Can Obama’s Africa power plan hold a candle to China? 2 July 2013.

US President Barack Obama’s $7-billion plan to shine “light where currently there’s darkness” in Africa by doubling access to power on the world’s poorest continent was billed as a highlight of his African tour.

He announced the Power Africa initiative in Cape Town on Sunday in a speech which he also urged the fast-growing but still troubled region to follow the shining example of South Africa’s anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela


On climate change, Obama bypasses Congress with ambitious plan

Washington Post 25 June 2013.

President Obama delivered his most forceful push for action on global warming on Tuesday, declaring that his administration would impose tighter pollution controls on coal- and gas-fired utilities and establish strict conditions for approval of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

Obama also announced that the government would take climate change into consideration in its everyday operations. The shift could affect decisions on a range of issues, including bridge heights, flood insurance rates and how the military gets electricity overseas…

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New Effort to Quantify ‘Social Cost’ of Pollution

New York Times 18 June 2013.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is making a second attempt to systematically account for the dollar damage from greenhouse gas pollution, even with no consensus on how to forestall global warming or whether to do so.

Supporters of the idea acknowledge the tremendous difficulties of trying to translate slippery estimates into a single mathematical factor, difficulties that perhaps help explain why there is little hope of consensus now on climate policy.

The new effort is an update to an estimate for the awkwardly named “Social Cost of Carbon,” a range of costs, stated in dollars per ton, that carbon dioxide emissions are thought to impose on future generations. When the government totes up costs and benefits for a variety of proposed regulations, the Social Cost of Carbon is plugged into the calculation to decide how to write the regulation…


Obama vs. Romney: A Stark Contrast on the Environment

Yale Environment 360 17 September 2012.

As the U.S. presidential campaign enters its final phase, Yale Environment 360 compares the sharply divergent views of President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on the environment and energy.

Few policy issues separate Barack Obama and Mitt Romney more widely than the environment and energy. One man believes human activity is driving global warming, the other questions to what extent humans are responsible. One advocates federal support for renewable energy technologies, the other believes that alternative energy should sink or swim on its own merits. One believes that the U.S. government can play an important role in setting standards that are environmentally and financially beneficial, the other calls the Environmental Protection Agency “a tool in the hands of the president to crush the private enterprise system.”

What follows is a summary of the positions of the two candidates on four key issues:…