The Western Climate Initiative is a path-breaking effort. Insufficient federal progress prompted seven states and two provinces to join together to reduce climate pollution by means of an economy-wide cap-and-trade program. It's a momentous opportunity, and many folks have been working hard to ensure that it's a success. Unfortunately, there's now cause for serious concern. Yesterday evening, WCI released its draft proposal (PDF). It proposes an initial cap that would cover less than half of the region's total emissions. Most surprisingly, WCI does not recommend including emissions from transportation fuels, by far the largest source of climate pollution in the West. [Update 3/7: The recommendation doesn't exclude transportation precisely, but rather defers the decision until further economic studies are completed.] The proposal is at odds with WCI's own stated principles that include a commitment to cover "as many emissions sources as practical." And for an effort born of frustration with federal lawmakers, it's bizarre that the proposal is significantly smaller in scope than recent federal bills (PDF), including Leiberman-Warner. There are no big technical challenges to including transportation fuels. In fact, the WCI admits that while there are a couple of hurdles, it's administratively feasible to include transportation emissions. So what's going on? No one knows for sure.
A bill introduced Thursday in the House of Representatives would grant California the right to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from vehicles, and pave the way for 12 other states to do the same. The U.S. EPA’s decision to keep California from regulating car GHG emissions “defied the science, defied the states, and defied common sense,” said bill cosponsor Peter Welch (D-Vt.). Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate.
A short while ago, Sir Oolius received a fundraising email from the Competitive Enterprise Institute asking for donations to help them with their new raison d'etre: yelling "FU, Al Gore!" as loudly and as often as possible. The fruits of this effort are now upon us in the form of a national ad whining campaign: If carbon = life, then Al Gore ...
I have nothing pithy to add to this story, but only because the inanity of the quotes is so hard to top. From Restructuring Today ($ub req'd) (my emphasis on the good bits):
Okay, so at the recent Heartless Heartland skeptic/denier/disinformer/climate-destroyer conference (I promise to propose a better term this week!), one of the few attendees who was a non-non-believer in science emailed me the following: Marc Morano, Sen. Inhofe's press secretary, just cited your post on the dangers of consensus as an example of how deniers are forcing climate action proponents to retreat. "We're making them afraid of using the term 'consensus'!" Now, that is humor! After all, my article is titled "The cold truth about climate change: Deniers say there's no consensus about global warming. Well, there's not. There's well-tested science and real-world observations [that are much more worrisome]," and it explains that: "Consensus" is far too weak a word to describe the collective scientific understanding of the dangers of human-caused global warming. The reality of climate change is almost certainly going to be much worse than the "consensus" as that term is normally used (to describe the IPCC reports). The deniers are peddling pseudoscience.
Southern Baptist Convention to back off from outright denialism tomorrow?
So, who said: With $55 oil we don't need incentives to oil and gas companies to explore. There are plenty of incentives. Yes, that would be our president, three years ago. And yet with oil at nearly twice that price, Bush still refuses to cut subsidies and shift that money to clean technologies. And he still claims that the solution to our energy and climate problems is "technology, technology, technology, blah, blah." But, as we've seen, that is all just rhetoric or sleight of hand. Daniel J. Weiss, Director of Energy Strategy at the Center for American Progress, has an article on the urgent need for this switch in priorities: "Unbearable cost of oil: Record prices require Senate action." As Weiss points out, this will be one more chance for McCain to do the right thing:
Dingell says he’ll release a draft of a House climate change bill for comment and feedback in mid-April (sub rqd).
This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Kari Manlove, fellows assistant at the Center for American Progress. ----- Over 100 retailers, manufacturers, and trade and advocacy groups have sent a familiar message to the Senate: Pass the renewable energy tax package! About two weeks ago, over 500 members of the American Council on Renewable Energy also sent a letter to Congress encouraging the renewable of the production and investment tax credits. Ever since these tax provisions were cut from December's energy bill, support for them has been snowballing.