Big Oil money pouring back into California to boost Prop 23
After a recent lull, the flow of out-of-state oil money into California to block the state’s cutting edge greenhouse-gas law is ramping back up. The latest to contribute is Marathon Oil, based in Houston, which has kicked in $500,000. So many Texas oil companies showing so much interest in California’s air — isn’t that special?
The bucks stop there: Marathon joins a roster of big spending out-of-staters pushing Proposition 23, which would keep the state from controlling greenhouse-gas emissions. Others in the group include San Antonio-based Valero ($4 million); San Antonio-based Tesoro ($1.5 million); Wichita, Kansas-based Flint Hills Resources, aka the Koch Brothers ($1 million); and the Smithville, Missouri-based Adam Smith Foundation ($498,000). Fortunately, opponents of Prop 23 have amassed their own war chest and have close to $4.5 million to spend in the final three weeks of the campaign. [Politico]
According to the latest Reuters poll, 49 percent of those surveyed said they’ll vote against Prop 23, compared to 37 percent who said they’re for it.
And in other green news:
Pig fight!: Another U.N. climate conference, another round of U.S. and China bickering. U.S. envoys once again said China, now a world leader in generating greenhouse gases, can’t expect other countries to set tough emission standards while it subjects itself to only voluntary goals. A Chinese official countered that when the U.S. criticizes other countries without setting its own greenhouse-gas limits, it reminds him of a “preening pig.” [Reuters]
Marching to the beat of a different dumber: You gotta hand it to the Republicans — they’re now standing alone among major Western political parties in rejecting climate science. Other conservative leaders in Europe are no longer questioning the need to deal with climate change. But America’s GOP, well, as Ronald Brownstein writes in the National Journal, it’s going it’s own way — backwards:
It is difficult to identify another major political party in any democracy as thoroughly dismissive of climate science as is the GOP here … It will be difficult for the world to move meaningfully against climate disruption if the United States does not. And it will be almost impossible for the U.S. to act if one party not only rejects the most common solution proposed for the problem (cap-and-trade) but repudiates even the idea that there is a problem to be solved. The GOP’s stiffening rejection of climate science sets the stage for much heated argument but little action as the world inexorably warms.
Attitude check: A new survey concludes that 58 percent of U.S. voters believe finding new energy sources is more important than reducing the nation’s energy consumption; 60 percent think investing in wind, solar, and other renewable sources is a better long-term decision than investing in fossil fuels. [Rasmussen Reports]
Long ago and tar away: What was it, just three months ago that oil was still gushing non-stop into the Gulf while the world watched on the web? But now it doesn’t look as if the record-setting BP leak is much of a factor in any election campaigns. As Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, puts it:
Even in the Gulf Coast states, I can’t think of one race where it’s really having an impact … The economy is just the black hole of the election. It sucks in all of the available media light and very little is left for satellite issues, whether it is the Gulf oil spill or the mosque or immigration.
Profit motives: The more we find out about what happened before the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf, the more it seems BP put its profits ahead of safety. After hearing recent testimony from BP’s engineering team leader Gregg Walz, the New Orleans Times-Picayune had this response in an editorial:
BP engineers knew they were dealing with a difficult well and that more than 120 workers were at the Deepwater Horizon rig. Why, then, would BP personnel be so seemingly cavalier about a crucial part of the process? Mr. Walz … may have provided the answer when he said BP employees are graded every year based on how much money they save the company.
A mighty expensive wind: Up in Massachusetts, Cape Wind, the first U.S. off-shore wind farm, is likely to cost way more than expected. [Boston Globe]
Slow nuke day: And in Maryland, the decision by Constellation Energy to back out of a plan to build a new reactor shows just how bad nuclear energy is slumping in the U.S. [Washington Post]
Share and share a bike: According to a new survey, more and more people see themselves sharing things like tools and bikes and cars in the years ahead. [Good]
Text away!: Google is now testing cars that use artificial intelligence to drive themselves. [Grist]