Politics

Mayors resolve to phase out city spending on bottled water

The U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution Monday to phase out city spending on bottled water. “Cities are sending the wrong message about the quality of public water when we spend taxpayer dollars on water in disposable containers from a private corporation,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, adding, “The fact is, our tap water is more highly regulated than what’s in the bottle.” Millions of barrels of oil go into plastic-bottle manufacturing, and cities spend some $70 million annually on bottle disposal. Though the new resolution is not binding, it received strong support, and more than 60 mayors …

No McCain, no gain

GOP candidate calls for energy efficiency in a California speech

John McCain gave yet another address on energy and environmental issues today (the third in the past week, if you’re counting), this one focused on energy efficiency, which he says should begin at home with the federal government. “Energy efficiency is no longer just a moral luxury or a personal virtue,” he told a crowd gathered at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History in California on Tuesday morning, echoing language from his June 17 energy speech. “A smarter use of energy is part of a critical national effort to regain control of our own energy future.” Beyond his emphasis …

My kingdom for a so-called expert

Sam Stein goes looking for an energy expert who will endorse John McCain’s contention that oil drilling will provide short-term price relief. You can guess the rest.

Nibbling the hand that supplies you

Saudi Arabia to host summit on high gas prices

Since when do we deal with our addiction by going to summits hosted by drug suppliers? Yet here is the Washington Post: "Saudi Arabian Oil Summit Hopes to Isolate Cause of Price Rise" JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia, June 21 -- Leaders from oil-producing and oil-consuming nations will meet here Sunday to try to pinpoint the reasons behind the rise in oil prices, which have doubled over the past year, and to find ways to bring them down.

Put down the oil

Increasing oil production will not substitute as energy solution

Originally posted on the NDN Blog. Yesterday, Saudi Arabia did what everyone -- including George W. Bush on bended knee -- has been asking it to do for months: agree to increase production. Prices closed up a dollar. The Saudi move and its non-impact on the market shows just how tight supplies remain. While it was designed in large part to offset declines in Nigerian production due to rebel violence in the oil-rich, poverty-stricken Niger Delta, it might have sent a psychological signal of easing supplies but it did not. Meanwhile, back in Washington, another panel of oil traders told Chair Dingell's House Energy and Commerce Oversight subcommittee that speculation is driving up oil prices and tighter oversight of commodities futures markets could lower prices. Staffers released data to the effect that 70 percent of trades are now speculative, up from 30 percent not long ago.

Tokyo set to pass citywide cap-and-trade bill

Tokyo, Japan, is on track to pass a bill on Wednesday that would limit the amount of greenhouse gases big companies in the city could emit, making it the first such mandatory program in the country. The city’s 1,300 largest emitters are responsible for some 20 percent of Tokyo’s total greenhouse-gas emissions. The bill aims to cap emissions from factories as well as office buildings starting in 2010, though the specific target will be hashed out sometime this fall. Businesses that fail to cooperate will be fined some $4,630, or the city will do the emissions trading for them and …

Notable quotable

Hansen on fossil fuels

On tar sands, oil shale, the like, and global warming: "If we use unconventional fossil fuels then there's no hope." On the Bush-McCain plan for offshore oil drilling: "It's just a crazy thing to do." -- Dr. James Hansen, speaking at a National Press Club luncheon, which honored him and commemorated the 20th anniversary of the landmark 1988 Senate hearing on global warming.

A modern-day Cassandra

Thoughts on the 20th anniversary of James Hansen’s historic Congressional testimony

In Greek mythology, Cassandra was given the gift of prophecy -- of seeing the future. But she was also cursed to have no one believe her. For far too many years, Dr. James Hansen has been a modern-day Cassandra. Gifted with a scientific training that allowed him to see the forces at work that are warming the planet, for too many years he was also not believed by many who chose to ignore or deny the scientific reality of global warming. Today, it is my pleasure to welcome Dr. James Hansen back to Capitol Hill on this 23rd of June 2008. It was twenty years ago today in 1988 that Dr. Hansen first came to Congress to deliver his message about global warming. He stated: "The greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now." Dr. Hansen, who currently serves as the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and a professor of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department at Columbia University, is a pioneer in modeling research and showed rising greenhouse gas levels would cause "temperature changes sufficiently large to have major impacts on people and other parts of the biosphere." Dr. Hansen has been more than just a leader within the global warming research community. He has served as a spokesperson communicating the global warming science to the public. Dr. Hansen has stood up to pressure to change the tone of his scientific research for political reasons in order to ensure that the pubic receives the most accurate information possible about climate change. Over the past twenty years, the body of evidence Dr. Hansen and his colleagues began has only continued to grow. It recently resulted in the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report showing how rising concentrations of man made pollutants are changing the climate of our planet. The debate is over. Global warming is here. Dr. Hansen was right.

Paul Revere rides again

Hansen marks 20th anniversary of landmark testimony to Congress with renewed call to action

James Hansen. Photo: nasa.gov It was a sweltering June 23 in Washington, D.C., when climatologist James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, appeared before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to testify about his certainty that the record high temperatures were the result of human activity.   That was 20 years ago. “The earth is warmer in 1988 than at any time in the history of instrumental measurements,” Hansen told senators, sweating in the 98-degree heat that the air conditioning system failed to keep at bay. “The global warming now is large enough that we can …

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