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Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

The BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico this summer tragically demonstrated the costs of our nation’s reliance on fossil fuels.

But despite this ongoing catastrophe, some major corporations—including Safeway and Walmart—are fueling their trucking fleets with tar sands oil, the dirtiest oil in the world.

Join our friends at ForestEthics in calling on Safeway and Walmart to shift to cleaner, not dirtier, energy.

Tar sands oil is even more destructive (more…)

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Today’s Flickr photo

Protecting rainforests saves species like this red-eyed tree frog. Flickr photo by USAID_Images

If you read one thing today . . .

Please sit down before you read this one. One of the GOP candidates to take over the leadership of the House Energy Committee is Illinois Rep. John Shimkus, perhaps one of the biggest climate change deniers in the whole House of Representatives (he’s the one who worried that curbing carbon emissions might take away a food source for plants). Having Shimkus in charge of shaping energy legislation would be like putting Homer Simpson in charge of safeguarding the donuts. Doh. Shimkus’ latest global warming rebuttal comes from the Bible. It seems God promised Noah that he would never again destroy the earth by natural calamity, or something like that. From Salon:

Shimkus continues: “I believe that is the infallible word of god, and that’s the way it is going to be for his creation… The earth will end only when God declares its time to be over. Man will not destroy this earth. This earth will not be destroyed by a flood.”

Overheard:

Add N.J. Gov. Chris Christie to the list of high-profile Republicans who are skeptical about global warming. As if the opinion of most credible scientists in the world wasn’t enough. The HuffPo’s Sam Stein quotes Christie at a Toms River town hall meeting:

Mankind, is it responsible for global warming? Well I’ll tell you something. I have seen evidence on both sides of it. I’m skeptical — I’m skeptical. And you know, I think at the at the end of this, I think we’re going to need more science to prove something one way or the other.

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Today’s Flickr photo

San Francisco at sunset. Flickr photo BG³Photo.

If you read one thing today . . .

Well it looks like the glasses and pocket protectors are coming off. The nation’s climate scientists are riled up and they’re about to get up in someone’s  grill. Tired of being the punching bag of right-wing climate deniers, the scientists are pushing back, according to Neela Banerjee’s story in the L.A. Times.

“This group feels strongly that science and politics can’t be divorced and that we need to take bold measures to not only communicate science but also to aggressively engage the denialists and politicians who attack climate science and its scientists,” said Scott Mandia, professor of physical sciences at Suffolk County Community College in New York.

“We are taking the fight to them because we are … tired of taking the hits. The notion that truth will prevail is not working. The truth has been out there for the past two decades, and nothing has changed.”

Overheard:

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on why the suspension of Keith Olbermann for donating to the campaigns of three Democrats shows the difference between MSNBC and FOX News.

“Let this incident lay to rest forever the facile, never-true-anyway, bull-pucky, lazy conflation of Fox News and what the rest of us do for a living,” she said on her program Friday. “Hosts on Fox News raise money for Republican candidates. They endorse them explicitly, they use their Fox News profile to headline fundraisers. . . . We are a news operation, and the rules around here are part of how you know that.”

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Look, if you thought making the world a better place was going to be easy, you got a rude wake-up call Wednesday morning. Now, you can either whine or you can roll up your sleeves and join the fight. Michael Kieshnick, president of CREDO Mobile, has some suggestions in HuffPo on what you can do to help push back against the Tea Party and its handpicked members of Congress. Here are his top three  suggestions:

1. Commit to Taking Down FOX News. So long as FOX News has any credibility within the Beltway, it will be a pipeline for malicious material that will poison our political culture. Join our friends at Color of Change.

2.Tell the Senate to pass the DISCLOSE Act during the lame duck session. We were able to defeat the Texas Oil Initiative, Prop 23 in California, in part because we knew who the enemy was — having disclosure of corporate contributions brings the enemy out in the open for us to take on and fight. The DISCLOSE Act passed the House and came within a single vote of passing the Senate. One vote. You can join this fight by taking action with Public Citizen at http://citizen.org/disclose-act-action.

3. Keep fighting to end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. This issue will get resolved during the lame duck session. Take action here.

To see the rest of his top 10 list, click here. And we would add another to this list: Join Public Citizen and help us fight corporate power in Congress, in the courts and in the executive branch.  Join Public Citizen for as little as $20 a year.

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Today’s Flickr photo

Flickr photo by 350.org.

 

If you read on thing today . . .

