Climate & Energy

how will key senators vote on a climate bill?

Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)

Debbie StabenowSen. Debbie Stabenow wants to make sure climate legislation doesn’t hurt her home state’s auto industry. She has called for financial support for emerging industries such as advanced batteries, specifically praising plans for a clean energy revolving loan fund. “Shame on us as a country if we lose the capacity to manufacture this here,” she said. “I talk to businesses all the time, and I think there’s an explosion in energy technology that is happening but could happen even more if we had a better mechanism to finance the commercializing of this technology.” Last year, Stabenow voted to bring …

how will key senators vote on a climate bill?

Jim Webb (D-Va.)

Jim Webb Sen. Jim Webb is a moderate, and Virginia is a coal state. His House colleagues won major concessions for the coal industry in the Waxman-Markey climate bill, but whether they’ll be enough to win over Webb remains to be seen. Virginia Rep. Rick Boucher, who led the pro-coal lobby in shaping the House bill, is reportedly leaning on Webb to support the legislation. Last year, Webb told Politico that environmentalists would have to compromise and support the development of clean coal and nuclear power. “We need to be able to address a national energy strategy and then try …

a natural solution

Game changer 5: RFK, Jr.: How to end America’s deadly coal addiction: natural gas!

Converting rapidly from coal-generated energy to gas is President Barack Obama’s most obvious first step towards saving our planet and jump-starting our economy. A revolution in natural gas production over the past two years has left America awash with natural gas and has made it possible to eliminate most of our dependence on deadly, destructive coal practically overnight – and without the expense of building new power plants. So writes Robert F. Kennedy Jr., president of Waterkeeper Alliance, in the Financial Times. RFK Jr. echoes many key points of my series on gas.  There appears to be a lot more …

how will key senators vote on a climate bill?

Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.)

Jay Rockefeller Sen. Jay Rockefeller has expressed concerns about the impact a climate bill would have on West Virginia’s coal industry. He’s probably more likely to vote for a bill than his home-state colleague Robert Byrd, but he would need to be assured that whatever bill passes isn’t too hard on the coal industry. “Senator Rockefeller followed the process in the House on the climate change legislation very closely, and he continues to have serious concerns about the House bill,” said a statement released by his office after the House bill passed. “The Senate process is in the beginning stages, …

When Sen. Dorgan finds out what’s in the climate bill he might just support it

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) has a “Probability of Yes” vote (PrY) of 22% for the climate bill, as it’s currently written (see “Who are the swing Senators?“).   That is notwithstanding his April remarks: North Dakota is the Saudi Arabia of wind. … I’m going to keep pushing for policies in Congress that help us develop our wind resource for the benefit of the whole country. Hard to do more for wind than the stimulus bill did – other than pass something like the Waxman-Markey climate and clean energy bill (with a stronger renewable standard). Dorgan has, however, now published an …

It’s time to save planet Earth. And our inspiration, once again, comes from JFK

July 19, 2009 I have a new article at Salon, “Goodnight, moon travel.” I discuss how the challenge of averting catastrophic climate change is quite different from the Apollo program – particularly in scale and participation.  The public and private sector of this country alone will need an Apollo-level effort every year for the next few decades to avert climate catastrophe.  And Apollo was, ultimately, a government program that Americans could gaze at and wonder from afar. Decarbonizing the economy is a national effort that every American will need to participate in. I focus in the piece on John F. …

Making Buses Cool Again

Transmilenio municipal buses are seen on a street of Bogotá, Colombia (from a post first published here). Transportation is responsible for roughly a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. This means that bold changes in transportation policies — for both the developed and developing world-must be part of solving the climate crisis. The trick is to curb the world’s emissions — from industry as well as transportation-without preventing poor countries from developing and lifting their people out of poverty. The New York Times recently highlighted a promising mass transportation solution that could help make this possible: bus rapid transit, or …

Deniers misrepresent new study that finds climate models underestimate warming

Bizarrely, climate science deniers are touting a new study that finds we might return to the rapid global warming of the Palaeocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) with much lower levels of CO2 than previously thought. The PETM’s climate would be quite inhospitable to human civilization.  A February Nature article concluded (see “The Garden of Eden had a 40-foot, 1-ton snake plus 90°F average temperatures“): If our Palaeocene estimates are correct, tropical temperatures at the slightly younger (55.8 Myr ago) Palaeocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) could have reached 38-40°C, resulting in widespread equatorial heat-death as recent models and other proxy data have predicted. …

Deniers are “full of passionate intensity”—and eating our lunch on climate bill

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold. I have heard from multiple sources that many U.S. senators are now getting 100 to 200 calls a day opposing a climate and clean energy bill — and bupkes in favor. The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. Why?  Well, the entire conservative messaging apparatus is full-throated in its opposition to this bill — and they have well-heeled funders, aka the dirty-energy bunch.  Our side is half-throated, at best.  Indeed, many progressive/enviro activists spend their time pointlessly trashing the bill and threatening Democrats (see here and here). …

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