Climate & Energy

The ‘Nissan bloc’

Xenophobia rears its ugly head in the CAFE debate.

Tracking Lieberman-Warner: Next steps

What to expect going into Thursday

Thursday's the first "big day" for the Lieberman-Warner climate bill -- the first time the bill can be officially changed, for better or worse, before the vote determining whether the full Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will consider it. As it stands, the bill has the support of its authors, subcommittee chair Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and ranking member John Warner (R-Va.), plus, as announced last week, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mon.). That leaves four unknowns on the subcommittee that Lieberman chairs: Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). If they all vote no, the bill dies a quiet, unexpected death in subcommittee. I say unexpected because the sense on the Hill right now is that the bill will move forward. One Democratic staffer told me that four no's is not "a likely scenario." "It's important for people to know that nobody's looking for perfection" at this stage, the staffer said. What they're looking for is evidence that some of their more fundamental concerns are addressed and that the bill doesn't just move to the full committee exactly as introduced earlier this month. That said, Lautenberg and Sanders are ambitious environmentalists, and their fundamental concerns are many. They'll likely be expecting at least some strengthening of the weak emissions-credit auction, and some sharing of the extremely generous subsidies now going overwhelmingly to coal and auto industry. (Sanders wants more for clean energy.) [See this memo (PDF) from Friends of the Earth for the sheer magnitude of the proposed handouts.] As more information comes along, I'll pass it your way, and will provide continuing coverage on Thursday.

Tracking Lieberman-Warner: Bernie bashes the bill

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is no fan

Some harsh words just in from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.):

Post-Kyoto international climate policy

Two analysts argue for ditching Kyoto and finding something better

This is an interesting commentary in Nature, right on many details if, I think, wrong in spirit. Gwyn Prins & Steve Rayner argue that Kyoto has failed and should be abandoned. Its successor policy should: Focus mitigation efforts on the big emitters Allow genuine emissions markets to evolve from the bottom up Put public investment in energy R&D on a wartime footing Increase spending on adaptation Work the problem at appropriate scales I’d say that 3 and 4 command pretty broad agreement. Everyone thinks we need to be spending far more on energy R&D. Adaptation raises some hackles, as a …

Research panel discourages presidential plan for U.S. nuclear-waste reprocessing

A 17-member panel of researchers from the National Academy of Sciences released a report yesterday discouraging President Bush from continuing on his quest to resume U.S. nuclear waste reprocessing. The researchers said the president’s proposed Global Nuclear Energy Partnership plan has not been adequately peer reviewed and relies on unproven technology. Instead, the panel suggested that money currently going to GNEP should be redirected — to speeding construction of new nuclear power plants. Sigh, and we were all set to be cheery there for a moment.

Notable quotable

“I’ve been a Republican my whole life, but I’ll be doggoned if Al Gore isn’t right. Is it fair for you and me — this generation — to pollute for all the generations to come when we’re already seeing the effects — global warming, mercury, particulate matter?” – newly minted environmentalist Sammy Prim

From Campus: Making a power shift

Students organize summit on climate change

You know how some days you just get so wrapped up with those new Facebook apps that you barely notice when columnists in the nation's newspaper of note are talking shit about you behind your back? Earlier this month, Tom Friedman wrote: America needs a jolt of the idealism, activism and outrage ... of Generation Q [for "Quiet"]. That's what twentysomethings are for -- to light a fire under the country. But they can't email it in, and an online petition or a mouse click for carbon neutrality won't cut it ... Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy didn't change the world by asking people to join their Facebook crusades or to download their platforms. Activism can only be uploaded, the old-fashioned way -- by young voters speaking truth to power, face to face, in big numbers, on campuses or the Washington Mall. Big numbers? Washington Mall? Why haven't students thought of this before? Oh, wait:

Climate equity: Saleemul Huq

From citizens of nation states to citizens of the world

((equity_include)) This is a guest essay by Saleemul Huq, head of the climate change group at the International Institute for Environment and Development and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This essay is part of a series on climate equity. —– Perceptions of climate change — and what must be done to tackle the problem — have evolved over time. With concerns about justice and equity now rising to the surface, it is time for a new era of global citizenry in which people around the world come together to both take and demand effective action. Back …

Great Lakes water wars

Race to make the Earth look like the Moon

What with drought threatening large sections of the American West and South, perhaps it should not be surprising to see this article from the Chicago Tribune, "Great Lakes key front in water wars; Western, Southern states covet Midwest resource," in which the reporter warns: With fresh water supplies dwindling in the West and South, the Great Lakes are the natural-resource equivalent of the fat pension fund, and some politicians are eager to raid it. The lakes contain nearly 20 percent of the world's surface fresh water ... Water levels of the Great Lakes are down substantially, and while that may be part of the historic cycle of ups and downs, water managers argue the region must jealously guard what is here Even New Mexico Governor and Presidential candidate Bill Richardson couldn't resist the temptation to speculate on using the lakes. Fortunately, there is a concerted attempt to protect them: Eight Great Lakes-area states, from Minnesota to New York, and two Canadian provinces have proposed a regional water compact that would, among other things, strengthen an existing ban on major water diversions outside the Great Lakes Basin, home to 40 million Americans and Canadians