Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Energy Bill Heads to the House

Will the cap-and-trade scheme work? Here’s what the record in the EU shows.
June 26, 2009

According to most news report, the massive federal energy bill will go to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives today–or maybe not (the confusion is typical of the political posturing that has bedeviled the legislation). The bill is an admirable effort to try and control the emissions of greenhouse gases, using a cap-and-trade system that is meant to put a price on carbon dioxide emissions. You can be forgiven, however, if you haven’t read all of the 1,201 pages. Actually, you can be forgiven if you can’t even keep track of who favors the bill and who doesn’t (many traditional environment groups back it, but this week Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace have both said they oppose it as too weak to address climate change). Today’s Washington Post has a good summary.

Perhaps the most interesting and confusing part of the legislation centers on the details of the cap-and-trade program. There is ample reasons to worry that the system, as outlined in the bill, will not be effective in reducing greenhouse gases, and, more specifically, will not be effective in spurring the development of innovative new energy technologies. In the current issue of Technology Review, Peter Fairley, an experienced environment journalist based in Paris looks at how a similar cap-and-trade scheme has been a failure in Europe. Fairley documents how the European Union system has given windfall profits to polluting industries and hasn’t spurred any real switch to cleaner energy technologies. The reason for the failure: politics and special-interest groups meddling with the system to such an extent that it could no longer function as designed. Says Fairley:

What is especially disappointing is that even as the Europeans seek to undo many of the features that have made their carbon-trading system weak and dysfunctional, legislators in Washington seem determined to repeat their mistakes.

Deep Dive

Uncategorized

Five poems about the mind

DREAM VENDING MACHINE I feed it coins and watch the spring coil back,the clunk of a vacuum-packed, foil-wrappeddream dropping into the tray. It dispenses all kinds of dreams—bad dreams, good dreams,short nightmares to stave off worse ones, recurring dreams with a teacake marshmallow center.Hardboiled caramel dreams to tuck in your cheek,a bag of orange dreams…

Work reinvented: Tech will drive the office evolution

As organizations navigate a new world of hybrid work, tech innovation will be crucial for employee connection and collaboration.

lucid dreaming concept
lucid dreaming concept

I taught myself to lucid dream. You can too.

We still don’t know much about the experience of being aware that you’re dreaming—but a few researchers think it could help us find out more about how the brain works.

panpsychism concept
panpsychism concept

Is everything in the world a little bit conscious?

The idea that consciousness is widespread is attractive to many for intellectual and, perhaps, also emotional
reasons. But can it be tested? Surprisingly, perhaps it can.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.