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Dan Lashof's Posts

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Chairman Rockefeller knows better

Sen. Jay Rockefeller.On Tuesday, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) issued a statement saying that he will vote for the Murkowski resolution because it is "a vote for a strong West Virginia economy." I don't doubt Sen. Rockefeller's commitment to West Virginians, but it's simply appalling that the Chairman of the Senate Science Committee plans to vote the wrong way on a fundamental science issue. No matter how many times supporters say otherwise, a vote for the Murkowski resolution of disapproval is a vote to deny climate science by overturning EPA's science-based finding that global warming pollution is dangerous to Americans' health …

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Timing is Everything

The battle for comprehensive energy and climate legislation has just begun

It has been almost a year since the House passed comprehensive energy and climate legislation. It has been 7 months since the Senate Environment Committee passed comprehensive energy and climate legislation. Many supporters are frustrated by the slow pace of progress and the obstacles that remain in the way. But it has only been one day since President Obama turned his legislative focus to pushing comprehensive energy and climate legislation across the finish line. The president's speech in Pittsburgh yesterday was the lead story in today's Washington Post. And for good reason. Using the Gulf oil disaster as proof that …

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ACT NOW

Solid at the core: the integrity of the emission limits in the American Power Act

David Doniger posted an overview based on NRDC's "first read" of the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act discussion draft. Here I will delve more deeply into the environmental integrity of the core emission limits in the bill. There is good news here. While the reductions fall well short of what the latest science suggests is needed, and we have some concerns about the price collar, offsets, and biomass (see below), the bill would establish, for the first time, effective national limits on global warming pollution. Those limits would get tighter every year and would drive investments in clean energy that create …

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This Earth Day we need more than a celebration, we need a clean energy revolution

This Earth Day we need more than a celebration. We need a clean energy revolution that creates 2 million jobs, cuts 2 billion tons, and saves 2 trillion dollars. On the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Day there is much to celebrate: Our air is cleaner and our rivers no longer catch on fire. But we can't rest on our laurels when millions of Americans still breathe unhealthy air and the concentration of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere continues to rise. The next step for our environment, our economy, and our security is a comprehensive clean energy and …

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Larry Summers serves up compelling economic case for comprehensive energy and climate legislation

Larry Summers, the Director of the National Economic Council, used his luncheon speech at today's Energy Information Administration Annual Energy Outlook Conference to lay out a compelling case for comprehensive energy and climate legislation. The text of his remarks should be posted on the conference website soon and will be worth a read as he positioned his points about energy and climate in the context of an expansive overview of the economic crisis and the Obama administration's strategy to get the U.S. economy back on track. In the meantime, here is an outline of the five key points he made …

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Are you now or have you ever been a climate scientist?

Sen. Inhofe’s latest attack is on climate scientists, not just science

Sen. James Inhofe, (R-Okla.), the Senate's chief spokesman for climate deniers, says so many outrageous things (see his recent interview on Grist) he's all but lost his power to surprise. Last week, though, the Oklahoma Republican crossed a line that I find shocking, attempting to discredit scientists through innuendo and the kind of intimidation that can have a chilling effect. If Inhofe wants to call global warming a hoax, as he first did in 2003, that may be paranoid, but he has that right. If he wants to say some stolen emails between a handful of climate scientists prove that …

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Breakdown or Breakthrough?

The Copenhagen Accord

The Conference of Parties formally took note of the Copenhagen Accord this morning after an emotional all night debate, during which many countries expressed deep disappointment with the outcome, but a determination to use it as a stepping stone to more rigorous action. This procedure allowed the Accord to be formally acknowledged by consensus, despite the objections of Venezuela, Sudan, Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia. All other countries will be listed as supporters under the title of the Accord. Before leaving Copenhagen after 13 hours of direct diplomacy to secure the deal, President Obama called it "a meaningful and unprecedented breakthrough." …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Boxer Proceeds with Clean Energy and Climate Protection Bill Despite Republican Boycott

Minority members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) followed through on their threat to boycott the scheduled markup of the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S.1733) today, demanding more analysis of the bill before they are willing to participate. Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) proceeded anyway with opening statements from Committee Democrats, and George Voinovich (R-OH), who tried to make the case for the Minority, presenting a more reasonable face than Jim Inhofe (R-OK) the ranking Republican on the Committee. Voinovich's arguments fell flat in the face of effective rebuttals by Committee Democrats and a …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Ecologists to the rescue

Fixing the bioenergy accounting loophole

A group of prominent ecologists and climate scientists have an important article coming out in tomorrow's issue of Science, in which they call for "fixing a critical climate accounting error." The error is ignoring a significant source of global warming pollution related to using biomass for energy ("bioenergy"). I know that most people's eyes glaze over whenever "accounting" is mentioned and others tune out when discussion turns to "climate," so the number of people interested in "climate accounting" may be vanishingly small. But this article is important and not as obscure as it sounds.  Getting the accounting wrong means that …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Game Changer

Kerry-Graham op-ed dramatically enhances prospects for Senate climate bill this year

Sunday's New York Times op-ed by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) begins: CONVENTIONAL wisdom suggests that the prospect of Congress passing a comprehensive climate change bill soon is rapidly approaching zero. ... However, we refuse to accept the argument that the United States cannot lead the world in addressing global climate change. We are also convinced that we have found both a framework for climate legislation to pass Congress and the blueprint for a clean-energy future that will revitalize our economy, protect current jobs and create new ones, safeguard our national security and reduce pollution. It's hard …