Archive: Solutions

Is Ethanol the Answer?

One of the reasons gas prices have gone up lately is a new mandate that ethanol be included in gasoline mixtures, in place of MTBE. This has presented a bit of a challenge for refineries -- nothing they can't handle, but it's slowing them down temporarily. Yet one need only look south (okay, very far south) to see a country that made this shift ages ago. Brazil is now close to having all cars powered exclusively by ethanol made from sugar cane, reports CBS news. For more information, here's a company (with an interest in ethanol) answering frequently asked questions. Scott Shields argues that the United States should have been on top of this ages ago -- now, he laments, "we're falling behind nations like Brazil." That might be in part because Brazil's sugar cane ethanol is cheaper to produce than is ethanol from corn. Over at zFacts, they calculate...

By Emily Messner | April 7, 2006; 10:15 AM ET | Comments (108)

Can Global Warming Be Stopped by Technology Alone?

One of the themes in the comments over the last week has been the debate over technological advances vs. emissions reduction -- which one offers a better solution to global warming? In an article in the new policy journal The American Interest (subscription required), Sen. Joseph Lieberman argues that creating market incentives through legislation to limit emissions accomplishes both goals. He points to the successful cap and trade system that governs sulfur dioxide pollution (the stuff behind acid rain.) As long as fines are high enough that it's more cost effective to comply than to risk emitting more than one's credits -- and glaring loopholes are closed so companies can't wriggle through to circumvent the restrictions -- the system works. A thoughtful article (translated from German) appears in the Science Policy blog. The authors, prominent German scholars who've done a lot of writing on climate change-related issues, say that the...

By Emily Messner | October 5, 2005; 11:33 AM ET | Comments (15)


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