Climate & Energy

Two new environmental blogs

In general, I have been critical of media coverage of global warming. So I am pleased to announce that two of the best environmental journalists working have launched blogs: • A new environmental blog from Mark Hertsgaard, the terrific environment correspondent for The Nation (and author of a lot of great books). • A new sustainability blog from The New York Times, dotearth, led by their first-rate climate reporter, Andrew Revkin. Revkin notes the limits of the traditional media on these issues:

CAFE: Still possible

Citigroup finds Senate fuel efficiency targets attainable

Financial giant Citigroup recently analyzed the question of whether the CAFE fuel-efficiency targets in the Senate energy bill are possible for the automakers to meet. Its finding: Yes, they are "tough but attainable" (sub rqd), and might even prove a net financial benefit. Said Rep. Ed Markey: "When you have the world’s number one bank, which has financial ties to many major automakers, saying fuel economy standards are a good economic play, it drives a stake through the heart of the auto industry’s scare tactics." Yup.

Everything: Still going to hell

Brundtland update finds problems unsolved

How about a big, gristly, indigestible hunk of bad news? Yeah? OK! Everything that was going to hell 20 years ago is still going to hell (sub rqd): Twenty years after the seminal … Brundtland Commission report "Our Common Future" warned of persistent global environmental degradation, the most pressing concerns facing the world’s climate and ecology show no signs of improvement. … "On all the fundamental major challenges and trends that Brundtland identified 20 years ago we have not turned the corner, and that is an extremely sobering analysis," said UNEP director Achim Steiner in a press conference. … Overall, …

Cheese-eating tax monkeys

French prez Sarkozy backs carbon tax

Via CK at the CTC, I see that French president Nicolas Sarkozy has called for a carbon tax in France, as well a a levy on imports from countries that don’t participate in the Kyoto Protocol. Hm, who might those be? U.S. right-wingers like to use Sarkozy as a rhetorical bludgeon, showing that Europe is moving toward the U.S. rather than vice versa. I wonder if this will cause any of their little pea brains to short-circuit. If the tax issue doesn’t, this surely will: "Today you become known as a great friend of the people of this planet," said …

New York gets it right

NY Gov. Spitzer favors 100% auction under RGGI

New York state has announced that they intend to auction 100% of their carbon allowances under RGGI. This is a good thing. There is a 60 day comment period now open. File those comments, NY Gristers!

French president launches environmental initiatives

French President Nicolas Sarkozy today described a smattering of green initiatives for the country, prescribing some and promising to study others. Capping a two-day conference on ways France could green itself, Sarkozy outlined the policy ideas in a speech, with climate campaigner Al Gore looking on. Afterward, Gore offered the praise he was likely invited for, saying of the proposals, “This is the beginning of an historic process.” Sarkozy said France would invest in greening its buildings, suspend the commercial planting of genetically modified crops, discourage use of inefficient cars, and will also halt construction of new roads and airports. …

The dawning recognition

Climate change mitigation: not all gravy and low-hanging fruit

Anybody who refers to insulating trailers as the "trench warfare of climate change" has my attention -- clearly someone who understands that the response we need is far more than handwaving that implies an ability to distribute capital and expertise around the globe at an instant's notice. Give it a read; it's a great article on the reality behind the hype of the easy response to climate disruption, and a good discussion of why RECs are so problematic.

Save the children

Stop dwelling on the climate change nightmare and dream about change

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, executive director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. ----- When I was a child in the 1950s, I went about my business with a little cloud hanging over my head. It didn't matter whether I was playing in the backyard, studying in my bedroom or suffering from my first romantic crush (Annette on the Mickey Mouse Club). The cloud was always there. It was the fear of nuclear war. We lived in suburbs west of Chicago. All day long, jets flew overhead on their way to O'Hare International Airport, sometimes so high that they were just a silver spot gleaming in the sun as they moved across the sky. When I saw one, I stopped what I was doing and waited several minutes to see if a mushroom cloud appeared to the east over Chicago. Once I saw the mushroom, I knew from school, our neighborhood would be flattened a few seconds later. It never happened, of course. I can't say that the cloud ruined my childhood or followed me into adulthood, but its shadow came back to mind Friday night (Oct. 19) as I watched John Stossel's latest "Give Me a Break" segment on ABC.

Lieberman-Warner meets the microscope

America’s Climate Security Act gets its first hearing

The U.S. Senate held its first hearing today to examine America's Climate Security Act, the new climate-change bill introduced last Wednesday by Sens. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.). Given that the hearing was convened by a subcommittee that Lieberman chairs and on which Warner is ranking member, it should be no surprise that the expert witnesses overwhelmingly approved of the legislation. Normally at subcommittee hearings, members of the minority party are less inclined to attend. Their voices are overwhelmed, their issues are not at stake, and their input often isn't appreciated in any meaningful way. As today's hearing convened, though, the Republican side of the stage was at capacity -- every seat filled by its rightful senator, and staffers seated and standing behind them -- while on the Democratic side, less than a handful of people showed up. One of them was Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont who caucuses with the Democrats; he was the sole official voice speaking up for significant strengthening of the bill. Sanders stood by the work he'd done with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) in crafting a much stricter climate bill. He called for incentivizing clean energies like wind, solar, and geothermal; pointed out the great opportunity a new energy regime would present for creating new jobs; and warned that insufficient action could spell calamity for billions of people. (Boxer could not attend, according to a letter distributed by her staff, because of the wildfire crisis in California.) On the Republican side, some senators -- usual suspects like James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) -- opposed the legislation outright. But many others simply wanted to express their concerns that the bill might hurt the American economy or that it featured too few subsidies for the nuclear and coal industries.

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