Politics

Myth: Subsidies keep food prices low

A guest essay from ED’s Scott Faber

The following is a guest post from Scott Faber, Farm Bill campaign director for Environmental Defense. (Scott also has a blog.) — Congress is in serious negotiations over the next version of the Farm Bill. The debate is fertile ground for food policy myths and misconceptions. Perhaps the best (or worst) example is that old chestnut that farm subsidies keep food prices low. Here’s why that’s just a myth. Most of the corn and soybeans grown in America end up in either a pig (as pig food) or a pump (as biofuel). So if farm subsidies really lead to cheaper …

Dingell calls our bluff

He proposes a carbon tax, assuming it will fail

Last Sunday, Rep. John Dingell appeared on the C-SPAN show Newsmakers for a 30-min. interview (transcript here; video accessible via the website), and caused an enormous ruckus with this: SWAIN: Mr. Chairman, I want to go back to your statement that the American people want action [on climate change]. Does that also correlate with the American people being willing to pay higher prices, because of energy legislation? DINGELL: I sincerely doubt that the American people are willing to pay what this is really going to cost them. I will be introducing in the next little bit a carbon tax bill, …

Now That’s an Exit Strategy

Sens. Bingaman, Specter introduce industry-backed climate legislation Two U.S. senators have introduced climate legislation that’s a bold compromise or a copout, depending whom you ask. The Low Carbon Economy Act, sponsored by Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), would cut current U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions 60 percent by 2050, using a cap-and-trade system that would allow companies to buy credits if they spew too much. Many unions and industry players are on board because the proposal throws them a juicy bone: companies can back out if the cost of trading becomes too high. The bill, supporters say, is “balanced” …

Global warming: That's a rap!

Young rappers say ‘peace out’ to skeptics

“Glaciers melting, waters rising, sky is storming, global warming!” That’s how a rap written by a group of Vermont teens begins. And they hope it ends with local lawmakers taking action on climate change. The students, who call themselves X-10, first drew attention this spring with their rap, “802,” which described life in Vermont. Their video has been viewed more than 123,000 times on YouTube. Instead of 802, they’re now rapping about CO2 — carbon dioxide, which some scientists blame for global warming. They’re urging lawmakers to override Governor Jim Douglas’ veto of H. 520, a bill that calls for …

RFK Jr. nails it

Amazing how much honesty a non-candidate can bring!

From Brad Blog comes this transcript of Robert F. Kennedy's excellent comments at LiveEarth:

The Sweet Smell of Politics

Rep. John Dingell proposes carbon tax, doesn’t really mean it Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), the powerful chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, plans to introduce a carbon-tax bill that would raise the cost of burning fossil fuels. Yep, you heard that right: Dingell’s proposal, announced in an interview on C-SPAN, would impose a double-digit tax on each ton of carbon dioxide emitted and raise the federal gasoline tax from 18.4 cents per gallon to 68.4 cents. But hold your applause (or threats) — Dingell’s goal is not to push through a bold climate measure, but to illustrate how …

Interviews and info on the presidential candidates’ environmental positions

Updated 22 Aug 2008   Forget boxers or briefs. You want to know about the presidential candidates’ stances on energy and the environment, right? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Compare the candidates’ green positions using our handy chart. Get a quick rundown on each candidate below, where you’ll also find links to interviews with them, fact sheets on their records, and more. (And at the bottom of the page are links to info on candidates who’ve dropped out of the race.) Descriptions of candidates and their positions are not and should not be perceived as endorsements. Grist does …

Schwarzenegger in dispute with staff who wants to implement global warming legislation

How progressive can legislation be if it’s never allowed to make progress?

Dan Walters writes in the Sacramento Bee: The messy departure of the chairman and executive director of the Air Resources Board, if nothing else, reflects the extremely intense, largely clandestine struggle in the Capitol over how Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's much-ballyhooed anti-global warming crusade is to be implemented. Schwarzenegger says he fired ARB Chairman Robert Sawyer last week because the veteran energy researcher was moving too slowly on cleaning up the San Joaquin Valley's dirty air. But Sawyer and ARB Executive Director Catherine Witherspoon, who resigned Monday, have a far different version, one that rings truer. They contend that Schwarzenegger's chief of staff, Susan Kennedy, and other aides wanted them to slow down on implementing anti-global warming legislation passed last year.

From SUVs to solar panels

Do higher MPG cars mean fewer jobs?

The Chicago Tribune has an article in today's paper entitled "MPG bill could cost UAW jobs; Workers fear SUV plant's fate sealed," although the article itself isn't as shrill as the title suggests. At first glance, the article looks like the classic "those environmentalists are going to take away your jobs" piece, but the author presents data for the other side, that is, that the problems of the auto industry are the problems of the managers of the auto industry: Higher fuel standards would affect all automakers but would hit the domestics harder because they sell a greater percentage of trucks than foreign rivals. Trucks account for 56 percent of GM's sales, two-thirds of Ford's and three-fourths of the Chrysler Group's. Youch! Who's fault is it that they bet the farm on SUVs? The car companies could have analyzed the data on peaking oil, foreign imports of oil, even global warming. Because of their short-term outlook, made much worse by Wall Street's emphasis on the next quarter, not the next quarter of a century, they refused to go down a path that should have been obvious by the end of the 1970s.

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