Climate & Energy

Tracking Lieberman-Warner

Winning over the environmentalists?

To get this thing through today, Lieberman can't afford to lose the support of more than one Democrat. At the end of the subcommittee process, after watching almost all of his amendments killed, Bernie Sanders voted against the bill. His no vote was offset, though, by an affirmative vote by Sen. John Warner (R-Va.). Today, that may change. During his opening statements, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who has a strong environmental record, gushed over ACSA, and Sanders himself called the legislation a "major step forward." "I want to thank Senators Boxer, Lieberman, and Warner for revising the bill," Sanders said, for changing the language in the bill to make sure that $300 billion in auction revenue is dedicated to sustainable energy. Sanders has brought more amendments with him today, and I can't say for sure that I know how he'll vote. But he is a bellwether. And if his opening statement is any indication, Lieberman-Warner has a really good shot of making it to the Senate floor.

Tracking Lieberman-Warner

The mark-up zoo

David is correct here. The Republicans desperately want to turn this markup session into a long, boring circus. They've come armed with about 150 amendments, dozens of which will come to a vote, almost all of which will be defeated. Here, via Hill Heat, are just a few doozies: Vitter proposed 14 amendments: Amendments 1 and 5 allow offshore and on-land natural gas drilling, respectively Amendments 2 and 3 require studies on industry displacement Amendment 4 allows renewable fuel program credits to qualify as emissions credits Amendments 6 and 9 removes various sources from coverage Amendment 7 removes injury liability from CCS activities Amendment 8 prevents implementation if other environmental regulations are found to be adversely impacted Amendment 10 restricts permit banking to 18 months on non-covered entities (a change requested by the AFL-CIO) Amendment 11 modifies transportation fuel coverage Amendments 12-14 make "technical" corrections ... Isakson proposed four amendments, three of which support nuclear energy. Amendment 3 prohibits the enactment of a cap without sufficient known technology, an amendment which failed in subcommittee ... Inhofe proposed approximately 45 amendments, some of which are joke amendments (#12 "directs 20% of all auction proceeds be used to build homeless shelters for families without shelter as a result of job displacement due to this Act"). Amendments #23-#28 are pro-nuclear. Amendment #32 increases the auction percentage to 100% by 2029. Amendment #38 overrides the Massachusetts vs. EPA decision. The Democrats, by contrast, will propose about 30 amendments, many of which would drastically improve America's Climate Security Act. Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) proposed similar versions of some of these way back when the legislation was marked up in subcommittee. Back then, Sen. Lieberman (I-Conn.) reflexively killed all of them. I sort of doubt that's changed, but we'll see ...

Let's price carbon

Conservatives still don’t seem to get global warming

Many political observers — those, at least, not wholly gutted by cynicism after eight years of criminally negligent Republican leadership — wonder when public concern over global warming will prompt a serious, thoughtful conservative response. Those hoping for real solutions from the GOP political leadership may have a long time to wait, but some conservative thinkers are beginning to wrestle with warming in an intellectually honest, if mistaken, manner. Over at The American Scene, one of the best sources for quality conservative writing around, Jim Manzi recently laid out a detailed argument against a carbon tax. It’s worth noting that …

Bali conference keeps on keepin’ on

The news from Bali: Teeny-tiny island nations pleaded with delegates for protection and compensation for the impacts of rising seas and other climatic consequences. United Nations climate chief Yvo de Boer expressed hope that delegates would make operational the Adaptation Fund, a woefully underfunded um, fund for helping developing countries adapt to climate change. Delegates set up a working group to establish a calendar for negotiations and to study ways to transfer clean technologies to developing nations. German newspaper Der Spiegel is reporting that the U.S. is discreetly in talks with China and India to derail any binding agreement for …

Some 150 million people will be at risk from flooding by 2070, says report

Some 150 million people in the world’s biggest cities could be at risk of flooding by 2070, and at-risk coastal property could have a value of $35 trillion, says a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. About 40 million people and $3 trillion worth of property are now at risk, but population growth and urban development will make those numbers skyrocket by 2070, the report said. In a list of the 136 port cities most likely to be at risk from catastrophic flooding in 2070, India took the top two, with Calcutta and Mumbai. The rest of …

The <em>NYT</em>'s Tom Friedman is wrong

We are not yet the ‘people we have been waiting for’ to solve ‘global weirding’

In general, I am a big fan of New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, one of the few national columnists who writes regularly and intelligently on energy and climate matters. But his recent column, "The People We Have Been Waiting For," goes off track -- twice. First, he writes: ... sweet-sounding "global warming" doesn't really capture what's likely to happen. I prefer the term "global weirding," coined by Hunter Lovins, co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute, because the rise in average global temperature is going to lead to all sorts of crazy things -- from hotter heat spells and droughts in some places, to colder cold spells and more violent storms, more intense flooding, forest fires and species loss in other places. Well, he deserves half credit. Yes, "global warming" is inadequate to describe the coming nightmare -- but "global weirding" simply isn't a serious-enough term -- it could just as easily be used to describe the world's growing fascination with reality TV (or videos of piano-playing cats and skateboarding dogs). Also, the word "weird" strongly implies something either supernatural or bizarrely unexpected. What's happening to the planet is pure science and has been predicted for decades -- nothing weird about that except maybe it's happening faster than most scientists projected. Readers know I prefer the term "Hell and High Water" -- since at least it accurately describes what is coming. [Note to self: It didn't catch on. Let it go.] My guess is we're stuck with "global warming."

Texas mayors want CFL to be state light bulb

The state bird of Texas is the mockingbird. The state song is “Texas, Our Texas.” The Texas state footwear is the cowboy boot, its tie the bolo tie, and its pepper the jalapeño. Now, five Texas mayors have called for the Lone Star State to have an official state light bulb: the compact fluorescent. Which, while laudable, sheds no light on why Texas is the only state with an official state cooking implement: the Dutch oven.

Maybe not such a great idea after all?

Feeding ethanol waste to cows

Perhaps the most persistent debate around corn ethanol involves its “net energy balance” — that is, whether it consumes more energy in production than it delivers as a fuel. Even the studies that credit the fuel with a robust energy balance, like this one from the USDA, acknowledge that it’s pretty much a wash unless you account for the "co-product" of the ethanol-making process. The ethanol process consumes only the starch component of corn, leaving behind nearly a third of the input corn as a high-protein, high-fat substance called "distillers grains." According to ethanol boosters, this stuff makes a high-quality …

If it is to be war ...

Senate Republicans vow to filibuster energy bill

The E&E headline sums it up: "Senate GOP plots ‘war’ over House energy plan" (sub rqd). It sounds like Pelosi has done her job, restoring to the bill most of the provisions greens have been stumping for, including the RES and removal of some tax breaks from the oil industry: House Democratic leaders today said the bill will include a roughly $21 billion tax package aimed at expanding renewable energy and energy efficiency incentives. Of that, roughly $13.5 billion in new taxes would be directed at oil companies to help offset the costs, a House Democratic aide said. That’s not …

Welcome to the new Grist. Tell us what you think, or if it's your first time learn about us. Grist is celebrating 15 years. ×