Global warming and direct action

To act not to act

I regularly receive a letter from Ted Glick, the coordinator of the U.S. Climate Emergency Council, who recently was arrested for hanging a banner on the NOAA building to protest their mishandling of climate information. He has joined with others in calling for a fast on September 4th: We are calling on thousands of Americans to voluntarily give up food for one day on September 4th, 2007. Other participants will fast even longer beginning on that date, some for weeks. Our appeal to you is to consider joining us in this climate initiative called, "So Others Might Eat: The Climate Emergency Fast." ... What will we be calling for? Three things: no new coal or coal-to-liquid plants; freeze greenhouse gas emissions and move quickly to reduce them; and a down payment of $25 billion for energy conservation, efficiency and renewable energy. Ken Ward has recently posted here about the efficacy of protest. The problem as I see it is that in the past, direct action and protest have had very clear achievable goals, whereas in the case of global warming, we know we want drastically reduced carbon emission, but the devil is in the details.

What average folk want from climate policy

Namely, for someone else to pay for it

Somebody on Gristmill recently mentioned this study, I think. (Who are you, mysterious misremembered person? [‘Twas JMG!]) Anyway, it was a survey done with 1,200 or so adults. They were presented with three climate policy …

Where the conservative base is now

Take a National Review cruise to find out

Holy mother of something or other, you gotta read this story. Here’s how it begins: I am standing waist-deep in the Pacific Ocean, indulging in the polite chit-chat beloved by vacationing Americans. A sweet elderly …

Update on House energy bill sausage making

Mixed news

Now that the energy bill has gotten through the Senate, the fight has moved to the House. Here’s an update, from my rapidly dwindling free-trial-period subscription to CongressNow: An expected push by House Democratic lawmakers …

Terminating His Term

With one day left in office, Blair chats climate with Schwarzenegger If you’d asked Tony Blair a decade ago which foreign official would be the last he met with while in office, chances are he …

Bummer for Hummer

Reps to discuss dropping the tax break on massive SUVs

For the “wow, about time” files: the tax write-off for Hummers might be a thing of yesteryear, if one legislator gets his way. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) has introduced legislation to remove the $25,000-or-so tax …

Reframing the debate on low-carbon generators

Don’t call it a subsidy

David Roberts' recent post compelled some ideas that have been germinating for awhile, but are too long for just a comment on his post. Namely: we should stop talking about the need to subsidize green technologies, and instead frame the debate as a need to level the playing field.

Ag policy as if people mattered

Time to kick it old school on the farm bill.

The terms of debate around the 2007 farm bill’s controversial commodity title have gotten rather narrow. On the one hand, you’ve got the House subcommittee on ag commodities, which essentially cut and pasted commodity language …

GOP analyst: Democrats now must compromise on global warming

Hold the applause on the administration’s

On a new blog called Terra Rossa -- "Where Conservatives Consider a New Energy Future" -- GOP consultant Whit Ayres argues that when President Bush at the G8 summit declared his willingness to "seriously consider" carbon emission reductions over the next forty years, he took a "major step" in the direction of his environmental critics. Says Ayres: I don't think anyone could argue that conservatives are not trying to compromise on the issue. While many conservative voters, politicians, and business leaders might prefer to take no action to limit carbon emissions, they have heard the call to action and are clearly working toward a cap they can live with. Ayres claims the President has undergone a "sea-change" on global warming, but ignores these inconvenient facts: No agreement to reduce carbon emissions came out of the G8 summit, despite much pressure from Germany and Europe. The President talks of "long-term" [requires subscription] "aspirational" goals, but has committed to nothing but discussion. Shortly after taking office, a White House insider admitted [requires subscription] to Andrew Revkin of The New York Times that the Bush administration intended to do as little as possible about global warming: "There's a sense in which everybody's saying the American public doesn't have the attention span or background to pay attention to this issue," the official said. "There's still a hopeful perception around the White House that this has gone away." Not only did the President break a reassuring campaign promise regarding carbon emissions, but just this last year told a biographer that he was a "dissenter" on the "theory" of global warming. So we have good reason to doubt the sincerity of the Bush administration, despite the bland assurances of progress from White House environmental chief Jim Connaughton. And in fact this past week the president himself, in his own words, has let us know exactly how high a priority he gives the issue. Four recent speeches -- to a Southern Baptist convention, to a homebuilders convention, at a political fund-raiser, and at a nuclear power plant yesterday -- were put through a word processor, and the results show what is on the president's mind, and what is not:

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