Green Project

EPA: Climate Change Could Ruin DC Summers, Kill People

An article in today's Washington Post is enough to make even the most experienced Washington hands sweat. A new EPA report has concluded that climate change does, in fact, pose grave pubic health risks including, but not limited to, death, destruction, and making summers in Washington D.C. even less bearable. Of course, as Melissa Merz noted last week, the White House has also decided that the EPA will not regulate the very emissions that cause these grave public health risks. Go figure.

From the article by David A. Fahrenthold and Juliet Eilperin:

Climate change will pose "substantial" threats to human health in the coming decades, the Environmental Protection Agency said yesterday -- issuing its warnings about heat waves, hurricanes and pathogens just days after the agency declined to regulate the pollutants blamed for warming.

In a new report, the EPA said "it is very likely" that more people will die during extremely hot periods in future years -- and that the elderly, the poor and those in inner cities will be most at risk.

Other possible dangers include more powerful hurricanes, shrinking supplies of fresh water in the West, and the increased spread of diseases contracted through food and water, the agency said.

The strong warnings highlighted the contorted position that the EPA has staked out on climate change. Last week, the agency decided not to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, at least not until after President Bush's term ends.

A former EPA official told a House panel this week that senior administration officials and several Cabinet members supported regulating the emissions before the White House changed course and barred the EPA from concluding that they endanger public welfare.

The most surprising part of this report is that the White House actually let it get released – unlike other climate reports earlier in the administration. So, just as the government informs itself (and, surprisingly, the public) that it should be doing something about this tremendous risk to the future of humanity, we learn that President Bush will not, so as to maintain his legacy.

[Former EPA deputy associate administrator Jason K. Burnett] also told the panel that senior EPA officials met with representatives from Exxon Mobil, the American Petroleum Institute, and the National Petrochemicals and Refiners Association, who argued that Bush should not undermine his legacy by regulating greenhouse gases.

This is quite the legacy that President Bush is preserving while the climate changes, ignoring reports of the EPA and a Supreme Court ruling (not to mention common sense and broad scientific consensus). Last time I checked, the vast majority of Americans were not huge fans of the President’s legacy. Perhaps he should use the last few months of his failed presidency to try something (anything) new.

I remember someone who won a lot of votes 8 years ago as having some decent ideas.

Gore's Moon Shot Goal for Renewables

New York City -- Yesterday's inspiring speech by Vice President Gore, once more, reminded us of how different the world would have been under a Gore Presidency compared with the last eight years.  Gore challenged the United States in 10 years--recalling President Kenenedy's call to send a man to the moon in a single decade--to convert itself entirely to renewable fuels (with nuclear plants permitted to continue to operate). 

How realistic is that goal?  In fact it is far more realistic than his critics allow.  Unlike the moonshot, however, the barriers are not technological but largely political.

Wind energy is already competitive in many part of the country with natural gas-based power--the fastest growing current source.  For this reason, Texan T. Boone Pickens has been investing in wind.  And there is every reason to expect, as wind power scales, that it will approach parity with coal over the next decade.  Coal is the cheapest source of power, but the dirtiest and coal's price has doubled this year alone.  In contrast, wind's cost profile is declining.  The main barriers to wind currently are issues of grid hookup related to its variability and surprisingly, public resistance to windmills in people's backyard.  In Germany thanks, in part to liberal incentives, but also to public acceptance of seeing windmills, wind currently accounts for 20% of power generation.  It can easily surpass that figure in the United States.  A carbon regime in the form of a cap and trade system or tax would accelerate cost convergence with coal.

Solar energy, the other major renewable, is currently far more expensive than ordinary grid power, but its price is declining rapidly--by 20-30% per year.  At that rate, it will achieve grid parity in about 8 years if fossil fuel prices stay constant.  But since fossil prices are increasing, solar may achieve grid parity far earlier. 

Moreover, solar is strongest during hours of peak demand when utlities must pay high rates to bring on extra increments of power.  Thus, solar has already achieved parity with peak retail prices--say at 2 p.m. on an August day in the midst of a heat wave--in some parts of the country.  Since utilities, like the bus system, must be built for rush hour, if solar can meet beat peak prices, in theory, it could absorb a very high level of all increases in demand.

However, the truth is that cost parity when it arrives--and it will arrive--will not be enough to achieve Gore's vision.  That's because energy incumbents and a host of disincentives for utilities to make the switch to renewables, stand in the way. 

