Climate & Energy

U.S. Mayors Climate Conference: Gore V

Gore: Population one of the causes of climate change, but not one of the policy solutions

Sue Greenwald, mayor of Davis, Calif., asked a question that becomes inevitable when more than one environmentalist is in the room: does "population control" have any role in the climate movement? People laughed nervously. Gore immediately said, courteously but firmly, that if you go to developing countries using the term "population control," they’re going to see that as … well, his term was "aggressive." I probably would have used something stronger. Then, in characteristic fashion, he said, "let me back up." First, he said, it’s true that the population explosion is one of the principle causes of climate change — …

Energy bill for dummies

What’s going on with the energy bill in Congress

The following is a guest essay from Julia Bovey, federal communications director for the Natural Resources Defense Council and blogger at NRDC’s Switchboard. —– When I left my native Boston for Washington, D.C., I bought several new things, including navy-blue closed-toed pumps and a copy of Congress for Dummies. While more women than I was led to believe wear open-toes in the Capitol, I have been making excellent use of Congress for Dummies as I try to interpret what the heck is going on with the energy bill up there. To refresh, both the House and the Senate passed pretty …

U.S. Mayors Climate Conference: Gore IV

Gore: no more coal plants without sequestration

Mayor Mark Stodola of Little Rock, Ark., asked Gore squarely about coal. He said that his city’s electrical rates had been rising, but that a new coal plant opening soon was going to lower the bills. Naturally, my ears perked up. Gore said coal is where "the rubber meets the road." We have enough coal here and in China to "incinerate the planet." And right now, electricity is being "recarbonized." "We just can’t do that." The future of coal depends substantially on carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), and right now, CCS is difficult and expensive. Some people are doing it …

Bill Clinton partners with Wal-Mart to create green-tech buying club for cities

At a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Seattle yesterday, former President Bill Clinton announced that his foundation’s Clinton Climate Initiative is pursuing new green plans to help curb climate change. CCI is partnering with low-price expert Wal-Mart to create a many-city bulk-buying club to lower prices on greener building materials and energy-efficient technologies for the world’s cities. The club is open to the world’s 40 largest cities as well as the 1,100 cities and towns that are part of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Clinton said that climate change is, “in my view, for the United States, …

U.S. Mayors Climate Conference: Gore III

Gore: It’s not Kyoto but its successor that needs political support

Tallahassee Mayor John Marks stood to introduce himself and Gore said dryly, "I spent a lot of time there." Marks: "I wasn’t mayor then!" He asked Gore how to influence Congress to adopt Kyoto. Gore’s answer was, I think, fairly savvy. In essence, he said that the Kyoto "brand" is tarnished, probably beyond rehabilitation, and efforts are better directed at getting a strong successor to Kyoto in 2009 — whatever it’s called. He drew a comparison to nuclear nonproliferation agreements. Jimmy Carter pushed them hard, in the context of an administration seen as bumbling on foreign policy (that’s my gloss, …

U.S. Mayors Climate Conference: Gore II

Gore: carbon credits and offsets a good thing if used responsibly

Joy Miller of Hallandale Beach asked Gore about carbon credits and offsets — "buying our way out of the problem." You won’t be surprised to hear that Gore’s answer was wonky and careful and came in parts. He said credits are a “good thing” if the standards and information are in place to validate their quality. "The economy can be an ally," and we know cap-and-trade systems work. However, if used irresponsibly, as a substitute for direct reductions, they can be counterproductive. (The same issues face individuals with voluntary offsets.) That segued into a discussion of the EU trading system …

America’s Climate Security Act passes first legislative hurdle

A climate bill that would require mandatory cuts to U.S. carbon emissions has passed its first legislative hurdle, successfully enduring a hearing of a congressional subcommittee. America’s Climate Security Act made it through the Subcommittee on Private Sector and Consumer Solutions to Global Warming and Wildlife Protection (or, as we say around the office, SubPSCSGWWP) on a 4-3 vote. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who tried to spice up the bill with more environmentally friendly provisions at the hearing, ultimately voted against its passage due to, among other things, its relatively weak targets for reducing emissions: reductions of up to 19 …

Step It Up climate rallies to be held around the country on Saturday

Sixty-nine members of Congress and seven presidential candidates have committed to attend Step It Up rallies on Saturday and talk about their plans to fight climate change. Will you be there to hear what they have to say? Events are planned for dozens of communities all around the U.S. — come on out and make your voice heard. find an event: <a href="

U.S. Mayors Climate Conference: Gore I

Gore addresses mayors via satellite

Sorry I wasn’t able to do my signature live-blogging today — there was no wi-fi at the Edgewater, or rather, they had wi-fi you had to pay for, and I’m cheap. Plus we left mid-day to go see Clinton’s address, and there wasn’t wi-fi at Benaroya Hall either. When oh when will Seattle get municipal broadband wi-fi? At this afternoon’s luncheon, Al Gore spoke to the mayors conference via satellite. (He claimed he couldn’t be here in person because his wife Tipper had her first photography exhibition today in Nashville. Irresponsible speculation ensued among, um, me and others that he …