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Is 450 ppm politically possible? Part 6: What the Boxer-Lieberman-Warner bill debate tells us

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"Is 450 ppm politically possible? Part 6: What the Boxer-Lieberman-Warner bill debate tells us"

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No, 450 is not politically possible today.

OK, that was clear before. But the debate over the Climate Security Act made clear it won’t be politically possible anytime soon, for two reasons:

  1. The vast majority of conservatives have not budged an inch on climate science even in the face of now overwhelming direct scientific observation and a much deeper and broader scientific understanding of the dangerous impact of unrestricted human greenhouse gas emissions on the climate.
  2. Equally important, conservatives now have a very potent political issue to beat back advocates of an economy-wide cap & trade system — high gasoline prices. And gasoline prices are probably going to be much higher over the next few years (see “Must read CIBC report: $7 gas by 2010, 10 million cars off the road, 1970s style GDP growth“). That is one reason I would leave transportation out of an economy-wide cap & trade, but that will be the subject of another post.

I live-blogged the debate at the time. Here are the highlights — or, rather, lowlights — from the GOP side that make clear just how far conservatives are from understanding climate reality:

  • Sen. Inhofe (R-OK) lead the Senate opposition to the bill, claiming “The vast majority of scientists do not believe that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are a major contributor to climate change” and called it “The largest tax increase in the history of America.”
  • Sen. Barrasso (R-WY) said he opposed the bill because Wyoming family budgets would lose $1000 to $3000 in the next 13 years.
  • Sen. Grassley (R-IA) was the first designated compassionate conservative, claiming “Household with limited incomes will be affected the most by this bill,” and “This would raise energy bills for the poorest fifth of Americans by $750 to $1,000 a year.”

[If only conservatives cared about the poorest Americans on the days they weren't filibustering climate legislation.]

  • Sen. Enzi (R-WY) said “I am an environmentalist” but opposed the bill and urged people to “visualize” their electricity bill being 50% higher the first year the bill goes into effect.
  • Sen. Cornyn (R-TX) said the bill would add $8000 in additional energy costs on Texas households, and actually blamed Democrats in Congress for the recent spike in gasoline prices.
  • Sen. Sessions (R-AL) said the bill was a “… complex and sneaky cap and trade tax system” that “will raise taxes, will raise substantially energy costs and gasoline prices, will cause worker layoffs and hurt our economy, and leave us less competitive in the world marketplace.” Thus, the bill “just the opposite of what the American people (our dutiful citizens who send us here) would expect us to be doing.”
  • Sen. Chambliss (R-GA) cited a University of Georgia study he claimed that showed temperatures have dropped in the last century, and said “This bill will attack citizens at the pump” and “increase job losses.”
  • Sen. Bond (R-MO) said the bill would raise gasoline prices $1.40 a gallon by 2050, warned that “if prices keep going up, we may not have a trucking industry,” and concluded confusingly, “We need to cut carbon, we don’t need to increase energy prices.” He asserted, ‘Nobody in their right mind’ believes we can get half our power from wind and solar or drive a ‘fleet of golf carts.’
  • Sen. Vitter (R-LA) warned that by 2030, gasoline prices would go up $.41 to $1.01 a gallon.
  • Sen. Cochran (R-MS) said the bill would be “especially harmful to lower-income families.”
  • Sen. Thune (R-SD) said the bill “could bankrupt US air carriers” which has already been crippled by high oil prices and argued it would add $5 to $10 billion to the US aviation fuel bill.
  • Sen. Kyl (R-AZ) said the bill means “people must turn off air-conditioning in the summer.” Would hurt the bottom 20% of Americans, reducing their after-tax income by 3.3%.

[Another compassionate conservative -- where were they all the last seven years?]

