Politics

Strategy 101 for greenhouse-gas deniers

Using doubt to compete with a scientific body of fact

This will come as no surprise to Grist readers, but it's nice to see it in mainstream print. The Chicago Tribune had a nice piece in the Sunday paper articulating how those on the wrong side of science have consistently used doubt as a strategy to maintain a scientifically-uninformed policy. In particular, note that:

Hog heaven, part 1

Increased offshore drilling does not substitute for national energy policy

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. When it comes to energy policy, Amory Lovins has proven again and again that he's a pretty smart guy. At the moment, nothing seems more insightful than one of Amory's comments in the May/June issue of Mother Jones. Asked what energy policies the next president should champion, Lovins was skeptical. He believes energy policy will continue to be made not at the national level, but by communities and states. "With modest exceptions," Amory said, "our federal energy policy is really a large trough arranged by the hogs for their convenience." Right now, the hogs are eating very, very well. With voters struggling from record prices for gasoline and all of the products made from petroleum and with no end in sight, the oil companies are pushing for more leases to drill for more oil on more public lands. President Bush, Big Oil's special friend in the White House, is pushing for more drilling, too, as are a number of people in Congress. At the moment, most Democrats on the Hill seem to be holding fast against this strategy -- but there's an election coming up.

Tanks, but no tanks

Bush to lift executive ban on offshore drilling signed by his father

President George Bush will announce this afternoon that he is lifting the executive ban on offshore drilling that has been in place since his father, George H.W. Bush, signed an executive order as president in 1990. The move is mostly symbolic, however. Unless Congress repeals its long-standing ban on offshore drilling, nothing will change. The executive order Bush intends to repeal bans oil companies from exploratory drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf. Last month, Bush called on Congress to first lift its ban, which has been in place since 1981. At a press conference this morning, White House Press Secretary …

Czar Schwarzenegger?

California governor says he’d be willing to serve in Obama’s cabinet

On ABC’s “This Week” yesterday, California’s Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a McCain supporter, suggested that he’d be willing to serve as “energy czar” for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. Host George Stephanopoulos asked the governor about a report that he attributed to Newsweek that said Obama would consider Schwarzenegger for a cabinet post, possibly one dealing with energy and environmental issues. Here’s the exchange: Stephanopoulos: If he were president and he called, you would at least take that call? Schwarzenegger: I would take his call now, I will take his call when he’s President. Any time. Remember, no matter who …

Hill heap

A weekly roundup of greenish news from the capitol

• According to a new EPA analysis, the “value of a statistical life” is now worth $6.9 million, which is nearly $1 million less than it was five years ago. This is important politically because when government agencies create regulations about things like air pollution, they use this statistical value to weigh the costs against the benefits of a proposed rule. Explains the AP, “Consider, for example, a hypothetical regulation that costs $18 billion to enforce but will prevent 2,500 deaths. At $7.8 million per person (the old figure), the lifesaving benefits outweigh the costs. But at $6.9 million per …

Barack in the Buckeye State

Dem presidential candidate talks up energy plan in Ohio

Barack Obama gave a speech on energy policy in Dayton, Ohio on Friday, and used the opportunity to rip on rival John McCain. He knocked the candidate’s calls for offshore drilling and a “gas-tax holiday,” and accused him of being part of the problem in Washington. “A few days ago, Senator McCain said our dangerous dependence on foreign oil has been 30 years in the making, and was caused by the failure of politicians in Washington to think long-term about the future of the country,” said Obama. “The only problem is that out of those 30 years, Senator McCain was …

Yes, Americans are a bunch of whiners …

As a big Obama supporter I am delighted that McCain's national co-chair and economic adviser Phil Gramm was stupid enough to talk about America being in a "mental recession" and the country being a "bunch of whiners"; it's going to be the gift that keeps on giving (Obama had a great line about how the country doesn't need a new Dr. Phil). Gramm was 100 percent wrong about the "mental recession" part -- we are teetering on a real recession if not already in one -- but he actually was right about America being a bunch of whiners, although not for the reasons he thinks.

Dems: The breaks

Some Democrats in Congress bending on drilling debate

Some Senate Democrats are warming to the idea of opening some offshore areas in U.S. waters to oil and gas drilling, as we reported earlier this week. A few more may now be joining the ranks. Republicans in Congress have hyped the need to drill, and representatives are under pressure from constituents to do something about gas prices. Bending on drilling at least politically creates the appearance of doing something, despite the fact that opening offshore areas to production won’t actually lower oil or gasoline prices until about 2030 — if it does then. Even the head of the Energy …

Countdown to Crawford

Bush administration decides to run out the clock on regulating greenhouse-gas emissions

The Bush administration made clear today that it doesn’t intend to do anything about climate change in the final six months in office, announcing that instead of responding to the Supreme Court’s mandate last year that the EPA determine the dangers posed to humankind by greenhouse-gas emissions they would simply request further public comment. The White House and EPA released their much-anticipated Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking today, after weeks of disputes between the EPA and the Office of Management and Budget about what that notice should look like. Stephen Johnson. Photo: epa.gov The ANPR was supposed to be a …

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