Utilities, under the most common method of regulated pricing, make more money selling power from old, fully depreciated plants they own than from new facilities owned by someone else--like you or me on our rooftops or T. Boone Pickens.  Thus, absent policy changes, they may actually slow or block the adoption of rewables.

What is needed to break down this incumbent resistance?

First, regulators must decouple utility profits from the levels of electricity they sell as California and some states have already done.  Otherwise, the only rational strategy for utilities is to try to monopolize sales themselves--and block the development of renewables.

Second, regulators must encourage net metering--the ability of consumers to sell excess power back to the grid.

Third--and this is crticial--regulators must go beyond net metering and allow what I call net billing to allow consumers to buy power directly from power producers after paying an appropriate transporation and distribution cost. 

Fourth, the grid must be modernized and artifical barriers removed to grid hookup. 

Finally, the existing tax credits for renewable energy, the Investment Tax Credit geared to solar and the Production Tax credit that largely benefits wind must be set for the next eight years--to drive the production scale critical to reducing costs.  These tax credits are, by the way, only a fraction of those afforded to conventional fossil fuels. 

Indeed the incentives granted to fossil fuels were on display yesterday in the House where Republicans blocked a move by Democrats to require oil companies to actually explore the 68 million acres of federal land currently at their disposal or else have to relinquish the lease to someone else.  In addition to making federal lands available to oil and coal companies, the federal government also provides huges tax incentives, support for the construction of infrastructure and other measures that some tally at over $2 trillion per year.

If Congress and regulators can get the policy right to put renewables on an even footing with incumbent energy sources, the equivalent of a moon shot can be achieved.  But it will take real leadership to break through the incumbent's entirely natural resistance. 

Later this month, the NDN Green project will be releasing a paper on solar energy and we also will be holding an event on the impact of high fuel prices on the American economy and the promise of clean technologies to create a new post carbon economy that we hope will encourage more discussion of these issues.


When Bubbles Collide

Speculative bubbles have a long history. So do comparisons of the modern economy with earlier ones (tulipmania, the south sea bubble, and the Mississipi bubble, for example, the details of which Charles Mackay covered in his classic book, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.)

In our own era, however, a new pattern seems to have arisen: instead of occasional bubbles, the steady and predictable appearance of one after the next. In recent years, the American and global economies have lurched between a real estate bubble in the 1980s (that led to the 1991 meltdown), the developing economy bubble that led to the Asian financial crisis in 1998, the Internet bubble from 1998 to 2000 and the now deflating housing bubble of the 2000s. Each time, an asset class becomes extraordinarly attractive, money flows in and then the music stops. And then it starts all over again as it appears to be doing, now, with the latest bubble in commodities.

The news Friday and over the weekend was of the continuing collapse of one bubble, the housing one and the rise of a new bubble in commodities. On Friday, talk swirled of the collapse of IndyMac Bancorp and the potential collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Over the weekend, the Fed and the Treasury came up with a rescue plan for the latter which will be tested today. Meanwhile, commodities prices continued their crazed rise. As always, people continue to debate whether the commodities bubble is based on fundamentals or is speculative. As always, they forget that it can be both for bubbles almost always start out with something real only to balloon and pop.

Two interesting articles today shed light on this not so new chapter of the global economy. One by Edward Hadas in the Journal points out that investment funds dedicatd to commodities have soared from $70 billion to $220 billion in the last three years. This added liquidity has exacerbated the impact on prices from rising demand in India and China. Whereas in oil markets, a plausible case can be made for a long term supply demand imbalance, the doubling of the price of Appalachian coal--consumed largely in the US--this year points to financial causes.

The ballooning in any market comes not from the buyers--who are simply doing what they ought to do--but from the presence of immense liquidity in the financial system, that encourages the buyers to outbid one another for the product. This is what happened in housing--buyers bid up prices on expectations they would continue to increase forever--thanks to the enabling factor of the financial markets. Now it's happening in commodities. It is the liquidity--or easy money--that makes huge bubbles out of real demand.

A second piece by Wolfgang Munchau in today's FT, observes that in the past, the vehicle for reining in excess liquidity was the G-8 whose finance ministers regularly met to try to keep exchange rates and money flows in balance--not always successfully, but at least regularly. The explosion of savings and therefore liquidity in the developing world and oil belt, however, means that the primary source of liquidity today (over 80% of global capital) lies outside the G-8. There is no central mechanism for controlling liquidity which has also soared as billions of Chinese, Indian and others save one third to one half their annual earnings for retirement. It is this money that China, in essence, has lent to Americans to buy its goods at Wal-Mart. The Chinese end up with trillions in US bonds and Americans end up with goods in their garages. However, that's not quite the end because some portion of this liquidity ends up searching for high returns in the next, big thing or bubble.

A saner approach to things would have been for the Chinese currency to appreciate against the dollar, so that we would have bought less Chinese stuff and China would have accumulated less dollars. However, there is currently no good mechanism to rein in the liquidity or keep exchange rates in balance. Absent that, the default mechanism is boom bust, the ballooning of a new bubble every few years and then its bursting.

There is usually a small silver lining to this cloud. With each bubble, large amount of capital get spent on the asset class in question--office buildings in Dallas in the the 1980s, hotels in Bangkok in the 1990s, fiber optics in the US in the 1990s and McMansions across America in the 2000s. However the consequences for ordinary families can be severe when the bust comes. This time around, many Americans will lose their homes.

The current round of high commodity prices will have effects of their own. They are already stimulating increased investment in commodities--private equity funds are buying up and re-opening old mines--and high energy prices may drive investment in new renewable fuel technologies. The latter would have the benefit of freeing us from future commodities-based inflation.

However, with the S&P commodities index up 71% in the last year, it is increasingly clear that we are in a bubble with all that entails. And if history is a guide--and in this case it surely is--once the world gets through the housing bubble, we should anticipate coping with the consequences of the next bursted bubble in commodities.

Trading in the Trading Down Economy

New York City -- The media has discovered a new word to describe how America is reacting to high oil prices and the shaky economy: Trading Down. The genesis for this new interpretation was the surprise news that Wal-Mart's sales jumped 5.8% last month while overall consumption is down. Buffeted by soaring fuels prices, rising food prices, resetting mortgages, consumer debt and other headwinds, the American family is shopping at Wal-Mart, buying smaller cars instead of big ones--or buying no cars at all and otherwise lowering its aspirations.

Trading down, as accurate as this interpretation may be, is never popular with Americans. As one advertising campaign during the height of the housing boom put it, your ancestors did not come to America to rent. And neither did they come here to lose ground economically. America has always been the land of opportunity and should be. The question, therefore, is how are these diminished expectations going to square with our very identity as a nation.

The answer is that trading down won't work for long. Americans demand improvement, progress and a better tomorrow. While they may make due with a crisis as they did in the 1970s, they won't be satisfied indefinitely. The political leaders who view the current crisis as an opportunity to reposition America, not as something to adjust to, are those who will ultimately win elections and the support of the American people.

To this end, current stimulus proposals focused on tax rebates and the extension of unemployment benefits--while sound enough--smack too much of acquiescence. To get out front on how to get through this crisis and even turn it to our advantage, our political leaders should be figuring out how to build a new, leaner, less oil-dependent American economy that once more delivers the American Dream.

Here are a few ideas to stimulate America's economy in a way that addresses the current fuel crisis but also begins to move us into the future:

First, the government should immediately extend the solar tax credit. The imminent expiration of this credit is causing projects to be cancelled and people to be layed off every day, eroding America's solar industry. The cost of this is only about $1.5 billion and it may actually generate more revenue than that down the road from additional economic activity.

Second, the federal government should provide a substantial tax credit of $2,000 above any existing credits for the purchase of hybrids (or other battery driven) and high gas mileage vehicles. This will jump start the ailing car industry, put money into the economy immediately and help address the high cost of fuel.

Third, the government should provide an immediate $3 billion to the states and cities to help meet soaring demand for public transportation. Many states and cities are seeing their public infrastructure overwhelmed and this money used for maintenance and to keep down fares would have an immediate stimulus impact on the economy.

Fourth, the government should provide tax credits to Americans to winterize their homes before the winter heating season, by installing new windows and energy efficient appliances.

Finally, the government should authorize funds for workforce housing. Currently, policemen, firemen and teachers--not to mention regular families--can only find housing miles away from where they work. Now high gas prices are devastating their incomes. Money for workforce housing construction would again show up quickly in the economy and also give people a chance to move closer to their jobs, reducing energy consumption.

