Up | November 17, 2012
>> an international energy agency report about emissions. and this is the conversation you hear. there's this kind of stages of denial, this kind of like stages of climate denial and it's like well, no, the earth isn't warming. well it's warming. well it's not humans. it is humans. if we do do something about it then china and india aren't going to do something about it and it's a wash. this is the iea report, global demand energy grows by more than one-third over the period 2035 . people will say look, even if we get our house in order, and i hear this all the time from people not in the denialist camp. you joy had a question during the break.
>> we're talking about what's happening in germany and there's advancements here in america as well as europe. what about china? if china is the big sort of elephant in the room in terms of emissions what, are they doing?
>> i did a big piece for the national agree geographic on china and energy. it's incredibly complicated. china is burning a lot of coal. they'll never catch up with us but they're putting a lot of carbon out in the atmosphere. at the same time, they're leading the world in the installation of renewable technology. 250 million chinese when they take a shower at night, the hot water comes off the roof. that's 25% of that population. in this country, solar hot water accounts for less than 1% of our homes and most of that is for swimming pools. here's the thing. if you go to the guy who runs the biggest of these solar hot water companies, huong min, in his private museum -- the pride of place goes to an old rusting solar panel . do you know what that is? no. that's my best possession. that was one of the solar panels that jimmy carter put on the white house in 1979 and ronald reagan took down in 1985 because he wanted manlier forms of energy. it's not that we lack -- germ and china have better technology.
>> that and put it in his private museum in china? i love that story.
>> we have the technology. we have the entrepreneurs. we just don't have the political will to do anything with it because we've got the koch brothers and exxon and everybody else in the way.
>> we also have a reflexive ideological resistance to government playing a big role. i actually talked to mitt romney 's policy director a few weeks before the election. i asked him, you know, what do you think government can do to make coal cleaner, carbon capturing sequestration by doesn't exist on a usable scale. he said i don't think government should play a role at all. there you go. there's the barrier.
>> government should play no role except tonight provide massive subsidies to the fossil fuel industry decade after decade.
>> can the subsidy for cleaner coal.
>> this is where the tax extenders issue which i think it brings us nicely full circle because we started out talking about the fiscal curve. the issue has gotten very much lost, right, when you stack up the issues it's down at the bottom. whether you pass all the taxes or not defines the baseline that you then calculate your savings on. it matters a tremendous amount. in those tax extenders are these renewable energy tax credits . the problem is that they're constantly sunsetting. i know people ho work in solar and you say i want to raise capital investment on a program that will have this rate of return on investment if and only if the tax cuts get extended. they sunset every seven days or whatever the heck they are. it's like every year. so when you can't build in any long-term projection, this hurts investment, right?
>> absolutely. and we ought to -- when we extend that, we ought to extend it for a good long period of time.
>> that's my point.
>> what is the length of the various subsidies for coal and oil? but they're not annual.
>> they're part of the tax code . they're not specific provisions that are part of extender nz. they're basically the depletion allowance. it's just part of the irs code.
>> when you try to have this conversation with republicans, they yell solyndra and they walk away.
>> i want to put in a plug on this. you rarely hear a bipartisan bill in energy. ted poe , a republican from texas is sponsoring a bill that would allow companies to have access to a master limited partnership . this is the way you structure a company but renewables don't get to it. it can be built into the law to allow them to raise easier capital. ted poe , republican from texas. you don't hear about these smaller bills.
>> that's fascinating. bill mckiben, people can find where 350.org do the math tour is going to be at the website.
>> math.350.org. i'll say this. it's been really exciting. sort of a new moment. look, the environmental movement went dormant for a while. but starting with keystone and now people are really waking up. they're understanding that this is the question of a lifetime.
>> so what do we know we didn't know last week? my answers after this. for