SOTU: Doing more with less?

This New York Times story is a rich source of humor and irony. There's one last thing from it I meant to mention (prompted by reader Joe). Toward the end of a long article about Bush's grand new Advanced Energy Initiative comes this: The Energy Department will begin laying off researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the next week or two because of cuts to its budget. A veteran researcher said the staff had been told that the cuts would be concentrated among researchers in wind and biomass, which includes ethanol. Those are two of the technologies that Mr. Bush cited on Tuesday night as holding the promise to replace part of the nation's oil imports. The budget for the laboratory, which is just west of Denver, was cut by nearly 15 percent, to $174 million from $202 million, requiring the layoff of about 40 staff members out of a total of 930, said a spokesman, George Douglas. The cut is for the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1. Try laughing. It helps keep the tears at bay.

Jesus Interruptus

Big political players in their midst derail possible climate-change statement

There's been a lot of talk lately about the burgeoning Christian environmentalist creation-care movement. I'm all for any and every group getting on board with saving the planet, but my sense has been that the amount of press and hype this has received from outside the movement is rather out of proportion to any organic growth from inside the movement. It would be great for environmentalists -- frequently tarred (often by evangelicals themselves!) as communists and pagans -- if they received the support of a powerful bloc located squarely at the center of the right-wing's base. It would also be a great story. So environmentalists and the press have conspired to pump it up. Recent events, however, have cast some doubt on the staying power of creation care. As the Washington Post reported today, a group of more than 20 evangelical leaders sent a letter (PDF) to the National Association of Evangelicals asking it to put an immediate kibosh on plans to take a formal position (and issue a formal press release) on the dangers of global warming. I've posted the entire letter below the fold. The NAE immediately caved. Richard Cizik -- who was so eloquent on the subject of climate change in his interview with Grist -- said, "The NAE was never going to adopt a policy on climate change." Sure, they just sent the letter for the heck of it.

Phil: Unemployed

Global warming is going to kill Groundhog's Day! RealClimate brings you this vital story.

Bullied Pulpit

Evangelical association decides not to fight global warming after all You know all the fuss this past year over the evangelical Christian community becoming a powerful partner in the fight against climate change? Well, never mind. The 30-million-member National Association of Evangelicals had been expected to issue a public statement on the dangers of global warming, marking a potentially fatal rift in the right-leaning coalition of climate-change humbugs, but yesterday the organization said it’s been unable to reach consensus on the issue and thus won’t take a stand. The change of course came after NAE President Ted Haggard received a …

Who Moved My Panther?

Endangered Florida panthers must be relocated to be saved, say feds South Florida has run out of room for its 80-odd endangered panthers, says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the best way to save the species is to move some of them to other spots in the region. In its official panther recovery report, released this week, the agency recommends creating two additional panther populations in states such as Arkansas and Georgia. (Arkansas has already said no thanks.) The FWS removed a section of the report that critiqued the weakness of current rules to protect panther habitat, and …

Groundhog Day

The winter of our discontent

Well, feckless Phil saw his shadow this morning, so we've got six more weeks of rain winter to look forward to. If you're wondering whether anyone used the country's most notorious PR stunt as a platform to talk about other things, the answer is yes. Besides the mass of Pittsburgh Steeler fans, the National Environmental Trust was there, making a point of tying the whole thing to global warming. Fun-stoppers.

Flamey McGassy

Mark Fiore's latest Flash movie is about a subject Bush accidentally forgot to mention in his SOTU speech: global warming. It's a doozy -- check it out. (hat tip: reader Elizabeth S.)

Beyond SOTU

New York Times reporter Simon Romero dug up suggestions for reducing oil imports that didn't make it into the president's speech. Among them: Perhaps the most significant step the nation could take in reducing oil dependence is to change the way cars are produced, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute ... In fact, overall federal funding for research and development in energy efficiency has declined 14 percent since 2002, adjusted for inflation. Some measures that President Bush left out of his state-of-union address could also bring big payoffs: measures that might actually curb oil consumption like greater fuel-efficiency rules for cars, a gasoline tax or increasing ethanol imports from Brazil... "It's remarkable that we're not taxing fuel from Saudi Arabia while we're taxing fuel from Brazil," said Gal Luft, a co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, a research organization in Washington that specializes in energy issues.

Nukes and subsidies

It must take a high tolerance for cognitive dissonance to be a small-government Republican nuke-backer: Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, said he was enthusiastic about nuclear power but questioned whether the government should be subsidizing alternative fuels like ethanol. It's a wonder his circuits don't fry. Oh, wait ...

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