Politics

Tracking Lieberman-Warner

Winning over the environmentalists?

To get this thing through today, Lieberman can't afford to lose the support of more than one Democrat. At the end of the subcommittee process, after watching almost all of his amendments killed, Bernie Sanders voted against the bill. His no vote was offset, though, by an affirmative vote by Sen. John Warner (R-Va.). Today, that may change. During his opening statements, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who has a strong environmental record, gushed over ACSA, and Sanders himself called the legislation a "major step forward." "I want to thank Senators Boxer, Lieberman, and Warner for revising the bill," Sanders said, for changing the language in the bill to make sure that $300 billion in auction revenue is dedicated to sustainable energy. Sanders has brought more amendments with him today, and I can't say for sure that I know how he'll vote. But he is a bellwether. And if his opening statement is any indication, Lieberman-Warner has a really good shot of making it to the Senate floor.

Tracking Lieberman-Warner

The mark-up zoo

David is correct here. The Republicans desperately want to turn this markup session into a long, boring circus. They've come armed with about 150 amendments, dozens of which will come to a vote, almost all of which will be defeated. Here, via Hill Heat, are just a few doozies: Vitter proposed 14 amendments: Amendments 1 and 5 allow offshore and on-land natural gas drilling, respectively Amendments 2 and 3 require studies on industry displacement Amendment 4 allows renewable fuel program credits to qualify as emissions credits Amendments 6 and 9 removes various sources from coverage Amendment 7 removes injury liability from CCS activities Amendment 8 prevents implementation if other environmental regulations are found to be adversely impacted Amendment 10 restricts permit banking to 18 months on non-covered entities (a change requested by the AFL-CIO) Amendment 11 modifies transportation fuel coverage Amendments 12-14 make "technical" corrections ... Isakson proposed four amendments, three of which support nuclear energy. Amendment 3 prohibits the enactment of a cap without sufficient known technology, an amendment which failed in subcommittee ... Inhofe proposed approximately 45 amendments, some of which are joke amendments (#12 "directs 20% of all auction proceeds be used to build homeless shelters for families without shelter as a result of job displacement due to this Act"). Amendments #23-#28 are pro-nuclear. Amendment #32 increases the auction percentage to 100% by 2029. Amendment #38 overrides the Massachusetts vs. EPA decision. The Democrats, by contrast, will propose about 30 amendments, many of which would drastically improve America's Climate Security Act. Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) proposed similar versions of some of these way back when the legislation was marked up in subcommittee. Back then, Sen. Lieberman (I-Conn.) reflexively killed all of them. I sort of doubt that's changed, but we'll see ...

Let's price carbon

Conservatives still don’t seem to get global warming

Many political observers — those, at least, not wholly gutted by cynicism after eight years of criminally negligent Republican leadership — wonder when public concern …

Bali conference keeps on keepin’ on

The news from Bali: Teeny-tiny island nations pleaded with delegates for protection and compensation for the impacts of rising seas and other climatic consequences. United …

The <em>NYT</em>'s Tom Friedman is wrong

We are not yet the ‘people we have been waiting for’ to solve ‘global weirding’

In general, I am a big fan of New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, one of the few national columnists who writes regularly and intelligently on energy and climate matters. But his recent column, "The People We Have Been Waiting For," goes off track -- twice. First, he writes: ... sweet-sounding "global warming" doesn't really capture what's likely to happen. I prefer the term "global weirding," coined by Hunter Lovins, co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute, because the rise in average global temperature is going to lead to all sorts of crazy things -- from hotter heat spells and droughts in some places, to colder cold spells and more violent storms, more intense flooding, forest fires and species loss in other places. Well, he deserves half credit. Yes, "global warming" is inadequate to describe the coming nightmare -- but "global weirding" simply isn't a serious-enough term -- it could just as easily be used to describe the world's growing fascination with reality TV (or videos of piano-playing cats and skateboarding dogs). Also, the word "weird" strongly implies something either supernatural or bizarrely unexpected. What's happening to the planet is pure science and has been predicted for decades -- nothing weird about that except maybe it's happening faster than most scientists projected. Readers know I prefer the term "Hell and High Water" -- since at least it accurately describes what is coming. [Note to self: It didn't catch on. Let it go.] My guess is we're stuck with "global warming."

If it is to be war ...

Senate Republicans vow to filibuster energy bill

The E&E headline sums it up: "Senate GOP plots ‘war’ over House energy plan" (sub rqd). It sounds like Pelosi has done her job, restoring …

Lieberman-Warner action already underway

Clinton and Sanders introduce amendments to strengthen the bill

The Lieberman-Warner markup in the Senate Environment Committee starts tomorrow, but already the action is hot and heavy. Word has it that Sen. James Inhofe …

300 ideas in 100 days

Presidential Climate Action Project releases new plan for the next president

How ambitious should the next president be in tackling global warming? A document issued today by a team at the University of Colorado indicates that No. 44 can be, and should be, far more aggressive than any of the candidates has promised so far. The Presidential Climate Action Project -- a two-year effort headquartered at the university -- has released a presidential action agenda that contains more than 300 specific changes in federal policies, programs and statutes, and proposes that the chief executive act on all of them within the first 100 days of inauguration, under executive authority or by championing them in the administration's first legislative and budget packages to Congress. The plan is being billed as not only the most comprehensive, but in many ways the boldest, climate action agenda yet put before the American public and the presidential candidates. It calls for the U.S. to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 30 percent below 2010 levels by 2020 and 90 percent by 2050, in part through an "upstream" cap-and-auction program that regulates the approximately 1,500 "first providers" of fossil energy -- wellheads, mine mouths, etc. That regime is simpler to administer than mid-stream and downstream regulation, and would cover 100 percent of the economy. Other key proposals include:

Red List not enough

Experts push for an intergovernmental biodiversity panel

For this enviro, Christmas is shaping up pretty nicely this year. Today, as post-Kyoto discussions commence in Bali, Australia has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, sweeping aside decades of Howard's curmudgeonly climate skepticism. Another unexpected gift came last month, when a group of 80 experts convened in France to mull over the future of biodiversity. Their consensus? That we need to establish a new intergovernmental panel -- akin to the IPCC -- to begin aggressively addressing the biodiversity crisis. In words that would surely make E.O. Wilson proud, the committee said: "It is not enough to draw up a list of threatened or extinct species. Biodiversity needs to be seen as a whole, in terms of management but also of environmental services rendered, for instance from the point of view of adaptation to climate change." They hope to have a structure in place by 2008. Keep 'em rollin' in, Santa!