Politics

Annals of irritance

Feinstein agrees with Big Auto about federal fuel efficiency standards

UPDATE: Feinstein is now trying to dig out of this. In all the galling news of today, this probably ranks as a mere annoyance, but …

Energy woes

Boxer’s supporting the scaled-back energy bill; it will likely pass

She's the chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. She carries a lot of weight and many will no doubt follow her lead. This thing is going to pass. James Inhofe just said he thinks it'll probably get about 80 votes. Perhaps the only interesting remaining question is whether anybody (Sanders?) will oppose this thing out of protest.

Energy woes

What the Republicans are saying about the energy bill

The floor debate over the (second) Senate vote on the energy bill has begun. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), the first to stand up and speak, now says she will support the bill. She voted no last time, so assuming no Republicans switch from "yeah" to "nay" (and that no Democrats switch from "yeah" to "nay"), this thing will go through.

Time to shut down the IPCC?

It is doubtful that future IPCC reports will make a difference in climate policy

I have a long column at Salon.com, "Desperate times, desperate scientists," which discusses how dire the climate situation is and how desperate climate scientists have become in the face of global inaction. In general, I am a fan of what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has done -- and they certainly deserve the Nobel Prize they shared with Al Gore. That said, at the end of the Salon piece I argue for disbanding it: In fact, I think that with the release of the recent synthesis report, the IPCC has reached the end of its usefulness. Anyone who isn't persuaded by that document and the general desperation of international climate scientists is unlikely to be moved by yet another such assessment and more begging. In particular, skeptical Americans are unlikely to be convinced by another international report that focuses on international climate impacts. We could use a new definitive analysis by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences on climate science, U.S. impacts, and solutions. That analysis should also do something the IPCC doesn't -- namely, look at plausible worst-case scenarios, given that such scenarios typically form the basis for most of our security and health policies. It would be harder for Americans to ignore an Academy study than the IPCC reports. An Academy study would also be more likely to get thorough attention from the U.S. media and possibly even from conservatives ... I just don't think that continuing the IPCC process will have any meaningful impact on American climate policy. And much of the rest of the industrialized world is ready to make the necessary commitments now.

Free campaign advice

How the Dem candidates should answer the question on energy independence

I’m not watching the Dem debate in Iowa right now, so I pass the mic to former Gristie Kate Sheppard, who reports on candidate answers …

You first! No, you first!

China and the U.S. are both obliged to act on climate change, quick-like

Apparently, based on some recent threads on this site, there’s some dispute about the role China plays in the Great International Climate Change Debate. I’m …

Roadblock at Bali Climate Conference? Not U.S.!

The U.S. sits on the sidelines rather than leading the charge in a war on climate change

Americans have a history of joining together in times of crisis. But the terminology of war is the most familiar rallying cry. So it's understandable that when he's talking about global warming, John Edwards often implores Americans to be "patriotic about something other than war." And when Al Gore accepted his Nobel Prize this week, he said, "We must quickly mobilize our civilization with the urgency and resolve that has previously been seen only when nations mobilized for war." So, where is America the strong, free, brave, visionary? Where is America, defender of the world's climate? The U.S. is not leading the charge at this week's U.N. climate conference in Bali. American delegates have insisted they would not be a "roadblock" to a new international agreement aimed at reducing greenhouse gases. Not be a roadblock? Was it irony or simply poor word choice?

Senate Republican minority blocks energy bill

The Senate held a cloture vote this morning to overcome a threatened filibuster from Senate Republicans. It failed 59-40 — one vote short of the …

White House pressured EPA to ease toxics reporting requirements, GAO says

Congress’ investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office, has concluded that the Bush White House pressured the U.S. EPA to ease toxics reporting requirements for businesses. …