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Pombo gets no love

Remember that absurd website hosted by the House Resources Committee (read: Dick Pombo)? The taxpayer-funded one that slanders the entire environmental movement as greedy alarmists? Environmentalists are irritated about it. Pombo, as is his wont, doesn't give a damn: "It's all part of the policy debate," Pombo said. "Hey, these groups can't scream that my site is political and turn around and say their stuff is educational. They can't have it both ways." This is stupid. Nobody would ever see the website if people didn't make a fuss about it. It deserves mockery, nothing else. In happier Pombo news, Defenders of Wildlife recently released a poll (press release; PDF summary) showing that if the election were held today, Pombo would LOOOOOOOOSE! Ahem. A major factor in Pombo's drop in support is the fact that a majority of voters now believe that he "puts corporate interests over the people's interest."  53% of voters believe that the above description describes him well, while only 30% say it does not describe him well. And remember, this is in a deeply, deeply Republican district. I wonder how much of this is attributable to the general decline in Republican popularity, how much to events, and how much to the campaign by green groups. Some signs point to the latter -- these numbers are sharply down from last September, and Pombo now boasts some of the worst re-elect numbers of any Republican incumbent. Says the summary:

Why are mayors so much smarter than national pols?

On May 10-11, the U.S. Conference of Mayors held a National Summit on Energy and the Environment (press release). They put together a document of best practices (PDF) developed in their various cities. And they agreed to develop a Energy/Environment Conservation Action Agenda (they sure do love capital letters, those mayors) to be released at their annual meeting in June. Here are six steps to be included in the agenda: 1) Invest more money in transportation options including public and mass transit, bike paths, etc. 2) Encourage at the local, state, and federal level the building or rehabilitation of more energy efficient buildings in both the public and private sector. 3) Encourage automakers to make more energy efficient cars as well as encouraging individuals to buy vehicles that are more energy efficient including alternative fuels, hybrids, and plug- in hybrids. 4) Encourage more investment in renewable and alternative energy through additional incentives. 5) Encourage more mixed-use development to allow people to have more walkable communities. 6) Encourage the public and private sector, as well as citizens, to do their part in conserving energy. Bizarrely sensible. I suppose it's to be expected that city leaders are somewhat wiser and more judicious than national politicians -- there's more direct accountability and fewer opportunities for media posturing. But we're talking several orders of magnitude here. Why the massive disconnect? (via EB)

Immigration

Back when all the immigrant protests were happening, I thought about posting something on the debate within the environmentalist community over immigration. (See this Christian Science Monitor story for a good rundown.) But you know what? It's a stupid debate, and I think anti-immigration enviros are a tiny, tiny minority whose voice is amplified by media hungry for controversy. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better example of short-term, misanthropic thinking than trying to cut off immigration to the U.S. for environmental reasons. It's a political loser, a moral loser, an economic loser ... it's a loser of an argument. Just thought I'd mention that.

Looking on the bright side

Oh good grief: [Senior U.S. climate negotiator Harlan] Watson also said that evidence for global warming seemed to be getting stronger but that there was still great uncertainty about how a warming would affect the planet. "In these settings there tends to be only an emphasis that 'everything is going to be worse everywhere'. There are undoubtedly going to be areas where things are going to get better," he said. For instance, in the gated mountaintop redoubts of the super-rich, things are going to be positively Edenic!

We were NOT being reasonable!

This is hilarious. Apparently U.S. EPA administrator Stephen Johnson recently met with EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimoas. A Dimoas spokesflack subsequently told Reuters that the U.S. is showing some small signs of interest in working with the EU on a post-2012 emissions-reduction regime. (Kyoto expires in 2012.) Well, this is intolerable. We can't have the world thinking the U.S. might want to join the international community in efforts to address the signal challenge of our time! What are we, commies? So naturally, Johnson sent his own spokesflack out to hurriedly deny the scurrilous accusation.

EU carbon-trading market hullabaloo

You may be vaguely aware that an enormous hullabaloo has broken out in Europe over the one-year-old carbon-trading market -- the primary mechanism by which the EU plans to meet Kyoto targets. Because you are not paid to read boring stories, and I am, let me summarize it for you. The carbon-trading market covers some 9,000 industrial facilities across Europe. Each participating government allocates a certain amount of CO2 emissions to each of its facilities. If those facilities emit less, they can sell their emissions credits. If they emit more, they have to buy credits. (The initial allocations cover 2005-2007.) So, two things recently happened that sparked the hubbub:

Let Him Without Synfuel Cast the First Stone

Air Force tests synfuel in jets The Air Force consumes more than half the fuel used by the entire U.S. government; in fiscal year 2005, it guzzled 3.2 billion gallons of jet fuel at a …

Americans and Climate Change: Representative recommendations

"Americans and Climate Change: Closing the Gap Between Science and Action" (PDF) is a report synthesizing the insights of 110 leading thinkers on how to educate and motivate the American public on the subject of global warming. Background on the report here. I'll be posting a series of excerpts (citations have been removed; see original report). If you'd like to be involved in implementing the report's recommendations, or learn more, visit the Yale Project on Climate Change website. Below the fold is short list of the most prominent recommendations yielded by the conference's working groups. I tend to think too many of the recommendations pinned their hopes on the creation of new institutions, but I'd love to hear what y'all think.

Sweden …

... is cool.

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