Politics

Republican governors to Bush: Pull over and let us pass

The federal gov’t is blocking state efforts to fight climate change

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell (R) take to the pages of the Washington Post to send President Bush a simple message: “It’s high time the federal government becomes our partner or gets out of the way.” At issue is the waiver Calif. and 11 other states need from the EPA to implement their new tailpipe-emissions standards. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court made it clear that California is perfectly within its rights to implement tougher-than-federal standards. All it needs is the waiver — just like the dozens of waivers it’s gotten from EPA in the …

Gore's backstory

Interesting tales in a recent profile

The profile of Al Gore in NYT Magazine contains, amidst other good stuff, some interesting backstory about Gore’s experiences with the Alliance for Climate Protection, as well as his experiences in the Clinton administration. Forthwith, a couple of longish excerpts. First, on the Alliance: In mid-2005, he began talking to members of “the green group,” as the environmental lobby is collectively known, about marshaling a popularizing effort. … Gore was the obvious candidate to lead the crusade. But the Al Gore of September 2005 was not the Saint Albert of today. That Al Gore was a harsh partisan, and all …

Dog bites man

West Virginia’s two U.S. senators say it’s possible to promote coal and clean air initiatives at the same time. Uh … WTF else are they going to say?

Ungreening the Farm Bill

Stop House ag czar Peterson before he kills the conservation title

Any lingering illusions that Democratic control of the House would automatically lead to more enlightened agriculture policy crumbled last Thursday, when Rep. Colin Peterson (D-Minn.), chair of the House Agriculture Committee, released the conservation section of his 2007 Farm Bill proposal. Peterson kicked off the 2007 Farm Bill reauthorization process -- and in the process, kicked the legs out from under one of the country's best agri-environmental programs. By cutting funding for the Conservation Security Program in his proposal and freezing any new sign-ups until 2012, Chairman Peterson would essentially kill an innovative, green, and forward-looking program that has been lauded by many environmental, family farm, and sustainable food advocates. And there's limited time to stop him.

The assault on Gore's capacity to keep his cool

His new book, about stupid media, is treated stupidly by the media

Al Gore has a new book coming out called The Assault on Reason. It’s about the sickness of our democratic dialogue, the systemic features of our culture and media that lead us to ignore evidence, focus on trivialities, and accept deception after deception. Gore’s going to be out promoting the book, and there’s a certain bitter irony to the fact that the media is likely to interact with him in a way that proves his thesis better than anything in the book itself. Exhibit A: this interview with Diane Sawyer. They introduce Gore in pure horserace terms — “the most …

Policies in need of Californication

All green eyes turn to the West Coast

Popularized by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the term "Californication" actually refers to the surge of Californians migrating up the West Coast following the opening of a major highway. In this context, we're hoping we can Californicate the state's climate change and energy policies to the rest of the Union. Since the 1970s, California has kept its per capita energy use at a level rate, using primarily energy efficiency programs. Over time and with minimal spending, the cost of electricity under the programs is 1.4 cents per kilowatt-hour. That's an outstanding rate compared to traditional or even carbon-free energy sources. I discuss California's unique route in Chapter 7 of Hell and High Water, but you can access the information from the California Energy Commission or this PowerPoint with graphics. When our country gets serious about addressing climate change and energy dependence, we need active national attention and proliferation of California's policies. A good start is Paul Krugman's editorial in the New York Times from earlier this year. You need a Times Select subscription, but it is included below because it's too good to miss:

Vanity Fair: The unbearable whiteness of green

Where are low-income and minority greens in the media?

Once again this year, the spring season brought a flood of green-themed magazines to super-market checkout stands and airport news racks all across the country. And once again, the faces of non-white and non-affluent Americans were almost entirely missing. Our new environmental movement is rapidly gaining visibility and momentum. That is very good news. Life-or-death ecological issues finally are starting to get the attention they so urgently deserve. And we can all celebrate that. But now we would be wise to start paying closer attention to the kind of coverage that we as environmentalists are getting. Because I see a disturbing pattern of exclusivity that is starting to set in. And that kind of elitism can sow the seeds for a very dangerous, populist backlash, down the line. To see what I mean, just flip through the pages of Vanity Fair's recent green issue (the one with Leo DiCaprio and that cute polar bear cub on the cover).

Planet Gore Disinfotainment Watch: Utterly misrepresenting research

Keeping an eye on the ‘wingers

(Part of a series of posts keeping an eye on Planet Gore, the National Review blog devoted to obfuscating on climate change.) New research finds low cost for tackling climate change. But not when that research is reported by Planet Gore. Sterling Burnett recently authored a classic example of PG's disinfotainment. He writes: Has the media completely lost objectivity and the search for the "truth" with regard to the issue of global warming. The latest reason that made me ponder this question arose with the "non-story" of the recent reports by MIT and the CBO detailing the substantial costs and regressive nature of the costs that are estimated to arise if any of the current domestic proposals restricting carbon emissions to combat global warming are enacted. Despite the best efforts of Senator James Inhofe, among others, to get these studies publicized, I have barely seen a mention of the findings of either of these reports in the mainstream media. He goes on to say, "it has surprised me how economic and science reporters have also ignored the MIT and CBO reports." The same week I read this, however, I saw a science news article on the MIT report ("Damn you, Science magazine," as Jon Stewart might say). The article requires a subscription, but I have copied the key figure below:

Back room jostling over climate legislation

Expect a lot of it

As I mentioned the other day, MarketWatch is doing a big series of articles on business and climate change. This one gets right to the heart of why we’re hiring a D.C. reporter. Now that things have transitioned from whether there’s going to be climate legislation to what climate legislation is going to look like, lots of elbows are getting thrown. There are dozens and dozens of stakeholders who stand to be affected by legislation, and they’re all getting busy trying to influence how it works. There’s going to be lots of back-room dealing in the coming few years. Just …

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