Climate & Energy

how will key senators vote on a climate bill?

Tim Johnson (D-S.D.)

Tim Johnson South Dakota’s sole U.S. representative, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D), voted against the climate bill in the House, and Sen. Tim Johnson may do the same in the Senate. His vote will depend in part on how the final bill deals with agriculture and coal. He’s also a big fan of biofuels (his website touts a link to the American Coalition for Ethanol), and he’ll want to see major support for the industry in a Senate climate and energy package. Last year, Johnson voted against moving forward with the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act. But this year he was an …

"Once-In-A-Century" droughts stunt crops and bring mental health problems

  ‘Once-in-a-century’ drought sending campers indoors and stunting crops North Texas has had average rainfall this year, and three “cool” days this week felt like Christmas in July. But don’t tell your friends in Central and South Texas, because they are feeling hot, parched and bothered. A “once-in-a-century” drought is baking a big swath of Texas, says John Nielsen-Gammon, state climatologist and a professor at Texas A&M University. The drought is “zeroing out” crops and forcing ranchers to liquidate their herds…. The river is flowing at 10 cubic feet per second, Lyons said Wednesday. “Normal for this time of the …

Hansen mostly recycles myths in his mostly pointless attack on US climate action

UPDATE:  Predictably, Swift Boat smearer Morano has made Hansen’s post his top story at ClimateDepotted, again revealing that Hansen’s recent attacks are helping the deniers and delayers. Much as I am happy to devote many Climate Progress posts to publicizing Hansen’s leading edge climate science analysis (see links below), I am unhappy to have to waste any time at all debunking his bleeding edge climate policy analysis (see “Memo to Hansen: Your opposition to Waxman-Markey is ill-conceived and unhelpful. There isn’t going to be a carbon tax nor should there be. Get over it and move on” and “Memo to …

Honey, I Shrunk the GOP

Opposing Clean Energy Hurts GOP

Part 1 examined how conservatives vow to purge all members who support clean energy or science-based policy. This is how the GOP shrinks itself. Here, I’ll look at how, by abandoning clean energy, the GOP is taking the side of the Luddites and leaving this hugely popular issue entirely to the Democrats.  As Mark Mellman, a leading pollster for progressives since 1982, explains in a must-read op-ed in The Hill, “In attacking the clean-energy legislation just passed by the House, Republicans make three critical errors for which they may well pay a political price.” Mellman is a shrewd analyst — …

Governors make promises to update building codes and reform utilities

DOE sending out Recovery Act funding as states promise efficiency improvements

 DOE has been rolling through approvals of state energy plans and releasing huge chunks of the $3.1 billion available through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act for State Energy Programs. All told, 29 states and several territories have received approval and substantial portions of their funding. This funding will be used for weatherizing low income homes and for various energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and programs. The press releases and more info can be found here. The Building Code Assistance Project has put together the nice map below for easy reference. This is not at all a surprise, since …

What Role for U.S. Carbon Sequestration?

With the development of climate legislation proceeding in the U.S. Senate, a key question is whether the United States can cost-effectively reduce a significant share of its contributions to increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations through forest-based carbon sequestration.  Should biological carbon sequestration be part of the domestic portfolio of compliance activities? The potential costs of carbon sequestration policies should be one major criterion, and so it can be helpful to assess the cost of supplying forest-based carbon sequestration.  This is a topic which I’ve investigated in a series of papers with various co-authors over the past ten years (“Land-Use Change and …

Car Companies Plug into Electric

Ford, Toyota, GM all to help meet Obama’s goal of 1 million plug-ins by 2015

Major car companies are starting to vote on their choice for the “car and fuel of the future” with big bets on manufacturing capacity.  The winner, no surprise, is going to be highly efficient plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and pure electric vehicles (see, for instance, “Everything you could want to know about plug-in and EV announcements at Detroit auto show“). Plug-ins and EVs are a core climate solution, since electric drives are more efficient, easily powered by carbon-free energy, and far cheaper to operate per mile than gasoline or any alternative fuel, especially hydrogen, even when running on renewable power. …

What’s going down, Down Under?

Australia is the canary-in-the-coal-mine koala-in-the-bushfire for climate change, since it is the most arid habited continent (see “Australia today offers horrific glimpse of U.S. Southwest, much of planet, post-2040” and “Global Boiling: Australia’s hellish black Saturday of extreme fire“).  Prime Minister Rudd has been “moving forward with an imperfect but positive climate policy agenda that includes a cap-and-trade program” as explained in this reprinted post by Erwin Jackson, Director of Policy and Research at the Climate Institute (Australia’s leading independent policy think tank on climate change), and Andrew Light Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress where he coordinates …

senate stats

The epic battle for the Senate, Part 1: What we can learn from the House vote.

A few moderate senators in both parties hold in their hands the fate of climate legislation — and hence the possibility that the nation and the world might have a realistic chance of averting catastrophic climate impacts.  That’s because The GOP has made the fateful — and fatal — decision to cast its lot with dirty energy and anti-scientific denial (see “Hill conservatives reject all 3 climate strategies and embrace Rush Limbaugh“). The overwhelming majority of Democrats are, like Tom Perriello (D-VA), willing to do the right thing even if it has little or no short-term political benefit and possibly …

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