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Charles Komanoff's Posts

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Kennedy clan vs. clean power

Your last chance to be heard about Cape Wind

A friend once described Nantucket Sound as a body of water surrounded on three sides by money. The outcome of the six-year-long effort to use a small part of that water to house a 130-turbine, 468-megawatt wind farm -- still the largest proposed renewable-energy project in the eastern U.S. -- will help determine whether we, as a nation, are serious about confronting the climate crisis. The federal agency in charge of the formal review of the Cape Wind project, the Minerals Management Service, is receiving public comments through Monday, April 21. It's the last opportunity for ordinary citizens to outshout …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Carbon tax loses a congressional voice

Dingell takes his ‘hybrid tax’ off the table

The carbon tax camp lost a powerful congressional voice yesterday when Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) announced he was taking "off the table" the hybrid carbon tax proposal he floated last fall that featured a national carbon fee, supplemental increases in taxes on gasoline and aviation fuel, and a reduction in the mortgage interest deduction for super-large houses. In a prepared statement, the Michigan lawmaker, who for much of his 54 years in Congress has chaired the House Energy & Commerce Committee, reiterated that "economists and other experts continue to inform us that a carbon tax is the most effective and …

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Surge II

McCain’s gas tax holiday from reality

John McCain has a brilliant, original idea: Let's encourage Americans to drive more by lifting the gas tax for a summer "holiday." Presumably it's the same principle as the "surge" in Iraq: so many soldiers are getting killed, let's send even more! Here are some guaranteed effects from McCain's brainstorm. It would: Deepen the federal deficit, thereby weakening the dollar. Increase gasoline consumption, in one stroke worsening highway gridlock, compounding U.S. oil dependence, and speeding up global warming. Transfer what used to be tax revenue -- potentially usable for public benefit -- to the oil companies and the Saudis by …

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Machiavelli meets the Big Apple

Ten reasons NYC’s congestion pricing plan went belly up

Photo: Tom Twigg Albany strikes again: congestion pricing -- the smartest urban-transportation idea since the subway -- has been buried by the professional morticians of the New York State legislature, led by Chief Ghoul Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. As previously reported, the pricing plan, proposed a year ago by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and subsequently improved by a 17-member state-mandated commission, would have charged an $8 entry fee on cars driven into Manhattan's central business district (CBD) during 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. on weekdays. Benefits included an annual $500 million revenue stream for mass transit (sufficient to bond at least …

Read more: Cities, Politics

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High noon for congestion pricing

What we lose if Bloomberg’s plan goes down

It's High Noon for congestion pricing in New York City. If by week's end the City Council and State Legislature haven't enacted a fee to drive into Manhattan's central business district, the city will forfeit a substantial federal mass-transit grant and congestion pricing will probably be a dead issue for the remainder of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's second and final term. Coincidentally, this month also brings a deadline of sorts for the Cape Wind project off Cape Cod. The federal Minerals Management Service is accepting comments on its Draft Environmental Impact Statement on Cape Wind through April 21. What do a …

Read more: Uncategorized

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A climate for old men

Spearheading transit for livable cities at 93

I recently ended 100 days without Grist. And wouldn't you know, the title of the first post I saw, "No climate for old men," spoke directly to the reason I was away. No, I wasn't with the McCain campaign. Rather, I was immersed in a project, spearheaded by a really old man, that could become a terrific tool for beating back the climate crisis. That man is 93-year-old Ted Kheel, legendary New York labor-lawyer-turned-environmentalist. His project is a study of the feasibility of financing free mass transit in New York City through congestion pricing and other charges on driving. I …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

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The terrorists have won

Reflections on death by SUV

It was just a matter of time before a World Trade Center survivor became a victim of a different sort of terrorism: death by automobile. It finally happened last month, in lower Manhattan, when a speeding sport utility vehicle struck and killed a woman who had fled the Twin Towers on 9/11. Florence Cioffi was leaving a dinner celebrating her upcoming 60th birthday when a Mercedes-Benz SUV slammed into her on Water Street at 60 miles an hour, according to a Manhattan assistant district attorney. Six years, four months, and thirteen days earlier, Ms. Cioffi narrowly averted death when she …

Read more: Cities

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News from the Googleplex

Is Google betting on a carbon tax?

Google Inc. has a new project, "Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal." Google is preparing to bet megabucks, mega-engineers, and its cutting-edge reputation on its ability to propel solar thermal power, wind turbines, and other renewable electricity up the innovation curve and under the cost of coal-fired power, Reuters reported Tuesday. "Our goal is to produce one gigawatt [1,000 megawatts] of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal. We are optimistic this can be done in years, not decades," said Larry Page, Google's cofounder and president of products, according to Reuters. To which we at the Carbon Tax Center say: …

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Bloomberg speaks out in Seattle

NYC mayor climbs aboard the carbon tax train

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg declared his support today for a national carbon tax, according to a report posted on the New York Times City Room blog by metro reporter Sewell Chan: Mayor Bloomberg plans to announce today his support for a national carbon tax. In what his aides are calling one of the most significant policy addresses of his second and final term, the mayor will argue that directly taxing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change will slow global warming, promote economic growth and stimulate technological innovation -- even if it …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Killing me loudly

Big Green savages Dingell’s carbon tax

"Man always kills the thing he loves," wrote naturalist Aldo Leopold in the environmentalist bible, A Sand County Almanac. Leopold was referring to Americans' destruction of the wilderness, but he could have been describing the green establishment's hostile reaction to the "hybrid carbon tax" proposed by Michigan Rep. John Dingell last month. Dingell's tax package, combining a carbon-busting tax on fossil fuels, a surtax on gasoline and jet fuel, and a phase-out of subsidies for sprawl homes, should have been greeted by environmentalists like the Second Coming. Extrapolated to 2025, the carbon tax alone would cut annual CO2 emissions by …