Politics

Stuck on you

Activist attempts to glue himself to Gordon Brown

Yes, even stranger than the skater crashing though the ice (though not as funny, notwithstanding the well-known dry British wit): During these turbulent economic times, Gordon Brown is keen for the country to stick by him. However, this probably wasn't quite what he had in mind. Dan Glass, of the climate change pressure group Plane Stupid today tried to superglue himself to the Prime Minister at a Downing Street reception. Yes, that is the name of the group. Their website is www.planestupid.com.

For goodness lakes

Michigan Lt. Governor John Cherry says the Great Lakes need help

This is a guest post from Michigan Lt. Governor John Cherry, who has been working recently to preserve and restore the Great Lakes. -----   Lt. Gov. John Cherry I'm especially pleased to be a guest blogger on Grist today, since earlier today legislation was introduced in the United States Senate and House of Representatives to ratify the Great Lakes Compact.  Now that the Compact has been ratified by the eight Great Lakes states, as well as the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, it's time for Congress to take the next crucial step and grant its consent to the Compact.   All Michigan citizens have a deep personal connection to the Great Lakes.  I grew up in a culture where people worked hard and long during the work week, but when vacations or weekends came along they loved to get away "to the lake," "to the cottage," or just "up north."  And in the Legislature, as lieutenant governor of the state of Michigan, and as chair of the Great Lakes Commission (whose members are Great Lakes States in the United States and the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Provinces in Canada), I have been in positions to make a difference in preserving, protecting, and where necessary restoring the vitality of the Lakes.  Perhaps for these reasons, as well as because I personally enjoy spending time on the water, I have a strong sense of stewardship toward the Lakes.

Union of the states

America’s governors unite to plead for extension of renewable tax credits

Today, 50 governors — if you’re counting, that’s all of them — sent a letter to Congress [PDF] asking that the tax credits for renewable energy be extended by at least five years: Renewable energy …

Unite around public subsidy

Public investment can stop emissions faster than relying on private sector

David Roberts comments ruefully on the lack of a clean energy coalition for progressives to join, and on the lack of common talking points on clean energy -- which allows the right eat our lunch on drilling. I've argued in the past that links between greens and progressive are more effective than trying to win the conservative movement over (though individual conservatives should be welcomed). The truth is, there is no solution that will lower oil prices below $100 a barrel: not drilling, not nuclear, not solar or wind, and not even massive efficiency. We have to replace oil, and anything that will do this (which does not include more drilling or nuclear) will take time to implement. What we can offer are programs that help people's pocketbooks in other areas. We can't lower the cost of oil, but we can lower the cost of living in the short run -- and get the oil monkey and the greenhouse gas monkey off our nation's back in the long run. We won't come up with slogans as pithy as "drill everywhere" -- the disadvantage of basing a campaign on workable solutions is you can't just make stuff up. Our slogan would have to be along the lines of: "Nobody can make more oil; but we can put money in your pocket." (Someone better than I am at slogans please condense this.) What actual policies could lie behind this slogan? If environmentalism was really a movement and tied to a larger progressive movement, we could support universal health care. I would favor single-payer, but at least something that would provide decent coverage to everybody and lower costs. (This, umm, comes back to single-payer, since incremental reforms tend not to actually control costs.) Health care reform would not lower the price of a single tank of gas or drop one utility bill, but it would save enough money that higher gas prices and utility bills would not hurt so much until the problem is solved.

Feds rush to weaken workplace safety rules on toxics before term ends

The Bush administration is trying to push through a new workplace safety rule to weaken workers’ protections against toxic chemicals before Bush’s term ends, according to The Washington Post. The rule, which has not been …

Office of Management and Censorship

Committee hears testimony from whistleblower on EPA dealings

Jason Burnett, the former associate deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency who resigned last month over the Bush administration’s unwillingness to address greenhouse-gas emissions, provided more details to a Senate panel Tuesday about how …

Shale we dance?

Bush admin’s effort to spur oil shale production won’t do much for consumers in short run

New regulations proposed by the Bush administration are aimed at tapping the country’s huge reserves of oil shale, steps Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said are intended to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil in the …

House GOP offers Americans false hope, failed policies, and eco-havoc

Memo calling for increased offshore drilling and shale development

I have received the text of an Alice-in-Wonderland memo (below) that House Republican leaders will circulate today on legislation they plan to offer. It claims: To increase the supply American-made energy in environmentally sound ways, the legislation will: * Open our deep water ocean resources, which will provide an additional 3 million barrels of oil per day;* Open the Arctic coastal plain, which will provide an additional 1 million barrels of oil per day; and* Allow development of our nation's shale oil resources, which could provide an additional 2.5 million barrels of oil per day First off, we opened the vast majority of our deep water ocean resources to drilling two years ago and oil prices doubled. Second, according to the Bush administration's own energy analysts, ending the federal moratorium on coastal drilling would add perhaps 150,000 barrels of oil per day in the 2020s and have no impact on prices through 2030, unless, as seems likely, California blocks drilling off its coast, in which case it would add well under 100,000 barrels of oil per day in the 2020s. Third, opening up the "Arctic coastal plain" (GOP-speak for Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) would also have no impact on prices, according to the Bush administration's own energy analysts. Fourth, you can't develop U.S. shale in environmentally sound ways. Yet Republican leader John Boehner, Republican Whip Roy Blunt, Conference Chairman Adam Putnam, and Chief Deputy Whip Eric Cantor still have the chutzpah to write:

Bernanke speculates: Don't blame the speculators

Growing demand and tight supply fuels increase in gas prices

In his "Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress" before the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, U.S. Senate, last week, chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke explained why oil prices are so high and are likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future: The spot price of West Texas intermediate crude oil soared about 60 percent in 2007 and, thus far this year, has climbed an additional 50 percent or so. The price of oil currently stands at about five times its level toward the beginning of this decade. Our best judgment is that this surge in prices has been driven predominantly by strong growth in underlying demand and tight supply conditions in global oil markets. Over the past several years, the world economy has expanded at its fastest pace in decades, leading to substantial increases in the demand for oil. Moreover, growth has been concentrated in developing and emerging market economies, where energy consumption has been further stimulated by rapid industrialization and by government subsidies that hold down the price of energy faced by ultimate users ... On the supply side, despite sharp increases in prices, the production of oil has risen only slightly in the past few years.

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