  • Sen. Bennet (R-UT) claimed the bill would more than double electricity prices in the first year and quoted a Californians scientist who apparently said “We are moving to irrational panic on climate change.”
  • Sen. Allard (R-CO) called the bill “cap and tax,” said bill proponents want to raise energy taxes, and proclaimed “from the reports that I’ve seen, I think it’s unclear as to what the long-range trend is as far as the temperature of the Earth is concerned.”

The purpose of this post is not to debunk such nonsense, yet again. Earlier parts of this long-running series make clear that the cost of (intelligent) action is low and the cost of inaction is incomprehensibly high.

No, the point here is that conservatives have decided to double down on their opposition to serious action on global warming. Sadly, between their lemming-like solidarity and their ability to demagogue the energy price and jobs issue — which may well lead to an even more watered-down climate bill next year — they probably have an exceedingly good chance of blocking the necessary action.

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50 Responses to Is 450 ppm politically possible? Part 6: What the Boxer-Lieberman-Warner bill debate tells us

  1. Eli Rabett says:

    If markets/industry perceive that oil/gas costs will remain high, that shifts the issue from a political one to an economic one with the exception of coal. Investment will be driven to alternative sources of energy willy nilly. The risk, of course, is that coal use will grow, but higher energy prices will leave room for sequesterization.

    Imagine a world where the only political issue is whether to sequester CO2 emissions from coal burning power plants.

  2. Lou Grinzo says:

    Eli: The problem in your scenario is timing. Fossil fuel prices will certainly push us toward wind, solar, wave, tidal, geothermal, etc., but the issue is will they do it fast enough? In other words, will the free market automagically do not just what we want but on the schedule we desperately need? I’m not at all confident that it will, especially in light of the growing consensus that the magic number for atmospheric CO2 concentration is well below 450ppm, and could be below the current level of 380+ppm.

    Joe: I think the killer detail in your piece is the second bullet–the interaction between peak oil and GW. This is the effect I’ve long feared, that peak oil (or, for those who reading CP don’t believe in it, much higher oil prices) would come along and throw a bag full of wrenches into the policymaking process just when we’re trying to get serious about addressing GW. PO or GW alone would be a tough enough challenge, but dealing with both at the same time is exponentially worse.

  3. ron says:

    One can imagine, if the politics is such that the need for sequestration is in doubt, a world where coal is not only used in power plants, but in gasification, synthetic fuels, etc. Leading to a world where the rate of extraction of coal, the accompanying environmental degradation, and the rates of increase of CO2 in the atmosphere increase geometrically.

  4. kenlevenson says:

    The election will be a game changer – IF Obama is elected and the Dems have solid majorities in Congress.
    If that happens all previous political calculations go out the window.

    (If it doesn’t happen, we’re screwed. I don’t think it’s an overstatement at this point to say that civilization as we know it hangs in the balance of this election.)

    Why a game changer? To quote your old Salon article Joe:
    http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/03/15/obama_clinton_global_warming/index.html

    “Obama said in early February he would start working on a global climate effort as soon as he becomes the Democratic nominee (which at the time he probably thought would have happened already): “I’ve been in conversations with former Vice President (Al) Gore repeatedly, and his recommendation, which I think is sound, is that you can’t wait until you are sworn into office to get started … I think we need to start reaching out to other countries ahead of time, not because I’m presumptuous, but because there’s such a sense of urgency about this.””

    It could be the right stuff.

    But I’d also like to know, now that Obama is the nominee, per the quote, what’s he working on specifically regarding it?

  5. john says:

    The frightening thing for me is that Obama is busy executing a Bob Shrumm-like drift to the center, as we speak. Will global warming/energy policy be a victim of that drift? Probably. Because his progressive coat-tails get smaller the further center he drifts, and we need large coat-tails — 60 Senators is the magic number, and a centrist campaign will not put the issues in sharp enough relief to get them.

  6. kenlevenson says:

    I might add:

    FDR also had to deal with ranting and raving Conservative obstructionists – as he remade American society.

    To maintain my modicum of optimism – I must believe the same will be possible with a President Obama.

