Climate & Energy

Mark Bittman

What’s wrong with what we eat

Powerful stuff.

Early warning signs at the Global Warming Café

The Climate Policy Paradigm has reached its endgame

It takes effort to suit up in the quasi-business/academic garb of the professional environmentalist and enter the lion's den of DC politics or the state houses. Our beliefs are so fundamentally at odds with the very fabric of civic life that it requires an effort of will, particularly in the early years, not to scream bloody murder and run for the door. Over decades, layers of accommodation and polite behavior have built up by accretion, while our rough edges have been worn down. The net result is a worldview -- we may call it the "Climate Policy Paradigm" -- that is so universally accepted that it goes unnoticed, yet its power is so great that we have abandoned the precautionary principle, environmentalism's central guide for action, with barely a murmur when the two came in conflict. Two hundred people turned out to hear Ross Gelbspan speak at the Jamaica Plain Forum a couple months ago. He gave us an hour of unvarnished truth, summarized recent climate science, and drove home the reality that nothing short of immediate, transformative, global action is sufficient. Climate campaign staff followed up at a "Global Warming Café," presenting our standard three-part story: first, we can turn things around, indeed we are already starting to do so; second, sound energy policy is good for America, because it will reduce dependence on foreign oil and create green jobs; and third, there are two things individuals can do: urge members of Congress to support emissions reduction bills and reduce our own carbon footprints. The audience joined in small group discussions, contributing their own tips on mulching and insulating hot water pipes, but the disparity between the terrible picture Ross painted and the flimsy action activists were invited to take left a palpable pall in the auditorium.

Kentucky fried agitprop

Kentucky taxpayers pony up $400,000 a year for coal industry ‘educational materials’

Some crackerjack reporting by John Cheves in the Lexington Herald-Leader finds that the state of Kentucky sinks about $400,000 of taxpayer money a year into public campaigns that promote coal and even mountaintop-removal mining: The …

Safety pin

Senate Energy and Natural Resources hearing to stoke fear about the costs of climate legislation

Speaking of cost-containment and the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is holding a hearing tomorrow on “recent reports analyzing the energy and economic impacts of climate change legislation.” Many …

Boxer briefs

Barbara Boxer circulates an outline of her amendment to Lieberman-Warner

On Friday, Senate Environment and Public Works chair Barbara Boxer released an outline of what promises to be the version of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act that actually gets debated and amended on the Senate …

Bar wars

Legal strategies for battling climate change

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. When President Bush delivered his much-hyped climate policy speech from the Rose Garden last April (see here), he voiced an interesting concern. He's worried that the courts will do what the other two branches of government have failed to do: take meaningful action to curb the country's carbon emissions. "We face a growing problem here at home," the president said. "Some courts are taking laws written more than 30 years ago -- to primarily address local and regional environmental effects -- and applying them to global climate change." "Decisions with such far-reaching impact should not be left to unelected regulators and judges," he continued. "Such decisions should be opened -- debated openly; such decisions should be made by the elected representatives of the people they affect. The American people deserve an honest assessment of the costs, benefits and feasibility of any proposed solution." The White House promised that Bush's Rose Garden remarks would be important and it was correct: The president's call for open debate and an honest assessment of climate action was a major policy shift. His complaint about unelected judges making decisions was specious, however. The elected members of past Congresses and Bush's predecessors signed the 30-year-old laws on which some of the current court decisions are based. Old laws are being applied to global warming because the current Congress and White House have failed to pass new ones.

Lieberman-Warner, new and ... different

Sen. Boxer’s summary of her Manager’s Amendment to Lieberman-Warner

On Friday, Senate Environment and Public Works Chair Barbara Boxer circulated a document summarizing her “substitute amendment” to the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act. This is likely the version of the bill that will go to …

Toyota's foresight pays off, part two

Why hybrids beat diesels

The best thing about the Prius is that it achieves its high fuel economy without sacrificing size or performance and, most importantly for global warming, without being a diesel. There seems to be a lot of confusion on this point, so let me elaborate. Bottom Line: If you care about global warming, don't buy a diesel car (certainly not in this country), and if you must buy a diesel, only get a new one with a very good particle trap. [Does this mean that Europe's massive switch to diesel was not good for the climate? In a word,"probably."]

Permit auctions: the mark of progressive cap-and-trade

I missed this last week, but Kevin Drum is doing God’s work explaining the difference between cap-and-auction and cap-and-giveaway to the progressive masses. I did the same thing here, but as usual used way too …

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