Climate Policy

The change King Coal has been waiting for

Obama administration announces massive coal mining expansion

The future’s looking sooty.Photo: Tami Heilemann, DOIInterior Secretary Ken Salazar announced yesterday an enormous expansion in coal mining that threatens to increase U.S. climate pollution by an amount equivalent to more than half of what the United States currently emits in a year. A statement from Wild Earth Guardians, Sierra Club, and Defenders of Wildlife put the announcement in perspective: When burned, the coal threatens to release more than 3.9 billion tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, equal to the annual emissions from 300 coal-fired power plants, further cementing the United States as a leading contributor to climate disruption … Salazar’s …

We didn't start the fire

Congressional asshats get the old, white parody they deserve

Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” has never felt fresher than in this stirring rendition from our friends at the Natural Resources Defense Council. But that’s sort of damning it with faint praise. Upton BillYou know Fred Upton’s Bill will make you ill I thought he’d never be a smokestack guyBut now he hates clean air I don’t know why It gets better! (?) The bridge is about lobbyists: Read more: “Environmental group lampoons Rep. Upton with Billy Joel parody,” The Detroit News “Fred Upton pursues EPA down the rabbit hole,” Grist

Act up

Why does Congress have Clean Air Act phobia?

Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. It’s a sad state of affairs when members on both sides of the aisle in Congress seem to think it is a good idea to attack the Clean Air Act — the landmark law that Richard Nixon signed and George H. W. Bush strengthened. Yet the hits on the Clean Air Act just keep on coming in this Congress in spite of the act’s incredible record of cutting deaths and illness caused by air pollution — a record that has earned the strong support of the American people and the admiration of others …

the truth can be delayed, apparently

Sen. Jay Rockefeller: Climate science is ‘unequivocally true’

Cross-posted from the Wonk Room. Opposing Republican efforts to forbid climate regulations, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said Tuesday that the science of human-made climate change is “unequivocally true.” Rockefeller, a strong defender of his state’s coal industry, spoke out on the Senate floor against an amendment submitted to a small business bill by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that would strip the Environmental Protection Agency of the ability to regulate greenhouse pollution. McConnell introduced the amendment, drafted by global warming denier Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), as Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) passed companion legislation out of the House energy committee with unanimous Republican …

Getting their act together

A little background on the EPA’s new mercury and air toxics rule

Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Today, the EPA announced the most important actions to clean up air pollution from dirty coal-burning power plants since the Clean Air Act was last updated in 1990. EPA’s proposed mercury and air toxics standards for power plants that burn coal and oil are projected to save as many as 17,000 American lives [PDF] every year by 2015. These standards also will prevent up to 120,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and there will be 11,000 fewer cases of acute bronchitis among children every year. The standards also will avoid more than 12,000 …

Feather in their cap

Regional cap-and-trade saves jobs and money

This post originally appeared at Sightline’s Daily Score blog. I’m not big on parroting press releases, but I’m going to make an exception for Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the Northeast’s carbon cap-and-trade program. RGGI is quietly demonstrating that carbon markets can work wonderfully. So it’s too bad no one seems to be paying attention any longer. Last week, RGGI’s most recent auction netted $83 million, for a lifetime total of nearly $861 million. The vast majority of that money is channeled into energy efficiency and job creation with immediate and tangible results. For example: Maine is investing a portion of its …

Middle of the roadkill

If Senate Dems ‘compromise’ with Rockefeller bill, EPA rules are screwed

Can Senate Democrats snatch a defeat from the jaws of victory? Yes, that was a rhetorical question. Politico has them bumbling around again, “scrambling” to react to an attack on EPA climate rules that has been telegraphed for months. I don’t know how much of this is genuine fecklessness and how much is Politico’s enduring love of portraying Dems as feckless, but either way, it’s hard to discern much feck. The Upton-Inhofe bill, which would reverse EPA’s scientific finding of endangerment for greenhouse gases — and thereby permanently block EPA from addressing climate pollution — sailed through the House Energy …

Committee from Koch

House committee votes to deny climate change

Click for a larger version [PDF].Written with guest blogger Kristen Bartoloni, Researcher for Progress Central. Today, Republicans in the House energy committee voted not once, not twice, but three times [all PDFs], against amendments recognizing that climate change is real, despite the broad scientific consensus that “climate change is happening and human beings are a major reason for it.” They then unanimously voted [PDF] in favor of the Upton-Inhofe bill to repeal the EPA’s scientific endangerment finding on greenhouse pollution. The 31 Republicans and three Democrats who voted in favor of H.R. 910 have received a grand total of $343,750 from Koch Industries, an average of …

Cut it out

Koch-funded group mounts cut-and-paste attack on regional climate initiatives

Fresh off last year’s successful defeat of federal climate legislation in the U.S. Senate, the oil baron Koch brothers and their dirty-energy buddies are now bent on dismantling one of the nation’s last hopes for doing anything about climate change in the near term: regional climate accords. Today, a total of 32 states are active participants or observing members in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the Northeast, the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, or the Western Climate Initiative. That number will get a lot smaller if the American Legislative Exchange Council — a D.C.-based conservative advocacy organization funded by …

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