How will Tuesday’s election results affect the country’s green technology hopes? With Republicans taking control of the House of Representatives, observers say chances are likely gone for any kind of broad-ranging climate and carbon legislation in President Obama’s first term. Pared-down energy goals, such as a utility-only carbon cap-and-trade regime or establishing a national renewable energy standard, are also going to face opposition in a Republican-controlled House. Even GOP energy favorites such as subsidies for nuclear power may have trouble amidst a Tea Party-driven, cost-slashing approach in the newly elected Congress, certain observers noted. Still, there were some green-pleasing statewide election results, such as California voters’ rejection of a ballot measure to overturn the state’s greenhouse gas law and wins by Democratic governors in California and Massachusetts.
I’m one of those people who takes advantage of telecommuting and flexible work hours to make sure that I am as productive as possible. I’ve managed to find a pretty good balance between work and life by making adjustments to the typical 9-to-5 day.
The latest twist in the road to comprehensive climate and energy legislation arrived on Wednesday, in the form of Sen. Dick Lugar’s (R-Ind.) proposal for what he calls the “Practical Energy and Climate Plan.”
At the Apple (s aapl) iPod event this past September, the iPod nano got a video upgrade, but despite rumors to the contrary, the iPod touch didn’t get a similar treatment. The Internet was ablaze with expectation thanks to the appearance of a number of iPod touch cases with camera holes built in, all positioned the same, which seemed like a fair indicator that video was coming to the touchscreen iPod.
Even after the newest touch model was released, teardowns revealed what looked like a space reserved for the camera internally. Apple seemed to be holding back for some reason, and recently reports have been made that that is indeed the case, and that a camera-wielding iPod touch will appear in Spring of 2010. Read More about Rumor Has It: Camera Still Bound for iPod Touch
Smarter PC Power Management: A new webcam application called PecoBOO uses facial recognition — rather than mouse movements — to determine whether or not there is a user in front of the PC. If the user moves away, after 15 minutes, the computer goes into its power-saving standby mode. — EcoGeek
Barnstorming Required: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he wants to hold a climate debate on the floor by October. But it may be more important for Obama to announce “some sort of China deal first and do some major barnstorming” than for the bill to pass even by year’s end. — Climate Progress
Deal and No Deal: The Group of Eight leading nations have agreed to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, but failed to reach an accord on shorter-term targets, prompting a larger group of nations — including China and India — to backtrack from their own commitment to numerical targets they had planned to announce today. — Wall Street Journal
EnerG2 Exec on Materials and Molecules: “Materials science is the new information technology, and it’s helping the U.S. achieve dominance as the post-petroleum era dawns and spreads to virtually every continent.” — Greentech Media
Mixed Climate Messages: Virginia-based blogger David Campbell managed to nail his local representative, Democrat Glenn Nye, for saying he was for the cap and trade bill when he in fact voted against it. — Politico via Business Insider’s Green Sheet
For climate legislation, clearing the House last month by a slim seven-vote margin marked a major step toward passage of the first comprehensive regulation of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. But as we wrote after the vote, it was only the beginning — with a series of hurdles and open questions remaining. This week, the Senate begins in earnest the slog to produce its own version of the legislation with a set of hearings that will help shape key, controversial issues in the draft — including the role of agriculture in offsetting carbon emissions and producing alternative fuels, how to control emissions while competing in a global economy, and how to manage international trade.
To kick things off, lawmakers on the Committee on Environment & Public Works heard testimony Tuesday from the Obama administration’s energy, environment and agriculture chiefs in a general hearing on legislative tools for “moving America toward a clean energy economy and reducing global warming pollution.” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in her opening testimony, “I know there are a variety of proposals pending in the Senate that have the same goals,” namely: decreasing reliance on oil imports, creating jobs in “emerging clean energy technologies,” and reducing pollution. But at this point, lawmakers are finding plenty to disagree about.
