Politics

It's time for a national renewable portfolio standard

The energy policy that kicks ass and gets too little support

As this story in the WaPo makes clear, one of the more controversial measures in the House energy bill is a national renewable portfolio standard (RPS), which would require that utilities produce 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Legislators in Southern states — where, it is conventionally thought, there is little renewable power available — oppose it. They’re afraid their constituents will be stuck with higher energy prices. They are wrong. A national RPS would benefit energy consumers in all states. Furthermore, it is one of the most effective and important measures in shifting from fossil …

Congress debates whether 'clean coal' is awesome or supercool

Oy

Witness as the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee discusses clean coal: how awesome is it? Should we give it a gazillion dollars, or alternatively, a fajillion? Tough questions! Note: 9:32 [Carl] Bauer [director, National Energy Technology Laboratory, Energy Department] Given current technology and coal consumption, the US has about 250 years of coal use. Um, no. Not according to NAS: It is clear that there is enough coal at current rates of production to meet anticipated needs through 2030, and probably enough for 100 years, the committee said. However, it is not possible to confirm the often-quoted assertion that …

Renewable energy in the House

Do your part

It's game time for renewable energy in the House. First up is the federal renewable portfolio standard. HR 969, known as the Udall-Platts Amendment, would require utilities nationwide to increase the amount of renewables in their portfolio to 20 percent by 2020. It will be voted on in the House on Friday. Take action here.

Global warring

Are we a nation permanently at war?

In his interview with Grist, Dennis Kucinich urged us all to recognize the connection between global warming and global warring. In that spirit, I thought I’d pass along an astute observation from Glenn Greenwald, who on matters of media and war/terrorism is without peer. About this quote from Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn.), a conservative member of the DLC: Bill Clinton ordered our troops and worked with NATO in Bosnia. That’s the kind of pro-war Democrat that we ought to be: the war that we fight wisely, the ones that we engage in wisely. Greenwald says this: This is the most …

Green Jobs Act of 2007

Pelosi’s plan to save the polar bears — and poor kids, too …

There has been a lot of discussion about the energy package that is set to pass the U.S. House this week. But the media so far has missed one of the most interesting and innovative proposals that will be voted on: the Green Jobs Act of 2007. This ground-breaking legislation will make $120 million a year available across the country to begin training workers (and would-be workers) for jobs in the clean-energy sector. When the bill becomes law, 35,000 people a year will benefit from cutting-edge, vocational education in fields that could literally save the Earth.

Prez race '08: Jolie v. Pitt

Brangelina argue over politics

Ever wonder what Brangelina fight about? Turns out it’s Barack Obama. From a super credible news source: An insider close to the Pitt family said: “They got into a huge fight about politics (Brad supports Barack Obama, while Angie’s a John Edwards fan.) Brad ended up calling her immature. He says the next thing he knew, Angie was cursing at him and throwing a glass of wine in his face.” Brad, understandably, was speechless. “He was left standing there with wine dripping down his face onto his clothes, before storming off to wash up and change. He says he was …

For now, local politics is the way to effect ag-policy change

Over the past few years, grassroots support has swelled for new federal farm policies — ones that promote healthy, sustainably grown food, not the interests of a few agribusiness firms. Udder madness. Photo: iStockphoto The target of much of this organizing has been the 2007 farm bill. If past farm bill debates have been the concern of a small cadre of lobbyists and activists, this one has hit the mainstream. Informed farm bill discussions have turned up in newspapers’ food sections, general-interest magazines, and even the best-seller list, in the form of books like Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and …

Dingell argues for a carbon tax

In a prominent op-ed

Today in the Washington Post, Rep. John Dingell has an op-ed arguing on behalf of a carbon tax: I apparently created a mini-storm last month when I observed publicly for at least the sixth time since February that some form of carbon emissions fee or tax (including a gasoline tax) would be the most effective way to curb carbon emissions and make alternatives economically viable. … A carbon tax or fee has been endorsed by President Bush’s former chief economic adviser, Greg Mankiw; Nobel Prize-winning conservative economist Gary Becker; the chief executive of the largest U.S. auto-dealer chain, Mike Jackson; …

Todd Willens and the Everglades

Pombo’s old hack buddy, still at it

At the behest of the U.S. delegation, the U.N. World Heritage Committee is taking Everglades National Park off its list of endangered sites, against the advice of the committee’s science advisors and the advice of the U.S. National Park Service. Who is the head of the U.S. delegation? Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior Todd Willens. Who is Todd Willens? Former legislative director for Rep. Dick Pombo, former policy director of the House Resources Committee, and leader (with Pombo) of the fight to destroy the Endangered Species Act — a fight which is ongoing. (Also recipient of corrupt Abramoff money …

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