Climate & Energy

Gore's moral obligation

Why Al Gore isn’t running for president

As Hillary, Obama, and Edwards continue to slug it out in the early primary states, one name is conspicuously absent among the Democratic candidates to become the next president of the United States. Where is Al Gore? The man who received more votes than George W. Bush did in 2000, who served eight years as Bill Clinton's vice president, and whose climate change evangelism has been rewarded with an Oscar and Nobel Peace Prize has resolutely refused to enter the race, even though he might well have won it. Ever since the documentary An Inconvenient Truth catapulted Gore to international superstardom in 2006, countless citizens and opinion leaders at home and abroad have urged him to pursue the presidency. For its 2007 Person of the Year issue, Time magazine asked Gore if he did not have "a moral obligation" to run, given the unparalleled power of the White House and the urgency of the climate crisis. Gore gave much the same answer he has been giving for months now: although he had "not completely ruled out the possibility," he did not expect to run for office; the best thing he could do to fight climate change was to stay focused on "changing public opinion."

Public vs. private commitment

Research on changing behavior

Frank Zaski is a retired auto executive who has made something of a name for himself by pursuing a campaign to get shopping mall owners to turn down the heat. He put together some interesting thoughts on how to get people to use energy more wisely:

The trust factor

What qualities do we need in a president who will get things done?

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, executive director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. ----- Change -- a perennial theme in presidential campaigns -- has taken on a more serious meaning this election season. Of all the promises being put forward by the presidential candidates, change may be the most frequent. "Change" usually is a word used by candidates who don't have much Washington experience, but want to package their inexperience as a virtue. But allegiance to "change" is far more important If we want to confront global warming, energy insecurity and peak oil over the next four to eight years -- not to mention Iraq, the deficit, health care costs, and several other messes the Bush administration is leaving to its successors -- change will be the name of the game. Big change, in fact. There is wide acknowledgment that Americans need to come together to solve some of these problems. We need a uniter, not a divider, in the White House -- for real this time. We have enough common causes, certainly, around which we should rally. What we don't have is trust.

Like a red-headed step planet

How will climate play in the general election?

This CQ article is disturbing for two reasons. One, it confirms my worst fears about a McCain candidacy: Today, McCain’s position would be relatively close to that of the Democratic nominee in a general election. Only on the most superficial level, but then, I guess that’s the level we play on during campaigns. … if Republicans nominate a cap-and-trade proponent for president — McCain or possibly Huckabee — the GOP side could play up the issue in an attempt to take votes away from the Democrat. "My guess is that Senator McCain will continue talking about it even though there …

Lucy and the football

Credulous ‘former advisors’ notwithstanding, no, Bush is not going to help on climate legislation

This, from Greenwire (sub rqd), made me laugh: Would President Bush sign a global warming bill into law before leaving office one year from now? … Ken Mehlman, head of Bush’s 2004 re-election bid and former chairman of the Republican National Committee, told reporters Friday that he would urge the White House to support legislation that sets mandatory limits on U.S. heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions. Bush’s signature on such a bill would make sense, Mehlman said … Wait a minute! Isn’t Mehlman a notorious party hack? What the hell is … "… an appropriate next step," said Mehlman, now a …

As nations trail behind ...

States and provinces lead on climate initiatives

"State and regional governments around the world ... are fast becoming an essential and effective part of the movement to combat climate change," says The Climate Group in a new report. "Low Carbon Leader: States and Regions" (PDF) profiles 12 exemplars including California, which in 2006 enacted the first economy-wide cap on carbon emissions in the U.S., and Northeast states moving to implement the first U.S. carbon cap-and-trade system. The report notes that U.S. states, ranked individually among other nations, represent 34 of the world's 75 leading global warming pollution sources. California ranks 12th. Subnational governments have critical roles to play in carbon pollution reduction, both directly and in terms of the influence they can bring to bear on national governments, The Climate Group notes.

Let the games begin

Ragtag youth and ABEC face off in South Carolina

Photo: iStockphoto On the eve of the South Carolina Democratic primary, some battles are being fought on stage, and others in the parking lot. This primary season, leading up to arguably the most important presidential election in recent history, has been a circus. Even outside the candidate events, voters waiting in line to cheer Huckabee or Obama might see confederate-flag-jacket-donning Ron Paul supporters espouse southern pride, orange-shirted volunteers collect petitions about Darfur, and PETA organizers dressed up as pigs holding puzzling signs that say "Stop Global Warming, Tax Meat." And while all the presidential campaigns try to capture the media's attention by printing more and bigger signs, and turning out louder supporters, they can't quite keep the menagerie at bay. In a way, this is all good for democracy -- it shows that volunteers and organizations are pressuring candidates on specific issues, many of which the candidates have not sufficiently addressed on the stump or in debates. Politicians have a knack for beating around the bush. But, when a corporate-funded group joins the cast, as the euphemistic Americans for Balanced Energy Choices has, the parking lot battles really begin.

Under pressure

E.U. considers pollution charges on imports from U.S. and other climate scofflaws

U.S. failure to enact limits on global warming emissions could cost American companies that export to the European Union. E.U. President Jose Manuel Barroso on Sunday said the European Commission is considering a charge on importers from nations without carbon limits. Companies from those countries may be required to buy carbon emissions allowances on exports into the E.U. This is intended to level the playing field with European companies who are already part of the European Emissions Trading System instituted to meet E.U. obligations under the Kyoto climate treaty. Barroso said the Commission could "require importers to obtain allowances (emissions permits) alongside European competitors ... There would be no point in pushing EU companies to cut emissions if the only result is that production and indeed pollution shifts to countries with no carbon disciplines at all."

Global warming will reduce U.S. hurricane landfall, says controversial new research

The argument over whether climate change is real has largely subsided — and, as nature abhors a vacuum, another tiff has risen to fill its place. What effect will global warming have on hurricanes? Them’s fightin’ words! Various studies have suggested that climate change will increase hurricane frequency and intensity, but new research by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggests that warming oceans will in fact reduce the number of Atlantic hurricanes that hit land in the U.S. Critics of the new study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, say the research is based on flawed data that …

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