Keith Johnson

Saif Qaddafi’s Capture and the End of the Arab Spring
November 23, 2011

Forgive the corny metaphors. But it was not I who framed developments in the Arab world with the sequence of the seasons. Still, you need only glance at the papers to recognize that Arab Spring is now Arab Winter without really ever having passed through summer or fall. Spring is, as ever, a romantic memory.  As I write, Reuters reports from the Cairo morgue that 33 to 46 protestors were killed by the police since Saturday—and that nearly 1,300 were wounded and maimed.

Why We Need Journalists
March 21, 2011

The mainstream media is under attack, not just from market forces but also from critics. Sometimes those critics make good arguments. Sometimes they don't.

G20 Starts Phasing Out Fossil-Fuel Subsidies--Sort Of
September 25, 2009

Looks like this week's climate banter wasn't totally substance-free. Earlier today, G20 governments finally agreed to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels, which jack up demand for oil, gas, and coal by artificially lowering prices. The phase-out would happen in the "medium term," with no specific timetables (countries like India want a slow transition so poor people don't get hit with a swift price spike). Still, it's a decent first step.

Sarkozy Floats A Carbon Tax--And Things Get Ugly
September 08, 2009

Sure it hasn't been any sort of stroll in the park trying to enact climate-change legislation here in the United States. But it's not like we're uniquely stubborn on this front. Keith Johnson tells the sordid tale of what happened when Nicolas Sarkozy proposed a modest—and revenue-neutral—carbon tax in France this summer: In reality, France’s carbon tax is basically just a gasoline tax—and a tiny one at that. The electricity sector, overwhelmingly powered by emissions-free nuclear power, isn’t part of the plan, Prime Minister Francois Fillon told Le Figaro.

Behind The Algae-Biofuel Hype
August 05, 2009

Lately, investors have been getting excited about the idea of using algae to generate new biofuels. Earlier this year, ExxonMobil inked a $600 million deal with Synthetic Genomics to develop algae biofuel using a new, seemingly promising technology. (Keith Johnson offers a fuller explanation here.) But over at Earth2Tech, Katie Fehrenbacher has a excellent post asking whether this summer's hottest clean-energy fad will really reduce carbon emissions.