Politics

Problem solved?

U.S. emissions go down!

The White House issued a press release yesterday about the report (PDF) by the Energy Information Administration that U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions for 2006 were 1.5 percent below the 2005 level. Here is the text of the press release: STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT I was pleased to receive the Energy Information Administration's final report today, which includes U.S. greenhouse gas emissions for 2006. The final report shows that emissions declined 1.5 percent from the 2005 level, while our economy grew 2.9 percent. That means greenhouse gas intensity -- how much we emit per unit of economic activity -- decreased by 4.2 percent, the largest annual improvement since 1985. This puts us well ahead of the goal I set in 2002 to reduce greenhouse gas intensity by 18 percent by 2012. My Administration's climate change policy is science-based, encourages research breakthroughs that lead to technology development, encourages global participation, and pursues actions that will help ensure continued economic growth and prosperity for our citizens and for people throughout the world. Since 2001, we have spent almost $37 billion on climate science, technology development, and incentives and international assistance. Recently, we convened representatives of the world's major economies -- the largest users of energy and largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions, from both developed and developing nations -- to discuss a new international approach on energy security and climate change. Our aim is to agree on a detailed contribution for a new global framework in 2008 that would contribute to a global agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change by 2009. The United States looks forward to working with partners to reach consensus on a "Bali Roadmap" at the upcoming UN meeting on climate change in Indonesia in December. Energy security and climate change are two of the important challenges of our time. The United States takes these challenges seriously, and we are effectively confronting climate change through regulations, public-private partnerships, incentives, and strong investment in new technologies. Our guiding principle is clear: we must lead the world to produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and we must do it in a way that does not undermine economic growth or prevent nations from delivering greater prosperity for their people. There are a few noteworthy aspects to the report and this press release.

Midnight Oil frontman is Australia’s new environment minister

Peter Garrett, former singer for rock band Midnight Oil, has been appointed the environment minister in Australia’s new regime. Garrett, who has been a member of the Australian Parliament since 2004, will be a duet …

News from the Googleplex

Is Google betting on a carbon tax?

Google Inc. has a new project, "Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal." Google is preparing to bet megabucks, mega-engineers, and its cutting-edge reputation on its ability to propel solar thermal power, wind turbines, and other renewable electricity up the innovation curve and under the cost of coal-fired power, Reuters reported Tuesday. "Our goal is to produce one gigawatt [1,000 megawatts] of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal. We are optimistic this can be done in years, not decades," said Larry Page, Google's cofounder and president of products, according to Reuters. To which we at the Carbon Tax Center say: Good luck, and don't forget to hire the lobbyists. You're going to need them to help win a carbon tax, because without the tax, your goal of renewable energy cheaper than coal is likely to remain out of reach.

Where are the giants?

On the leadership qualities the next president should possess

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. We are the nation we are because giants have walked among us. America was founded by giants. Others have appeared since to guide us through crises or to great things: Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King. We have had leaders whose oratory has, sometimes in a single sentence, rallied the American people around their obligations of citizenship, the morality of equal rights, the spirit of exploration, and the compassion our blessed nation should show to those who have never known security or abundance. Are giants walking among us today? Are any of them in the present field of presidential candidates? Polls indicate that most Americans agree the current president has demonstrated some qualities we do not want in the White House. I'd like to offer an unabashedly old-fashioned and idealistic answer about the qualities we do want, drawn from the Presidential Climate Action Plan.

Will the energy bill bail out ethanol?

The corn industry hopes Congress will pull its fat out of the fire

I used to love to start my writing day by taking a poke or two at the corn-based ethanol industry — you know, the biggest greenwash ever. Photo: mrobenalt These days, the debunking of corn …

The job-creating answer to global warming

A new report lays a road map for creating green jobs while fighting the climate crisis

A major new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) provides a detailed roadmap for avoiding catastrophic global warming and restoring our energy security, while maintaining economic development. The report, "Capturing the Energy Opportunity: Creating a Low Carbon Economy," is by CAP's John Podesta, Kitt Batten, and Todd Stern. It is well worth reading, and I say that not because I am a senior fellow at CAP, but because the 88-page report lays out the most comprehensive set of plausible job-creating climate/energy policies I have seen. The authors understand the scale of the problem: The challenge we face is nothing short of the conversion of an economy sustained by high-carbon energy -- putting both our national security and the health of our planet at serious risk -- to one based on low-carbon, sustainable sources of energy. The scale of this undertaking is immense and its potential enormous. The urgency of this issue demands a president willing to make the low-carbon energy challenge a top priority in the White House -- a centerpiece not only of his or her energy policy but also of his or her economic program -- to produce broad-based growth and sustain American economic leadership in the 21st century. This task is so encompassing it will demand that the incoming president in 2009 reorganize the mission and responsibility of all relevant government agencies -- economic, national security, and environmental. The report explores the crucial steps needed to meet the challenge:

Not that coal has any undue advantage

Coal industry sponsors another presidential debate

Tonight’s CNN/YouTube debate for the Republican presidential candidates is, like the previous CNN debate for Dems, brought to you by the coal industry. From ThinkProgress: Sponsorship of tonight’s debate appears aimed at influencing Florida Gov. …

Forum video, now with comments

Tell us what you think about the presidential forum

The video from Grist’s presidential forum on climate is now available on a page that accepts comments. So go comment! One thing to watch for: check out what Hillary says at 6:33, and compare to …

Splitting up is hard to do

Pelosi joins Reid in bifurcating the energy bill

A couple weeks ago, as I wrote here, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was keeping mum about her efforts alongside Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to pass the energy bill. She would neither confirm nor deny rumors about a split bill. Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that she's no longer keeping quiet: Democratic leaders have wrestled for months with how to meld the Senate bill, which includes a new fuel-economy mandate for auto makers, and the House bill, which would require power companies to use greater amounts of wind, solar and other renewable fuels. With only a few weeks left in the year, Democrats are now considering a new option: moving two separate bills.One measure would include the proposed fuel-economy increase as well as a proposal to boost production of ethanol and related biofuels. The companion bill would include the utility mandate, as well as a tax package rolling back oil industry tax breaks. How this makes the utility mandate any less likely to be filibustered remains a total mystery to me. But I suppose there is some logic to moving as many parts of the bill as are immediately passable, thereby narrowing the battle to one over renewables alone. Maybe Reid will just jam clean energy into some difficult-to-filibuster legislation down the road.

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