There’s been some progress on the coal fired power plants I had railed on about recently.
In Big Buyout, Utility to Limit New Coal Plants – New York Times
Under a proposed $45 billion buyout by a team of private equity firms, the TXU Corporation, a Texas utility that has long been the bane of environmental groups, will abandon plans to build 8 of 11 coal plants and commit to a broad menu of environmental measures, according to people involved in the negotiations. The roster of commitments came through an unusual process in which the equity firms asked two prominent environmental groups what measures could be taken to win their support. The result is an about-face from the company’s earlier approach to climate-change issues, and includes a goal of returning the carbon-dioxide emissions by TXU to 1990 levels by 2020. Environmental groups said yesterday that they had never known of a financial deal with such an ambitious built-in environmental component.
Better than nothing. This is good news for sure. But as I mentioned previously, the Sanders (Good ol’ socialist!) Bill calls for an 80% reduction from 1990 levels by 2050. This is required to cap CO2 levels at 450 ppm and avoid the worst effects of global warming. So, while reducing CO2 to 1990 levels sounds impressive in a breathlessly written NY Times article. It is not nearly enough. This is exactly what I was afraid of when I mentioned the moratorium word! In the absence of regulation, or a clear policy, private equity companies, power plants, and other plutocrats are setting the US global warming agenda. They are establishing the floor plan, meaning, we’ll set the bar near the floor and not budge. Yes, I know, the NRDC and Environmental Defense were involved, and this part is definitely good…
TXU will discard plans to build eight of 11 proposed new coal plants, which would have been major new sources of emissions. Those plants — which would have added more than 9,000 megawatts of new capacity, the equivalent of 3.5 percent of the nation’s current coal-fired power — had been part of a planned $10 billion expansion of coal-fired electricity.
TXU, which is based in Dallas, also intends to expand the renewable energy portion of its portfolio and reduce or offset its emissions significantly, said people who were familiar with the plans.
All very good, but as I talked about previously (man, way too much self reference, not a good thing!), a book called Reality Check just out assesses voluntary actions by various companies in the US, Europe and Japan and comes to the following conclusion:
Most of the programs it studies have positive results, but they are
small compared with business-as-usual trends and the impact of other
forces–such as higher energy prices. Importantly, potential gains may
be quickly exhausted as the “low-hanging fruit” is picked up by
Now tell me that this agreement does not fit this frame!