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Talking points of no return

Candidates talk energy in the final debate, but don’t stray from their usual talking points

The third presidential debate yielded nothing new from Barack Obama or John McCain on climate or energy policy, but both candidates pointed to an environmental issue to demonstrate their independence from their respective parties. Barack Obama and John McCain. When McCain challenged Obama to name a major issue on which he's differed with Democratic leaders, Obama mentioned "clean coal," among other things: "I support clean coal technology. Doesn't make me popular with environmentalists." McCain, in trying to distinguish himself from President Bush, said, "I have disagreed with leaders of my own party," and took credit for "bringing climate change to …

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Debate climate question

At tonight's debate, moderator Bob Scheiffer asked a question about energy independence and "climate control" (oy). The answers never really touched on climate at all and quickly drifted far afield from energy. Here's the exchange, from CNN's running transcript: Schieffer: Let's go to -- let's go to a new topic. We're running a little behind. Let's talk about energy and climate control. Every president since Nixon has said what both of you... McCain: Climate change. Schieffer: Climate change, yes -- has said what both of you have said, and, that is, we must reduce our dependence on foreign oil. When …

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With surrogates like these, who needs enemies?

Tim Kaine and George Allen debate energy and enviro policy on behalf of the presidential candidates

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, an Obama supporter who was rumored to be on the short list for VP, and former Virginia Gov. George Allen, a McCain supporter, took part in a debate today on energy and environmental issues, speaking on behalf of the two campaigns. Gristmill contributor Miles Grant live-blogged the event, and it sounds like it was pretty depressing lively. Apparently, Kaine asserted that "we can't go to a no-coal future." Allen, meanwhile, argued that, "It's been said that Americans are addicted to oil. I think Americans are addicted to freedom." They also traded jabs on nuclear energy, debated …

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New energy economy emerging in the United States

Wind, solar thermal, and geothermal development outpaces expectations

As fossil fuel prices rise, as oil insecurity deepens, and as concerns about climate change cast a shadow over the future of coal, a new energy economy is emerging in the United States. The old energy economy, fueled by oil, coal, and natural gas, is being replaced by one powered by wind, solar, and geothermal energy. The transition is moving at a pace and on a scale that we could not have imagined even a year ago. Consider Texas. Long the leading oil-producing state, it is now also the leading generator of electricity from wind, having overtaken California two years …

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California updates plan for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions

How will California meet its goal to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020? It's so glad you asked. On Wednesday, the state Air Resources Board released an update to its draft proposal for cutting emissions. The updated plan adds in analysis related to newly signed laws that discourage sprawl and encourage green jobs, as well as California's agreement, as a member of the Western Climate Initiative, to initiate a cap-and-trade program. The plan, which will be perused for final approval in December, includes measures to boost energy efficiency, renewable energy, low-carbon fuels, high-speed rail, emissions reduction at ports …

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Stickin' it where the sun does shine

Florida to release tough climate action plan

The state government of Florida is set today to release its action plan on climate change, which includes significant reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions and indicates that the state stands to reap $28 billion in net economic savings by 2025 if it moves forward with cutting carbon. A draft summary [PDF] of the plan from the state's Action Team on Energy and Climate Change includes 50 policy recommendations, and notes that if all of these were acted upon, the state could reduce emissions 64 percent by 2025. That would mean a reduction of 33 percent below 1990 levels -- a much …

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Happy thoughts and fairy dust

EDF’s and MIT’s magical thinking on carbon caps and oil

Last week I critiqued EDF's pointless video/graphics competition (see here). The contest is pointless because a carbon cap can't cure our oil addiction. Indeed, under any plausible cap, U.S. oil consumption rises. Gernot Wagner, an economist at Environmental Defense Fund, responded with a post here: "'Bizarre'? No. Tough? Yes: Joseph Romm's critique of EDF's contest is misguided." As I expected, EDF claimed that auctioning off the allowances would "generate large sums of money. Part of that could be used to jump-start our transition to a greener transportation sector that's less dependent on fossil fuels." That takes us to Fantasyland Shellenberger-Nordhaus-land, …

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Debate and tackle

Presidential candidates meet for their final showdown tonight

With just 20 days to go before the election, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama will meet at Hofstra University for their third and final debate tonight at 9 p.m. EDT. Their ultimate encounter, moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS News, will focus on domestic and economic policy. Might we hear some questions (or, at least, a question) on climate change and energy policy? At their first debate, the subjects were never brought up directly, but the candidates both noted the importance of the issues and sparred over the details achieving greater energy security. In the second debate, the …

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Soros on green as the motor of the economy

In an interview with Bill Moyers (via Green Inc.), financier George Soros has some things to say about how green investments can pull us out of the current financial crisis (a subject I've been hitting repeatedly these last few days): Here's the transcript: BILL MOYERS: So let's think about those people down at Neely's Barbecue going home tonight having heard you. What they've heard you say is the system is really dysfunctioning right now. It's out of control. Nobody's in charge. They've heard you express your own worry that in the next three months it could get much, much worse. …

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Yet another denier talking point melts down

Bad data analysis by University of Alabama scientists set old myth in motion

Denier talking points are harder to kill than vampires. They keep rising from the dead no matter how many times scientists try to drive a stake through their heart. Sometimes they take on a slightly different form, like a relentless, indestructible liquid-metal android assassin from the future that constantly switches appearance in an effort to fulfill its mission of ruining life on this planet for homo "sapiens." And so it is with one of the most enduring denier myths, that the satellite data didn't show the global warming that the surface temperature data did. When this myth was exposed as …

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