We have assembled here the highlights of President Obama's new climate plan.
Congress isn't going to play along, obviously, so the plan consists of executive actions his administration can take on its own. Even some of these could be blocked by Congress through budgetary moves, and others could be blocked by courts. But he's at least going to give them a try.
The big takeaway: Obama will crack down on coal-fired power plants, not just new ones but existing ones as well. Finally, the long-awaited "war on coal"! We'll have to wait a while to find out how aggressively it'll be waged -- the EPA needs to actually write its regulations. Still, this is big news for climate hawks, the critical regulatory step we've been waiting for. (One sign that it matters: Coal stocks plummeted on Monday.)
Writer and gay-rights activist Dan Savage has a provocative piece in the Seattle alt weekly The Stranger, comparing today's climate deniers to gay men in the early '80s who refused to face up to the reality of AIDS.
He starts out discussing a recent This American Life segment on ranchers in Colorado who won't acknowledge that climate change is happening, even as it's ravaging their land and livelihoods.
Listening to the ranchers in [reporter Julia Kumari] Drapkin's report—hearing the anger, denial, and fear in their voices—took me back 30 years. They sounded like another group of people whose world was on fire and who also couldn't bring themselves to face reality. They sounded like people I used to know. They sounded like those faggots who stood around in gay bars in 1983 insisting that AIDS couldn't be a sexually transmitted infection. Even as their friends lay dying, even as more of their friends and lovers became sick, they couldn't accept that sex had anything to do with this terrifying new illness.
Obama announced the news in his weekly video address on Saturday. "This Tuesday at Georgetown University, I'll lay out my vision for where I believe we need to go: a national plan to reduce carbon pollution, prepare our country for the impacts of climate change, and lead global efforts to fight it," he said in the video, which was set to overwrought music and peppered with gauzy scenes of American landscapes. (Watch for yourself below.)
But doing bold things about climate change? Well, that's a whole different issue. Rumor has it that he will unveil a package of climate initiatives in July. We'll see. For now, all we have are words.
So let's look at those words.
"I come here today, Berlin, to say complacency is not the character of great nations," he said before outlining a number of lofty aspirations, most notably a goal to cut back America's nuclear arsenal by as much as a third.
Midway through the speech, Obama got to the climate bit:
Peace with justice means refusing to condemn our children to a harsher, less hospitable planet. The effort to slow climate change requires bold action. And on this, Germany and Europe have led.
Every few months we see a spate of "news" stories warning that population growth rates are declining in the U.S. and/or the world, potentially leading to a shortage of babies and outright "demographic disaster." In an extreme (and extremely stupid) example from January of this year, one Slate writer warned that if trends continue over the long term, "we could be looking at the literal extinction of humanity."
The United Nations forecast Thursday that the world’s population will increase from 7.2 billion today to 8.1 billion in 2025, with most growth in developing countries and more than half in Africa. By 2050, it will reach 9.6 billion. ...
Southern California Edison is officially giving up on the San Onofre nuclear power plant -- and it's about time. When workers have to resort to masking tape and broomsticks to patch up a leaky pipe, you know things are bad. And that's just one of many reasons why the name of the plant is usually preceded by the word "troubled."
The troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant on the California coast is closing after an epic 16-month battle over whether the twin reactors could be safely restarted with millions of people living nearby, officials announced Friday.
The fight over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is getting personal -- or should that be personnel?
Pipeline company TransCanada and the Canadian province of Alberta have been hiring lobbyists and consultants who previously worked with Secretary of State John Kerry, hoping they'll help convince him that Keystone XL deserves a thumbs-up.
After the State Department finishes environmental and other reviews of the pipeline plan, Kerry will make a recommendation to President Obama about whether it should be approved. Obama will then make the final call.
The Obama administration has been procrastinating on its decision on the Keystone XL pipeline for years -- and now comes word that it may kick the can even further down the road. From Reuters:
The Obama administration is unlikely to make a decision on the Canada-to-Nebraska Keystone XL pipeline until late this year as it painstakingly weighs the project's impact on the environment and on energy security, a U.S. official and analysts said on Friday.
Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee refused to show up for work Thursday morning, basically because they really don't like the EPA.
The committee was scheduled to vote on the nomination of Gina McCarthy, President Obama's pick to head the EPA. The vote had already been delayed three weeks to accommodate grumbling Republicans, according to committee chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). Then, this morning, right before the scheduled committee hearing, the eight GOP members sent a letter saying they were going to boycott.