Politics

Sigh

Hopes for energy bill this session fading

According to John Broder, things are not looking good for comprehensive energy legislation this session: The prospect of a comprehensive energy package’s emerging from Congress this fall is rapidly receding, held up by technical hurdles and policy disputes between the House and the Senate and within the parties. FWIW

Bill to phase out incandescent light bulbs gains steam in U.S. Congress

Momentum is building in the U.S. Congress for a bill that would require phasing out regular incandescent light bulbs in favor of compact fluorescents and other, more efficient lighting technologies. The bill now in the works would require bulbs to be three times more efficient by 2020 and would require the phase out of 40-, 60-, 75-, and 100-watt incandescent light bulbs by 2014. Ye olde incandescents typically convert only 5 percent of the electricity they consume into visible light, and proponents say that installing more-efficient bulbs, including CFLs, next-generation incandescents, LEDs, and other lighting alternatives could save U.S. consumers …

The good German

German Chancellor Merkel focuses on climate change

In Germany, when the going gets tough, the tough go green: Chancellor Angela Merkel seems to have realized that, contrary to the song lyrics, sometimes it's quite easy being green. Mrs. Merkel has shied away from the biggest fight at home: the deep economic restructuring she advocated during her campaign two years ago. And on the matter of the suspected terrorist plot in the heart of Germany, she has remained in the background, apparently happy to cede the limelight to her interior minister, Wolfgang Schäuble. But in the past month Mrs. Merkel could be found inspecting glaciers in Greenland and calling for new measures to combat global warming at a conference in Kyoto, Japan. It was as if Ronald Reagan had turned into Al Gore after being elected. But the voters loved it, awarding her the highest approval ratings any chancellor has enjoyed since World War II. [my emphasis] The fact that a center-right politician can ride eco-campaigning to popularity could be a lesson for U.S. Republicans. Though Fred Thompson recently ridiculed global warming, polls show doing so might not be the smartest political move. The environment is the one issue on which Republican politicians are most out-of-step with the Republican base. According to a recent Pew study, 65 percent of Republicans want stricter environmental laws (though it's questionable how much of a voting priority it is). Ultimately, however, Merkel's ability to pull off a green hat trick shows the importance of creating bipartisan support for environmental protection.

Govs to automakers: Get on board

An open letter from 13 governors to U.S. automakers

As you know, today automakers lost their big lawsuit in Vermont — the judge ruled their their objections to higher tailpipe emission standards were, um, silly. Now, the governors of 13 states have sent an open letter to the automakers. "We do not believe it is productive for your industry to continue to fight state implementation of clean tailpipe standards," they say.  "We would prefer to follow a path that encourages innovation, not litigation." You can read the full letter here (PDF). At this point, if the Bush EPA denied California its waver, it would be as naked and open …

Breaking: Automakers lose

Vermont judge rules that Calif. and other states can implement tough tailpipe emission standards

Big news: the lawsuit by U.S. automakers attempting to block California and 14 other states’ adoption of tough new tailpipe emissions standards has lost: A federal judge on Wednesday rejected the U.S. auto industry’s attempt to block California and 14 other states from setting tough new fuel economy standards, saying the industry had not proved the regulations were illegal, unsafe or unattainable. The ruling was a big loss for the industry in the fight over whether California and other states can require more efficient vehicles to reduce emissions linked to global warming. … … In his ruling, Vermont U.S. District …

Judge rules against Big Auto, says states can regulate emissions from cars

States should be allowed to restrict greenhouse-gas emissions from cars, and Big Auto should just deal, a federal judge ruled today. Right now, the only real way to curb the emissions is to improve gas mileage; when Vermont decided to adopt California’s strict emissions rules, automakers sued, claiming that the state was illegally regulating fuel economy — and that making cleaner cars was unattainable and unsafe, to boot. U.S. District Judge William Sessions didn’t see it that way: “The court does not find convincing the claims that consumers will be deprived of their choice of vehicles, or that manufacturers will …

9/11, unity, and the chattering of chipmunks

The clarity that crisis brings is not necessarily our friend

I’ve had a post rattling around in my head for a while now, and the anniversary of 9/11 seems like apt moment to finally have a go at it. One of the most uncomfortable facets of the attacks on 9/11 is that as horrific as they were, they were also, for lack of a better word, bracing. It sounds awful to say so, but on some level everyone recognizes it. So much of our daily life is spent in a rut, plodding through workaday details. Crisis has the effect of stripping away the inessential, heightening our senses, bonding us together, …

The power of voluntary actions

Social scientists respond to Mike Tidwell

The following is a guest essay in response to Mike Tidwell’s recent piece on Grist, “Voluntary actions didn’t get us civil rights, and they won’t fix the climate.” It is signed by a collection of social scientists, mostly psychologists. Their names are listed at the bottom. —- We agree that institutional and policy changes are needed in addition to personal behavior changes, and that some pro-environmental behaviors being promoted aren’t the ones that have the most impact. Unfortunately, Tidwell implies that voluntary behavior change and policy change are mutually exclusive options, and that the only personal behavior that matters for …

New rules for action

Advice for political leaders on how to deal with climate change

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. I'd like to propose a few new rules our political leaders might keep in mind as they figure out their role in addressing global climate change.

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