"Out here on the frontier, you really see the market at work." This land rush is being accelerated by an unlikely source: biofuels.
An explosion in demand for farm-grown fuels has raised global crop prices to record highs, which is spurring a dramatic expansion of Brazilian agriculture, which is invading the Amazon at an increasingly alarming rate. quintupled its production of ethanol--ethyl alcohol, a fuel distilled from plant matter--in the past decade, and Washington has just mandated another fivefold increase in renewable fuels over the next decade.
Without its use, power sector CO2 emissions would have been 28 percent greater in the electricity industry in 2005 – nearly equal to the annual emissions from all 136 million passenger cars in the U. President Bush seeks to fund new technologies that can produce power from coal with significantly lower carbon emissions. The President’s Solar America Initiative – launched in 2006 – doubled U. The private sector has responded with significant investments, ranging from corporate research and development to the venture capital markets.
Coal is America's most abundant and affordable energy resource, responsible for generating about 50 percent of America's electric power. To complement the new international clean technology fund, the United States and the European Union have jointly proposed in the WTO to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to clean energy and environmental technologies and services.
The bill, however, also promotes conservation by mandating new energy efficiency standards for refrigerators, dishwashers and other appliances, and also sets new standards for commercial and government buildings to save energy, plus phasing in new home lighting standards that eventually will move away from incandescent bulbs which waste energy -- increasing light bulb efficiency 70 percent over today's bulbs by 2020.
Carter is not a man who gets easily spooked--he led a reconnaissance unit in Desert Storm, and I watched him grab a small anaconda with his bare hands in Brazil--but he can sound downright panicky about the future of the forest. There's too much money to be made tearing it down," he says.The president is slated to sign the new energy bill today at the Energy Department, a bill that has taken years to develop, a Democrat Congress to pass and enough Republican influence to have a Republican president accept it and not threaten veto.The bill, however, does provides new policy that has remained unchanged for three decades.President Bush announced this initiative in May 2007 to work with all of the world's largest energy users, including both developed and developing nations, to produce a detailed contribution from the leaders of these countries to help establish an international agreement by 2009 under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In December, the United States joined the global consensus at the UN Climate Conference in Bali to launch a comprehensive "roadmap" for global climate negotiations.The Bali Action Plan is a critical first step in moving the UN negotiation process forward toward a comprehensive and effective post-2012 arrangement by 2009.First, it overcomes the long-standing opposition of the nation's automakers by mandating new fuel efficiency standards.It will require an increase in cars, SUVs and light trucks to reach 35 miles per gallon by 2020 -- a 40 percent improvement in fuel efficiency.Provisions that would have taken us further in renewable energy standards did not pass, but some sacrifices had to be made to get any kind of a bill to the president's desk that he will not veto.It's an important first step, and should go down as a crowning achievement this year.Propelled by mounting anxieties over soaring oil costs and climate change, biofuels have become the vanguard of the green-tech revolution, the trendy way for politicians and corporations to show they're serious about finding alternative sources of energy and in the process slowing global warming. Europe has similarly aggressive biofuel mandates and subsidies, and Brazil's filling stations no longer even offer plain gasoline.Worldwide investment in biofuels rose from billion in 1995 to billion in 2005 and is expected to top 0 billion by 2010, thanks to investors like Richard Branson and George Soros, GE and BP, Ford and Shell, Cargill and the Carlyle Group.