Politics

Saturday night's energy bill

It contains some transformative measures

Contentious round of voting Saturday night, and the heavy threat of the president's veto pen, but if we can get through the political fog, the House may well have accomplished something truly monumental. Two big pieces in the energy bill worth noting, and following closely in any subsequent compromise. Both are transformative for our electricity markets -- an area where past energy bills (at least since 1993) have favored the status quo over true reform. In addition, with >50 GW of already identified potential for zero-carbon electricity from industrial waste heat sources (compare to the entire US nuclear fleet at 100 GW), this has the potential to massively reduce carbon emissions associated with power generation, to a degree not likely (at least in the near term) from any other legislative activity:

Dream a Little Ream of Me

House passes ambitious energy bill, Bush threatens veto The first national renewable-energy standard. Revoked oil-industry tax breaks that will help pay for clean energy. Funding for green job creation. A carbon-neutral federal government. What’s all this, the deluded longings of some kooky environmentalist? Nope, it’s a few of the features of the massive energy bill passed by the U.S. House on Saturday. “We are turning toward the future,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “This beautiful planet is God’s gift to us. We have a moral responsibility to preserve it.” The legislation — which notably requires utilities to generate 15 …

A look at Bill Richardson’s environmental platform and record

Update: Bill Richardson dropped out of the presidential race on Jan. 10, 2008. Bill Richardson has been an advocate for clean energy and action against climate change during his tenure as governor of New Mexico from 2003 to the present, and now, as a Democratic presidential candidate, he’s pushing perhaps the biggest and most far-reaching energy and climate plan of the campaign. Previously, Richardson served in the Clinton administration as secretary of energy and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and, from 1983 to 1997, as representative of New Mexico’s 3rd District in the U.S. House. Read an interview with …

YearlyKos: Step It Up 2

The next round of McKibben’s campaign

I forgot some of the coolest (and breaking) news! At my panel earlier today, Bill McKibben "pre-announced" something exciting: On Nov. 3, a year before the presidential election, he will be organizing Step It Up 2: Revenge of the Nerds. OK, I made up the title, but not the news. At the first Step It Up, McKibben’s Army asked that people gather in places likely to be affected by climate change. For Step It Up 2, people will be gathering in places that commemorate great moments of American leadership: think Mount Rushmore, MLK Jr. High School, Washington Monument, etc. The …

YearlyKos: My long day

This morning, I woke up early to go to the Energize America 2020 panel. There was far too much information to replicate here — you can see the details of the plan on their site — but as I said earlier, what’s remarkable is that such a collaborative project has produced such a solid, practical plan. And the openness of the process is not some add-on, it’s part of the core principles guiding the project. Read through the plan — it fills enormous gaps in the energy policy debate, around public transportation, efficiency, smart grids, and financial instruments to encourage …

YearlyKos: Sometimes conventional wisdom is right

I went to candidate forums (one candidate, small audience) with both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama today. News flash: Obama is extremely charismatic. Fantastic with small crowds. Total alpha male. Effortlessly comfortable and confident. Hillary, on the other hand, not so much. She’s much warmer and more human than the typical caricature would have it, but it’s obvious she works at it, pushing against her natural tendencies. There’s your utterly banal, hackneyed observation for the day.

YearlyKos: Obama and coal

So, lots to talk about, but for now: I’m in a candidate forum with Barack Obama and he was just asked directly about coal. He dodged and weaved, said there would have to be a "transition," and that there would need to be "investments," etc. etc. Unsatisfying. He did, however, very strongly back the 80 percent by 2050 target, and backed a 20% national RPS. So there’s that.

It's time to cut the bait

Too many boats are fishing for too few fish

Here's a remarkable fact: Global fishery collapse is financed with tax money. You already know that many nations are failing to enforce the laws that are essential to keeping our oceans healthy and abundant forever. Instead, they are presiding over a global ocean collapse. According to a report in Science, 29 percent of the world's commercial fisheries have already collapsed. This is terrible news for the billion people who turn to the ocean for protein, the hundreds of millions of people who need the sea for a livelihood, and the countless extraordinary marine creatures that don't deserve to go the way of the buffalo.

Bush pushes climate meeting, shuns solution

Again

Kind of a good news, bad news story: President George W. Bush has invited the European Union, the United Nations and 11 other countries to the September 27-28 meeting in Washington to work toward setting a long-term goal by 2008 to cut emissions. Yet it turns out just to be a meeting full of sound and fury, signifying nothing: "But a senior U.S. official said the administration stood by its opposition to mandatory economy-wide caps." A meeting aimed at (1) developing voluntary or aspirational targets, (2) for the long-term, (3) by 2008 [i.e. Bush's last year in office]. Three strikes and you are out. Bush's last chance to be a small part of the solution rather than a large part of the problem came and went at the G-8 meeting, where Bush nixed an effort to set realistic and binding long-term targets. The only interesting question that will be answered by this meeting is whether the media will be suckered into giving the President the one outcome he truly wants -- positive press coverage on climate change, an area of such catastrophic failure by this administration that it will probably ensure (even more than Iraq) that history judges Bush a failure. This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.