Politics

My other candidate is a bike

Obama, transportation policy, and the highway bill

Great story in CQ this week on bike politics. Did you know that Obama met a few weeks ago with 160 cycling advocates and promised them his support? I didn’t. The 600-pound gorilla in transportation politics is the 2009 negotiation of a new highway bill, which according to CQ “is already being touted as embodying the greatest overhaul of federal transportation policy since President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Interstate Highway Act into law half a century ago.” It might behoove CQ to add, "if Obama wins." Just as McCain’s "don’t pick winners" energy policy amounts to picking winners (nukes …

The media is (almost) onto McCain's cynical doubletalk

‘Purpose,’ McCain’s new energy ad, features wind turbines he voted against

McCain has a new ad titled "Purpose": The AP critiqued it with a piece titled, "McCain energy ad short on specifics." Okay, mainstream media, half credit. The ad has a much bigger problem than lack of specifics -- McCain is trying to get a political boost by claiming he will champion popular clean energy technologies that he, like President Bush and most conservatives, has consistently opposed:

Summit like it hot

G8 leaders head to Hokkaido where Bush and his sherpa will provide climate guidance

On Monday, George W. Bush will travel to Hokkaido, Japan, for his eighth and final G8 summit, where climate change is likely to be the subject of heated (ahem) talks. At last year’s meeting, leaders agreed to seriously consider a goal of cutting global greenhouse-gas emissions 50 percent by 2050. But the Bush administration continues to resist mandatory targets, and in a speech on Wednesday, Bush made sure to again emphasize “technologies” over regulation. “I’ll be reminding people that we can have better energy security and we can be better stewards of the environment without sacrificing economic growth,” said Bush. …

A fuel's errand

Republican House members ask EPA to scale back ethanol mandate

More than 50 Republican representatives sent a letter [PDF] to the Environmental Protection Agency last week urging the agency to lower the mandate for ethanol production in response to both the recent flooding in the Midwest and drought in the South. They argue that one-third of the country’s corn crop will be used for ethanol to meet the Renewable Fuel Standard, and while the weather this year will cause a decrease in supply of corn, the RFS will increase demand significantly. “Domestic food prices are rising twice as fast as inflation and the rising price of basic commodities has been …

Sally 4th

Sierra Club prompts voters to call legislators about energy bills over the holiday weekend

The Sierra Club began running radio ads this week in six states whose U.S. senators are key votes for energy legislation. Though both Republicans and Democrats were hoping to have accomplished something so they could go home for the holiday and claim victory, Congress went into recess for the 4th of July holiday this week in a deadlock over energy policy. Sierra Club’s ads are intended to prompt voters to call their senators about two pieces of legislation: the Consumer First Energy Act and the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act. Both have stalled in the Senate so far this …

Derailed

McCain just not that into Amtrak

Over at the Boston Globe, columnist Derrick Z. Jackson does an excellent job of highlighting John McCain’s beef with Amtrak: For years, McCain, in the comfort of cheap gasoline for autos and airplanes, made Amtrak a personal whipping boy. Despite the fact that governments in Western Europe and Asia zoomed far ahead of the United States by supporting high-speed trains to relieve congestion, promote tourism and now as we are coming to know, save the planet, McCain has spent considerable capital in denying the passenger rail system the capital to modernize. Among his Amtrak transgressions: Halting $10 billion in capital …

'Coal makes us sick!'

Harry Reid passionately disses fossil fuels, goes viral on YouTube

This video of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) talking about fossil fuels on the Fox Business Network was one of the “most viewed” on YouTube yesterday: It’s been viewed 351,710 times so far, largely because it was linked to from the Drudge Report. As Politico reports, “Senate Republicans are sending around the video as part of an effort to make Democrats appear out of touch on the need to produce more energy and drill more oil wells.” And there are probably at least a few people watching it because they think Reid is absolutely right. [UPDATE: Friends of the …

No shame in our game

Climate policy isn’t a pill to swallow, it’s a way off a sinking ship

This Ezra Klein post echoes what has rather rapidly become conventional wisdom among progressives on climate legislation, and it makes me want to tear my hair out. The idea is that climate legislation will inevitably hurt people financially in the short-term, in order to secure environmental benefits in the distant future, so the only way to get it through is with a bunch of obscurantist double-talk to bore or distract people in the hopes that you can sneak something through before anyone notices. If you accept that, as Ezra does, then you will be highly, highly pessimistic about the chances …

Hide and sneak

White House disses Supreme Court, kills $2 trillion savings

The following post is by Earl Killian, guest blogger at Climate Progress. The Wall Street Journal published new material ($ub. req'd) on the White House's emasculation of last year's Supreme Court global warming decision: The court told the EPA that the Clean Air Act requires it to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The White House seeks to nullify that decision by stuffing the EPA document down a memory hole and substituting antithetical language. The WSJ has seen the EPA's draft document and reports: The draft ... outlines how the government, under the Clean Air Act, could regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from mobile sources such as cars, trucks, trains, planes and boats, and from stationary sources such as power stations, chemical plants and refineries. The document is based on a multimillion-dollar study conducted over two years.