Politics

The environmental justice braintrust

A dispatch from the Congressional Black Caucus conference

The following is a guest essay by Lauren Trevisan, environmental justice program assistant for the Sierra Club. ----- Appropriately, the theme of this year's 37th annual Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., was "Unleashing Our Power." For the first time in history, the U.S. House of Representatives has four African-Americans serving as chairpersons of major committees. In addition, 17 African-Americans lead major subcommittees, and Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina is the House Majority Whip. Activists and health experts hope that this change in leadership will help enact serious environmental justice legislation to promote safe and healthy communities. Senator and presidential hopeful Barack Obama drew a large crowd for his session on global warming. More than 1,000 people crowded in to hear Sen. Obama call for a comprehensive study of climate change impacts on low-income communities. He highlighted the job opportunities for young Americans that would stem from investment in retrofitting and renewable energy. Increased investment in public transit, Obama added, would help reduce carbon emissions and help low-income communities. But the best discussion of the day came from an annual panel called the Environmental Justice Braintrust. Clyburn convened this panel discussion for the ninth consecutive year. Panelists ranged from policy makers to medical professionals to civil rights attorneys, all of whom have been working to fight environmental injustice for decades.

U.K. judge rules Inconvenient Truth partisan but still OK to show in schools

A judge has ruled on a British citizen’s accusation that the United Kingdom’s distribution of An Inconvenient Truth to secondary schools amounts to political indoctrination. And the strange, strange verdict is: Yes, the documentary can …

Donning his cap

Dingell endorses a cap-and-trade climate plan

Just days after releasing his carbon-and-gas tax proposal for public comment, House Energy and Commerce Chair John Dingell (D-Auto) -- along with Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Coal) of Virginia -- has released a report [PDF] endorsing an economy-wide cap-and-trade program. In an odd but welcome turn, the 22-page white paper reads: The United States should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by between 60 and 80 percent by 2050 to contribute to efforts to address climate change. To do so, the United States should adopt an economy-wide, mandatory greenhouse gas reduction program. Further white papers will be forthcoming, meant to ... ... address a number of other cap-and-trade design elements and additional topics, including: cap levels and timetables, measures for containing costs in a cap-and-trade program, carbon sequestration, offsets and credits, developing countries, distribution of allowances, and additional measures. The bad news? "Government will distribute allowances equal to the level of allowed greenhouse emissions." Stay tuned for updates.

California A.G. petitions feds to regulate shipping emissions

California Attorney General Jerry Brown will join with environmental groups today to petition the Bush administration to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from ocean-going vessels. Shipping accounts for up to 5 percent of global GHG emissions, a …

A look at Mike Huckabee’s environmental platform and record

Update: Mike Huckabee dropped out of the presidential race on Mar. 4, 2008. Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who served as governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007, touts energy independence as one of his …

An interview with Mike Huckabee about his presidential platform on energy and the environment

This is part of a series of interviews with presidential candidates produced jointly by Grist and Outside. Update: Mike Huckabee dropped out of the presidential race on Mar. 4, 2008. Mike Huckabee. Photo: healthierus.gov Should …

Dingell's absurd poison-pill climate plan

John Dingell’s carbon-tax bill is designed to be unpopular

The carbon plan of Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) is considerably lamer -- and more transparently a poison pill -- than early reports suggested. So I strongly disagree with Chris Dodd, Friends of the Earth, and Gristmill's Charles Komanoff, who all applaud the bill. Here's why. First, as Dingell himself has said, he wanted to design a bill with maximum pain to prove to everyone how unpalatable greenhouse gas mitigation is (see below). Why else include a pointless $0.50 gasoline tax on top of the carbon tax? Dingell actually has a double agenda here -- to torpedo climate legislation and a toughening of CAFE at once. Taxes are unpopular enough -- but two of them? Come on! We've seen gasoline prices jump two dollars a gallon in recent years, with little impact on usage. What would another 50 cents do, except piss people off? It would never make the final bill, and Dingell knows it. Second, Dingell "phases out the mortgage interest on primary mortgages on houses over 3,000 square feet." But why? Here is the lame answer:

Quebec introduces carbon tax

Determined not to let British Columbia hog the green spotlight, the province of Quebec has introduced Canada’s first carbon tax. The tax, to be levied on gasoline, diesel, heating oil, and coal, is expected to …

Corps may buy out coastal Miss. towns, encourage residents to move inland

The Army Corps of Engineers is seeking support from three coastal Mississippi counties for a proposal to buy out 17,000 homes and encourage residents to move inland. The Corps generally reserves buyouts for areas prone …

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