Climate & Energy

More on the hockey stick

Previous warm periods don’t mean we’re not responsible for this one

For those interested in temperature reconstructions of past climates, in particular the kerfuffle over the hockey stick, I recently found a pretty good website. It contains a load of useful information, some of which I did not know. For example, consider this famous plot from the IPCC's First Assessment Report: Skeptics have used this plot to argue that today's warmth cannot be caused by humans because it was warmer one thousand years ago. The website does a good job of laying out the history behind the plot. For example, I learned that:

Moral obligation, patriotic duty

State poll shows Oregonians ready and willing to do what it takes to halt climate change

The National research firm Public Opinion Strategies recently conducted a survey of 500 likely Oregon voters to assess views on the issue of climate change and to gauge support for the basic principles of policy measures like the proposed cap-and-trade system in the Lieberman-Warner Act (a.k.a. the Climate Security Act -- legislation that was recently defeated last week in the U.S. Senate, but marked a step forward on national climate policy.) The survey, which presents arguments for and against cap-and-trade, clearly indicates that Oregon voters support this kind of climate legislation (72 percent). Beyond that, 73 percent deem it our "moral obligation" and "duty as Americans" to reduce global warming pollution. The poll, commissioned by the Nature Conservancy, found that global warming is the most frequently named environmental concern of Oregon voters, and more than four in five say it is a serious problem. Perhaps more importantly, 83 percent of Oregon voters say they're ready to make some changes (including personal sacrifices) to fight climate change. And 81 percent say they would be willing to pay higher energy prices every month to reduce global warming pollution produced by power plants (the single greatest proportion -- 21 percent -- choose the top of the price range: $45 per month).

After the deluge

As Midwest floods recede, what’s being washed into the groundwater?

Flooded road in eastern Iowa. Photo: Dan Patterson Things are grim in Iowa, arguably the epicenter of global industrial food production. If Iowa were a nation, it would be the globe’s second-largest corn producer, behind …

Two out of three ain't bad

McCain campaign clarifies (some of) McCain’s climate malapropisms

Earlier today, Kate reported on some confused remarks from John McCain on his plan for a carbon cap. Via Politico, the McCain campaign has now clarified the remarks. Here’s the original exchange: QUESTION: The European …

Icky disease afflicting Alaskan salmon

Alaska’s prized wild salmon are suffering from a disease that scientists suspect of being boosted by — you guessed it — global warming. The emergence of Ichthyophonus as a threat to king salmon has coincided …

Drill if you want to

McCain emphasizes drilling and states rights in advance of big energy speech

John McCain is slated to give a major policy address on energy tomorrow in Houston, Texas. In a press conference today, he tipped his hand about what that speech will include: He says he’ll call …

No justice, no cap

National environmental justice coalition blasts cap-and-trade, backs carbon tax

Condemning carbon trading as "fraught with uncertainties, lack[ing] transparency and creat[ing] large opportunities for emitting facilities to engage in fraud," a national coalition of environmental justice organizations has called for a federal carbon tax to address "the most critical issue of our time" -- the climate crisis. Photo: Brooke Anderson. The June 2 statement from the Climate Justice Leadership Forum is the latest sign of mounting disaffection with the top-down push for carbon cap-and-trade. It is particularly significant because the 28 signatory organizations, which span the country from Anchorage to New Orleans and from Oakland to New York City, have been the spearhead of a rising movement by communities of color to crack open the historically affluent and white U.S. environmental lobby, much of which has backed the cap-and-trade approach to pricing carbon emissions. Moreover, CJLF's endorsement of "an equitable carbon tax" serves notice that lower-income and "minority" constituencies are concluding that the disproportionate impacts of carbon taxes and other user fees can (and must) be reversed through progressive use of the carbon tax revenues.

Who you callin' a carbon tax, buddy?

The political chances of carbon taxes

There's an ecumenical rift in the carbon policy world. Some favor taxes, while others prefer cap-and-trade. I'm in the latter camp, though I'm sort of a carbon Unitarian: I like carbon taxes too. From a policy perspective, they fit together nicely. Among the reasons I'm on the c&t side is that taxes can be radioactive, at least in U.S. politics. Now, this isn't really a substantive objection to carbon taxes as a policy instrument, but the worry seems warranted. Consider how the opponents of climate policy have recently attacked cap-and-trade: They call it a carbon tax. Take a look at some headlines:

The Brownstein diagnosis

What went wrong on Lieberman-Warner?

Ron Brownstein — for my money the best political reporter out there — examines the implosion of the Lieberman-Warner bill in National Journal. Here’s his three-paragraph summary of what went wrong: The bill would have …

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