Read More about Senate Climate Bill Wars Begin: What to Expect in the Next Round
Obama on Climate Bill Opposition: “Are there going to be nay-sayers? Absolutely. Are there going to be short-term instances where you can get political gain by scaring the bejesus out of people and telling them that their electricity rates are going to go up a thousand percent and this is going to be a tax of $3,000 — even though the studies that they cite the authors of say that these guys are just lying about these costs? Yes.” — Climate Progress
Woe is Musk: As part of Daimler’s (s DAI) investment deal with Tesla Motors, Elon Musk says he had to commit to staying on as Tesla’s CEO at least until the Model S launches in 2011 — a requirement he calls “flattering, but at the same time it’s golden handcuffs.” — Reuters via AutoblogGreen
June Auto Sales Silver Lining: June sales figures released today show Ford had the smallest decline of any of the six largest automakers since last summer. Volkswagen clean diesel cars had their best month ever. — New York Times, Associated Press
Detroit Electric’s Route to China: Recently-revived electric car company Detroit Electric’s CEO, Albert Lam, says in a Q&A that a new partnership with Dongfeng Motor “a direct line of communication to Chinese policy makers who will define the strategic direction for the new electric car industry.” — NYT’s Green Inc.
Still Worth It?: A watered-down climate bill is better than nothing. After all, “the first item on the wish list of every venture capitalist working in clean tech is a simple price on carbon. Lay that down…and money will start spilling into energy innovation.” — TNR’s The Vine
The energy bill passed the House on Friday, but the proposed cap and trade system and new incentives for renewable energy are still a long way from going into law as the Senate needs to pass its own version. As we transition to the next round of negotiations and lobbying, stakeholders from the White House to industry trade groups, environmental organizations and cleantech companies have been weighing in on the version that won approval in the House — and on where they’d like to see it go from here.
Since Friday’s vote, President Obama has continued his support for the legislation, as well as his efforts to win over lawmakers. (He phoned wavering legislators last week to help the bill clear the House.) This weekend during his radio address and media interviews, Obama called for senators to “come together” around the legislation, which he said “will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy.” In an interview with a group of reporters, Obama also said the bill would provide “clarity and certainty” and would “end up being much less costly, much more efficient; technology is going to move much more rapidly than people anticipate.”
Read More about Reactions to the Energy Bill: Obama, Cleantech Biz, Environmentalists
Thaw Nears for Frozen Climate Bill?: Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman has come close to an agreement on the energy and climate bill with Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, who earlier this week warned of a rural Democrat “revolt” over the legislation if not changed. — The Hill
Detroit Electric Heads to China: Netherlands-based Detroit Electric has teamed up with Chinese automaker Dongfeng Motor Corp. to develop and market electric vehicles using Detroit Electric’s drive technology, and the two companies are considering a joint venture to supply the technology to other manufacturers. — Business Times
Toyota Rolls Out iQ3: Toyota has given the new subcompact iQ3, now on sale in the UK, a start-stop system for lower emissions and a lightweight 1.33-liter engine for extended range. — Autobloggreen
Google’s Smart Charging Software: Google has written software with “vehicle dispatch algorithms” that can decide how to best charge plug-in vehicles, helping to smooth out the load on the power grid. Google.org climate change and energy initiatives director Dan Reicher spoke about the smart charging software today at the Kema Utility of the Future conference. — CNET’s Green Tech
Coal in the House: House Republicans are circulating a document that purports to show the regional breakdown of costs for energy consumers under the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill that has apparently been authored by the coal giant Peabody Energy. — Grist
Evolution Solar Shopping for Startups: Evolution Solar has announced that it is searching for a suitable acquisition of an existing solar company, preferably one that’s involved in sales and distribution, but which lacks an expansion plan. — PV Tech
AEP Signs Up for Solar: Ohio utility American Electric Power has signed on to buy the solar energy output for 20 years from the Juwi Solar facility planned for northwest Ohio. AEP says the deal marks its first solar energy transaction. — Business First of Columbus
Death of the Climate Bill?: As Democratic lawmakers struggle for consensus on provisions for offshore oil drilling, agricultural carbon offsets and other “touchstone issues” in the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill, the Sierra Club says the legislation has already “suffered death by a thousand cuts.” — Washington Post
Battery Management for All: Engineering firm Ricardo has developed what’s meant to be a universal management system for lithium-ion or NiMH batteries, as well as ultracapacitors. — Green Car Congress
The A/C Opportunity: According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, air conditioners in passenger vehicles account for nearly six percent of total fuel consumption in the U.S. each year. Researchers at the NREL facility in Golden, Colo., are trying to change that. — NYT’s Green Inc.