We reported last week that Barack Obama will regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act if elected. Not so for John McCain. Today writer and scientist Joseph Romm wrote on his blog Climate Progess, that a McCain-Palin administration would use a voluntary or incentive-based approach, one that “has never worked in any country to restrain emissions growth.” Today, we talk to Joe Romm about how Barack Obama and John McCain differ on their approaches to the climate crisis and alternative energy. Romm is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, where he maintains its blog, Climate Progress. It was named one of the top 15 green websites by Time Magazine. Romm is also the author of the 2006 book Hell and High Water: Global Warming–the Solution and the Politics–and What We Should Do. He was Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy during the Clinton Administration.
When it comes to renewable energy, wind is taking the lead–at least at this stage of technological development. But what’s the best model for developing it? Should we follow the centralized utility model with big wind farms set up in a few places — offshore Massachusetts or the state of Texas — and then send the juice over wires to power homes and businesses far away? That’s the dominant model in the US. Or should we follow the community-owned wind power model, where the people using the power have a financial stake in it, too? Maybe a healthy mix of both would be best. Today, CWR co-host Francesca Rheannon speaks with Dan Juhl of Juhl Wind Development, which is helping communities around the country develop locally owned wind power cooperatives. The company has developed about 140 megawatts — or several hundred million dollars worth — of community-based wind projects. Francesca met him at the Sustainable Energy Summit at the University of Massachusetts in June. And Rheannon speaks with journalist Elizabeth Kolbert. Her recent New Yorker article, “The Island in the Wind,” profiles the Danish island of Samso, known internationally as the “renewable energy island” because residents get most of their power from windmills they cooperatively own.