Politics

British government publishes climate change bill

The British government has published its climate change bill, which would set a target of reducing carbon emissions 60 percent by 2050. The bill will now go through a parliamentary process; if made law, Britain …

The speaker speaks on the energy bill

Nancy Pelosi answers my question about renewables in the energy bill

I and several other journalists spent the morning at an on-the-record breakfast with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) where, armed with my trusty digital voice recorder, I asked her to address last week's rumors about the potential demise of renewable energy in the energy bill. Will the electricity standard and the tax titles be dropped? If not, will the bill be split into parts? Her reaction was ... well, I'd call it slight consternation. She, not surprisingly, stopped short of saying anything definitive -- there are still no guarantees that the Congress will pass the energy bill enviros are hoping for. But it sounds very much as if renewables were not thrown under the bus, though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) may still turn it into two or three bills if he thinks it will help certain parts of it overcome the 60-vote hurdle in the Senate. But that's not exactly chastening because -- let's be realistic here -- if he's unwilling to force a real filibuster over Iraq withdrawal timelines, then he's unlikely to force a real filibuster over renewable energy. Still, Pelosi did at one point describe the bill as, potentially, a "beautiful Christmas present," and reiterated her hope that the bill would pass -- with renewables and all the rest -- before the end of the year. I sat near one end of a rather long banquet table and the Speaker sat at the opposing head, so my recording was, in certain parts, difficult to transcribe. But 99 percent of it is below the fold.

Technology alone won't alleviate climate change

NYT’s Andy Revkin and E. O. Wilson get suckered by Newt Gingrich’s phony techno-optimism

Newt Gingrich is an anti-environmentalist who spreads disinformation and has done more than any politician in the last two decades to thwart a sensible climate policy that includes a major clean technology component, as I have explained. Absent serious regulations, no technology-only strategy can possibly avoid catastrophic global warming (as we should have learned in the 1990s). Some well-meaning people, like The New York Times' first-rate climate reporter Andy Revkin and the great conservation biologist, E.O. Wilson, have gotten taken in by Newt's new-clothes rhetoric. Why? They don't know the history of climate technology policy that I and others have written about -- and they don't understand the explicit Luntz/Bush strategy of trying to get political credit on the climate while blocking the crucial regulatory (and technological!) solutions by talking about "technology, technology, blah, blah, blah," as I put it. I am in 100 percent agreement with David's analysis on this. Gingrich is most certainly not part of a "move to the pragmatic center on climate and energy," as Revkin writes -- especially not an imaginary center that Revkin claims includes Bjørn Lomborg and Shellenberger & Nordhaus (for a debunking of these folks, click here and follow the various links). Gingrich and Lomborg are not classic global warming deniers -- since they realize denial is now politically and scientifically untenable -- which is why I label them delayers. (I will come back to S&N's ongoing disinformation campaign in a future post.) Gingrich and his coauthor are not "realists and visionaries" -- the phrase Wilson uses in a foreword to their book, A Contract with the Earth (you can read the foreword -- and, if you're clever and have a huge amount of time, the whole book -- for free if you click here [reg. may be req'd]). I have emailed Wilson -- whom I don't know -- my earlier Gingrich post. I'll focus on Revkin, since I do know him, and he has a blog where he is fighting back against David (and others) who criticize him.

Bush administration’s fuel-economy regs for bigger vehicles smacked down

A federal appeals court has rejected the Bush administration’s fuel-economy regulations for 2008-2011 model light trucks and SUVs. In the scathing tone that the Bushies are becoming quite familiar with, the judges declared that the …

One movement

Tracking Lieberman-Warner: A friendly spin?

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA): "This bill provides billions of dollars for coal. It's like a Manhattan Project for coal." Noted without comment.

Wayne Rogers is no Alan Alda

Fox News disses Clinton climate plan

I suppose no one should be shocked that Fox had a five-against-one (Greenpeace's John Passacantando) panel to savage Hillary Clinton's terrific climate and energy plan. The video is worth watching to see just how much some conservatives hate the strategies that are crucial to avoiding catastrophic global warming: I was surprised to see that Wayne Rogers of M*A*S*H fame has morphed into another Fox wacko. He labels Hillary's plan "idiotic," calls her a "crazy person" and mocks her -- I kid you not -- for putting forward "an aggressive, comprehensive energy efficiency agenda ... by changing the way utilities do business."

Subsidies and the agony of modern farm policy

A response to my critics

Last week’s Victual Reality column startled a lot of sustainable-food advocates, particularly folks not immersed in the details of U.S. farm policy. Subsidies, I argued, do not cause the ravages of industrial agriculture; rather, subsidies …

What should I ask the presidential candidates?

Leave suggestions in comments

Below you saw the details of Grist’s upcoming presidential forum with Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Dennis Kucinich. Each candidate will come out, speak for about 10 minutes about the challenge of climate change, and …

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