Climate & Energy

How many Texas mayors does it take … ?

... to change the lightbulbs Texans use? The answer turns out to be ... five:

Tracking Lieberman-Warner

Boxer statement

Barbara Boxer is, of course, glowing:

Severe precipitation in U.S. significantly increased over past half-century, says report

The number of severe rainfalls and snowstorms across the U.S. has increased by around 24 percent in the last 50 years, says a new report from green group Environment America. In five states — Louisiana, …

Tracking Lieberman-Warner

A roundup of today’s action in the Senate Environment Committee

It took nine and a half hours of chipping away at a seemingly infinite stream of amendments -- some positive, some poison-pills -- but the Senate Environment and Public Works committee favorably reported Joe Lieberman and John Warner's greenhouse gas bill, America's Climate Security Act, today. The process wasn't easy. Republicans came armed with about 150 amendments, some of which were so toxic and clearly non-passable that it appeared they were simply trying to obstruct or derail the proceedings altogether. Indeed, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, aware that the amendment avalanche would take hours to overcome, called the Senate floor to order at noon, two and a half hours later than usual, to help the bill along. It was a procedural move, designed to buy the committee time lest Republicans take advantage of a rule that would have allowed them to derail the entire proceeding. Perhaps thanks to Reid's maneuvering, that never came to pass. Unfortunately, neither did a handful of extremely important amendments -- introduced by Senators Clinton and Sanders -- that would have strengthened ACSA enough to please dark greens, a constituency that has thus far been unimpressed with the bill's wide array of compromise measures. At the end of a very long day, though, there were only a couple of surprises. That the bill passed was expected; that the bill was only modestly improved was expected; that Hillary Clinton didn't show up was expected. What wasn't expected -- at least at the outset -- was that the whole process would go so smoothly. Yes, it took an extremely long time, but in the end, the minority withdrew or didn't introduce most of their amendments, and they never overtly attempted to derail the proceedings, allowing the process to be completed within one day. Then there was the other big surprise: Sen. Bernie Sanders voted to report the legislation favorably out of the committee.

Ethanol and <em>E. coli</em>, part II

Use of distiller grains in livestock rations has exploded

Yesterday, I posted about how feeding cattle distillers grains — the leftover from the corn-based ethanol process — seems to raise the incidence of E. coli 0157. I was a bit vague on precisely how …

Tracking Lieberman-Warner

And the vote is …

"I now move that S.2192, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2007, be reported favorably." And here's the roll call: 11 Yeahs: Baucus Boxer Cardin Carper Clinton by proxy Klobuchar Lautenberg by proxy Lieberman Sanders by proxy Warner Whitehouse 8 Nays: Alexander Barrasso Bond by proxy Craig Inhofe Isakson Vitter Voinovich A full roundup will be forthcoming.

Keep it simple, stupid!

How to structure a cap-and-trade program

From an awesomely meaty article on cap-and-trade from The San Francisco Chronicle comes this pearl of wisdom (in bold at the bottom of the quote): [T]he lesson of the acid rain program is to keep the plan simple and easy for all parties to understand. "If it starts to employ a lot of special provisions to take care of every party's special needs ... and if it starts to look like the Chicago phone book, then throw it out," [RFF economist Dallas Burtraw] said. "A poorly designed market is worse than no market at all." I'm not sure I'd go quite that far -- a carbon market's a pretty important thing, and I'd be willing to live with a less-than-perfect system if it's the only one that's politically feasible. That said, amen to the virtues of simplicity! Obviously, when designing a cap-and-trade program, there will be all sorts of pressure to create special interest loopholes, or dole out goodies to favored constituencies. Over the short-term, that might seem like smart politics -- but over the long-term, the political drawbacks of a clunky, unworkable program will far exceed any short-term benefits.

Humor fails

Saddening video report on Indonesian palm oil plantations

Here is a short, painful four-minute news report about palm oil plantations -- watch it and weep:

States petition U.S. EPA to regulate airline emissions

The U.S. EPA should regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from aircraft going in and out of U.S. airports, say five states that filed a petition today. “The EPA has abdicated its responsibility in this area for years, …

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