Politics

Another attempt to push nukes

Using high gas prices to push for a rebirth

In today's New York Times, President Gerald Ford's energy adviser, in an article entitled "How to Win the Energy War," tries to use higher gas prices and oil dependence as an excuse to build more nuclear reactors: The other major way to wean us from oil is to resume construction of nuclear power plants. Nuclear energy is the cleanest and best option for America's electric power supply, yet it has been stalled by decades of unproductive debate. Our current commercial nuclear power plants have an outstanding record of safety and security, and new designs will only raise performance. How can Washington help? One thing would be federal legislation to streamline the licensing of new plants and the approval of sites for them. His first way to wean us from oil is to gradually increase gas taxes. Ford's original energy independence plan might make you wince, as it included 150 new coal-fired plants and 200 nuclear power plants. Not a word about global warming or peak oil, by the way. Not that mentioning those would help: Prime Minister Tony Blair tried to use global warming as a cover for more nukes, a trick that even Margaret Thatcher used as well.

Gore on the phone

A conference call about his new book

Yesterday I was on a conference call with Al Gore, who was chatting with some blogger types about his new book, The Assault on Reason. It was convivial, if not particularly revelatory. Taylor Marsh wrote all about it, and if you want to listen to an hour-long phone call, you can get it here. It didn’t occur to me that anybody would be recording, so I asked kind of abstruse questions: a) was there ever a time when reason governed democratic dialogue? and b) isn’t clinging to this Enlightenment division between reason and emotion one reason progressives are such poor …

Gurls R Dum

Oklahoma senator vows to block Rachel Carson centennial resolution A resolution honoring this weekend’s 100th birthday of the late Rachel Carson will be blocked if Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has his way. Why? Because the “now-debunked Silent Spring” was “the catalyst in the deadly worldwide stigmatization against insecticides, especially DDT,” he says. Yes, damn her for pointing out that industrial society is killing itself with toxic chemicals it created. The resolution, sponsored by Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), would honor Carson’s “legacy of scientific rigor coupled with poetic sensibility.” But Coburn, a doctor who advocates the use of DDT to combat …

Response from Environmental Defense: Top-down or bottom-up, the goal is cutting carbon

Getting something done is the priority

The following is a guest essay from Tony Kreindler of Environmental Defense, in response to Charles Komanoff’s post from earlier today, "Strange bedfellows in climate politics." —– Charles Komanoff’s post is entertaining, but a lot of what he says is wrong. His main proposition is that unlike "devilishly complex" cap-and-trade, a carbon tax is straightforward approach that will resist gaming by special interests. That raises a few questions: is there anything straightforward about the U.S. tax code? Has anyone ever gamed that system? Are there "no legal and financial functionaries" swarming around taxpayers? Those questions aside, the fact is that …

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 …

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