Christians against coal mining

Rev. Allen Johnson calls on churches to condemn mountaintop-removal mining

This is a guest post from Rev. Allen Johnson, whom we interviewed last year as part of our God & the Environment series. Johnson heads Christians for the Mountains, a group fighting to protect the Appalachians from mountaintop-removal mining. This post is reprinted with permission from the Moyers Blog. ----- On August 22, The New York Times published an article that began, "The Bush administration is set to issue a regulation on Friday [August 24] that would enshrine the coal mining practice of mountaintop removal." Enshrine? An oddly appropriate word, I thought -- a biblical word, even. A place where dwell the gods; in this case, the gods of money, comfort, and power. For over two years I have been involved with a network organization, Christians for the Mountains, to engage Christians and their churches to take on the moral question of mountaintop removal. The massive scale of beheading coal-bearing mountains, obliterating headwater streams, and building multi-billion-gallon toxic slurry impoundments begs biblical and theological activity.

Bush administration will propose quicker deadline for phasing out ozone-depleting chemicals

Nearly 200 nations will gather on Sept. 15 to discuss the Montreal Protocol, a 20-year-old treaty put into place to phase out the nasty chemicals …

Bush makes gaffes at APEC gathering, forum may set weak voluntary targets

In Sydney, Australia, today at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, U.S. President George Bush referred to APEC as OPEC, then tried to cover up …

The 'intensity' scam

APEC’s draft plan to reduce GHG intensity will do nothing to curb emissions

Reports coming out of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit say that a draft statement on climate change from the Pacific Rim nations is on the way. Early reports, however, contain this nugget: To strike the accord, negotiators agreed to set a target to reduce "energy intensity" -- the amount of energy needed to produce economic growth, Al-Farisi said. Australian Prime Minister John Howard previously called for reducing energy intensity 25 percent by 2030. A Southeast Asian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that goal was included in the draft. This is, as I blogged about before, a huge scam. Greenhouse-gas intensity is the emissions per unit economic output. Multiply this quantity by the size of the economy and you get total greenhouse-gas emissions. Historically, greenhouse-gas intensity has declined all by itself as the world's economy has evolved from manufacturing (which takes a lot of energy) to services (which take less), and as equipment has naturally become more efficient. Over the past few decades, U.S. greenhouse-gas intensity has declined somewhere between 1 and 2 percent per year without any government policies. Based on the historical data, the target of decreasing our greenhouse gas intensity by 25 percent over 23 years is essentially a do-nothing target. We would expect such a decrease to occur naturally. And given such a modest decrease in intensity, we can still expect emissions to continue to grow rapidly -- and hence climate change will continue unabated. If this is indeed their target, it should be clear that the leaders of the APEC nations are not making any legitimate effort to head off the risk of climate change.

Global warming can breed terror

John Edwards links climate crisis and national security

In a major speech today on national security, presidential candidate John Edwards talked about how fighting the climate crisis is an integral part of battling terror (it also requires less duct tape): Finally, we must achieve energy independence. If we reduce our reliance on oil from instable parts of the world, Middle Eastern regimes will finally diversify their economies and modernize their societies. And fighting global climate change will reduce global disruptions that could lead to tends of millions of refugees and create massive new breeding grounds for desperation and radicalism.

More inconvenience

Coming Gore book to spell out climate solutions

Gore to pen a sequel: The Path to Survival will be published next spring to coincide with Earth Day on April 22. According to the …

Hilarity in the congressional record

How to tell whoppers and get away with it

The basic trick is to show up looking nice, well dressed, civil, and then, in a composed voice, lie and dissemble to your heart's content. All in evidence at today's hearing, focused on coal and carbon capture, of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Climate Change. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.): "Some estimates that I read are that the cost of [a carbon] cap would increase the cost of electricity to the consumer by as much as 45 percent." Well, perhaps. But here we have an analysis from George Bush's EPA of the Climate Stewardship Act (cosponsors John McCain and Joe Lieberman). On page 3, it reads: Electricity prices are projected to increase 22% in 2030 and 25% in 2050, assuming the full cost of allowances are passed on to consumers (as is the case in a full auction). If allowances are given directly to power companies, the cost of those allowances would not be passed on to consumers in regulated electricity markets, so electricity price increases would be lower in much of the country.

Global warming: An inconvenient pain in the ass

After delaying action against climate change, Big Coal is now scheming to cash in

For readers out there who understand the climate crisis well (I assume basically all of you), a lot of this will be recap, but today's hearing underscored how desperate the situation really is and how urgently it needs to be addressed. That urgency is a source, at least to me, of tremendous frustration. To a great extent, we've reached this point precisely because energy industries and their political patrons spent years blocking action, rejecting science, and rhetorically casting "alarmists" as cartoonish hippie-fascists. So successful were their efforts that we now face a crisis of such magnitude that the very same actors are using the urgency they created to bully lawmakers into providing them significant handouts in order to fix the problem. As my previous post points out (or was meant to point out), the bullying is proving effective. This post is a reminder that it's only effective because things look pretty dire.

Irony of the day

In the course of a Washington Post story on the fate of the House and Senate energy bills, we hear this about Bush’s feelings on …