If there was a silver lining Tuesday for progressives, it might be found in the results of California’s Proposition 23 ballot measure. Texas oil refineries pushed the measure to repeal California’s aggressive curbs on greenhouse gases, saying Prop 23 would create jobs.  But as the L.A. Times’ Greenspace blog tells it, a broad grassroots coalition, backed by Hollywood heavyweights and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, helped environmentalists pull off a stunning victory.

No environmental campaign in U.S. history can boast the level of activism in California this year: Prop 23 opponents mustered 3,200 volunteers, made 2.8 million phone calls to voters, sent out 3.4 million pieces of mail, made 379,676 on-campus contacts with college students, and operated a sophisticated computerized outreach program that identified and contacted 481,000 voters, and showered voters with 900,000 get-out-the vote phone calls and text messages in the last three days.

National environmental leaders, smarting from the defeat of federal climate legislation in Congress this year, expressed awe. “It is the largest public referendum in history on climate and clean energy policy,” said Fred Krupp, president of the New York-based Environmental Defense Fund. “Almost 10 million Californians got a chance to vote and sent a clear message that they want a clean energy future. And this was in an economic downturn. There has never been anything this big. It is going to send a signal to other parts of the country and beyond.”

Overheard:

This is a story the Washington Post probably writes every two years but that doesn’t it make it any less compelling. Many of the new members of Congress ran against Washington and business-and-usual but now that they’re here, they will find it very difficult to remain true to their idealism, Marc Fisher writes in the WaPo. As an example, he cites new Virginia Congressman Morgan Griffith who remarks the only thing he’s looking forward to about living in D.C. is, perhaps, going to a Redskins game. David Bass, a Republican political insider, says Griffith will have no trouble getting tickets.

“He might find himself in a couple of nice skyboxes before too long,” Bass said. “These new members who ran against Washington will play Mr. Smith for a while, but there is a structure, a way of doing things that has to be respected. New friends will be very important to them.”

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Today’s Flickr photo

Anti-drilling protestors in Istanbul, Turkey. Flickr photo by 350.org.

If you read one thing today . . .

NPR has an interesting flowchart of all the “independent” money pouring into this year’s midterm elections. The accompanying story breaks down this “Web of GOP influence,” showing a how a handful of corporate front groups are working together, literally out of the same suite of offices. NPR’s Peter Overby and Andrea Seabrook explain:

Their ads seem to imply the groups are homegrown. But every single one mentioned here is based within 20 minutes of Capitol Hill. Most of them, in fact, are in just two office suites.

As for their independence: It would be illegal for them to coordinate their attacks with the candidates they’re helping, or with Republican Party committees. But among themselves, they’re proud of the way they synchronize their efforts.

“If one group puts an ad on television in a certain congressional district, they let everyone else know that,” says Jonathan Collegio with American Crossroads. “This way they don’t double up on the advertising.”

Overheard:

We’re actually going to be a little sad to see Arnold Schwarzenegger step down as governor of California. We don’t agree with everything the governator does but he’s right on the money when it comes to Washington’s fealty to the oil industry. He told ABC’s Diane Sawyer that Congress is filled with a bunch of gutless wimps:

“We need to go to Washington and say, look what happened … because oil companies have spent money against you, they have threatened you, you backed off the energy policy and the environmental policy in Washington. What wimps. No guts. I mean, here, you idolize and always celebrate the great warriors. Our soldiers, our men and women who go to Iraq and Afghanistan, and they’re risking their lives to defend this country and you’re not even willing to stand up against the oil companies. … That’s disgusting. You promised the people you’d represent them. You didn’t promise the people you’d represent the oil companies and the special interests.”

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Last week, Google announced an ambitious plan to invest in a new energy infrastructure that will allow for the delivery of energy harnessed with wind turbines off the East Coast of the United States. The future of wind power is unclear, but one thing is certain: wind must be an important part of any energy solution.

One of the big reasons politicians give for why we cannot fight climate change is this: we can’t do it. The technology just is not there, skeptics say. Here’s a fact to dispute that assertion: if wind turbines were installed along the entire coast of the United States, they would generate more energy than the entire United States uses each year.

Or how about solar roadways? If we retrofitted the entire interstate highway system with them, we’d be able to power the country solely off the energy they produce.

Now of course neither of these solutions is practical. All the asphalt of the interstate system will not be replaced by solar panels and we will not cover the entire coastline with wind turbines. But imagine if we cover just 1/10 of the coastline? The amount of energy that would create is mind-boggling.

We cannot rely on companies like Google to take the big steps. Companies are erratic – sometimes they do the right things, but too often they do not. The biggest steps must be taken by us, the citizens of the world. If we lead the way, the money and the politicians will follow.

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