantly simplified by applying a price on carbon at the point of extraction.
"Regulating the fossil fuels extracted in China, the United States, the Middle East (a region comprised of 13 countries in our analysis), Russia, Canada, Australia, India, and Norway would cover 67 percent of global CO2 emissions," the authors write.
However this wouldn't put all of the financial burden on these nations. In a world where fossil fuel emissions are traded—often several times—before being burned, a strategic price on carbon in one place would spread to all the actors involved, from producers to consumers.
"If a consistent and unavoidable price were imposed on CO2 emissions somewhere along the supply chain, then all of the parties along the supply chain would seek to impose that price to generate revenue from taxes collected or permits sold," the authors explain. "The geographical concentration of carbon-based fuels and relatively small number of parties involved in extracting and refining those fuels suggest that regulation at the wellhead, mine mouth, or refinery might minimize transaction costs as well as opportunities for leakage."
CITATION: Steven J. Davis, Glen P. Peters, and Ken Caldeira. The supply chain of CO2 emissions. PNAS. www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1107409108.
Tar sands pipeline 'another dirty needle feeding America's fossil fuel addiction'
(10/11/2011) Climate and environmental activism in the US received a shot of enthusiasm this summer when it focused unwaveringly on the Keystone XL Pipeline. During a two week protest in front of the White House, 1,253 activists—from young students to elder scientists, from religious leaders to indigenous people—embraced civil disobedience for their cause and got themselves arrested. Jamie Henn, spokesperson with Tar Sands Action, which organized the protests, and co-founder of climate organization 350.org, told mongabay.com that,"the reason the Keystone XL pipeline has emerged as such a key fight is because it is on a specific time horizon, the Administration says it will issue a decision by the end of this year, and the decision whether or not to grant the permit rests solely on President Obama's desk. This is a clear test for the President."
Fossil fuel subsidies going in the wrong direction?
(10/05/2011) In 2009, G20 nations committed to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies over the medium term, yet are further away today than they were two years ago from keeping the pledge. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) fossil fuel subsidies rose by nearly $100 billion in the last year alone, from $312 billion in 2009 to $409 billion in 2010. The agency warned that subsidies could reach $660 billion by 2020 if governments don't act on reform.
Australia's carbon tax moves closer to reality
(10/12/2011) By a margin of just two votes (74-72), Australia's plan to put a price on carbon passed its toughest hurdle today. It is now expected that the Australian legislator will moved forward to put the carbon tax into law. The carbon tax, pushed aggressively by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, was just as ferociously opposed by business leaders and opposition party leader, Tony Abbott.