Politics

Pacific Rim nations meet to consider climate, unlikely to do much

If you haven’t had your fill of anticlimactic climate meetings, hark: climate is at the top of the agenda at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Sydney this week. APEC’s 21 members — Pacific Rim countries including the U.S., China, and Australia — together consume about 60 percent of the world’s energy, and thus are big players in global climate-affecting. But don’t expect anything too ambitious out of Sydney: according to a draft statement obtained by Greenpeace, APEC members may adopt wording supporting voluntary “measurable and verifiable contributions to meeting shared global goals.” Then again, one foreign ministry official predicts …

We won't even help our own

For mitigation over adaptation: the argument from cynicism

The second anniversary of Katrina has passed, marked by me only with craven silence. There are three Katrina tidbits I wanted to pass along, though, as they are germane to the argument over whether humanity can or should adapt to ongoing climate change. The first is from a year ago. Jim Rusch, who was then acting governor of Idaho and who is likely to take over Larry Craig’s recently vacated Senate seat, said this: Here in Idaho, we couldn’t understand how people could sit around on the kerbs waiting for the federal government to come and do something. We had …

So long, Larry

Larry Craig’s environmental legacy was dismal, but his successor’s might be better

Larry Craig. Photo: senate.gov In keeping with the classy GOP tradition -- out with the gay and in with the new -- Sen. Larry Craig is now history. But, expanding on Tom's post, it's worth keeping in mind that his brown legacy extends well past his much-lampooned arrest in an airport toilet. The New West Network has a fairly encyclopedic rundown of the many ways in which Larry Craig obstructed legislation that was friendly to the environment and advanced measures detrimental to it. Some highlights: Craig supported offshore drilling, supported drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, obstructed appropriations to, among other programs, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, promoted the transportation of nuclear weapons to Yucca Mountain for storage therein, deappropriated funds intended to count the dwindling population of salmon in the Columbia and Snake rivers, trounced efforts to raise public land grazing fees, and attempted to deregulate big timber. It's quite a record -- all the more worth mentioning because some of the names being tossed around as potential replacements present such an enormous opportunity for improvement.

Post-Labor Day link dump, the second

Exploring the tubes so you don’t have to

Mo’ links! Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland Ohio recently passed a renewable portfolio standard that falls prey to the worst pitfalls of that particular policy mechanism: Gov. Ted Strickland wants to require that 25 percent of the electricity sold in Ohio by 2025 come from alternative energies, such as fuel cells, solar panels, windmills, nuclear and hydroplants. Half of that would have to come from renewable energy while the other half would come from nuclear, fuel cells or clean coal sources. The point of RPSs should be to boost renewable energy technology. If the point of this jerry-rigged contraption is to …

Sen. Clinton will introduce eco-justice legislation

Senator Hillary Clinton — perhaps you’ve heard of her? — plans to introduce an Environmental Justice Renewal Act, providing federal funding to low-income communities that tend to house many of the nation’s polluting facilities. While it may be resisted in Congress, the idea behind the legislation has been growing in the grassroots for decades. Says eco-justice advocate Majora Carter, “We need to work; we also need to breathe — our goal is to find a way of doing both.”

Larry Craig's 'wide stance' on coal and timber

The disgraced senator’s real crimes go unpunished

In John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces, a lowly cop finds himself assigned to lurk in a public bathroom, on the lookout for “suspicious characters.” Sen. Larry Craig bumbled into just that sort of trap, his tapping foot and now-infamously “wide” toilet stance dooming him to political infamy. There’s no justice in entrapment, but there’s ripe poetic justice in a stalwart of the gay-bashing GOP perishing from the very anti-gay fervor his party habitually stokes. Good riddance. But let’s not forget that the good senator’s real crimes don’t involve sex acts among consenting, if closeted, adults. He used his …

Labor Day

Unions are getting behind a green candidate

So as not to let Labor Day go by unacknowledged, let’s check in with the unions. Recently, John Edwards told the machinists union they’d have to give up their SUVs. They endorsed Hillary. Edwards has, however, gotten endorsements from the carpenters, steelworkers, and mineworkers unions. As Brad Plumer notes, the latter is a particular feat given that Edwards has called for a moratorium on new coal plants. (I would say "new coal plants without sequestration," but that would be redundant.) According to the campaign, Edwards now leads the 2008 presidential pack in union support.

The Architect speaks

Karl Rove says history to view Bush as ‘far-sighted leader’

Here is how The Architect describes President Bush's environmental legacy: On energy, the environment, and climate change, [Bush] is developing a new paradigm. Emphasizing technology, increased energy-efficiency partnerships, and resource diversification, his policies are improving energy security and slowing the growth of greenhouse gases without economy-breaking mandates and regulation. The president who won criticism by rejecting the failed approach of Kyoto has implemented policies that enabled the United States to grow its economy by 3.1 percent and reduce the absolute amount of CO2 emissions (by 1.3 percent).

While Greece burns ...

Fires in Greece encouraged by global warming, developers

Two years ago, when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, conservatives and right-wingers were quick to deny any possible link to global warming. "As if any reputable expert believes this is in any way connected," huffed Andrew Sullivan on his well-known site. To his credit, Sullivan admitted just two days later that he may have blogged too soon, and said that experts such as Kerry Emmanuel had in fact linked global warming and more powerful hurricanes. In the years since, Sullivan has stopped questioning the reality of climate change, and called for a carbon tax. Now we have an unprecedented outbreak of fire in Greece, and once again some are quick to insist that no connection can be made between drought, wind, record-breaking heat -- and devastating fires.

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