The responsibility era

The editors of The New Republic make a simple point that can’t be made often enough: The conservative notion that reducing GHG emissions in the U.S. is pointless unless China and India do the same is a moral grotesquery. We created the problem. Ethically and geopolitically, we are responsible for leading the way to a solution. Call it "the responsibility era."

Faint Christopher

Presidential contender Christopher Dodd endorses carbon tax The good news: Presidential contender Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) has unveiled a bold energy plan that includes a tax on corporate polluters. The bad news: Christopher who-now? Is running for what? Putting aside Dodd’s snowball-in-hell odds, let’s admire his goals: a per-ton fee on corporate carbon emissions that would generate $50 billion annually, to be invested in renewable energy. And hey, while he’s at it, an increase in fuel-economy standards to 50 miles per gallon by 2017 and a requirement that government offices use green technology and clean-energy vehicles. “I’m going to set …

Screw Earth Day

It’s descended completely into ‘small steps’

When I read stuff like this … A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds that more Americans than ever — 60%, up from 48% a decade ago — believe that global warming has begun to affect the climate. A slightly larger percentage think it will cause major or extreme changes in climate and weather during the next 50 years. … Even so, most people are wary of any government effort to protect the environment by imposing restrictions on how they live, work or get around. A majority of those surveyed in the poll, conducted March 23-25, said they wouldn’t want a surcharge …

Sensenbrenner: protecting the children from <del>global warming</del> fearing global warming


A panel of retired generals thinks global warming is an urgent national security threat. The U.N. Security Council thinks global warming is an urgent national security threat. But wait! We forgot to ask Wisconsin Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R)! Sensenbrenner questioned "why global warming has suddenly become an issue of national defense" and afterward accused politicians and pundits of stoking children’s fears. Think of the children.

Bush vs. Clinton on climate change

Bush is working with a much stronger consensus

One argument in defense of George W. Bush's lack of action on climate change is some variation of this: "Bill Clinton wasn't any better ... he never sent the Kyoto Protocol to the Senate." This is true. But it also ignores one important fact. The science of climate change has improved dramatically since the mid-'90s. In its 1995 report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) summarized our knowledge about climate change by saying ... ... the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on the climate ... This is weak brew, and given the mixed evidence connecting human activities with warming, it was not at all clear exactly how much action to address climate change was warranted.

Bingaman and Domenici propose Energy Efficiency Promotion Act

Good stuff

I’ll leave it to Gar to judge if the targets are sufficiently aggressive, but either way I’m happy to see new legislation on energy efficiency being proposed in Congress. This stuff isn’t sexy and doesn’t garner much media attention, but — as we keep saying — efficiency is the low-hanging fruit. Time to eat some of it.

The new energy debate: ethanol, or more ethanol?

This is what we’ve come to

This article is just plain bizarre — a great illustration of how skewed and narrow the mainstream energy dialogue has become. It’s allegedly about the new "war on oil" in the U.S. (Oh good, another war.) Apparently, though, that war consists of firing away wildly with exactly one weapon: ethanol. Here’s the frame the author tries to put around the piece: [Rep. Steve] Israel [D-NY] worries the government could further derail alternative energy’s progress by not allowing the marketplace to determine which technologies will come to the forefront and instead picking its own favorites to promote and fund. It is …

Pros and cons

John Moe, at McSweeney’s, on the pros and cons of the Dem candidates: AL GORE Pro: Knows how to get to the White House, where to park, location of restrooms. Con: Wants to accomplish something meaningful. (h/t: Yglesias)

Coffee roasters perk up on USDA ruling

Sign a petition

The issue regarding certification of organic farmers in the Third World continues to gain steam. Equal Exchange, the organic and fair trade coffee group, has a petition drive (scroll to bottom of page) to block the USDA decision that would decertify organic 'grower groups' such as coffee co-ops. Grist had a spirited discussion on this previously.

Got 2.7 seconds?

We've devised the world's shortest survey to find out what kind of actions our readers are taking. You know you want to.