Climate & Energy

Why a climate bill in 2008? Part IV

Time to kick the oil habit

This is the latest in a series on why it is important to push hard for climate legislation this year. Over the past few months, I've made the case for passing climate legislation in 2008: We don't want to squander the current momentum, we simply can't afford to wait, and while we do, we only prolong a dangerous catch-22. Now we're finally on the doorstep of Senate action on a comprehensive climate change bill. Floor debate over the Climate Security Act (S. 3036) will begin Monday, June 2. If opponents of meaningful action have their way, the debate will be nothing more than a short, partisan fight over gas prices. You can already hear the predictable scare tactics: "Why would we want to raise gas prices now, when working Americans are already suffering at the pump?" That's a phony argument -- but it brings me to another reason for passing a climate bill in 2008: It's time to kick our oil habit, and the best way to do that is with a cap-and-trade policy that reduces our dependence on fossil fuels. Gas prices are at a record high because of growing demand from China and other developing nations. That's not going to change. The only solution is to end our addiction to oil.

<em>Time</em> for tar sands

The mag exalts Canada’s potential to become the Saudi Arabia of the north

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, executive director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. ----- I consider Time to be one of the more forward-looking periodicals when it comes to the environment. But the editors messed up in this week's edition. The June 2 Time carries a breathless feature about the potential petroleum bonanza in Canada's tar sands. The article's authors are so giddy with the testosterone rush of big-ass earth-moving machines that they forgot what a multifaceted disaster this "bonanza" would be. The magazine quotes tar men in Alberta as they marvel at their own ability to move mountains ... literally. At one open-pit mine, a manager brags that his operation moves enough dirt every 48 hours to fill Toronto's 60,000-seat SkyDome. "A year from now, that mountain won't be there," he says, referring to a wall of black soil. Some of the biggest trucks on earth, 20 feet tall, carrying 320 tons of dirt in each load, crawl through the "stark landscape of jack pine, spruce and poplar forests" like Tonka toys built for Paul Bunyan. How intense is the mining?

Zap a lobbyist

A lobbyist and a lie detector.

Growth industry

Club for Growth starts campaign to derail Lieberman-Warner

The Club for Growth — a conservative group “dedicated to helping elect pro-growth, pro-freedom candidates through political contributions and issue advocacy campaigns” — is already …

Climate and service

Obama’s commencement speech calls for service to the country, planet on climate front

David beat me to a post on Barack Obama’s commencement speech at Wesleyan on Sunday. The part about climate change and clean energy was good, …

Miles Outlandish

How to green your commute

Greening your life in lots of areas is a relatively simple affair, involving you, your conscience, and your wallet. Greening your commute is a tad …

Swedish company will vend verified sustainable ethanol

Swedish biofuel company SEKAB says it will become the first company to vend ethanol verified to be environmentally and socially sustainable. The company is partnering …

Lobbying for the enemy of the human race

Million here, million there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money: Peabody Investments Corp., a subsidiary of coal producer Peabody Energy Corp., spent nearly $1.3 …

Feeding the food-for-fuel debate

USDA defends America’s fuel supply

Vinod Khosla. Photo: brettwayn via Flickr. Much of what Vinod Khosla had to say in his latest post, and my responses to that post here, have been covered in previous posts. So, if some of this sounds eerily familiar, now you know why. Admittedly, I have an advantage in this debate because he can't respond directly to my arguments. Remember the West Wing episode where the Josh Lyman character makes the mistake of responding to a blogger? On the other hand, I'm not an independent blogger with my own website. Thus, the fine line between courage and stupidity. May I offer an apology to Grist for my stupidity and my thanks for allowing me to express it. Khosla begins his defense reiterating the following belief: In fact, I strongly believe any nascent technology that cannot exist without subsidies beyond an introductory period will not gain market penetration and is not worth supporting ...