In coming weeks, we hope that these ideas are seriously debated and that others emerge that in addition to dealing with our current problems, will also help us build for the future. NDN will be holding an event on the impact of high energy prices on the American way of life and potential solutions soon. Stay tuned.

China and Climate Change

Ooops ... The Financial Times reports today that China and India once again have rejected a cap on CO2 emissions -- and without these countries and the other large developing nations that will follow their lead, the world cannot seriously address the threat of climate change. China and India's response should be no surprise: as fast growing developing economies, their appetite for the energy that produces most of the CO2 increases sharply every year. Moreover, their modernization programs are concentrated in the most energy-intensive industries around - basic manufacturing and energy-intensive agriculture - while most of their own domestic energy supplies lie in coal, the most climate-damaging fuel. One way to move forward is to give them an alternative to a CO2 cap. Carbon-based taxes should be more appealing, since China and other fast-growing developing countries need more revenues to support the basic public goods of modernization -- infrastructure programs and greater access to education and health care. But that won't be enough: we will have to make it worth their while economically to join us, Europe and Japan in a global campaign to address climate change. That will mean offering them better and cheaper alternatives to the hundreds of coal-burning electricity plants they plan to build every year into the indefinite future. Better alternatives for the climate are widely available, for example, in hydropower or natural gas-fueled generating system, and perhaps soon, in solar and wind as well.

In the end, however, the United States, along with Europe and Japan, probably also will have to make those alternatives cheaper by providing large technology transfers at cut rates. And the United States is the only country that can make any of this happen, at least regarding China. As the largest foreign direct investor in China, its largest export market, and the guarantor of the sea and air lanes across which all of China's trade and oil supplies travel, China's leaders recognize America as the indispensable economic and military power for China's own progress. All we need is a president and administration prepared to use that position to advance the global agenda on climate change.

Senator Bingaman Delivers Climate Address to NDN

This morning, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, delivered an address on climate change at an NDN Green Project event. The speech laid out his vision for how to address climate change through uniform, workable, flexible and realistic cap and trade legislation that focuses on reducing greenhouse gasses and encouraging investment in the technology necessary to reform our energy system.

In introducing Chairman Bingaman, NDN Green Project Director Michael Moynihan pointed toBingaman the critical need to transition to a post-carbon economy, a challenge driven home to Americans every day by soaring gasoline prices.

Entitled, "Finding the Path Forward on Climate Legislation," the speech was a truly important step in enunciating a view of how to responsibly tackle climate change. As the Senate recovers from the aftermath of the Lieberman-Warner debate and looks forward to the next Congress, full statements of principles from key leaders on climate and energy, such as the one today by Senator Bingaman, will be crucial to stimulating the necessary debate to pass effective legislation.

From Senator Bingaman’s introduction to his remarks:

A little over a month ago, on June 6, the Senate failed to invoke cloture on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act. That vote ended any realistic prospect we had of dealing with the problems of climate change in any comprehensive way in this Congress.

From one perspective, the relatively short debate that we had in the Senate on the measure was a disappointment. No substantive amendments were considered or had action taken on them. Despite the tremendous amount of effort put into developing the bill by the sponsors -- Senators Lieberman, Warner, and Boxer – much of the debate was on the generalities of dealing with climate change and not on the specific merits of any particular part of their proposal.

Looked at another way, though, last month’s debate demonstrated an important transition that is underway in Congress. Congress has moved beyond a debate on the science of global climate change. We are now starting a much more difficult debate – one on how best to construct a mandatory regulatory regime to mitigate global climate change.

No one expected that last month’s legislative process would produce a law that would be enacted this year. For one thing, the President issued a statement declaring that he would veto such a law. More importantly, many of us are still trying to master the complexities of this issue, in terms of its multiple effects on the global ecosystem and the global economy, as well as its multiple effects on both the environment and the economy here in the United States.

One thing is clear at this point. Any proposal to seriously address the challenges of responding to climate change will require sustained action -- and a sustained commitment to keep taking increasingly more stringent actions -- over the course of many years.

To approach this issue responsibly, it is important for us to understand two things about the scale of the global challenge of climate change. First, we need to understand the scale of the problem. Second, we need to understand the scale of the system we have -- for producing and using energy -- to change in order to deal with the problem.

We have to keep our eye on both these issues of scale. On the one hand, if we fail to recognize how enormous and urgent the problem of climate change is, we will fail in our responsibility to act sensibly and soon. On the other hand, if we fail to recognize how enormous and difficult a task it is to change our energy system, we may embark on a course of action without making clear from the start the potential sacrifices involved.

