One inconclusive set of international meetings yielding weak climate resolutions ends — another begins.
Chris Dodd comes out in support of Dingell’s carbon tax proposal. Think anybody else will?
He's running for president now, so let's revisit Fred Thompson's climate change confusion. He took some standard denier myths and threw in a dash of his own unwarranted sarcasm to create this mishmash on the Paul Harvey radio show: Some people think that our planet is suffering from a fever. Now scientists are telling us that Mars is experiencing its own planetary warming: Martian warming. It seems scientists have noticed recently that quite a few planets in our solar system seem to be heating up a bit, including Pluto. NASA says the Martian South Pole's "ice cap" has been shrinking for three summers in a row. Maybe Mars got its fever from earth. If so, I guess Jupiter's caught the same cold, because it's warming up too, like Pluto. This has led some people, not necessarily scientists, to wonder if Mars and Jupiter, non signatories to the Kyoto Treaty, are actually inhabited by alien SUV-driving industrialists who run their air-conditioning at 60 degrees and refuse to recycle. Silly, I know, but I wonder what all those planets, dwarf planets and moons in our SOLAR system have in common. Hmmmm. SOLAR system. Hmmmm. Solar? I wonder. Nah, I guess we shouldn't even be talking about this. The science is absolutely decided. There's a consensus. Ask Galileo. I thought Thompson was a member of the Churches of Christ, not a heliolater or perhaps a Druid. I have previously debunked this bit of denier disinformation and will expand on the key facts below -- especially his misguided sun worship.
This is a guest post from Rev. Allen Johnson, whom we interviewed last year as part of our God & the Environment series. Johnson heads Christians for the Mountains, a group fighting to protect the Appalachians from mountaintop-removal mining. This post is reprinted with permission from the Moyers Blog. ----- On August 22, The New York Times published an article that began, "The Bush administration is set to issue a regulation on Friday [August 24] that would enshrine the coal mining practice of mountaintop removal." Enshrine? An oddly appropriate word, I thought -- a biblical word, even. A place where dwell the gods; in this case, the gods of money, comfort, and power. For over two years I have been involved with a network organization, Christians for the Mountains, to engage Christians and their churches to take on the moral question of mountaintop removal. The massive scale of beheading coal-bearing mountains, obliterating headwater streams, and building multi-billion-gallon toxic slurry impoundments begs biblical and theological activity.
Nearly 200 nations will gather on Sept. 15 to discuss the Montreal Protocol, a 20-year-old treaty put into place to phase out the nasty chemicals that contribute to the thinning of the ozone layer. At the meeting, a dozen countries plan to suggest that participating nations move up the deadline for a full phaseout of refrigerating chemicals called HCFCs; the most ambitious plan will be presented by the Bush administration. No joke. The U.S. hopes to move up the deadline by a decade, to 2020 for industrial nations and 2030 for developing nations. U.S. chemical companies are in favor of …
In Sydney, Australia, today at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, U.S. President George Bush referred to APEC as OPEC, then tried to cover up his gaffe by explaining that Australia’s prime minister had invited him to a summit of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries next year. Unfortunately, Australia has never been part of OPEC. Bush also called Australians “Austrians,” mispronounced leaders’ names, walked the wrong way off the stage, and, when asked whether there had been any new message in his speech, bristled, “Haven’t you been listening to my past speeches?” Which is all far more interesting than …
Reports coming out of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit say that a draft statement on climate change from the Pacific Rim nations is on the way. Early reports, however, contain this nugget: To strike the accord, negotiators agreed to set a target to reduce "energy intensity" -- the amount of energy needed to produce economic growth, Al-Farisi said. Australian Prime Minister John Howard previously called for reducing energy intensity 25 percent by 2030. A Southeast Asian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that goal was included in the draft. This is, as I blogged about before, a huge scam. Greenhouse-gas intensity is the emissions per unit economic output. Multiply this quantity by the size of the economy and you get total greenhouse-gas emissions. Historically, greenhouse-gas intensity has declined all by itself as the world's economy has evolved from manufacturing (which takes a lot of energy) to services (which take less), and as equipment has naturally become more efficient. Over the past few decades, U.S. greenhouse-gas intensity has declined somewhere between 1 and 2 percent per year without any government policies. Based on the historical data, the target of decreasing our greenhouse gas intensity by 25 percent over 23 years is essentially a do-nothing target. We would expect such a decrease to occur naturally. And given such a modest decrease in intensity, we can still expect emissions to continue to grow rapidly -- and hence climate change will continue unabated. If this is indeed their target, it should be clear that the leaders of the APEC nations are not making any legitimate effort to head off the risk of climate change.
In a major speech today on national security, presidential candidate John Edwards talked about how fighting the climate crisis is an integral part of battling terror (it also requires less duct tape): Finally, we must achieve energy independence. If we reduce our reliance on oil from instable parts of the world, Middle Eastern regimes will finally diversify their economies and modernize their societies. And fighting global climate change will reduce global disruptions that could lead to tends of millions of refugees and create massive new breeding grounds for desperation and radicalism.
Gore to pen a sequel: The Path to Survival will be published next spring to coincide with Earth Day on April 22. According to the publisher, Rodale Books, Gore will spell out a blueprint for the changes that individuals and governments need to make to avoid catastrophic climate change. I expect the book will be built around Gore’s 10 policy recommendations to Congress, which remain the gold standard as far as I’m concerned.
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