Politics

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.

Converts and heretics

Time to start welcoming rather than bashing eco-newcomers

Arnold Schwarzenegger is being offered up as an eco-hero, so naturally some folks in the green movement rush to point out that it’s all a big fraud. Why they do that — why progressives eat their allies — I’ll never understand. Let’s approach this through a semi-related phenomenon. I had the privilege of meeting Andrew Dessler in person the other day (how’d your talk go, Andrew?), and we discussed, among other things, how several climate change skeptics started off lightly flirting with craziness, before descending over time into full-on Inhofian fruitloopitude. How does that happen? I speculate it goes something …

Presidential contender supports carbon tax

If you can really call Chris Dodd a ‘contender’

Finally, a candidate for president has come out in support of a carbon tax! OK, it was Chris Dodd, but still. Dodd’s big energy speech this morning was mostly the usual stuff about tax credits and subsidies, but here’s the section that produced the headline: The truth is, we can make all the clean energy investments in the world, but we will never be able to rid ourselves of fossil fuel energy sources when they remain the cheapest option. It’s true that some corporations have at last begun to clean up their act — some because they want to stay …

Boxer is a fighter

Senator Boxer vows to take the global warming fight to the administration, rules out carbon tax in favor of cap and trade. The San Francisco Chronicle has the details.

No More Dicking Around

House approves long-delayed Wild Sky Wilderness bill After five years of delay, the House has passed a bill creating a 167-square-mile Wild Sky Wilderness area in northern Washington state. The bill had been approved by the Senate three times in recent years, but stalled out each time in the Republican-led House, with former California Rep. Richard Pombo fingered as the man responsible for standing squarely in the way. “The protection of the Wild Sky Wilderness … heralds a wilderness revival in Congress,” says Sean Cosgrove, a national forest policy specialist with the Sierra Club. “The Wild Sky Wilderness Act is …

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