    It’s my hope and belief that if the election goes the way it needs to, the conservative lunatics will suddenly occupy an “irrelevant fringe” they so justly deserve.

  7. kenlevenson says:

    John,
    Bob Shrumm like? (those are fight’in words! ;) )

    Honestly I don’t see a drift. Obama’s always been pretty centrist and pragmatic. (I’d say the same for FDR too.)

    Obama’s coattails are growing right now, not shrinking. (And he’s got the progressive vote no matter how much Greenwald wants to rant about FISA.) The big question to me about coat tails is: How many women and Latinos will McCain bleed between now and November?

  8. charlie says:

    Joe — lets be honest — you have to leave auto transport out your equation because it would result in gas at $20 a gallon. You wouldn’t have peak oil problems — you would have a worldwide depression.

    (and yes, moving to plug in hybrids at that price point would save us some gas and collapse the entire electric grid)

    This entire debate right now is nothing but onomastic fantasies without dealing with cars. Reducing industry CO2 levels is fine, but without accounting for cars you just trying to score some cheap political points.

  9. Bob Wallace says:

    LA, MS, AL, TX, MO, IA, OK – Notice how all those states are getting their butts kicked via extreme weather events?

    Seems like a good strategy would be for local environmental groups to turn up the information burner and educate their fellow citizens about what the future is likely to bring them if things go as badly as they might.

    Folks in these states are not as likely to listen to outsiders as to people who live where they do (I’m guessing).

    Informed voters are going to either change the behavior of their elected officials or replace them.

  10. Joe says:

    Charlie — your analysis is not correct. It would be exceedingly difficult to achieve and sustain a carbon price that would add even $1 a gallon to the price of gasoline, and impossible to achieve and sustain a carbon price that would add two dollars a gallon. A carbon price simply will not drive the kind of changes we need in the transportation sector — so there is no reason to put it in the cap.

    Obama gets energy, fundamentally because he does believe in government-led solutions. Also, please remember, he didn’t fall into the “gas tax holiday” pandering trap.

    Also, PLEASE read Obama’s energy/climate plan online. It ain’t the Boxer-Lieberman-Warner Bill.

    We need a visionary, persuasive president if we are to have a shot at 450 ppm.

  11. David B. Benson says:

    We’re toast. :-(

  12. PurpleOzone says:

    Obama’s speech in Unity NH Friday contained a good discussion of his thinking about what to do — I caught a rebroadcast on the radio. Needless to say news reports ignored it entirely in favor of matching colors of O & H’s clothes.
    Bill Clinton also gave a great speech on ideas what to do at the miami mayor’s conference, again I caught a rebroadcast. He’s talking about wind farms in the desert to create electricity, which could be transported as DC to where the people are.
    Meantime, the Bush administration has decided to spend 2 years checking if solar power installations in the desert will cause fleas to have to move. A moratorium while the Bureau of Mines thinks about environmental damage! This is disgusting. It will hurt the nascent solar power industry as well as the end consumers. Who got to them?

  13. Paul K says:

    It is probable we will reach stabilization at 450 ppm if nothing else is done politically. It is a little over thirty years away. It is very likely emissions will be below today’s levels and falling in 2040.

    B-L-W is a poor metric. First off, it had the support of only 38 Democratic Senators. Second, it was a Cap & Auction bill, not a Cap & Trade bill and attempts paint it as cap/trade amount to bait and switch. Conservatives could support a true cap/trade that allows everyone including individual consumers into the market.

    Legislation is like making sausage. Senate Republicans have crafted a comprehensive energy bill supported by 43 members of their caucus. Yes, more than the Democrats for B-L-W! Read it and you will understand the Republicans love alternatives; they just don’t hate coal and oil.

    I like to talk about ability of the people to act in association beyond government and politics. That is why I have formed Replacing Fossil Fuel, an association dedicated to alternative deployment. It is officially launching on the 4th of July and I will be inviting everyone to join.

