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Posts Tagged ‘global warming’

Today’s Flickr photo

Flickr photo by alkhodarev.

If you read one thing today . . .

Now that climate legislation in Congress is all but dead for at least the next two years, all eyes will be focused on the EPA, which has the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The question, David Roberts write in Grist, is how much power does the EPA actually have in this area and will it use it? The answer is bound to leave those who have fought for climate change solutions a little frustrated.

Documents released early this week finally start to offer a glimpse into EPA thinking. Long story short: Climate hawks shouldn’t expect much from these upcoming regulations. They won’t be a substitute for the climate bill. Not even close.

Here’s the basic problem the EPA faces: The best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources — primarily power plants — is to approach the situation holistically: shut down a bunch of dirty power plants, build a bunch of clean power plants, and push hard on efficiency to cover the cost differential and protect ratepayers. Legislation could have done that. EPA can’t. EPA can’t make anybody build anything.

Overheard:

In a WaPo op-ed this past weekend former ABC Nightline host Ted Koppel compared Keith Olbermann and other partisan cable news show hosts to huckster Bernie Madoff, who told his investors what they wanted to hear, instead of the truth. Olbermann, fresh off his brief suspension for contributing to three Democrats, fired back at the end of his Monday show:

“I may ultimately be judged to have been wrong in what I am doing. Mr. Koppel does not have to wait,” Olbermann said. “The kind of television journalism he eulogizes failed this country because when truth was needed, all we got were facts — most of which were lies anyway. The journalism failed, and those who practiced it failed, and Mr. Koppel failed. I don’t know that I’m doing it exactly right here. I’m trying. I have to. Because whatever that television news was before — now we have to fix it.”

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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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Today’s Flickr Photo:

Flickr photo by the brothers trust

If you read one thing today…

Like something out of Edgar Allan Poe, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is knocking, gently knocking on our nation’s schoolhouse doors.  The deep-pocketed, “what do you mean, climate change”  business association that funnels untold millions of corporate dollars into swinging the elections now wants to influence young minds – specifically middle school minds – with their corporate-driven mad science on global warming.

How could a huge lobbying organization access our children with their pollution-friendly propaganda? By partnering with the established and wholesome educational publisher, Scholastic, Inc., producer and distributor of a wide range of educational products.

From Politico’s report:

Chamber officials maintain that there is no “hidden agenda” behind the question or the educational outreach effort in general. But given the current political climate surrounding the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, the group’s direct involvement in public school education is expected to make environmentalists and like-minded progressives uncomfortable.

Overheard

Once upon a time in the land of the free and the home of the brave, many families across the country struggled to keep up with their mortgage payments and defaulted. The Big Bad Banks swooped in and said they had to foreclose. “Isn’t there anybody who can help us?” the families thought. The government, some answered. But the head of the Treasury Department said no. Here is Timothy Geithner’s fairytale, as told by Dean Baker, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research:

[I]f the government imposes a foreclosure moratorium, it will lead to chaos in the housing market and jeopardise the health of the recovery. For the gullible, which includes most of the Washington policy elite, this assertion is probably sufficient to quash any interest in a foreclosure moratorium. But those capable of thinking for themselves may ask how Geithner could have reached this conclusion.

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Today’s Flickr Photo

 

Climate zombies at a protest in Essex, England. Flickr photo by fotdmike.

 

If you read one thing today . . .

Is it really possible that all but one of the Republicans running for the U.S. Senate refuses to accept the scientific consensus  that global warming is real and that the root causes are man made? It’s one thing to hear the right-wing fringe call climate change a liberal conspiracy but another thing to realize that one of our two major political parties has completely turned its back on reality. As a New York Times editorial points out the candidates “are not simply rejecting solutions, like putting a price on carbon” but they are denying like it’s 1999 all over again:

A few may genuinely believe global warming is a left-wing plot. Others may be singing the tune of corporate benefactors. And many Republicans have seized on the cap-and-trade climate bill as another way to paint Democrats as out-of-control taxers.

