Politics

Clinton Global Initiative: Clinton on efficiency

Bill Clinton calls for countries to follow Japan’s lead

Bill Clinton introduced the morning plenary today by, once again, honoring the companies and people who've committed to the Clinton Global Initiative to take steps to increase energy efficiency and decrease greenhouse-gas emissions. But he touted one dubious statistic: If China, India, and the United States were to become as efficient as Japan, that would decrease global greenhouse-gas output by 20 percent. That statistic is based on this study by the McKinsey Institute and I think it's true only if, in an era of enhanced efficiency, the 2.5 billion people in China, India, and the United States didn't respond to resulting lowered energy costs by actually consuming more energy. Still, it would be a huge step forward, and I suppose it's better that Bill Clinton's up there making this all seem possible, rather than pointing out the obvious challenges.

Dingell opens the door

Rep. John Dingell introduces his hybrid carbon tax

With a mighty creak of long-rusted hinges, a door is finally opening in Washington. The present Congress will apparently be asked to consider a carbon tax. The measure -- actually, a hybrid carbon and petroleum tax -- will be introduced by the powerful chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.). Today Dingell posted on his website a summary of the bill, which he began drafting in June. The current version would phase in, each year for five years, a charge of $10 per ton of carbon content of coal, oil, and natural gas -- plus an additional 10 cents/gallon for gasoline and jet fuel (kerosene). By the end of the five-year period the charges would reach $50/ton of carbon plus 50 cents/gallon of gasoline and jet fuel. These equate to 63 cents a gallon of gas and 90 cents for one hundred kilowatt-hours, assuming the nationwide average fuel mix. Dingell is asking the public for comments. Here's ours: we think the bill is terrific. It's in line with what we said when we founded the Carbon Tax Center, and as Dingell himself wrote last month in the Washington Post, "[S]ome form of carbon emissions fee or tax ... would be the most effective way to curb carbon emissions and make alternatives economically viable." Moreover, as we elaborate below, his supplemental tax on gasoline and jet fuel has the look of genius.

Charity won't cut it

Private sector money will not solve the climate crisis

The Clinton Global Initiative is ongoing. Rich folk and businesses are committing large sums of money to solving global problems like education, public health, and …

Bush and climate through the years

Reuters has a handy timeline tracking the evolution (or stasis, as it were) of Bush’s climate policies.

A surge of idiocy

The absurdity that is Bush administration climate meetings

The L.A. Times has a piece on the laughable farce that is the Bush administration climate meetings, which will take place later this week. Some …

U.S. will host climate meeting of world’s largest emitters

Representatives from the world’s 17 largest greenhouse-gas emitters will gather tomorrow in the good ol’ U.S. of A. for a climate-change discussion. (And yes, the …

Environmentalism and economic justice, sitting in a tree ...

Van Jones has helped push equity to the center of the green discussion

Back in March of this year, I interviewed Van Jones of the Ella Baker Center in Oakland, Calif. He was excited because House Speaker Nancy …

Clinton Global Initiative: Bill and Al, reunited at least

Bill Clinton kicks off annual meeting with big names and big aims

I'm not sure when Al Gore and Bill Clinton were last in the same room together, let alone on a stage together, but they reunited publicly today at the start of the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting. (And, to focus on the superficial for a moment, their handshake -- clumsy and brief, an afterthought really -- didn't look at all like the sort of handshake you might expect a former U.S. president and his erstwhile second-in-command to share.) Clinton introduced and honored several people before the plenary officially kicked off, including Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) and the president of the Florida Power & Light Company, for their joint efforts to expand solar power as a means of bringing Florida's emissions into line with the goals of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. It wasn't the sexiest thing I've seen all week, but it may be of higher impact to recognize work like that in a room full of rich, powerful people than to have Al Gore speak about climate change for the kerjillionth time.

Bush administration pressured to act on climate by banks, international leaders

The pressure is rising on the Bush administration to take action on climate change. This week, some of the world’s leading banks are gathering as …