  14. Paul K says:

    PurpleOzone,
    What’s your name, Dude?

  15. Joe says:

    Paul — you simply cannot assert Without any explanation such a fantastical statement like “we will reach stabilization at 450 ppm if nothing else is done politically…. It is very likely emissions will be below today’s levels and falling in 2040.”

    Such a world view has no basis in fact — and is something I would expect from a Newt Gingrich type, not you.

  16. Eli Rabett says:

    Basically it doesn’t matter what the mechanism is for pushing oil and gas over the equivalent of $4-5/gallon, everything else follows. The problem is to make sure that everyone thinks that it will remain as high in the future and therefore invest in alternatives. Coal is a different problem because it is so inexpensive, but because coal is so dirty, it can be separated off for a policy decision.

  17. Earl Killian says:

    Eli Rabett said, “If markets/industry perceive that oil/gas costs will remain high, that shifts the issue from a political one to an economic one with the exception of coal. Investment will be driven to alternative sources of energy willy nilly.

    Absent a tax or cap, high oil/gas prices will cause crude oil to be replaced with coal-to-liquids, oil sands, and methane hydrates. Any one of those is a disaster.

    Eli Rabett said, “Imagine a world where the only political issue is whether to sequester CO2 emissions from coal burning power plants.

    Do you think the Republican party is going to allow the government to impose sequestration on America’s coal plants? They will oppose it with the same vehemence as they did on B-L-W.

  18. Earl Killian says:

    Ken, the Senate is projected to be 55-45 (click on “Senate map and races”). It is unlikely that Obama would be able to pass legislation to deal with global warming. Perhaps he can declare it an enemy combatant?

  19. Earl Killian says:

    Paul K said, “It is probable we will reach stabilization at 450 ppm if nothing else is done politically. It is a little over thirty years away. It is very likely emissions will be below today’s levels and falling in 2040.

    That’s a fantasy worthy of Bush or Cheney (e.g. “we’ll be greeted with roses”). I suppose the coal-to-liquids plants in the planning stage right now will just decide to shut themselves down and declare bankruptcy? Dream on.

  20. David B. Benson says:

    Eli Rabett — AFAIK the spot prices for coal keep right on climbing.

  21. john says:

    Kenlevenson:

    I agree that he’s always been somewhat of a centrist, but he tacked left when Edwards dropped out and stayed there until a few days ago.

    Since then, he has showed signs of moving to the center. He supported the FISA sell-out, was silent on two recent Supreme Court rulings that were egregious, and he’s soudning more corporate friendly by the day.

    Now, Obama has a great energy platform. He understands climate and he understands why addressing it intelligently won’t break the bank — and his policies relfect that.

    But he will need support in the House and Senate of like-minded people, and he won’t get them if he keeps drifting center. He’ll get an assortment of blue-dog Dems, centrists and progressive Dems, but he won’t get the 60 enlightened Dems he needs for rational climate legislation.

    The question isn’t how popular Obama is; it’s what he’s popular for. If he moves too far to the center, we’ll get Dems — but we’ll get too many of the kind who have consistently voted against proessive climate and energy legislation.

    Paul;

    You must be joking. In legal and debate circles, you’d be judged guilty of making mere assertions — and your “arguments” would be weightless. Jury and judges might even be instructed to disregard them, and they could be stricken from the record. I can’t strike them from the record, but I will certainly ignore them, unless you can provide a basis for them. (Sorry, Milton Friedman economics won’t suffice).

  22. Paul K says:

    I know this a global issue, but let me just consider the U.S. We are a top emitter and the largest economy, so what happens here will have great effect.

    Given the tremendous growth in alternatives already experienced and the technologies expected in the very near term, yes I think it probable ppm will stabilize at 450 in 2040 even if no laws were change. (the exception is all the states must mandate buyback) There is no current federal law that prevents the deployment of available technologies and efficiencies necessary.

