Posts Tagged ‘global warming’

It’s been hot on the East Coast this past week. As they tend to do, the recent heat waves have intensified the national discussion about climate change. Of course most scientists agree that there is no clear correlation between the 103-degree weather Central Park visitors experienced on Tuesday and the effects of greenhouse gases.

That is not to say they do not continue to agree on climate change. According to a recent study, over 97% of climatologists and scientists studying related fields agree that climate change, caused by human activity,  is real. Yet, just as the snowstorms East Coast citizens experienced this past winter (more…)

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Can you believe that tomorrow, as oil continues to spew into the ocean, Congress is preparing to vote on a measure that would weaken regulations for the fossil fuel industry and other big polluters?

Believe it. Senator Lisa Murkowski’s (D-Alaska) amendment to take away the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate pollution that contributes to global warming is scheduled for a vote tomorrow.

Tell your senators to vote “No!” to the Murkowski amendment (officially “S.J. Res. 26”).

The Murkowski amendment seeks to reverse the EPA’s critical finding that greenhouse gas pollution endangers public health. This endangerment finding triggers the Clean Air Act and prompts the EPA to take action toward curbing pollution that contributes to climate change.

We know that the fossil fuel industries like the amendment — they helped write it. Jeff Holmsted, a lobbyist for energy giants like Southern Co. and Duke Energy, admitted to The Washington Post that he worked with Murkowski’s staff on the exact language of the amendment.

This is after Murkowski received more than $124,500 from Holmsted’s clients.

Don’t let big polluters use their big campaign contributions to rewrite the law to pollute more! Tell your senators to protect the Clean Air Act.

Murkowski’s attempt to eviscerate our best existing tool for reducing greenhouse gas pollution not only threatens our ability to reduce the carbon in our atmosphere but also serves as another shameful example of the role big polluters are playing in stalling climate change action.

Please tell the Senate today that we need the Clean Air Act to curb global warming and to oppose the attempts of Murkowski and big polluters to gut the Clean Air Act.

Allison Fisher is the energy organizer for Public Citizen.

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In Mother Jones,  Bill McKibben takes President Obama to task for his lack of leadership in addressing climate change:

The president already has the podium he needs to start turning history, which means more than merely pushing for the climate and energy bill introduced last month by senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman—a prime example of baby-step politics. As with his health care bill, on energy matters, too, the administration and its envoys sought out in advance the industries most likely to raise a fuss and cut the deals those cartels wanted. Just as big pharma knew it wouldn’t face negotiated drug prices, so big oil and big electricity have been assured that there will be no serious opposition to their business model.

The bottom line: if you neglect all the offsets and loopholes, we’re aiming for a 4% reduction in carbon emissions from 1990 levels by 2020. Make your blood stir? Obama’s not proposing real solutions to real problems; he’s ticking off items on a list. He got a health care bill, and just maybe he’ll get an energy bill (though that’s an increasingly slim “maybe”). But we don’t need the bill, we need the thing.

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After half a year of delay, Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) are set to release their nuclear energy/cap-and-trade bill today. Until we see legislative text, we can comment only on the broad outline made available yesterday and an additional summary being circulated among legislative staff.

It’s not accurate to call this a climate bill. This is nuclear energy-promoting, oil drilling-championing, coal mining-boosting legislation with a weak carbon-pricing mechanism thrown in. What’s worse, it guts the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) current authority to regulate greenhouse gases as pollutants under the Clean Air Act.

Here’s our take on what we know is in the new bill: (more…)

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Yesterday’s announcement by the White House that it would seek an end to the moratorium on oil and gas development off the eastern and gulf coasts of the U.S. has nothing to do with serving as a bargaining chip for stalled Senate climate negotiations, but rather is intended to blunt expected GOP campaign attacks that Obama the socialist environmentalist has caused gasoline prices to rise $1 per gallon since taking office. I see Obama’s move more about controlling the tone of the upcoming mid-term elections than about cutting a climate deal. So here’s my prediction: this drilling announcement marks the death of a climate deal for this congress.