In one way or another, though, all are custodians of a strategy whose guiding principle has been to avoid debate about solutions to climate change by denying its existence — or at least by diminishing its importance. The strategy worked, destroying hopes for Congressional action while further confusing ordinary citizens for whom global warming was already a remote and complex matter. It was also remarkably heavy-handed.

Overheard:

Texas Rep. Pete Sessions has choice words about what he calls a trillion-dollar boondoggle, otherwise known as the stimulus package. How deep does his conviction against government give-aways run? Not so deep. The Washington Post reports that after the GOP furor over the stimulus settled down, Sessions worked behind the scenes to grab some of that dough for his constituents.

“What I have not done is allow my strong, principled objection to the bill to prevent me from asking federal agencies for their full consideration of critical infrastructure and competitive grant projects for North Texas when asked to do so by my constituents,” [Sessions] said.

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Congrats to James Ploeser and Jamie Trowbridge for wrapping up the first week of the Climate Reality Tour, a cross-country bike ride to raise awareness about the climate change crisis. The pair left Washington, D.C. on Oct. 8 and plan to arrive in Cancún, Mexico in time for the United Nations climate negotiations starting Nov. 29 . They spent their first week riding through Appalachian coal country, talking to residents and activists, ending their first week with a talk on the University of Louisville campus in Kentucky.

Ploeser, who is taking leave as an organizer for Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch division, and Trowbridge are documenting the trip on their blog at www.ClimateRealityTour.org and on Facebook. Ploeser explained the motivation behind the ride:

We’re calling our ride the Climate Reality Tour – because the U.S. needs a reality check, not just about global warming, but about the economic model that creates it, one that we’ve helped export over the whole world. We believe that to solve the climate crisis we must undo the root causes of global warming – namely our unfair global economy that pits working people against one another, and against our shared environment.

It was devastating to see already-compromised climate legislation die in the U.S. Congress a few weeks back. As concerned global citizens, we clearly need a new approach. We believe that a holistic campaign for a sustainable global economy could be a winning recipe. It’s going to take a unified, diverse, massive movement to win that sort of change. We hope that by facilitating discussions on root causes and highlighting the connections between our many movements, we’ll help sew, fertilize, and cross-pollinate the seeds of change.

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Today’s Flickr Photo

 

From Thursday's rally against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Flickr photo by Common Cause.

 

If you read one thing today . . .

When our great-grandchildren click on their history lessons will they look back on the current debate over climate change the same way we view the 17th century debate on whether the earth was flat or round? Or will it be like the 1925 case of the State of Tennessee vs. Scopes, which put evolution on trial? Even though the theory of evolution is widely accepted, there’s still some holdouts who refuse to believe, even in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence. Climate scientist Michael Mann has an op-ed in today’s WaPo that fires back at the politicians who are trying to promote doubt about climate change where there is none.

We have lived through the pseudo-science that questioned the link between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer, and the false claims questioning the science of acid rain and the hole in the ozone layer. The same dynamics and many of the same players are still hard at work, questioning the reality of climate change.

The basic physics and chemistry of how carbon dioxide and other human-produced greenhouse gases trap heat in the lower atmosphere have been understood for nearly two centuries. Overloading the atmosphere with carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is heating the planet, shrinking the Arctic ice cap, melting glaciers and raising sea levels. It is leading to more widespread drought, more frequent heat waves and more powerful hurricanes. Even without my work, or that of the entire sub-field of studying past climates, scientists are in broad agreement on the reality of these changes and their near-certain link to human activity.

Overheard:

From  Michael Luo’s excellent piece in the New York Times about the influx of money into the midterm elections:

“The difference between the law pre- and post-Citizens United is subtle to the expert observer,” said Trevor Potter, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission and a critic of the ruling. “To the casual observer, what they have heard is the court has gone from a world that prohibited corporate political speech and activity, even though that isn’t actually the case, to suddenly for the first time that it’s allowed. It’s that change in psychology that has made a difference in terms of the amount of money now being spent.”

And be sure to check out the graphic that illustrates the money trail.

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