The Climate Post: Psychoanalyzing the GOP’s flourishing climate skepticism
A column in the National Journal points out the GOP is the only conservative party in the developed world in which denial of basic climate science is endemic, but one of The New York Times’s token conservative commentators counters that this is only because political parties in Europe aren’t as responsive to their constituents, who tend to be no more skeptical of man-made global warming than Americans.
Climate activist Bill McKibben says it’s all about money; others believe action on climate change would be almost impossible even if the GOP were more like conservative parties elsewhere.
Whatever the cause, Joe Manchin, a Democrat running for senator in West Virginia who as governor is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its regulation of mountaintop removal mining, was moved to shoot the climate bill with a high-powered rifle. Inevitably, parodies followed.
West Virginia will also be the home of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s new $27.6 million climate supercomputer center, which Manchin publicly praised.
California’s Proposition 23 isn’t going to happen, but Proposition 26 might: A Tuesday Reuters/Ipsos poll has Prop 23 losing by a margin of 49 percent against 37 percent in favor, despite a last-minute infusion of cash from Houston-based Marathon Oil.
The various clean tech interests opposed to Prop 23 have other problems, however, including competition from China so fierce “it’s almost enough to make you want to cry,” says the CEO of one solar company.
Chevron, California’s largest native oil refiner, is officially neutral on Prop 23, but Grist argues it supports Prop 26 because it’s a “Polluters Protection Act.”
“Post-partisan” effort attempts to transcend failed climate bill: The (left-leaning) Brookings Institution and the (conservative-leaning) American Enterprise Institute teamed up with the Breakthrough Institute to release a post climate bill energy plan that relies almost exclusively on a six-fold increase in Federal investment in energy innovation. The New York Times and Politico have more, while Grist’s David Roberts takes issue with the premise that future climate policy is a zero-sum game in which other plans can’t have a role.
A director at JPMorgan says the key to future climate agreements are targets shared by small clusters of regions and countries, not binding global agreements.
Climate scientist bracing for outcome of November elections: Some Republicans have promised to put climate science itself on trial if they take the house, and Michael Mann, a climate scientist whom many skeptics have singled out, isn’t looking forward to the November elections. Meanwhile, a prominent climate science skeptic and one of the authors of a congressional report critical of Mann’s work is himself being investigated by his university for plagiarism and misconduct in the assemblage of that report.
Democrats in fossil fuel-heavy state who voted for the climate bill might also pay for their connection to the climate come November, says The Wall Street Journal.
America’s floundering energy Manhattan Project: The U.S. Department of Energy tacitly endorsed a Thomas Friedman column arguing the U.S. Congress is short-sighted to withhold funding from eight “innovation hubs” designed to tackle the biggest energy problems in the world.
The climate prisoner’s dilemma: At global climate change talks held in Tianjin, China, lead U.S. climate negotiator Todd Stern attempted a choke slam of China’s negotiators, accusing them of reneging on pledges made in Copenhagen last December, leading China to respond by comparing the U.S. to “a mythic pig preening itself.“
Observers believe the upcoming talks in Cancun will be more of the same inaction, leading Andrew Revkin of The New York Times to wonder whether there isn’t something more fundamental going on here. In all the confusion, Hezbollah seized the moment to take the lead on climate action, sort of.
Why is Google investing in wind farms?: The Atlantic Wire sums it up best: Basically, the company wants to create an undersea transmission backbone that will enable a huge expansion of offshore wind power generation.
China is winning the global race for green jobs: China’s clean
tech job growth is on an “unstoppable upward path,” while America’s green jobs suffer from low visibility and might not be in the sectors most people think they’re in.
The solar industry gets 1/72nd the subsidies received by fossil fuels, argues solar buying club, One Block Off the Grid.
Stimulus funds have enabled a factory to make battery materials no one will use, argues Technology Review.
Energy from America’s first offshore wind farm is going to be expensive, even compared to electricity from other renewables. Nuclear Fusion is still nowhere near viability, and neither, on account of cost and the difficulty of finding financing, is conventional nuclear power.
Fifty-eight percent of Americans think our energy problems are an issue of supply rather than demand.
Electric cars hit a rough patch: GM’s new plug-in hybrid, Volt, appears to be no more fuel efficient than the average hybrid vehicle; there aren’t enough charging stations for it yet, either. An economist suggests the funds used to subsidize the purchase of electric vehicles would be better spent on research and development.
“Electric cars are gay,” declares actor Vince Vaughn in a forthcoming movie.
Novel green technologies: South Korea is using almost 10 million feet of superconducting wire to connect its smart grid, and 3M has come up with a flexible plastic alternative to the glass now used to protect solar panels. The U.K. may fund carbon capture and storage — formerly aimed solely at coal-fired power plants — for gas-fired plants as well.
Fighting climate change with condoms and air capture: Slowing the growth of Earth’s population by 2050 would be equivalent to cutting more than 10 percent of fossil fuel use per year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued its first ever grants to states and cities for the study of the effects of climate change on health.
Scientists at Cornell declared our only chance of reaching a safe level of atmospheric greenhouse gases is air capture geoengineering, in which carbon is drawn from the atmosphere directly and then stored. Another variety of geoengineering, fertilizing the oceans with iron, was dealt a blow by an experiment conducted by nature itself, involving a 2008 volcanic eruption.
The Climate Post offers a rundown of the week in climate and energy news. It is produced each Thursday by Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.
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