As Senator Bingaman notes, the transition to the post-carbon economy will not be simple; the scale of this transformation is vast. By embracing the changes necessary in our energy system as an opportunity to develop a truly competitive and innovative 21st century economy, and by understanding that energy reform is part of any sound economic policy going forward, America can put itself on a path toward sound energy, climate, and economic future.

To view Senator Bingaman’s full remarks, click here.

Energy and Climate Take Center State in Campaign

It's official, energy is now at the very heart of the 2008 Presidential election. While it is unfortunate that it took $4 gas prices, America, all the way to oilman T. Boone Pickens (except, of course, for President Bush), has woken up to a new energy reality. The RNC has responded with "balance," a $3 million ad buy coming on the heels of an ad series from the McCain campaign touting his energy security credentials.


McCain has chosen to make energy security his central issue in this year's campaign. And, while his policies do not match his rhetoric - drilling offshore and suspending the gas tax would do nothing "now" to lower energy prices and would ultimately exacerbate climate change - he has seized what is now the number one issue of the campaign and one of the only issues he has a shot on, running ads in battleground states and forcing Obama to respond. The ad is especially ironic as it features the Republican Party criticizing the Democratic candidate for President for being "just the party line" in a year in which Democrats have a 10 to 15 point party ID advantage.

Obama's response, "New Energy," debunks the RNC/McCain promise of action "now," announces the Obama plan, and actually has some particulars that would make a difference in both energy prices and climate change:

The fact that energy and climate change are at the center of this election, with a sitting President who does not even acknowledge any real need to act on climate change, represents a fundamental shift away from Bush politics and the Bush era. The candidate who wins this election will be the one who shows the American people they best understand it.

Tomorrow morning at 8a.m. in room 325 of the Russell Senate Office Building, NDN will host Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman for an address on climate change. This is the first in a series of events this month from the NDN Green Project's effort to understand this new energy and economic era. For more information on this event and to RSVP, click here.

Zakaria: Power Failures

In a Newsweek Op-Ed yesterday, Fareed Zakaria rails against current American climate and energy policy (or lack thereof) in the context of this week’s G-8 in Hokkaido, Japan.

Whether it's Barack Obama or John McCain who enters the White House in January, the new president could well find his approval ratings sliding fast. The increasingly grim economic news is likely to overshadow all else. Britain's prime minister, Gordon Brown, is already experiencing this reality. While most of the British media would argue (vigorously) that Brown's low poll ratings relate to his charisma, or lack thereof, he is also clearly suffering the political effects of economic malaise.

Like the United States, Britain is going through a credit crunch, a financial crisis and a housing collapse all at the same time. Brown, however, argues that the central problem is skyrocketing food and fuel prices—"that's what hurts the average family most," he said in a conversation last Tuesday. Brown said he hoped that the Group of Eight countries would take them on at its summit in Hokkaido, Japan, this week. "The great challenge for the G-8 is, can we coordinate policies to prevent crises. In the 1980s, we had currency coordination. But with finance globalized, that's not the challenge of the present," he said. "The new problem, worldwide, is energy. We need to coordinate our energy policies."

Brown argues that even in the short- and medium-term, the G-8 countries could do something. "The market assumes that demand will always increase, and in a circumstance of constrained supply, that means prices rise. But we can send a signal that demand is going to moderate, that we are serious about efficiency and alternative energy sources. But it would have to be a clear signal sent by all the major consuming countries."

Last month, Britain laid out plans to generate 35 percent of its electricity needs from renewables by 2020—up from 5 percent now. The country is already the world's largest generator of wind power (with mostly off-shore turbines) and plans to generate 60 times current levels in 12 years. It has also cleared regulations to increase nuclear energy. "You cannot get to a new energy mix without a substantial rise in nuclear power," Brown said.

The contrast with Washington is blinding. George Bush still has not made a serious speech, announced a serious plan or presented Congress with a serious set of laws to move the country toward new energy sources. With oil prices at their highest levels since the discovery of oil (even in inflation-adjusted dollars), and with their rise threatening to push the country and the world toward 1970s-style stagflation—he hasn't brought himself do it. And while we stand pat, the rest of the world is moving. In a recent ranking of countries for environmental performance, jointly produced by Yale and Columbia universities, the United States came in 39th, well behind every other advanced industrial country. (Germany ranked 13, Britain 14 and Japan 21.)

