Politics

Science: Eh, who cares?

Hansen says scientists need lovin’, too

NASA climate scientist James Hansen has a new paper out, titled “How Can We Avert Dangerous Climate Change,” which is actually a slightly-edited version of his testimony before Congress in April. The paper is available online here (PDF), and it’s worth checking out, of course. But also interesting is the preamble Hansen included in his email announcing the new paper: President Eisenhower was arguably the last United States President to seek and value advice of scientists. As discussed by John Rigdon in June 2007 Physics Today, scientists played important roles in the World Wars, but they did not have substantial …

15 Green Politicians

From mayors to heads of state, politicians the world over are going green. Check out our list of top achievers, then tell us which political leaders you’d nominate in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Photo: Thomas Hawk via Flickr Arnold Schwarzenegger The Governator has truly pumped up environmental action in California. He made the state a global leader on climate change by signing into law the landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which commits the state to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. He’s also done some heavy lifting to …

Global warming and direct action

To act not to act

I regularly receive a letter from Ted Glick, the coordinator of the U.S. Climate Emergency Council, who recently was arrested for hanging a banner on the NOAA building to protest their mishandling of climate information. He has joined with others in calling for a fast on September 4th: We are calling on thousands of Americans to voluntarily give up food for one day on September 4th, 2007. Other participants will fast even longer beginning on that date, some for weeks. Our appeal to you is to consider joining us in this climate initiative called, "So Others Might Eat: The Climate Emergency Fast." ... What will we be calling for? Three things: no new coal or coal-to-liquid plants; freeze greenhouse gas emissions and move quickly to reduce them; and a down payment of $25 billion for energy conservation, efficiency and renewable energy. Ken Ward has recently posted here about the efficacy of protest. The problem as I see it is that in the past, direct action and protest have had very clear achievable goals, whereas in the case of global warming, we know we want drastically reduced carbon emission, but the devil is in the details.

What average folk want from climate policy

Namely, for someone else to pay for it

Somebody on Gristmill recently mentioned this study, I think. (Who are you, mysterious misremembered person? ['Twas JMG!]) Anyway, it was a survey done with 1,200 or so adults. They were presented with three climate policy options: 1) “Standards” or “mandates”: The government tells companies exactly how they must generate electricity or manufacture vehicle fuel to achieve a cut in emissions. 2) Emissions Tax: The government taxes companies for their greenhouse gas emissions. 3) Cap-and-Trade: The government imposes a cap on companies’ greenhouse gas emissions, but allows companies to trade permits – which represent the right to emit a certain amount …

Where the conservative base is now

Take a National Review cruise to find out

Holy mother of something or other, you gotta read this story. Here’s how it begins: I am standing waist-deep in the Pacific Ocean, indulging in the polite chit-chat beloved by vacationing Americans. A sweet elderly lady from Los Angeles is sitting on the rocks nearby, telling me dreamily about her son. “Is he your only child?” I ask. “Yes,” she answers. “Do you have a child back in England?” she asks me. No, I say. Her face darkens. “You’d better start,” she says. “The Muslims are breeding. Soon, they’ll have the whole of Europe.” I am getting used to such …

Update on House energy bill sausage making

Mixed news

Now that the energy bill has gotten through the Senate, the fight has moved to the House. Here’s an update, from my rapidly dwindling free-trial-period subscription to CongressNow: An expected push by House Democratic lawmakers to raise federal fuel economy standards and create new renewable electricity mandates will likely be deferred until the full House debates comprehensive energy legislation later this year, environmentalists and industry officials said today. “I think they’ll make those moves on the floor,” said one industry lobbyist this morning. House Energy and Commerce Committee members Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) are reportedly considering offering …

Terminating His Term

With one day left in office, Blair chats climate with Schwarzenegger If you’d asked Tony Blair a decade ago which foreign official would be the last he met with while in office, chances are he wouldn’t have put his pounds on Arnold Schwarzenegger. But that’s exactly who filled the slot today. Blair, who steps down tomorrow, met with the Governator at 10 Downing Street to chat about — wait for it — global warming. The meeting followed a similar mind-meld between Schwarzenegger and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday. At a joint press conference this morning, Tony and Termy discussed …

Bummer for Hummer

Reps to discuss dropping the tax break on massive SUVs

For the “wow, about time” files: the tax write-off for Hummers might be a thing of yesteryear, if one legislator gets his way. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) has introduced legislation to remove the $25,000-or-so tax break that people who drive massive SUVs and Hummers have been getting for years. The break was intended to help farmers, ranchers, and other people who might actually (possibly) have a concrete need for the beasts, but instead it’s been helping planet-haters conspicuous consumers average business folks who just want to drive tanks around town. See, there used to be a tax break for businesspeople …

Reframing the debate on low-carbon generators

Don’t call it a subsidy

David Roberts' recent post compelled some ideas that have been germinating for awhile, but are too long for just a comment on his post. Namely: we should stop talking about the need to subsidize green technologies, and instead frame the debate as a need to level the playing field.

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