Politics

Because Al says so

The Gore wants half a million missives sent to Congress

Help Al Gore Send a Message to Congress tomorrow! (Not sure what this actually accomplishes, but hey, do it for Dreamy Al. He wants to reach 500,000.)

Brit's Eye View: U.K. climate politics heating up

Tough new climate targets are all the rage in the Britain and Europe

Peter Madden, chief executive of Forum for the Future, writes a monthly column for Gristmill on sustainability in the U.K. and Europe. Things are hotting-up over here on climate change. And I'm not talking about the fact that we're set to have the warmest year on record. The political temperature is rising, too. The European Union has agreed to a joint CO2 target for its 27 member countries and their 490 million citizens. The leaders committed to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020. But this is just a starter. The E.U. says that if other countries -- such as the U.S. -- agree to do more, we will up our target to 30 percent. So, we have 20 percent on the table unilaterally, with a chunk more if you guys step up to the plate. Then, the U.K. government published a draft climate-change bill, which will make us the first country in the world to set legally binding carbon targets. The bill will set U.K.'s targets -- for a 60 percent reduction by 2050 and around a 30 percent reduction by 2020 -- in statute. It will also bring in a new system of legally binding five-year "carbon budgets." These will provide clarity on whether the U.K. is on the right path to meet its commitments. There will be a new independent advisory and scrutiny body, the Committee on Climate Change, annually reporting to Parliament on progress.

Mooney on Waxman hearing

Here’s Chris Mooney’s promised post on the "new revelations" from Waxman’s hearing yesterday. From what I can tell, the big revelation is that NASA press hacks did, indeed, try to block Hansen from giving an interview to NPR. But we mostly knew that, right? And given how spectacularly failed the effort to silence Hansen was … this one isn’t moving my outrage meter much. There are just so many things competing for outrage these days, no?

The war is an environmental issue

Not just a green issue, but certainly it is one

Matthew Yglesias, in The American Prospect: The time is right, wonkish Washington seems to feel, for ambitious new thinking, for new grand bargains, for new initiatives and big ideas. I'm just wondering why. Not to put too fine a point on it, but: Don't you know there's a war on? Or, rather, two -- one in Iraq, one in Afghanistan -- and the United States is losing both.

Van Jones

Read the interview!

I hope that everyone will take some time and head over to read my interview with Van Jones, civil rights lawyer, founder and director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and rising star of progressive activism. His message is that largely white, affluent "eco-elites" need to broaden their coalition by reaching out to low-income and minority youth, promising them training and jobs in the new clean energy economy. As he says: "For people with a bunch of opportunity, you tell them about the crisis. For people with a bunch of crisis, you tell about the opportunities." That’s something …

Al Gore to testify to both houses of Congress tomorrow

Political wonks everywhere feel the electricity!

In what may be the blockbuster hit of the political season, Al Gore is testifying to Congress tomorrow — twice. Not only is his testimony expected to influence the direction of coming legislation, but it may also reveal something of his intentions on the presidential race. One way or another, there’s sure to be drama. First, at 9:30am, he’ll testify to [deep breath] a joint hearing of the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality of the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment of the Committee on Science and Technology. (A live webcast here.) Also testifying …

House Republicans stack climate change committee with skeptics

Not that they’re trying to obstruct progress or anything

Here’s a glimpse behind the scenes at how Republicans were chosen to serve on the new House global warming committee: House Republican Leader John Boehner would have appointed Rep. Wayne Gilchrest to the bipartisan Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming — but only if the Maryland Republican would say humans are not causing climate change, Gilchrest said. “I said, ‘John, I can’t do that,'” Gilchrest, R-1st-Md., said in an interview. “He said, ‘Come on. Do me a favor. I want to help you here.'” Gilchrest didn’t make the committee. Neither did other Republican moderates or science-minded members, whose …

Gag, You’re It

Congress revisits issue of feds messing with climate science You’ve seen this show before, but now it’s bigger, longer, and uncut: a heated hearing in Congress has exposed dark truths about federal interference with climate science. Brandishing more than 180 examples of doubt-injecting edits made to three climate reports, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform grilled some of the key keep-it-quiet players. Grillees included oil-shill-turned-White-House-official-turned-oil-shill Philip Cooney and former Bush campaigner and NASA press officer George Deutsch, who resigned when his resume proved fake. Can you feel the trust and goodwill welling up? Top NASA scientist James Hansen …

What You Herd Is Not What I Meant

Bush administration reinterprets Endangered Species Act The Bush administration has quietly issued a new spin on the Endangered Species Act that would have the feds protect imperiled animals and plants only in places where they’re in trouble — not where they’re thriving or have already disappeared. A memo announcing the change was posted on the Interior Department website on Friday. The Center for Biological Diversity threatened to pursue the issue in court, saying the new policy could mean 80 percent of some 1,300 species now listed under the act would lose protection. “Say I’m an irrigator,” said CBD’s Kieran Suckling. …