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Republican congressmen vote away scientific facts

Rep. Upton wrote the bill with his trunk.Photo: Eric MolinaCross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Barry Goldwater famously said, "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice." Maybe so, but extremism in the defense of fantasy is a tougher sell. Still, that doesn't stop some members of Congress from trying. Exhibit A this week is the attempt to legislate an alternate reality, offered up by Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) with accompanying cheers from Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.). Their draft bill would eliminate Clean Air Act provisions that would allow the EPA to set common-sense …

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Bush’s Johnson stood up for climate

Stephen Johnson, former EPA administrator under Bush.Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Yesterday, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) released a 2008 letter [PDF] from Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson to President George W. Bush saying that the science supported "a positive endangerment determination" on carbon pollution, and proposing an action plan to curb emissions from motor vehicles and industrial sources just like the action plan actually carried out by the Obama EPA. Who knew controlling carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act was actually a Bush administration plan? Actually, we knew part of this before, but only part. We …

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Smackdown: Climate science vs. climate economics

As I see it, there are two incommensurate stories being told about climate change. I'm not talking about the largely fake debate between those who say climate change is happening and human-driven (scientists) and those who say it isn't (the GOP). I'm talking about two different ways of envisioning what we can expect in a climate-changed future, both of which exist among people who take climate change seriously. Sometimes they take up residence in the same head! Like, er, mine. But they don't fit together very well. One comes to us from science, the other from economics. Eban Goodstein wrote …

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Wind power now competitive with coal in some regions

Photo: Vlasta JuricekMore good news on the renewable energy front Monday: The cost of onshore wind power has dropped to record lows, and in some regions is competitive with electricity generated by coal-fired plants, according to a survey by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a market research firm. "The latest edition of our Wind Turbine Price Index shows wind continuing to become a competitive source of large-scale power," Michael Liebreich, Bloomberg New Energy Finance's chief executive, said in a statement. "For the past few years, wind turbine costs went up due to rising demand around the world and the increasing price …

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Why enviros should have a more active voice about regulations

Speak up!Photo: theparadigmshifterBecause the political arena is often fraught with hyperbole, misinformation, and special interest pandering, facts and reason don't count for as much as they should. Despite that, green advocates have smartly and effectively engaged in the political arena to help protect the environment and public health. But to augment that advocacy, it is equally important for greens to engage in the regulatory process, which offers a refuge from the dysfunction of political discourse. Because of the legal structure that undergirds it, it is one of the few bastions in American government where truth can trump rhetoric. Whenever a …