Mark Muro

Cap-And-Trade Politics: Carbon (Like Place) Matters!
November 06, 2009

Yesterday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted to report out climate legislation, with ten Democrats voting yes, one Democrat (Montana’s Sen. Baucus) voting no, and all of the Republicans boycotting. If you look at the vote tally (using Project Vulcan data), you find that the states of senators voting "no" emitted 29.4 tonnes of carbon per capita, and the states of "yes" voters emitted 13.3 tonnes per capita, compared with a national average of 20.9 tonnes per capita. What do you think?

Cap-and-Trade Costs: Place Matters
November 03, 2009

Much is in question today as Senate Environment and Public Works Committee chairman Barbara Boxer tries to push ahead with work on climate-change legislation, with Republicans threatening a boycott of the markup.

$15 billion: The New Energy Target
November 02, 2009

Now Google is in. In compelling testimony to the Energy and Public Works Committee last week, the director of climate change and energy initiatives for the company's philanthropy (, Dan Reicher, mounted a powerful argument that the federal government should invest at least $15 billion a year of climate bill revenues in clean energy research and development. Declared Reicher: Putting a price on carbon, while absolutely necessary, is not sufficient to address the climate problem and importantly, will not put the U.S.

Energy Innovation: The Senate Starting Point
October 27, 2009

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is holding hearings this week on the new chairman’s “mark” of the draft Senate climate and energy legislation released Friday night by committee chairman Barbara Boxer and Sen. John Kerry.

Metros in the Middle
October 21, 2009

Some great back and forth about U.S.

Energy Pork: Why the Green Future May Take a While
October 19, 2009

Stephen Power has a good story in the Wall Street Journal that explains a lot about why America’s clean energy future may be a while in coming.  Power notes that although Energy Secretary Steve Chu set out this year to begin reshaping America's energy future with a network of highly-focused, results-oriented research labs, lawmakers have been busy with business-as-usual. He reports that instead of fully funding Dr.

Stimulus Report Card: Grade N/A
October 15, 2009

So the first tranche of quarterly data tracking where federal stimulus dollars are going and how they are being used is out and the answer is… well, it’s pretty hard to say. Here are the straight numbers: Roughly, 5,200 federal contractors received around 9,100 contracts worth about $16 billion that created or saved a little over 30,000 jobs. But what do those really mean? Sure, it’s an admirable presentation, with the official website heralding all sorts of new maps and tables listing places, names, projects, and job counts.

The Rise of Rail in Phoenix
October 15, 2009

The emergence of the Intermountain West as a hotbed for progressive transportation initiatives continues. The latest example is Phoenix, where the new light-rail system is a big hit—bringing good news to a state facing a $1.5-billion budget deficit and some of the nation’s worst readings on economic recovery. Even before the Phoenix start-up, the vast, multi-metro “Mountain Megas” of the Rockies boasted two of the nation’s most successful rail-transit efforts—FasTracks in Denver and Trax in Salt Lake City.

Nobels, Labs, Hubs, and Breakthroughs
October 13, 2009

One thing to say about the recently announced Nobel Prize in Physics is that it illustrates, as Congress mulls the nation’s R&D budgets, the economic rationale for bigger research investments.

The Senate Climate Wrangle Begins
October 01, 2009

Yesterday, Democratic Sens. Kerry and Boxer dropped their initial version of a Senate climate bill, so the game’s on. We’ll defer to Brad Plumer’s Vine post for a good side-by-side comparison, but suffice it to say the Kerry-Boxer Senate outline looks a lot like the Waxman-Markey bill that passed the House earlier this year, with a few differences.  Like the Waxman-Markey legislation, the Senate version sets emissions targets (a little stricter than the House standard with a 20 percent emissions reduction from 2005 levels required by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050).