Politics

Energy and environment in the Democratic YouTube debate

Lots of good answers

I haven’t watched all of the YouTube/CNN Democratic debate yet. Early reviews are good, and from what I’ve seen it was unusually substantive and spontaneous, but I agree with Josh Marshall that some of the cutesy videos tarnished the dignity of the proceedings a bit. There were three questions on energy and environment. How can we reduce America’s energy consumption? Gravel is loopy; Dodd is solid but kinda boring; Cooper indulges in a silly gotcha. How will we stop global warming? (A silly cartoon? Are you kidding me?) Kucinich goes the hell off. Do you support nuclear power? Edwards knocks …

Lieberman and Warner move closer to climate legislation

But what will it look like?

Sens. Lieberman (I) and Warner (R) are, as you may know, attempting to put together a global warming bill that can get through the Senate. They’re picking bits and pieces from all the other bills floating around. A hearing on Wed. Tues., with testimony from a variety of big money types, should reveal something about how they plan to play it. Here’s what E&E has to say (sub. rqd): Lieberman and Warner are a little more than three weeks into talks on a compromise climate package that would establish a cap-and-trade system covering most sectors of the U.S. economy. The …

The future is solar; politics is ethanol

Hillary pays tribute to Iowa politics

This is (bitterly) funny: As Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton climbed onto a makeshift stage at the Iowa State Fairgrounds and embraced motor fuel from corn as a key to America’s future, she completed a turnabout from being an ethanol opponent, a position she held only two years ago. … Political observers view her about-face as a political necessity, saying Iowa’s first-in-the-nation’s caucuses — in which residents of the country’s biggest corn-producing state vote their choice for presidential nominee — makes it politically risky to avoid kneeling at the altar of ethanol-from-corn. This seems like a good place to tout Robert …

Make me change my ways

Individuals support policies they don’t live by voluntarily

Over at the New Yorker, James Surowiecki draws our attention to this oddity: The curious fact is that many people buying three-ton Suburbans for that arduous two-mile trip to the supermarket also want Congress to pass laws making it harder to buy Suburbans at all. This is, he notes, not an isolated phenomenon: individuals often support policies that will force them to make different choices — choices they’re not willing to make of their own volition. Furthermore, this is not irrational behavior. Oftentimes an individual decision will confer competitive advantage, but the collective result of those individual decisions is deleterious. …

Dear Nancy Pelosi: Deliver us a better Farm Bill

Now’s the time to speak up

Can an Armani-clad gal from the big city be the champion of the good farmer? After giving two thumbs up to the House Agriculture Committee's farm bill last Thursday, Rep. Nancy Pelosi's rise to rural populist hero-status seems as likely as old Bessie having twins. Said Pelosi: ... the bill represents a critical first step toward reform by eliminating payments to millionaires, closing loopholes that permit evasion of payment limits, and promoting our nation's family farmers. But Pelosi still has a chance to emerge as the defender of real farm bill reform. And why shouldn't she? After all, the farm bill is about food and taking care of the land. It impacts all of us whether you live in Schuyler, Nebraska or San Francisco.

Even more guidance

Resources for the Future has put together yet another comprehensive guide to current climate legislation, if the other guides aren’t working for you. This one comes in two forms: either a convenient comparison grid (PDF), or a timeline of emission reduction targets (PDF). Compare away.

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