Politics

Lomborg and Shellenberger & Nordhaus redux

Yet more musing on Lomborg and S&N

Looks like I'm not the only one who sees a scary similarity between the messages in their respective books, Cool It and Break Through. The San Francisco Chronicle just ran a double review by Robert Collier, a visiting scholar at the Center for Environmental Public Policy at UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy. The review ends pointedly: [T]he arguments of Nordhaus and Shellenberger attain an intellectual pretense that could almost pass for brilliant if their urgings weren't so patently empty. The closing chapter calls for "greatness," but, like the rest of the book, it offers little in the way of substantive proposals to back up its rhetorical thunder. Perhaps that's for their next book. Or perhaps real solutions, rather than pretentious sniping, are not the authors' purpose. Nordhaus and Shellenberger, like Lomborg, will get plenty of attention in Washington from those who want to preserve the status quo. But for those who recognize the urgent need to transform the national and world economies and save the planet as we know it, they are ultimately irrelevant. Precisely.

Fascinating, but for the wrong reasons

Shellenberger & Nordhaus echo flawed economic assumptions

I just finished reading Shellenberger & Nordhaus' latest, and while I realize I am a bit late to the party, I think they say some fascinating things -- perhaps not for the reasons they intended. S&N manage to succinctly distill an awful lot of the ideas that are core not only to policy debates on carbon, but to policy discussions of any major change to the economy. Understanding these biases is critical to understanding why S&N write what they write, but also why they are so deeply wrong.

French conservatives go green, too!

Sarkozy pushes proposals on energy and the environment

We have already seen that British Conservatives "get" global warming -- both the danger of inaction and the economic opportunity of a "green revolution." Now the right wing cheese-eating surrender monkeys are also putting their American political counterparts to shame. As Nature reports about the new conservative French president: Sarkozy made the greening of France a major plank of his election campaign this year. He has since created a superministry for ecology, biodiversity and sustainable development, with responsibility for the powerful sectors of transport, energy and construction -- a first in France, where ecology was previously off the political radar. Yet it seems inconceivable a U.S. conservative politician could take such action, or agree to the following remarkable proposals now under active consideration in France:

Storage in the spotlight

Congress finally pays attention to energy storage tech

I missed this when it happened, but (via Hill Heat) it’s nice to see that the House science committee recently held a hearing on energy storage technology. It’s a woefully underappreciated piece of the energy puzzle and overdue for some concerted attention. In the context of the hearing, the Subcommittee also discussed draft legislation entitled Energy Storage Technology Advancement Act of 2007, a bill soon to be introduced by Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN). "Energy storage is also critical for the next generation of vehicles, which will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and lower greenhouse gas emissions," added …

Group will do organic lawn care outside Capitol

Nonprofit SafeLawns.org has received permission to use organic gardening techniques on a portion of the National Mall for a two-year trial period. Can environmentally friendly soil treatments be embraced at the site of battling over a Live Earth concert? You could cut the tension with a spade.

Sustainable energy blueprint

A strategy for a no-nuclear, low-carbon, highly efficient, sustainable energy future

This came my way several weeks ago, but I ran across it again while hacking my way through my inbox and I thought it was worth sharing, particularly in light of the long list of endorsements. It comes from the Sustainable Energy Network, “a network of 450+ organizations, businesses, and individual advocates promoting aggressive deployment of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies as a strategy for phasing-out nuclear power, eliminating energy imports, and making deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.” —– The following statement outlines an ambitious but doable strategy for dramatically reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, phasing out nuclear …

Obama introduces ambitious energy plan

Barack Obama unveiled the details of his energy policy proposal in a speech in New Hampshire today, and he’s swinging for the fences. At the center is a cap-and-trade system that would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. Notably, Obama is the first major presidential candidate to propose that 100 percent of the initial emission permits be auctioned rather than freely allocated, a policy favored by analysts but not so much by the polluters that were looking forward to free credits. Auctioning the permits would raise a considerable amount of money, which Obama would spend on energy R&D, “green …

Court rulings are appealed left and right

Automakers are appealing a court decision that allows states to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from automobiles. Green groups are appealing the U.S. EPA’s decision to issue a permit for a new coal-fired power plant in Utah. W.R. Grace & Co. is appealing reinstatement of charges that it knowingly concealed dangers associated with asbestos mining. And Jake Gyllenhaal is just appealing. Yum.

Pessimistic prognostications

Two insiders say climate legislation unlikely while Bush is president

I think this Reuters article is password protected [Update: here's a free version], but the gist is that two fairly knowledgeable sources — Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), chair of the Senate Energy Committee, and Frank O’Donnell of Clean Air Watch — said last week that climate legislation is highly unlikely to be passed in this session of Congress, mainly because Bush would almost certainly veto it. Bingaman: Major climate change legislation “is less likely than not” with Bush as president “given the position that he’s taken in opposition to any mandatory limits on greenhouse gases,” Bingaman told the Reuters Environment …

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