Washington's inaction also stands in contrast to intense activity in the private sector, fascinatingly described in Fred Krupp and Miriam Horn's new book, "Earth: The Sequel." Krupp heads the Environmental Defense Fund, but this is not a gloomy global warming tirade. It's an optimistic account of the progress being made by American industry in renewable energy. The authors explore every new technology, from solar to wind to geothermal, and introduce the men and women who are inventing the future.

But they would be the first to point out that, even though American research labs are rising to the challenge, government action remains vital. The idea that government should "stay out" is meaningless. It is in knee-deep already; energy is a highly regulated industry. In fact, it's notable that we have low productivity and runaway inflation in two crucial areas these days—food and fuel. Both have been nationalized, protected or subsidized by governments around the world for decades. A host of regulatory and legal barriers make renewable and small-scale energy production less attractive, profitable and manageable than it could be. But Krupp and Horn focus on the central policy change that the United States needs to make—enacting a cap on carbon. America is the only developed country that does not put a price on carbon.

Imagine if President Bush were to announce at the G-8 summit that the United States would institute a cap on emissions. We would instantly have the world's largest carbon market and it would, instantly, change the price of clean energy. It would unleash a tsunami of economic activity in renewables that could, over time, give American productivity the next big boost it needs. It would, of course, also quickly send a signal to the market about future demand for oil, which would in turn affect the price.

But somehow I don't think that's what Bush is going to say in Hokkaido this week.

Zakaria is right to suggest that America do what much of the rest of the world seems to know we must: restore American leadership globally by comprehensively tackling climate change and reforming energy policy. He also knows that by doing so, we will address demand for fossil fuels, and fundamentally alter the current energy and economic paradigms. Solutions to the energy and climate dilemmas are not, as some argue, mutually exclusive. Rather, creating a prosperous 21st century depends on understanding that they can be one in the same. The private sector has figured this out, and is making a lot of money while doing so. Let’s see if the government can’t get the picture too.

Sen. Bingaman to Address Climate Change Tomorrow; NDN's Green Summer

As climate change, energy prices, and the impact of the “Third Oil Shock” on the American and global economies continue to make front page news every day and change the way we live, NDN’s Green Project is excited to announce a series of events and thought-provoking papers examining these critical issues over the next month.

Building on previous work in the green space, including a forum in New York City entitled, Understanding the Cleantech Investment Opportunity, and talks by energy expert Amory Lovins and electric car innovator Shai Agassi, NDN’s upcoming Green Project will be offering some thoughts on intellectual underpinnings for building the post-carbon economy.

NDN Green ProjectWe kick off this important and timely series on Wednesday, July 9, on Capitol Hill with U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (NM), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and one of our nation's foremost leaders on energy, who has chosen NDN to host his next address on climate change. This event will start at 8 a.m. in 325 Russell Senate Office Building. Click here to RSVP.

NDN will also be releasing an important new paper by NDN Green Project Director Michael Moynihan entitled, Solar Power: The Case for Action. In this paper, Moynihan places solar energy in the context of major changes needed to our energy policies, including how to reinvent our national economy to cope with high energy prices and increase our technological competitiveness in a post-carbon future.

On Wednesday, July 16, Dr. Robert J. Shapiro, Chairman of the NDN Globalization Initiative, will host a lunch for the NDN community on his new paper, Addressing Climate Change without Impairing the U.S. Economy: The Economics and Environmental Science of Combining a Carbon-Based Tax and Tax Relief, which details a strategy for implementing a carbon tax and using 90 percent of the revenue to cut the payroll tax. The lunch will be held at 12:30 p.m. at NDN: 729 15th St. NW, 1st floor. For more information or to RSVP, contact Kevin VanderMolen at or 202-384-1216.

On Saturday, July 19, in Austin, Texas, Michael Moynihan will join NDN President Simon Rosenberg and Andrei Cherny at Netroots Nation in speaking on A New Era of Possibility—Looking at America's Role in the World after the Bush Presidency.

Finally, NDN has an event in the works to examine the impact of high energy prices on such important elements of the economy as the auto industry, transportation, aviation, the exurbs and, indeed, the American Way of Life. Please stay posted for more details.

Do not miss these events that together will help develop our understanding of the impact of climate change and energy policy on our nation. To read NDN’s latest thinking on these issues, check out the Green Project blog.

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