Politics

Bali conference keeps on keepin’ on

The news from Bali: Teeny-tiny island nations pleaded with delegates for protection and compensation for the impacts of rising seas and other climatic consequences. United …

The <em>NYT</em>'s Tom Friedman is wrong

We are not yet the ‘people we have been waiting for’ to solve ‘global weirding’

In general, I am a big fan of New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, one of the few national columnists who writes regularly and intelligently on energy and climate matters. But his recent column, "The People We Have Been Waiting For," goes off track -- twice. First, he writes: ... sweet-sounding "global warming" doesn't really capture what's likely to happen. I prefer the term "global weirding," coined by Hunter Lovins, co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute, because the rise in average global temperature is going to lead to all sorts of crazy things -- from hotter heat spells and droughts in some places, to colder cold spells and more violent storms, more intense flooding, forest fires and species loss in other places. Well, he deserves half credit. Yes, "global warming" is inadequate to describe the coming nightmare -- but "global weirding" simply isn't a serious-enough term -- it could just as easily be used to describe the world's growing fascination with reality TV (or videos of piano-playing cats and skateboarding dogs). Also, the word "weird" strongly implies something either supernatural or bizarrely unexpected. What's happening to the planet is pure science and has been predicted for decades -- nothing weird about that except maybe it's happening faster than most scientists projected. Readers know I prefer the term "Hell and High Water" -- since at least it accurately describes what is coming. [Note to self: It didn't catch on. Let it go.] My guess is we're stuck with "global warming."

If it is to be war ...

Senate Republicans vow to filibuster energy bill

The E&E headline sums it up: "Senate GOP plots ‘war’ over House energy plan" (sub rqd). It sounds like Pelosi has done her job, restoring …

Lieberman-Warner action already underway

Clinton and Sanders introduce amendments to strengthen the bill

The Lieberman-Warner markup in the Senate Environment Committee starts tomorrow, but already the action is hot and heavy. Word has it that Sen. James Inhofe …

300 ideas in 100 days

Presidential Climate Action Project releases new plan for the next president

How ambitious should the next president be in tackling global warming? A document issued today by a team at the University of Colorado indicates that No. 44 can be, and should be, far more aggressive than any of the candidates has promised so far. The Presidential Climate Action Project -- a two-year effort headquartered at the university -- has released a presidential action agenda that contains more than 300 specific changes in federal policies, programs and statutes, and proposes that the chief executive act on all of them within the first 100 days of inauguration, under executive authority or by championing them in the administration's first legislative and budget packages to Congress. The plan is being billed as not only the most comprehensive, but in many ways the boldest, climate action agenda yet put before the American public and the presidential candidates. It calls for the U.S. to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 30 percent below 2010 levels by 2020 and 90 percent by 2050, in part through an "upstream" cap-and-auction program that regulates the approximately 1,500 "first providers" of fossil energy -- wellheads, mine mouths, etc. That regime is simpler to administer than mid-stream and downstream regulation, and would cover 100 percent of the economy. Other key proposals include:

Red List not enough

Experts push for an intergovernmental biodiversity panel

For this enviro, Christmas is shaping up pretty nicely this year. Today, as post-Kyoto discussions commence in Bali, Australia has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, sweeping aside decades of Howard's curmudgeonly climate skepticism. Another unexpected gift came last month, when a group of 80 experts convened in France to mull over the future of biodiversity. Their consensus? That we need to establish a new intergovernmental panel -- akin to the IPCC -- to begin aggressively addressing the biodiversity crisis. In words that would surely make E.O. Wilson proud, the committee said: "It is not enough to draw up a list of threatened or extinct species. Biodiversity needs to be seen as a whole, in terms of management but also of environmental services rendered, for instance from the point of view of adaptation to climate change." They hope to have a structure in place by 2008. Keep 'em rollin' in, Santa!

Rational expectations

Winning the battle in Bali, and then winning the war

Since COP13 / MOP3 -- hereafter "Bali" -- has begun, I thought I'd send a brief note on expectations and strategy. Brief because there's too much to say, so I shouldn't try. Besides, I'll try to post again in a few days. Here's the thing: Bali is freighted with terrific expectations, which are entirely appropriate given the state of the science. We now "know," insofar as we can know these things, that we've got to do everything to hold total temperature increase from global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, and that to have a good chance of doing so global emissions are going to peak by 2015. In other words, we now know this is an emergency situation. So why would we demand anything except emergency action? No reason at all. Which is why EcoEquity signed the "Call for Climate Talks to Accelerate Global Economic and Energy Transitions: What Bali Must Achieve" (PDF), now being circulated by the Institute for Policy Studies and the International Forum on Globalization. The Call urges negotiators to pursue three paths:

What will we look like in 2050?

America’s climate and energy future

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. A few weeks ago, one of the presidential candidates' advisors challenged a group of climate leaders to describe America's future. His challenge triggered a flurry of e-mails as we attempted to articulate a vision. We talked about carbon caps and price signals and new investments in R&D. That's fine, the advisor responded, but what it the vision? What is America's perfect future? I'm not sure we ever satisfactorily answered this very good question, but I found myself trying to describe what America might look like 10, 20, and 40 years from now.

As climate conference kicks off, defenses are up

When I visited Bali 20 years ago, the beaches teemed with people offering any manner of products and services, and the most abundant seemed to …