Interview with Bloomberg News Author, Eric Pooley

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 (Listed under Environment)

My interview with Eric Pooley concerning the political maneuvering both for and against clean energy legislation was published today on Pooley, who is Deputy Editor for Bloomberg BusinessWeek Magazine, discusses his new book, The Climate War.

In our discussion near his Bloomberg Tower office, Pooley offered the following:

On U.S. Energy Policy:
“The U.S. had a tremendous head-start on prosperity over a century ago, and we now have another opportunity to stay out in front and shape new markets as they develop. What's the point of being the leader of the free-world if we fail to lead? Taking the initiative to tackle a challenge has never stopped us before. Yet, here we are facing one of the biggest challenges in our country's history and we have yet to take decisive action on national energy policy.”

On Pricing Industrial Emissions:
“By placing a value on factory and power plant emissions, Krupp [National Defense Fund-EDF] has long advocated harnessing the power of the free market to clean up the planet. There's actually nothing radical about it. Establishing a price for industrial emissions, and, in particular, carbon dioxide, would attract an enormous amount of private investment into the energy market that is presently sitting on the sidelines.”

On the Benefits of Cap and Trade:
“Industry is rewarded for its technological improvements, society benefits from the resulting power-evolution, and the U.S. reduces its demand for foreign oil and emerges as a more productive, self-sufficient global force.”

On Pooley's “Great Energy Transition”
“The price we currently pay at the pump or when we flip the switch at the office has yet to account for the environmental cost of burning oil, for example, or blasting mountaintops open to mine coal that then pollutes the air we breathe. If these “consumptive,” polluting by-product costs were factored into the prices consumers pay for the energy derived from fossil fuels, the smarter, cleaner energy sources would have a real shot of success in the market.”

On American Capitalism:
“By pricing carbon, we succeed in introducing an economic variable that has long been absent from our free market model for decades. If American capitalism is to continue to thrive, the underlying costs of each energy source have to be transparent, realistic, and defendable.”

On China:
“U.S. companies know that China is now investing nine billion dollars a month in renewable energy development, and they want a piece of that market…without direction, China and the other countries who are pushing hard to develop smarter energy sources will continue to eat our lunch.”

On Obama:
“The Obama administration has so far failed to broadcast the rewards of innovation and the broad array of 21st century jobs that would replace increasingly scarce 20th century jobs. The White House has yet to deploy a truly sustained public education campaign aimed at bringing everyone on board. What surprises me most is that Obama understands that energy innovation will grow jobs, so the fact that we're experiencing a tough economic period should not keep him from sending the message.”

On GE:
“GE is a good example of a company in the process of reinvention. They realize that investing in clean energy sources will let them compete in the 21st century.”

On our Future:
“We need to connect the dots so that everyone understands what is at risk if we fail to take action. When people decide to involve themselves in their own government, change can really happen. The climate activists in my book have demonstrated that, even though the climate war has not yet been won.”

EnergyBoom's website:

My complete interview with Eric Pooley: 

Eric Pooley is the deputy editor of Bloomberg BusinessWeek and has long chronicled climate science and climate policy. His work has been published in a wide variety of publications, including Time, Slate, Bloomberg News, and YaleE360. He's also appeared on Nightline, Charlie Rose, The CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, Larry King Live, Anderson Cooper 360, All Things Considered, and The News Hour. He can be reached at



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