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Mike Pompeo (R-Koch) gets to work slashing EPA funding

Rep. Mike Pompeo.Cross-posted from the Wonk Room. Last night, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) proposed an amendment to the Continuing Resolution that would "sharply cut funding for an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program that collects data on industrial greenhouse gas emissions." The $8.4 million cut would leave funding for the registry at $3.2 million, unless the EPA shifts funds from another program to the registry. Toeing a fine line between conspiracy theorist and Koch Industries profit protector, Pompeo took the house floor where "he called the registry part of an EPA plot to destroy U.S. jobs": EPA would, I am sure, …

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The Climate Post: Obama’s new budget would make Big Oil pay for clean energy

The president gives a preview of his budget in his weekly address.Republicans are vowing to fight President Obama's newly released budget for the 2012 fiscal year. Among other things, the new budget includes a few significant changes to spending on climate and energy research. In the energy sector, it calls for slashing tax breaks and loopholes for fossil fuel producers to bring in about $4 billion dollars of additional revenue. Obama has asked to end these fossil fuel subsidies in the past two years' budgets, however, and was shot down each time. (Meanwhile, a House bill called the Ending Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act would …

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New poll: The public trusts EPA, loves the Clean Air Act, and wants Congress to butt out

That's love.Original photo: Matt CramptonAs everyone knows by now, Republicans have launched a massive, coordinated assault on EPA, attempting to block its greenhouse gas regulations, its air and water regulations, and in some cases its very existence. In the surreal hothouse atmosphere of the Beltway, where anti-government radicals are ascendant and everybody's watching the same three cable news channels, this can seem reasonable -- even inevitable. But if we can collectively pull our heads out of the Beltway's ass and take in a wider view of the country, it quickly becomes clear that the Republican attack on EPA is radically …

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Inaction on climate change is risky business

Even Tom Cruise thinks some risky business should be avoided.Like a family that has no homeowner's insurance, no fire detectors, a gas leak in the basement, and a bad case of denial, the global community remains unprepared for irreversible and potentially catastrophic changes to the Earth's climate. What's needed -- quickly -- is an international risk management effort, a process that's more familiar in military and national security circles than it is in environmental and scientific circles. That process is described in "Degrees of Risk: Defining a Risk Management Framework for Climate Security" -- a report just released by the …

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The U.S. government is an insurance conglomerate and it should insure against climate change too

Photo: David HilowitzMainstream economic modeling isn't very good at incorporating the more severe risks of climate change, as I mentioned last week. The low-probability, high-impact possibilities that show up in the "long tail" of probability distribution -- collapsing ice sheets, massive methane emissions from the permafrost -- just completely short-circuit conventional models. As a result, economists have created better models largely ignored those risks. Rather than incorporating the wide range of probabilities, economists use seemingly firm numbers like the median or mean, which creates projections that have a comforting illusion of precision. "The modelling thus becomes a knob-twiddling exercise in …

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Behind the scenes in the big fight against coal

Down with coal!The climate fight hasn't been going well lately. The Copenhagen conference in Dec. 2009 seemed to mark the effective end of international efforts to control carbon. The U.S. Senate couldn't even bring itself to vote on cap-and-trade last summer. In November, a GOP committed to climate denial won new strength in the Congress. Right now, the House is busy trying to strip the EPA of the right to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Oh, and 2010 was the warmest year on record. But there is one fight that's gone very much the right way, and it holds lessons for …

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Why your money can’t protect you from climate change

It's hard to see how the West will benefit from, say, more floods.Photo: NZRicoIn a recent article in Newsweek, Nobel laureate economist Thomas Schelling argues that one of the greatest obstacles to addressing climate change is persuading the non-poor in the developed world to take the problem seriously. As he states: Estimates of lost world product due to climate change are moderate because the poor have so little to lose. More than a billion people, maybe 2 billion, are estimated to live on less than the equivalent of $2 per day. If a billion of those poorest people lost half …

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The gobsmackingly gargantuan challenge of shifting to clean energy

If I were king, I'd make everyone in America set aside time to watch the first hour of this video. It will change the way you think. Since I'm just a blogger, I expect most people won't, so beneath, I've extracted some of the key slides from Saul Griffith's extraordinary presentation, to give a clear sense of just what an enormous task lies ahead of us this century. Say we decide we want to prevent the climate from entering irreversible feedback loops that spin us into biophysical circumstances our species has never experienced. Seems reasonable, no? To avoid those feedbacks, …

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Are we in a ‘clean energy race’ with China?

A popular line among climate hawks these days goes something like this: If the U.S. doesn't support domestic clean energy, China will beat us in the clean energy race. The message has become quite popular lately, and indeed Obama said something very like it in his State of the Union, what with the "Sputnik Moment" (which, because I'm a bad person, I can't help thinking sounds like the title of a porn movie). There's been a wide-ranging debate about the merits of this approach on the interwebs over the last few months. I think it helps to separate the claim …

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Industry voices support EPA action on Clean Air Act

EPA standards can help business and drive innovation.Cross-posted from the World Resources Institute. This piece is written by senior associate James Bradbury. In the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, I moderated a panel featuring representatives from businesses and public interest organizations: Paul Allen, senior vice president for corporate affairs and chief environmental officer at Constellation Energy, Dan Greenbaum, president of the Health Effects Institute, Franz Litz, senior fellow at WRI, and Dick Munson, senior vice president of public affairs at Recycled Energy Development. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) opened the discussion. This group of "strange bedfellows" had one thing in common: a …