Politics

An interview with Andrew Rice, the Democrat challenging GOP Sen. James Inhofe

Andrew Rice. No national politician has done more to antagonize the environmental community than James Inhofe, Republican senator from Oklahoma. As chair of the Senate …

Another reason EPA's denial of Cali's waiver is bogus

Increased CO2 in the atmosphere exacerbates the effects of air pollution

The primary reason EPA head Stephen Johnson rejected California’s waiver request is that the state did not face "extraordinary and compelling conditions" as defined under …

Canada should consider adopting carbon tax, says panel

Canada should strongly consider adopting a carbon tax along with an emissions cap-and-trade system, a panel of experts advised the government today. The panel had …

What about the cities?

Urban issue virtually absent from campaign; mayors speak up

Ed Glaeser asks the presidential candidates: "What about the cities?" Last month, Clyde Haberman wondered the same thing. It’s a good question. Every rural cornpone …

Green gap is more of a chasm

The presidential debates once again highlight the obvious

Matthew Yglesias notes the environmental policy gap between Democratic and Republican presidential contenders: "On the Republican side, we have Mike Huckabee who thinks global warming is a serious problem but doesn't have any particular ideas about dealing with it." It strikes me as worse than that. When I read Andy Revkin's run-down of the weekend's debates, this made me want to get my shrill on: Mike Huckabee called for a billion-dollar prize for the first 100-mile-per-gallon car (a concept that might seem a bit goofy, but that has been embraced by some influential economists). It did indeed seem a bit goofy at first. Then I thought again. This idea goes well beyond goofy to ... deeply unserious? Insulting? Inane? Consider: 100 mpg-equivalent cars already exist. 100 mpg isn't all that ambitious. A bunch of kids are planning to bring a commercially viable 200 MPGe car to market in 2009. 100 mpg cars aren't a hugely important policy goal. So, let's see: a climate change an energy independence plan consisting of a billion-dollar prize for technology that already exists will probably soon be supplanted, and isn't a high priority. Of course, this was just one throwaway line in a debate. But I'm thunderstruck by the level of policy discourse on one of the most important issues of the day. Then I remember that voters don't actually care about this stuff, and it all sort of makes sense.

Hillary's poisonous NH cloud

Clinton lobbied for tire burning near Granite State

With the New Hampshire primaries approaching, I thought I'd share this article about how Hillary Clinton's political style has directly affected New Hampshire voters in a way that might shed light on the kind of president she would be. The article was co-written with Friends of the Earth Action president Brent Blackwelder. ----- New Hampshire has for decades struggled to keep its air clean. But during 2005 and 2006, Hillary Clinton's ambitions collided with New Hampshire's air quality, putting thousands of Granite Staters, and particularly children, directly in the line of a deadly cloud of toxic pollution. At the time, of course, Clinton was hotly engaged in a campaign to increase her margin of victory in her bid for reelection in her New York Senate race. Her triumph was never in question: she faced only token Republican opposition in a heavily Democratic state. But she was desperate to prove that she could win with a big margin in more conservative areas of upstate New York so she could prove to Democrats that she would be viable in similar conservative areas around the country during her presidential bid. That understandable political aspiration came head to head with New Hampshire children's health in 2005, when the International Paper logging company unveiled a proposal to burn tires at its Ticonderoga paper mill in upstate New York on the border with Vermont. Burning tires to power its operations would save IP money on its electricity bills, but it came with a heavy price.

Moving money in the economy

More on climate policy in the Dem debate

Responding to some of the comments on Dot Earth: Obama is right that a cap-and-trade program with 100 percent auctioned permits would be the functional …

Clinton v. Obama on energy

Clinton hangs 2005 energy bill around Obama’s neck

Quite interesting that Clinton went after Obama specifically on energy tonight: You know, the energy bill that passed in 2005 was larded with all kinds …

DeSmogBlog owes Obama three apologies

Obama is in no way ‘George Bush Lite’

I am a big fan of the climate website, DeSmogBlog. So I was shocked when, the day after his unprecedented victory in Iowa, DeSmogBlog gave Barack Obama "the inaugural 2007 SmogMaker Award for blowing smoke on global warming." Gimme a break. How could anyone win that award any year -- let alone in its inaugural year -- when George W. Bush is still president? [Not to mention a year in which Lomborg and Inhofe continue their influential disinformation compaigns!] After all, the "Prize honors those who sow confusion and delay on Climate Change." Seriously. Bush is easily the confuser and delayer of the year ... and the decade ... and he surely will be on the short list for the entire century. Yet DeSmog says Obama is "looking like George Bush lite." How can they make that claim? By misreading -- or failing to read -- Obama's terrific climate plan. DeSmogBlog claims: But he is campaigning on a greenhouse gas reduction "target" that the U.S. won't have to meet for 42 years ... While the world's leading scientific bodies tell us we need to act immediately to avoid catastrophic climate disruption, Obama has set his own target date at 2050, long past any opportunity for voters to hold him accountable. Uh, no. In fact, his plan (PDF) explicitly states: Obama will start reducing emissions immediately in his administration by establishing strong annual reduction targets, and he'll also implement a mandate of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Based on the links in their post, DeSmogBlog's research on Obama's climate apparently consists of reading a one-paragraph story on BusinessWire with Obama's statement on Bali -- which they link to not once, but twice! They claim he is an unrepentant coal supporter, based on a June 2007 Washington Post article about his support for his state's coal industry. And yet in his climate plan he bluntly commits: