Climate & Energy

Airline slows down to reduce emissions

Scandinavian airline SAS has found a viable way to cut down on greenhouse-gas emissions and fuel costs: fly slower. The airline has been testing slower …

Consumers in the driver's seat

It’s shifting consumer demand that will drive increases in vehicle fuel efficiency

I frequently read about perceived (or alleged) disagreements between the environmental community and the auto industry. A few of them are real disagreements over policy, many are practical disagreements over how best to achieve common goals, but many perceived disagreements are not, in fact, disagreements at all. For instance, some people believe the auto industry stands in the way of higher average fuel efficiency in the U.S. That's just not the case, which I'll explain in a moment. First, an area of agreement: in his New York Times column, Paul Krugman writes about fuel efficiency and our automotive future:

Intensity vs. preference

Climate, as such, is unlikely to ever be a determinant of many votes

Chris Hayes emphasizes the difference between, in Grover Norquist’s terms, "intensity and preference" — issues that people vote on vs. ones they merely respond to …

Mark Bittman

What’s wrong with what we eat

Powerful stuff.

Early warning signs at the Global Warming Café

The Climate Policy Paradigm has reached its endgame

It takes effort to suit up in the quasi-business/academic garb of the professional environmentalist and enter the lion's den of DC politics or the state houses. Our beliefs are so fundamentally at odds with the very fabric of civic life that it requires an effort of will, particularly in the early years, not to scream bloody murder and run for the door. Over decades, layers of accommodation and polite behavior have built up by accretion, while our rough edges have been worn down. The net result is a worldview -- we may call it the "Climate Policy Paradigm" -- that is so universally accepted that it goes unnoticed, yet its power is so great that we have abandoned the precautionary principle, environmentalism's central guide for action, with barely a murmur when the two came in conflict. Two hundred people turned out to hear Ross Gelbspan speak at the Jamaica Plain Forum a couple months ago. He gave us an hour of unvarnished truth, summarized recent climate science, and drove home the reality that nothing short of immediate, transformative, global action is sufficient. Climate campaign staff followed up at a "Global Warming Café," presenting our standard three-part story: first, we can turn things around, indeed we are already starting to do so; second, sound energy policy is good for America, because it will reduce dependence on foreign oil and create green jobs; and third, there are two things individuals can do: urge members of Congress to support emissions reduction bills and reduce our own carbon footprints. The audience joined in small group discussions, contributing their own tips on mulching and insulating hot water pipes, but the disparity between the terrible picture Ross painted and the flimsy action activists were invited to take left a palpable pall in the auditorium.

Kentucky fried agitprop

Kentucky taxpayers pony up $400,000 a year for coal industry ‘educational materials’

Some crackerjack reporting by John Cheves in the Lexington Herald-Leader finds that the state of Kentucky sinks about $400,000 of taxpayer money a year into …

Safety pin

Senate Energy and Natural Resources hearing to stoke fear about the costs of climate legislation

Speaking of cost-containment and the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is holding a hearing tomorrow on “recent reports analyzing …

Boxer briefs

Barbara Boxer circulates an outline of her amendment to Lieberman-Warner

On Friday, Senate Environment and Public Works chair Barbara Boxer released an outline of what promises to be the version of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security …

Bar wars

Legal strategies for battling climate change

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. When President Bush delivered his much-hyped climate policy speech from the Rose Garden last April (see here), he voiced an interesting concern. He's worried that the courts will do what the other two branches of government have failed to do: take meaningful action to curb the country's carbon emissions. "We face a growing problem here at home," the president said. "Some courts are taking laws written more than 30 years ago -- to primarily address local and regional environmental effects -- and applying them to global climate change." "Decisions with such far-reaching impact should not be left to unelected regulators and judges," he continued. "Such decisions should be opened -- debated openly; such decisions should be made by the elected representatives of the people they affect. The American people deserve an honest assessment of the costs, benefits and feasibility of any proposed solution." The White House promised that Bush's Rose Garden remarks would be important and it was correct: The president's call for open debate and an honest assessment of climate action was a major policy shift. His complaint about unelected judges making decisions was specious, however. The elected members of past Congresses and Bush's predecessors signed the 30-year-old laws on which some of the current court decisions are based. Old laws are being applied to global warming because the current Congress and White House have failed to pass new ones.

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