    Before going on, I reiterate. I am not an advocate for coal, oil or any fossil fuel. I am an advocate for replacing fossil fuel. I’m staring an organization to do just that.

    For Joe an explanation of such a fantastical statement about the future:
    I note that automobiles are now to be removed from table. Might as well, the market has already put in place the solution you seek. There is no doubt auto fleet emissions in 2040 will be 60 to 80% below today’s.

    Wind and Solar, macro and micro are about to explode. The market really wants wind and solar to succeed. Venture capitalists are increasingly coming on board. No new laws are needed here.

    It is very likely that by 2040 CO2 eating algae and bacteria will provide most of our liquid fuels. CO2 capture will be a market imperative.

  23. Paul K says:

    john,
    In legal and debate circles, my first comment here is called an opening statement.

  24. hapa says:

    @paul k: no. again. 450 stabilization is too high. even 80% emissions reduction by 2040 is silly when near zero emission cars are deployable, affordably, by 2020. your timeframe is too long and your faith in markets — dominated by corporate entities whose legal power protects them from the consequences of their actions — runs your timelines too far into the future. looking at how the science is headed we’re only a few years away from radical overhaul. if you value your freedom, and you seem to: preventive regulation now will fend off an incredibly tight rationing situation in the future.

  25. David B. Benson says:

    Wind and solar both require a better electricity transmission network than we currently have. A major obstacle is rapidly acquiring right-of-way. Possibly laws need some changing here?

  26. David B. Benson says:

    Also, world is running short of food and palces to grow it: deserts were 20% of land area in 1950 CE, 30% now and projected to grow to 50% according to one commenter elsewhere.

  27. Paul K says:

    Earl Killian,
    The fantasy is that you can ban coal. The two Democratic Governors on Meet the Press today won’t let you do it. Robert Byrd won’t let you do it. Those Democratic freshman Congressmen from Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee won’t let you do it. It is one more reason politics is inadequate to the task.

    Because of it’s possible impact on my rosy view of the future, I’d like to know a lot more about the old coal conundrum. You have put it out in bits and pieces. Could you lay it all out and answer questions I might have?

  28. Paul K says:

    hapa,
    450, yes. Read the headline on the top of this post.

    Plug in hybrids, the cars expected to be available and affordable in 2020 are not zero emission. Also, please consider the time needed for fleet changeover.

    Markets are dominated by consumers.

  29. Paul K says:

    David B. Benson,
    Completely agree about building a 21st Century grid. It really is the biggest challenge going forward. To be honest, I don’t even know where to start.

  30. kenlevenson says:

    Earl,

    Let me say first that the same way 60 Dem Senators wouldn’t guarantee anything, I don’t think Obama needs 60 Democratic Senators – it would be nice though. It’s the power dynamics that will matter….

    The projections I’m seeing vary from 53 to 58 Dems. The two independents (Sanders and Lieberman) would presumably be with Obama too. Then you have a handful of Repubs that supported B-L-W. Seems very doable.

    John,
    I disagree. Obama doesn’t need to be reproving his liberal creds to “the left” every step of the way through the general election. And the Dems that are going to live or die with Obama are already selected. So the number one question IS Obama’s popularity – for sure. If he doesn’t get elected were done – game, set, match – toast (per David Benson). Let’s save the civil war for when there’s actually some spoils to fight over.

    If Obama can win convincingly enough with long enough coat tails, he will actually have the mandate Bush always – falsely – claimed (whether or note he has 60 Dem Senators). If he doesn’t make the right choices with that power then we hold his feet to the fire. But to claim that his “centrist” general election politics will lessen his power down the road is putting the cart before the horse.

  31. Jill B says:

    “Sen. Vitter (R-LA) warned that by 2030, gasoline prices would go up $.41 to $1.01 a gallon.”

    Huh? Is this a typo or extreme delusion?

