Since our last column, the future for global carbon unfortunately has not turned a corner. Negotiations on the international level are slow leading up to the year-end Copenhagen repeat in Cancun. A recent session in Bonn proposed optimism for country specific commitments on financing, technology transfer and capacity building and adaptation plans for the poorest countries.
In the US, any hope for federal legislation involving cap-and-trade have all but vanished as Obama’s and sympathetic democrats’ political capital seems to have been fully utilized on issues of health care, financial reform and even immigration. Chances of legislation passing with any carbon cutting teeth before, or even after, the November elections appear unlikely, due to or despite of Sen. Kerry’s beltway compromises.
Meanwhile, several European governments are reducing renewable energy investment incentives in the coming year. These subsidies have successfully impacted the carbon content of the generation mix in the already lower-carbon intensity region, as well as aiding the growth and maturation of the renewable energy industry.
In our country, state-enacted renewable portfolio standards may prospectively contribute to a lower carbon future (see largest utility generator of renewable energy, NextEra Energy) in lieu of federal mandates.