Climate & Energy

Fair and balanced?

NASA’s Hansen responds to NYT’s Revkin

This post ends with an exclusive look at James Hansen's response to NYT journalist Andy Revkin's piece commenting on Hansen's (draft) article on why we need a CO2 target of 350 ppm. But first the backstory. Revkin used me as the "balance" for his piece: Some longtime champions of Dr. Hansen, including the Climate Progress blogger Joe Romm, see some significant gaps in the paper (it is a draft still) and part ways with Dr. Hansen over whether such a goal is remotely feasible. I complained directly to Revkin about the first part of that characterization. I was going to let it go at that, but then I got e-mails from people directing me to a media interview of Hansen (and Mark Bowen, whose new book is Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming). The reporter cited Revkin's quote directly to Hansen to argue the paper is "controversial." Well, obviously, the reporter should have called me directly, rather than taking some hearsay characterization from another member of the media. But that just isn't the state of journalism today. [Note to media: You don't need to cite me in order to call a paper saying we need to go back to 350 ppm "controversial" -- it's kind of obvious, given that we're at 385 ppm, rising 2 ppm a year, and not currently doing anything to stop emissions from rising, but I digress.] Anyway, at that point, I felt obliged to write Hansen an email titled "I don't see 'significant gaps in the paper'":

New York’s new governor supports congestion pricing

Brand-spankin’-new New York Gov. David Paterson has announced his support for a controversial congestion pricing plan. The proposal, put forward by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and supported by former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, would charge $8 to drivers entering Manhattan during peak hours. Said Paterson in a written statement, “Congestion pricing addresses two urgent concerns of the residents of New York City and its suburbs: the need to reduce congestion on our streets and roads, and thereby reduce pollution and global warming; and the need to raise significant revenue for mass transit improvements.” Hear, hear.

Brown Dogs

Dirty energy industry preemptively padding the pockets of key Democrats

The dirty energy industry sees big, important debates heading to a Democratic Congress, and it’s preparing by buying up "moderate" House Democrats ($ub. req’d): Moderate House Democrats — even freshmen with little obvious influence — have seen a surge of campaign contributions from the energy industry, whose giving patterns have long favored Republicans. Data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics show the overall industry and individual energy companies giving a larger percentage to Democrats than they have in a decade. Though powerful committee chairman are seeing a major share of those new industry dollars, a large portion is …

Campaign stunner

McCain ‘might take [new CAFE standards] off the books’

We've heard climate double talk from McCain on "mandates" and "dependence on foreign energy sources." Now, in a stunning interview with E&E News ($ub. req'd), the McCain campaign seriously undermines its claim that the Arizona senator could successfully take on the global warming threat. As the reporter put it, "the Arizona senator's presidential campaign is trying to differentiate itself from its Democratic rivals by rejecting calls for additional climate-themed restrictions." This, however, is a potentially fatal difference. I don't know which of three statements by "Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a McCain campaign policy adviser" is more wrong-headed. "The basic idea is if you go with a cap and trade and do it right with appropriate implementation, you don't need technology-specific and sectoral policies that are on the books and that others are proposing simultaneously." This statement could not be more inaccurate and naïve. A cap-and-trade system without on aggressive technology development/deployment effort, especially in the transportation sector, will inevitably fail because it causes too much economic pain, as I explained at length in "No climate for old men." And now we get the explicit statement that McCain opposes "technology-specific and sectoral policies that are on the books" if we have a cap-and-trade.

Soot pollution a big contributor to climate change, study finds

Soot pollution contributes significantly to climate change and is second only to carbon dioxide as a climate-warming factor, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Geoscience. The study estimates that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change may have underestimated soot’s role as a climate-warming factor by about three or four times. If the new research is correct, significantly reducing soot pollution with currently available technology could have a dramatic almost-immediate effect on reducing climate change in the short term since soot only lingers in the atmosphere for about a week; carbon dioxide lingers for up to a …

McCain talks climate change with European leaders

Republican presidential candidate John McCain traveled to Europe and the Middle East last week, meeting with various European leaders to discuss climate change and U.S. foreign policy. McCain broached climate change in separate meetings with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, current U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, who recently announced his quest to secure a meaningful worldwide climate change agreement in the next two years. McCain also penned an editorial for the Financial Times about international cooperation. “We need a successor to Kyoto, a cap-and-trade system that delivers the necessary environmental impact in an economically …

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