    [JR: “would go up $.41-$1.01 a gallon.”

  32. Rick says:

    >>Sen. Cornyn (R-TX) said the bill would add $8000 in additional energy costs on Texas households, and actually blamed Democrats in Congress for the recent spike in gasoline prices.

  33. Rick says:

    Oops I made an error on my previous entry.

    >>Sen. Cornyn (R-TX) said the bill would add $8000 in additional energy costs on Texas households, and actually blamed Democrats in Congress for the recent spike in gasoline prices.

  34. Jill B says:

    JR – Ah, thanks for clarifying. Just didn’t read that one correctly. :D

  35. Earl Killian says:

    Ken, the 55-45 estimate counted Lieberman and Sanders in the 55 (since they’ll want their positions on D committees). Sure, it could be higher or lower, but some Ds will not support what is necessary, just as some Rs may, so I tend to find the 55-45 estimate useful in realizing that we’re in deep trouble. Also, even 60 is not enough to pass a treaty (it takes 67), and a global warming treaty would be useful.

  36. hapa says:

    @paul k: i don’t think you missed when joe talked about why he was politically rejecting 350 as a goal. it doesn’t matter. when you talk about emissions likely being near-but-below today’s levels in 2040, you’re headed over 500, in which case, *poof*.

    but i know that reduction curve. i worked it out after reading mr bush’s climate proposal in april. stopping the growth in emissions around 2025, wouldn’t you say that’s what technological development will do?

    aren’t you the clever whisperer. kinda.

  37. Peter Wood says:

    In Australia the conservatives have also been doing their best to undermine sensible climate change policies by carping on about petrol prices. Fortunately the conservatives were recently at a national election and are in disarray, the government also accepts that an ETS needs to be as broad based as possible which will probably mean that petrol will be included. Whether they accept agressive caps on emissions is another matter. Things will probably heat up quite a bit in Australia in the next two weeks. The government has commissioned an independent review (the Garnaut Review) that is likely to make some good recommendations, some of which the government will be uncomfortable with.

  38. Robert Cerra says:

    The global warming advocates have not been convincing and some of the comments on this blog are making the global warming debate sound like a religious dissertation and not a scientific dicussion

  39. Joe says:

    Robert — your comment shows the flaw in your reasoning. Climate science is climate science. You can choose not to accept the strong scientific understanding for climate science. But if you don’t find climate science convincing, that is more a reflection of what kinds of things you are convinced by than the state of the science.

    It is certainly true that global warming deniers are very “convincing.” That’s because they aren’t bound by the facts or scientific evidence — so they can craft a narrative that is more compelling to people than the narrative they can be crafted by scientists, who must base what they say on the facts.

    I am perfectly aware that it sounds hard to believe that humans are going to destroy the livability of the planet simply by burning fossil fuels. That is the point of the scientific method, to tell us the truth even when it is counterintuitive.

  40. Earl Killian says:

    Paul K said, “The fantasy is that you can ban coal.

    It is a political mistake to ban coal outright. You want to ban CO2 emissions. As long as the coal industry believes in CCS, it may go along. California passed SB1368, which did it this way. What happens in California often finds its way elsewhere over time.

  41. Dano says:

    Cerra flails about:

    some of the comments on this blog are making the global warming debate sound like a religious dissertation and not a scientific dicussion

    Whenever I see anyone use ‘religion’ and ‘climate change science’ together, I know that person has no argument.

    Best,

    D

  42. David B. Benson says:

    Paul K — Do whatever you can to cause people to build a HVDC transimission line from around Colstrip, MT, to at least Minneapolis. In between there is lots of stranded sites for windmills.

    Oh yes, and a feeder branch down to the Denver area.

  43. john says:

    Paul K.

    First, in debate, facts matter even in an “opening statment.”

