Following climate policy in the United States can be a truly painful experience if you are as worried about climate change as I am. Even my native Finland, widely recognized as a laggard by European standards, does a much better job. Every now and then, however, we do get some good news from the United States. Here’s a few recent advances to cheer you up.
1) After nine years of wrangling, the Cape Cod, Massachusetts, offshore wind energy project was finally authorized by the federal government. The project faces several additional legal hurdles, but this was a really important precedent that may spur deployment in the United States.
2) After four years of delay, the Department of Defense withdrew its opposition, which was based on concerns about the operation of a nearby radar system, to what may well be the world’s largest wind farm, to be constructed in Oregon. Onshore wind continues to be more cost-effective than offshore wind, so this is very good news. I’m also pretty sure that dependence on oil is a much larger security threat to the United States than the cost of upgrading a radar system in Oregon (of all places).
3) Energy efficiency has always been one of the great paradoxes of climate politics. It offers many opportunities for win-win solutions, yet it is often seen as frivolous. But — and this is a big one — the House passed the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 with — here it is, ladies and gentlemen — bipartisan support, It “will provide homeowners with rebates for energy-efficiency upgrades — a total of $6 billion over two years.” Even the Chamber of Commerce, a fossil-fuel stalwart, supported the policy.