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Climate & Energy


How Bush really feels about California's climate efforts

White House behind lobbying campaign to undermine California auto-emissions plan, Waxman charges

Arnold Schwarzenegger, who gave a rather good speech today here at the U.N. climate summit, is famously attempting to cut California's greenhouse-gas emissions. Now come accusations that the White House is behind a lobbying effort to get the U.S. EPA to reject Schwarzenegger's plan to regulate GHGs from cars and trucks. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chair of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, got wind of the situation. Writes Jesse Lee in "The Gavel," Speaker Pelosi's blog: Chairman Waxman has obtained internal e-mails which show that Transportation Secretary Mary Peters personally directed a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign approved by the …


Bush to world: Nothing up my sleeve

Bush’s climate summit promises no change in U.S. stance

Bush may be hosting a climate summit this week, but "what he will not do, officials said, is chart any shift in policies." Specifically, the Washington Post reports: Top Bush administration officials said the president is not planning to alter his opposition to mandatory limits on greenhouse gases or to stray from his emphasis on promoting new technologies, especially for nuclear power and for the storage of carbon dioxide produced by coal plants. This is straight from the Frank Luntz playbook on how to seem like you care about the climate when you don't: Technology, technology, technology. Yada. Yada. Yada. …


U.N. Climate Summit: Heads of state speechify about mitigation

Leaders of Chile, Austria, Ecuador, and other countries talk about the climate challenge

Here at today's U.N. Climate Summit in New York, everyone seems to agree that bringing America into a leadership role on climate change is a necessary condition for forestalling the climate change crisis. From my perspective, then, the success or failure of this summit should be judged by its ability to make progress on that front. We've heard from -- among others -- Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Federal Chancellor of Austria Alfred Gusenbauer, both of whom delivered passionate speeches about the pressing need for mitigation but without really explaining why countries (and America in particular) are hesitant to mitigate …


Agree to disagree

Bush parallel climate meetings intended to avoid binding treaty

Bush is blowing off the U.N. climate meeting happening this week, choosing instead to focus on his parallel international climate meetings. I ask you to savor the multiple absurdities embedded in this paragraph in the NYT: Mr. Bush's aides say that the parallel meeting does not compete against the United Nations' process -- hijacking it, as his critics charge. They say that Mr. Bush hopes to persuade the nations that produce 90 percent of the world's emissions to come to a consensus that would allow each, including the United States, to set its own policies rather than having limits imposed …


'It will happen'

An amazing AP article on sea level rise

This weekend, the AP released the following story: Global warming -- through a combination of melting glaciers, disappearing ice sheets and warmer waters expanding -- is expected to cause oceans to rise by one meter, or about 39 inches. It will happen regardless of any future actions to curb greenhouse gases, several leading scientists say. And it will reshape the nation. Wow! The first amazing thing is the confidence with which AP makes a statement beyond the IPCC's scientific consensus. This is what most of the experts I spoke to for my book said, and I'm glad to see it …

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U.N. Climate Summit: Free beer with big shots

Bloggers and U.N. officials chat, don’t quite connect

Sunday night, I along with some other writers attended a U.N. Foundation dinner designed to bring the U.N.'s climate change directors into better contact with members of the online media. As far as accomplishing that goal, I suppose the dinner was a huge success. I and other members of the online media came into contact with some important employees of the U.N.! As to bringing American political writers and U.N. officials to a common understanding of the political problems of climate change, it was frustratingly unproductive. The evening started out quietly enough. The guests of honor were Yvo de Boer, …


Fast and furious

Ted Glick enters Day 17 of climate fast

Yesterday I went through a day-long fast for Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, a day of atonement, and the climax of the Days of Awe. We Jews usually start to get hungry by the afternoon. So it's worthwhile to remember that Ted Glick was likely really hungry in Day 18 of his fast to solve the climate crisis, something probably even more important to God than the condition of our souls. Check out this video from Ted on Day 17:


Must-read climate report from Lehman Brothers

Climate policy and its implications for business

Lehman Brothers has just released a terrific report, "The Business of Climate Change II." The theme is, "Policy is accelerating, with major implications for companies and investors"; but the piece has a lot of breadth, with cogent comments on everything from the social/damage cost of carbon, to auctioning vs. grandfathering, to the Stern Report. Here are some extended excerpts: What are the chances for a global climate agreement? The probability of some sort of international greenhouse-gas-limiting agreement in the next three to five years involving the US, China, and perhaps India, which earlier this year we put at 50%, will …


All you need is <del>love</del> sun

Solar thermal company says its generation/storage combo can power the nation

A new design for solar thermal electric generators could bust the technology out of niche status and supply the country's entire electric load, according to ... people who make solar thermal electric generators. ... physicist David Mills, chief scientific officer and founder of Palo Alto, Calif.-based solar-thermal company Ausra, has bigger ideas: concentrating the sun's power to provide all of the electricity needs of the U.S., including a switch to electric cars feeding off the grid. "Within 18 months, with storage, we will not only reduce [the] cost of [solar-thermal] electricity but also satisfy the requirements for a modern society," …

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Capping carbon: Is nothing better than something?

On whether to advocate weaker climate change bills

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. How fearsome must the headlines be about tomorrow before people change their ways today? -- Nancy Gibbs, TIME In Greenland today, the ice is thawing at a pace that is alarming climate scientists. Meanwhile in Washington, D.C., Congress remains frozen on the issue of carbon pricing. And that may be a good thing. Carbon pricing, as most readers of Gristmill know, is the idea that some portion of the costs of greenhouse-gas emissions should be reflected in the price consumers pay for carbon-intensive …