Here’s why Obama’s political move to open up our coasts to more drilling is wrong: (more…)

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Need an explanation of cap and trade that even a climate change denier could understand? Check out this short video hosted by Annie Leonard whose earlier film Story of Stuff took a hard look at our culture of excessive consumerism. She continues the theme with a series of new videos that will look at different aspects of sustainability. The first one, The Story of Cap & Trade, was released this month. Here’s what the project’s Web site says about the first installment:

The Story of Cap & Trade is a fast-paced, fact-filled look at the leading climate solution being discussed at Copenhagen and on Capitol Hill. Host Annie Leonard introduces the energy traders and Wall Street financiers at the heart of this scheme and reveals the “devils in the details” in current cap and trade proposals: free permits to big polluters, fake offsets and distraction from what’s really required to tackle the climate crisis. If you’ve heard about cap and trade, but aren’t sure how it works (or who benefits), this is the film is for you.

Watch the film and learn why cap and trade is just another way for Wall Street to cash in on climate change without actually doing much to combat it. After you’ve watched, go here to take action.

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Is it strange that an economist at the Office of Management and Budget would attack the cost of a new clean air rule? Not when you consider the background of the economist, Randall Lutter, who is assigned to OMB from the Food and Drug Administration.

According to emails obtained by the Washington Post, statements from Lutter such as: “Are these really instances of zero-cost emissions reductions, or are they instead instances of emissions reductions that should already be in the baseline?” provide agencies like EPA cover in weakening regulations that protect the public.

But before Lutter was at FDA, he was a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, which famously offered scientists $10,000 to undermine the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in 2007. The AEI has taken aim at EPA’s role in combating climate change, a recent post on AEI’s Enterprise blog compared EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to Dirty Harry: “You can just see Jackson standing there with a .44 magnum in her hand, and a steely glint in her eye, telling industry (more…)

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As we approach the 40th anniversary of the Clean Air Act, it is appropriate for the Environmental Protection Agency to use this law for the agency’s most important and challenging task yet: solving climate change. Decades of success using the act to make America’s communities cleaner and safer can serve as a model of how to tackle climate change.

Public Citizen supports the development of strong, science-based regulations to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, oil refineries and other “smokestack” emitters responsible for 70 percent of our nation’s emissions of pollutants that cause climate change. The EPA has emerged as the only arm of the federal government with the credibility to solve climate change, as Congress thus far has produced deeply flawed legislation that provides billions of dollars in financial giveaways to polluters while failing to fix our corporate-controlled energy system, which contributes to unsustainability and pollution.

Most unsettling is the fact that climate legislation passed by the House of Representatives would end the ability of the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. Public Citizen understands why polluters’ lobbyists have tried to eviscerate the EPA’s authority: Because they know that the agency now is largely shielded from the influence of corporate special interests and can therefore concentrate on formulating the regulatory solutions to climate change based on science, not politics.

As world leaders prepare to meet in Copenhagen next month to discuss how nations can work together to solve climate change, the eyes of the world will look not to Congress, but to the EPA for leadership. Public Citizen strongly supports the agency’s efforts to use the full extent of the Clean Air Act to implement science-based regulations to sharply reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing industrial sources.

Tyson Slocum is the director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program.

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When I heard that the Environmental Protection Agency had finally released its 2007 endangerment finding for greenhouse gases, I was immediately reminded of one of the most perverse moments in Bush administration secrecy: the Unopened Email, which Jon Stewart lampooned back in the summer of 2008. The EPA’s draft policy statement, which had been kept secret until this week, was a required action on the road to regulating greenhouse gas emissions, after the Supreme Court decision in April 2007 in Massachusetts v. EPA. The finding expresses that EPA judges a pollutant to be a threat to public health and welfare and therefore regulation is warranted.

The Congressional hearings that followed in July 2008 were just as bizarre. Senator Barbara Boxer held up pages of the document provided by EPA that had been redacted with tape. She had been permitted to review the document, but not to disclose its contents, and she was clearly disturbed that this information would be kept secret.

Of course, at the time, as now, she was deep in a legislative battle to push action on regulating greenhouse gas, and the EPA statement could have been a powerful tool for making the case that decisive action was needed, that it was needed now, and that there was a path to cut greenhouse gas emissions and protect the climate. (more…)

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From Kim Jarrett @ Texas Vox: Nuclear power is not an answer to our collective energy problem.  Essentially, turning to nuclear power as a primary solution to the current carbon-based system is like borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.  It is not an “alternative”.  Considering that, in resource-availability terms, we could already be powering most structures in this state with solar power, and that we have not done so out of adherence to constructs and public policies rooted in economic interests, it seems ridiculous to suggest that our power problem demands we dig up metal and devise ingenious was of containing and storing radioactive dust.  For me, there are three levels upon which nuclear power as a primary power source does not work. Continue Reading »

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