After more than two months, the Bush administration today finally articulated its legal case for rejecting California's greenhouse-gas standards for motor vehicles. The argument is here. It reads like something written up in the boardroom of General Motors or a law firm working for car companies. It even cites arguments made by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers as justification for the decision! It's a phony argument designed to protect the auto industry -- and it's typical of the Bush administration to dump out bad news like this on a Friday to minimize media coverage.
“Oh, yeah? That’s interesting. I hadn’t heard that.” – President George W. Bush, upon hearing that numerous analysts are predicting $4/gallon gasoline
Oh goodness, there are fossil shenanigans going on everywhere you look. You have to read this article in The Hill with talmudic attention to detail to figure out what’s going on with this new "educational" group — "Responsible Resources" — formed by ex-House staffers. Here’s a hint: In its ad, Responsible Resources says, however, that taxes on energy companies are a threat to affordable and reliable energy. Remember, "taxes" here equals "removal of recent subsidies." Later we hear them lamenting that lawmakers don’t know the "simple facts" of the energy debate, like the fact that "there are more than 2 …
For the long wait that preceded it, the U.S. EPA’s just-released justification for disallowing California to regulate vehicle greenhouse-gas emissions is rather anticlimactic. The 48-page document argues that California lacks the “compelling and extraordinary conditions” required for special regulatory permission, because the rest of the nation is also affected by climate change. Critics of the EPA (including the agency’s own staff) challenge that interpretation — and say that California’s long coastline, massive agricultural industry, and propensity for wildfires do make it more vulnerable to climate-change effects than other states.
No, you couldn't make this one up. It's a meeting, starting Sunday, of hundreds of "scientists" and propagandists, convening to denounce the proposition that global warming is real. It's like a gathering of the Flat Earth Society. Or, since this meeting literally is taking place on Broadway, it recalls the great Preston Jones play, The Last Meeting of the Knights of the White Magnolia, which did run briefly on Broadway.
Just in case you thought conservatives might be warming up to climate action and clean energy with the impending nomination of John McCain, uber-conservative columnist Bob Novak explains otherwise in a column titled "How Not to Run for Vice President." As a nonconservative, I know I can't do justice to Novak's "logic" by summarizing it, and I suspect many readers would think I was taking his argument out of context, since it seems so ... well ... judge for yourself. I'll just reprint most of it:
Today's second panel -- Carl's, on "conservation and the environment" -- opened with remarks from Houston Mayor Bill White. Despite my earlier comments about the road-crazy Bayou City, Mayor White laid out some items from what appears to be a truly progressive energy agenda for Houston, including making it an international leader in green buildings. Some of his more interesting comments came when White told the story of being one of the staffers that helped write the Energy Policy & Conservation Act of 1975, the original fuel economy law. He spoke of the doubling in fuel economy occasioned by the law, but then -- in a story I'd never heard -- spoke of trying to incorporate pickups and the forebears of today's gas-guzzling SUVs into the law. Unfortunately, this provision was "hijacked," as he put it, and became an exemption for so-called "work trucks," even when they did nothing more than ferry suburban hausfraus around. Thankfully last year's energy bill finally closed this disastrous SUV loophole. White noted that he himself drives a car that gets 49 miles per gallon and while he's happy about the big boost in CAFE, we "can do, shoulda done, and will do better." He agreed that doubling our current fuel economy is "not a stretch" and could be done with technology that exists today. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that he's switched over the vast majority of the city's fleet of passenger vehicles and public buses to hybrids and is now looking to the other vehicles like garbage trucks.
Today's first panel focused on "supply-side solutions" and featured quite a line-up: Dana Flanders, President, Chevron Technology Ventures James Hackett, Chairman, President, and CEO, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation Thad Hill, Executive Vice President and President, NRG Texas Robert Kelly, Founding Director, DKRW Energy LLC Aubrey McClendon, Chairman of the Board, CEO and Director, Chesapeake Energy Corporation This being a veritable who's who of the old energy economy, I was interested to see what they would say when among friends, as it were. While it started out positive, with Chevron's Flanders citing efficiency ("a barrel saved is a barrel found") as the most promising new technology, things went downhill quickly as the discussion turned to the promise of oil shale and other unconventional fossil fuels like tar sands and liquid coal. For his part, NRG's Hill repeated the talking points the nuclear industry is aggressively pushing these days. He referred to the nuclear waste issue as "not that big of a problem" and cited politics as the only real obstacle. Somehow I think the people of Nevada might disagree. And despite shockingly serious recent incidents in Japan and here in the U.S. at the Davis Besse facility in Ohio, Hall claims that nukes have had a "phenomenal safety record." The most interesting -- and perhaps telling -- comments came from the head of Anadarko, one of the biggest oil exploration companies in the world. After some platitudes around environmentalism in regards to more drilling, particularly in the Arctic Refuge, he went on the attack.
Know how the U.S. hasn’t even figured out a long-term solution for its own nuclear waste? Perhaps importing 20,000 tons of radioactive material from Italy might not be the best idea. Not to mention that we don’t want to do the Italians any favors until they decriminalize crotch-grabbing.