Politics

Bush pushes climate meeting, shuns solution

Again

Kind of a good news, bad news story: President George W. Bush has invited the European Union, the United Nations and 11 other countries to the September 27-28 meeting in Washington to work toward setting a long-term goal by 2008 to cut emissions. Yet it turns out just to be a meeting full of sound and fury, signifying nothing: "But a senior U.S. official said the administration stood by its opposition to mandatory economy-wide caps." A meeting aimed at (1) developing voluntary or aspirational targets, (2) for the long-term, (3) by 2008 [i.e. Bush's last year in office]. Three strikes and you are out. Bush's last chance to be a small part of the solution rather than a large part of the problem came and went at the G-8 meeting, where Bush nixed an effort to set realistic and binding long-term targets. The only interesting question that will be answered by this meeting is whether the media will be suckered into giving the President the one outcome he truly wants -- positive press coverage on climate change, an area of such catastrophic failure by this administration that it will probably ensure (even more than Iraq) that history judges Bush a failure. This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Lieberman, Warner seek 70 percent emissions cut by 2050

Climate plan is unveiled

Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) -- does this make him an icon? -- and John Warner (R-Va.) unveiled their long-awaited climate plan. It looks pretty good to me because: It is bipartisan -- indeed, it follows the strategy recommended by moderate senators, such as Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) It starts quickly -- by 2012 we must return to 2005 levels. It has a credible 2050 target -- and requires regular reports from the National Academy of Sciences on the "extent to which the emissions reductions achieved under the Act no, together with actual steps taken by other nations, stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at a level adequate to forestall catastrophic impacts of climate change." It does not have a safety valve, but instead has banking and borrowing. This plan will be the starting point for legislation from Sen. Boxer (D-CA). Here is a detailed summary from Greenwire (subs. req'd):

Federal renewable portfolio standard update

What’s happening with the House energy bill?

Word from the front: fierce resistance from the usual suspects has resulted in compromise amendments hacking the 20 percent standard to 15 percent, while allowing states the option of meeting up to 4 percent through energy efficiency. This is a strategic retreat that has supporters optimistic, though by no means certain of eventual victory. House is in recess right now over an Ag bill kerfluffle. No word yet on the critical solar investment tax credit. Update [2007-8-3 17:40:22 by Adam Browning]: The extension of the federal solar tax credit should be heard on the House Floor Saturday, and Big Oil is rallying the opposition to kill solar as we speak. It will be an extremely tight vote - tight like a noose - and we need you to call your Representative right now. The situation is this. Earlier this year, House leadership committed to 'pay as you go'--that is, any new tax incentives must be balanced by getting rid of existing incentives. In this case, that means paying for renewable energy programs by reducing tax cuts for oil production. That's all good right? In a time of record profits for Big Oil, an approaching climate crisis and energy security scaring us all, why not reduce oil profits to help bring solar into the mainstream? Unfortunately, the Republican leadership is holding the line on keeping subsidies for Big Oil, while some Democrats in oil districts haven't gotten the message that the public is tired of business as usual and wants a real commitment to renewables. If this is important to you, call your Representative and tell them to support HR 2776 right now. Enter your zipcode here to find your Rep and give them a call. Tell them: * I live in Representative _______'s district * Please support HR2776, the tax title of the Energy Bill * if they tell you they are already supportive, then thank them profusely! * If not, tell them... * I support reducing tax cuts for fossil fuels to support renewable energy * We are at a turning point to create a secure economy and stop a climate crisis with more renewable energy. The people are in favor of this change and all our politicians need to get on board - or they'll be pushed out of the way. Act now, time is short and we need these votes! Solar is a non-partisan issue, and we need you to keep it that way.

Pricing carbon

Give away rights or sell them?

Joseph Romm in his post on Dingell's carbon tax proposal says: Politically, you can't raise carbon prices high enough to raise gasoline prices since even $1 a gallon -- probably the minimum to significantly change fuel economy if Europe is any evidence -- would require a carbon charge of $400 per tonne of carbon -- which would be very harsh to coal, adding more than 10 cents per kilowatt-hour to coal electricity, and politically impossible (I'll post more on this later). Also, the reason cap-and-trade has not worked well in Europe is that the Europeans didn't have a lot of experience with it and during their trial period they issued too many permits. I don't know If Romm noticed, but paragraph two represents exactly the same weakness for caps as paragraph one represents for a carbon tax: it is politically difficult to get a high-enough tax or a low-enough cap through. Romm also notes that the Clinton administration could not get through even a weak carbon tax. True enough, but the Clinton administration also could not get through ratification of the Kyoto treaty -- which would have included a really easily met cap, much weaker than most (though not all) of the cap-and-trade proposals now before Congress.

Scurry Up and Wait

With August recess looming, Congress pushes energy, climate, water bills Know how, when you’re about to go on vacation, you suddenly realize you have a ton of work to do, so you scramble to finish it all, and you do kind of a half-assed job, but you promise yourself you’ll deal with the loose ends when you get back? Hellooooo, Congress. With the four-week August recess starting Monday, the House and Senate have been getting bizzy. The House is debating its version of the energy bill today; to move things along, House leaders skirted a discussion over fuel economy, but …

An interview with Chris Dodd about his presidential platform on energy and the environment

This is part of a series of interviews with presidential candidates produced jointly by Grist and Outside. Update: Chris Dodd dropped out of the presidential race on Jan. 3, 2008. Chris Dodd. Photo: Michael Millhollin via flickr Chris Dodd hasn’t been out front on environmental issues during his 32 years in Congress, but he’s clearly aiming to out-green his competitors in the 2008 presidential campaign. He has earned props in enviro circles for being the only candidate with the political cojones to call for a corporate carbon tax as a way to fight global warming, and for endorsing a strict …

Dems do in fact wimp out on CAFE for now

Sadly

E&E Daily (subs. req'd) confirms earlier press reports: Markey [D-MA] said in a statement yesterday that he decided to pull his amendment after consulting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), even though he believed he had the votes to move the legislation. While Pelosi personally favored a CAFE standard of 35 miles per gallon, industry lobbyists said she did not whip votes on the legislation and it appeared Markey was not assured of the votes needed to pass the bill.

Dodd on the Issues

A look at Chris Dodd’s environmental platform and record

Update: Chris Dodd dropped out of the presidential race on Jan. 3, 2008. Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd, who has represented Connecticut in the U.S. Senate for 26 years, racked up a 93 percent rating from the League of Conservation Voters in the last Congress and a 77 percent score for his whole career. He hasn’t been a leader on environmental issues over the years, but he seems bound and determined to make up for that in the current presidential campaign, in which he’s been the lone voice calling for a corporate carbon tax and has advocated a higher fuel-economy …

It's time for a national renewable portfolio standard

The energy policy that kicks ass and gets too little support

As this story in the WaPo makes clear, one of the more controversial measures in the House energy bill is a national renewable portfolio standard (RPS), which would require that utilities produce 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Legislators in Southern states — where, it is conventionally thought, there is little renewable power available — oppose it. They’re afraid their constituents will be stuck with higher energy prices. They are wrong. A national RPS would benefit energy consumers in all states. Furthermore, it is one of the most effective and important measures in shifting from fossil …

Got 2.7 seconds?

We've devised the world's shortest survey to find out what kind of actions our readers are taking. You know you want to.

×