Climate & Energy

More on EPA’s waiver decision

Juliet Eilperin’s got a really crackerjack story on the California waiver in the WaPo. It’s devastating to Johnson. It also confirms a lot of stuff that I, a mere blogger, could only speculate about irresponsibly. First of all, the EPA staff was foursquare against this decision: EPA’s lawyers and policy staff had reached the same conclusion [that the decision is "legally and technically unjustified and indefensible"], said several agency officials familiar with the process. In a PowerPoint presentation prepared for the administrator, aides wrote that if Johnson denied the waiver and California sued, “EPA likely to lose suit.” If he …

U.S. EPA won’t let California enact vehicle greenhouse-gas limits

The U.S. EPA has denied California the waiver it needed to enact a state law requiring a 30 percent reduction in vehicle greenhouse-gas emissions by 2016. Said EPA chief Stephen Johnson, “The Bush administration is moving forward with a clear national solution — not a confusing patchwork of state rules — to reduce America’s climate footprint from vehicles.” But that decision was at odds with the unanimous recommendation of EPA’s legal and technical teams. The agency had delayed so long on making the decision that California sued to get ‘em to hurry up, obviously hoping for a different outcome. Sixteen …

Johnson's nuts

Analysis of the EPA’s decision to deny California’s waiver

As I mentioned below, today the U.S. EPA denied California’s request for a waiver exempting it from federal fuel economy standards, allowing it to implement its own standards. EPA administrator Stephen Johnson announced the decision in a rushed press conference following President Bush’s signing of the energy bill. The announcement came with a veritable torrent of dishonest spin. Let me try to disentangle some of it. 1. Johnson leaned heavily on today’s passage of the energy bill, saying that a "uniform national standard" is preferable to a "confusing patchwork of state standards." The "patchwork" line is completely disingenuous. There aren’t …

Breaking: EPA announcing ruling on California waiver at 6:30 Eastern

The EPA just sent out an email advisory saying that Administrator Stephen Johnson will announce the agency’s decision on the California air standards waiver … in about 30 minutes. (Background on the waiver issue here, here, and here.) The lack of lead time might lead one to believe that they want to bury this news. Which might lead one to believe that they’re going to deny California the waiver. Boxer and Waxman have both said they expect that outcome. That would prompt an all-out war from Schwarzenegger. Updates soon. UPDATE: Johnson speaking now. “National problem,” “Bush signed the energy bill,” …

Top British scientist tells women to stop drooling over gas-guzzling males

Hey ladies, wondering how to help fight climate change? It’s simple: just stop encouraging men who waste resources! In particular, said U.K. climate scientist David King this week, “stop admiring young men in Ferraris.” King’s comments were immediately pounced upon — not by feminists, but by Ferrari owners, who protested that their vehicles spew less than four-wheel-drive vehicles. Also they are not compensating for anything, and never have been. Thanks for asking.

TED talks

I keep seeing TED talks referenced here and there. I really need to start checking that site more often. Here are a couple of cool presentations. Amory Lovins on winning the oil endgame (sure to enrage all you car-haters out there): Larry Brilliant makes the case for optimism, or at least that’s what the talk is called — I watched it, and actually he makes an incredibly powerful case for pessimism, followed by a much weaker case for optimism: Here David Keith talks about shooting sulfur particles up into the atmosphere to slow global warming — the good and the …

European automakers in a snit over proposed EU emissions cuts

A European Union proposal to reduce average new-car CO2 emissions 20 percent by 2012 — and to fine automakers that don’t meet the target — has revved up observers on all sides. German Chancellor Angela Merkel — a climate Cassandra whose country is home to industry giants including Porsche, BMW, and DaimlerChrysler — took a public swipe at the unfairness of the plan; conservationists said it didn’t go far enough; and Peugeot called it “anti-ecological, anti-social, anti-economical, and anti-competitive in relation to non-European Union carmakers.” Man, we thought American automakers were melodramatic.

What are they waiting for?

A new site asks political talk show hosts to address climate change

In my introduction to Grist’s presidential forum on climate, I mentioned a statistic that came to me from Gene Karpinski of the League of Conservation Voters: as of mid-November, Tim Russert of Meet the Press had interviewed presidential candidates 16 times, asking nearly 300 questions, and had not mentioned "climate change" or "global warming" a single time. LCV has continued to pursue the issue, and today they’re launching a new site: "What are they waiting for?" It broadens the critique from Russert to all the Sunday political chat show hosts, noting that they have asked a cumulative 2,275 questions this …

Bush, Suboleski, and Blankenship

Bush appoints mountaintop-removal mining exec to key DOE position

Yesterday we learned that the Bush administration has appointed Stanley Suboleski to the position of assistant secretary for fossil energy for the Dept. of Energy. In that position, he would “oversee projects such as developing clean-coal technologies and carbon sequestration, and polices related to fossil fuels.” Suboleski is a long-time executive for Massey Energy, serving there in some capacity since 1981. His main role has been to help Massey evade or shut down the dozens of investigations launched against it for repeated violations of environmental laws. His appointment could not send a clearer signal: The DOE is committed to coal …