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Daniel J. Weiss' Posts

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Extreme weather costs lives, health, economy — and could be here to stay

A wildfire burns out of control in Texas earlier this month.Photo: Texas Military ForcesCross-posted from the Center for American Progress. This post was coauthored by Valeri Vasquez, special assistant for energy policy at the Center for American Progress, and Ben Kaldunski, a former intern with the Energy Team at American Progress. "April is the cruelest month." - T. S. Eliot April 2011 has been a cruel month indeed for Americans due to extreme weather. The Weather Channel observed that: It's been a truly awful, record-setting, tornadic April. We've had eleven major severe weather events, some lasting multiple days. These extreme …

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Fossil fuel industries kill and injure an awful lot of their workers

Oil production and oil refining has killed 77 workers and injured over 7,000 in the last 40 years.Cross-posted from the Center for American Progress. This post was coauthored by Valeri Vasquez, special assistant for energy policy at the Center for American Progress. On the one-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and the Massey coal mine explosion in West Virginia, we are reminded how dangerous our dependence on fossil fuels can be. A large cost of our reliance on these energy sources is the death or injury of workers in these industries. Transitioning to cleaner energy technologies such …

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Paul Ryan’s Big Oil budget halts energy innovation

Rep. Paul Ryan.Photo: Gage SkidmoreCross-posted from the Center for American Progress. House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) proposed fiscal year 2012 budget resolution is a backward-looking plan that would benefit Big Oil companies at the expense of middle-class Americans. It retains $40 billion in Big Oil tax loopholes while completely eliminating investments in the clean energy technologies of the future that are essential for long-term economic growth. This budget would lock Americans into paying high, volatile energy prices. It would ensure that millions of clean energy jobs are created oversees -- not here in the United States. It is …

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More drilling won’t help

We have a problem we can't drill our way out of.Photo: arbyreedCross-posted from the Center for American Progress. Unrest in Libya and Egypt is driving up oil prices, stirring concerns that gasoline could hit $5 a gallon by summer. Like a smoker's persistent cough, it's another warning to change our ways. America sends nearly $1 billion daily overseas to purchase oil [PDF], which is nearly half the trade deficit. Nearly 20 percent of our oil imports come from the Persian Gulf, where instability causes roller coaster prices. "Drill, baby, drill" won't get us out of this mess. We have only 2 percent of world …

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Big Oil gains from higher prices while families pay the price

Cross-posted from the Center for American Progress. This post was coauthored by Valeri Vasquez, special assistant for energy policy at the Center for American Progress. Political instability in the Middle East over the past month has driven parallel unrest in world oil prices. The drive for political freedom in the Middle East has rightfully captured the world's attention, but it has also roiled oil markets. Governments across the globe are worried that sustained unrest will escalate oil prices past $100 per barrel on their way to $120 or more, choking the struggling economic recovery in the United States, Europe, and …

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House Republican budget cuts would strangle innovation

This article was cross-posted from the Center for American Progress. President Barack Obama's State of the Union on Jan. 25, 2011, waved the green flag for innovation and competition in the cleantech sector. He proposed a number of programs to speed the development and manufacturing of domestic energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors to help American businesses race with their Chinese, German, and other competitors. But before the president's proposals had completed their initial laps in Congress, the Republicans' proposed House "continuing resolution" (or spending bill) for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 (FY 2011) waves the yellow caution flag …

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Big Oil pushes expanded offshore drilling without new safeguards

This article was cross-posted from the Center for American Progress. The original version was posted before the Gulf oil spill commission released its findings. "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose." (The more things change, the more they stay the same.)- Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, 1849 Monsieur Karr's 160-year-old epigram neatly captures the state of the American oil industry in 2011. Big Oil continues to lust after huge profits at the expense of the health and welfare of the American people. This reckless money chase occurs even though the production, combustion, and reliance on oil pollutes the water and air, …

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The GOP changes its tune on cap-and-trade

Republican presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush all supported or employed cap-and-trade.Photo: WikipediaThis article was cross-posted from the Center for American Progress. Opposition to cap-and-trade legislation to reduce global warming pollution is a common refrain among many Republican and a few Democratic officials this fall. The program is derided as a "cap-and-tax" that would drain voters' wallets while bankrupting the nation. But ironically enough, the three most recent Republican presidents promoted cap-and-trade, including Ronald Reagan. They employed such a system to phase out lead in gasoline, cut chlorofluorocarbons and other ozone-depleting chemicals, and reduce sulfur pollution …

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Anatomy of a Senate climate bill death

This article was cross-posted from the Center for American Progress. President Barack Obama took office with four major domestic agenda items: a plan to prevent the recession from growing worse and launch recovery; health care reform; financial reform to avoid future meltdowns; and clean energy and global warming legislation to create jobs, reduce oil use, and cut pollution. The president succeeded with the first three items. But clean energy legislation died in the Senate after passing the House. The Oct. 6 New Yorker has a "behind the curtain" dissection of the rise and fall of climate legislation in the Senate. …

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Oil companies and special interests spend millions to oppose climate legislation

This article was cross-posted from the Center for American Progress. There will be many bad memories from the summer of 2010. We've seen the worst oil disaster in U.S. history, record temperatures across the globe, calving ice chunks the size of Manhattan, record heat waves and wildfires in Russia, and floods in Pakistan submerging one-fifth of the country. These extreme weather events are consistent with scientists' predictions about global warming, and they portend more catastrophes to come as greenhouse gas pollution spews unchecked from power plants, vehicles, and factories. But as the case for action grew more urgent Big Oil, …