    But you’ve yet to offer anything like evidence that would make your contention that we’ll peak at 450 ppm even remotely plausible. Saying it over and over again does not make it so. Nor does arcane neoclassical theories about market behavior — theories which have been proven wrong now on virtually every issue for decades.

    Kenlevenson:

    Krugman has a good piece in the Times today. He contrasts Reagan — who ran overtly on his conservative platform, with Clinton — who ran on a centrist triangulation devoid of a coherent philosphical framework.

    The result is that Reagan fundamentally changed the terms of the poltical debate in way that has endured for 40 years now (in a negative way), while Clinton governed more wisely but let the Reagan poltical framework intact. Indeed, part of what we’re fighting in the Climate debate is the legacy of public perceptions about government, science, and the private sector that Reagan left behind.

    Being popular is all well and good, and both men were, but at the end of the day you have to govern, and the room you have to maneuver is defined by what you claim to stand for.

    Centrists don’t change the terms of the debate, and if you believe we will get the kind of legislation we need — not to mention a treaty — without fundamentally changing not simply perceptions about Climate Change, but also about the roles of government and the private sector, then we will have to agree to disagree. But as Earl points out, treaties take 67 votes and we’re toast without a treaty. Obama won’t get that kind of support because people think he’s a good guy, or even because his numbers are good — in my opinion, he’ll only get that kind of support because he’s moved the center to the left a good bit, and he’s got broad support for progressive ideas and a progressive government role from the people.

    At the end of the day, that’s the only counterweight to the special interests and entrenched power that dominates politics today.

    For what it’s worth, I hope you are right and I am wrong … becuse he certainly seems to be doing the Shrumm thing.

  44. Paul K says:

    john,
    How about a fact or two to back up any of your statements, especially the ridiculous “theories which have been proven wrong now on virtually every issue for decades.”

    I don’t think anybody disagrees that it is possible to stabilize at 450 ppm. If you don’t think it possible, then I suggest you put all your efforts into adaptation. Our only disagreement should be whether it can happen even if no new laws are put in place. I believe it can. The technologies and efficiencies required are being deployed at an exponential rate. There are in the near pipeline technologies that will make capture & sequestration economically desirable. These are the facts that inform my belief.

  45. Paul K says:

    hapa,
    Could you please translate “aren’t you the clever whisperer. kinda”?

  46. hapa says:

    “bad faith.”

  47. Paul K says:

    hapa,
    Just curious. What do consider to be my bad faith?

  48. kenlevenson says:

    John,
    I thought you’d read the Krugman piece before commenting! ;) I take Krugman’s positions regarding Obama with a grain of salt as he appears to have some weird beef with Obama….it borders on pathological.

    But I agree that if Obama turns out to be a Clinton – we’ve got a disaster on our hands.

    My hope of hopes is that we’ve got with Obama another FDR or LBJ. Both leaders rose more in the center than outside it. (LBJ a corrupt political machine and FDR while “progressive” he was certainly an “establishment” fixture – both completely suspect to “true progressives”. ) And they actually lead more in the center than outside it. Yet – with the obvious exception of Vietnam – they generally lead the country in difficult and needed directions, moving the country markedly forward.

    I disagree that 67 votes are impossible. By Jan 2009 the climate news is going to be so damn awful – and we’ll have a Republican Party, or at least the nutty conservative wing, hopefully, in tatters. It will all very much ride on Obama’s political skill.

    I’m not not naive, just eternally optimistic.

    After all, Obama did just slay the mighty Clintons – that’s got to count for something.

    Bottom line is we must get as many officials elected as possible that will support Obama’s climate change platform – as a starting point. I hope everyone here who cares is donating money up and down the ballot!

  49. msn nickleri says:

    And gasoline prices are probably going to be much higher over the next few years (see “Must read CIBC report: $7 gas by 2010, 10 million cars off the road, 1970s style GDP growth“). That is one reason I would leave transportation out of an economy-wide cap & trade, but that will be the subject of another post.

  50. Thank you for your help!