The Overton window keeps moving

Senate’s strongest climate bill now has more co-sponsors

Two bills floating around Congress now serve as the far side of the Overton window on climate policy. Both adopt the (relatively) stringent target of reducing CO2 emissions 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. In the House, there’s Rep. Waxman’s Safe Climate Act, and in the Senate, there’s Sen. Sanders’ (formerly Sen. Jeffords’) Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act. It is a mark of how far the debate has shifted that the latter actually seems to be moving into the realm of the possible. Sen. Boxer became a co-sponsor shortly after the election, and today, the bill picked up some …

The cap and trade boat just got a little fuller

Oh what a relief it biz

The United States Climate Action Partnership, the group of corporations calling "on the federal government to quickly enact strong national legislation to require significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions," just doubled in size (PDF): With its new members, USCAP companies now have total revenues of $1.7 trillion, a collective workforce of more than 2 million and operations in all 50 states; they also have a combine market capitalization of more than $1.9 trillion. The big news is that General Motors has joined the list:

This Land Was Paid By You and Me

Bush administration raises park fees, advocates cry foul The Bush administration is consistent-izing rates at 135 national parks, a move that will see some fees double. It will also tie future rates to inflation, raising them every three years. A National Park Service spokesperson says the shift is an attempt to simplify the current rate structure, bringing the types of fees from 17 to four, but parks advocates spy something sinister. “This absolutely is excluding Americans from visiting their public lands,” said Robert Funkhouser, president of the Western Slope No-Fee Coalition. “The more you force the public away, the more …

Interview with Pachauri

ThinkProgress has an interview with Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC. Worth a listen.

The Brainstorm From Hell

Delegates gather in Germany to picture a post-Kyoto future The ongoing effort to figure out what in blazes to do when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012 is getting a boost this week and next, with officials from more than 160 countries gathering in Bonn, Germany, for a two-week brainstorm. The U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change bonanza, attended by more than 1,000 delegates, kicked off yesterday; it’s a precursor to a December summit in Bali, Indonesia, where the world will finally figure out its post-Kyoto plan. For real. We can do this, people. Of course, the usual suspects are …

Traded In His Chevy for a Cad Attack

Speaking in Detroit, Obama tells Big Auto where to go Presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) took his rhetoric to Detroit yesterday, challenging the U.S. auto industry to get with the times. “The need to drastically change our energy policy is no longer a debatable proposition,” he said in a speech to the city’s Economic Club. “It is not a question of whether, but how; not a question of if, but when. For the sake of our security, our economy, our jobs, and our planet, the age of oil must end in our time.” His big talk, which got big …

Better carbon markets

The RFFI way

The NYT has an update on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the Northeast coalition of states establishing their own carbon market. It’s promising that they seem to have learned the two key lessons of the European carbon market experience, which stumbled coming out of the gate. The first lesson: don’t give away credits. Participants in the United States want to avoid that problem by selling some or all of the credits at auction, with the proceeds going to state energy efficiency programs. The second lesson: don’t allow just any old thing to qualify as reducing emissions. To sidestep that …

Motor City audacity

Obama speech indicates new day is here

Dave gives Obama's speech short shrift. I would argue that this speech -- taking it to the automakers on their home turf, apparently to some applause -- is a big-time deal. The same could be said of the speech what Dave wrote in starry-eyed fashion when the outlines of the TXU deal became public: "The 'tipping point' concept is cheap from overuse these days, but to me this is the clearest sign yet that we have entered a fundamentally new stage in the fight against global warming." Sure, the policy recommendations behind the speech may not be the boldest out there, but can you imagine a presidential candidate giving this speech even a year ago, let alone at this point in 2003? In 1999, Gore was running as hard as he could from Earth-in-the-Balance-like proclamations like this one by Obama today: "The auto industry's refusal to act for so long has left it mired in a predicament for which there is no easy way out." I'm interested in others' thoughts. And keep your eyes on Grist -- as the race heats up, we will be conducting the definitive green interviews with presidential contenders.

CAFE news; Obama's speech

The logjam is breaking

It appears that after a long period of haggling — involving the bizarre tableau of Republican Ted Stevens pushing for tougher regulations — the Senate Commerce Committee is ready to cough up a bill that would raise CAFE standards to 35mpg by 2019 (35mpg across the fleet, including light trucks). The committee is expected to vote through the proposal tomorrow; that would lead to the first floor vote on CAFE since 2002, and if passed, the first fuel-economy boost in 30 years. The bill could be better — it’s got "off-ramps" in case the requisite technological improvements are just too …

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