Memo to enviros, progressives: The deniers and dirty energy bunch are “full of passionate intensity” — and eating our lunch on the climate bill!

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.

I have heard from multiple sources that many U.S. Senators are now getting 100 to 200 calls a day opposing a climate and clean energy bill — and bupkes in favor.

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Why?  Well, the entire conservative messaging apparatus is full-throated in its opposition to this bill — and they have well-heeled funders aka the dirty-energy bunch.  Our side is half-throated, at best.  Indeed, many progressive/enviro activists spend their time pointlessly trashing the bill and threatening Democrats (see here and here).

No, it’s not accurate to suggest they lack all conviction.  Yes, some of the pseudo-environmentalists who are devoting 100% of their time publicly and privately to killing this bill have no convictions and hypocritically support a far weaker bill (see “The Breakthrough Institute is lying about Obama, misstating what CBO concluded about Waxman-Markey, and publishing deeply flawed analyses“).

But most have a very strong conviction that we need a better bill, which we do, and a misguided conviction that failing to aggressively support passage or even opposing the bill outright “in its current form” or “if it is not substantially improved” will lead to better environmental outcomes.  It will not.

Suck it, up, people.  This is the meat and potatoes of politicking, and the other side is extremely good at it because they know those calls matter.  They mattered in the House.

The opposition to Waxman-Markey did a good job with phone calls to House members.  They at least matched the calls that enviros and progressives delivered — though I’m told an analysis shows that most of their calls were out-of-state, while most of ours were in state.  Still, that’s one reason we didn’t get more votes.

The climate destroyers are keeping up their attack on vulnerable House members — even if it means eating their own (see “Honey, I shrunk the GOP, Part 1: Conservatives vow to purge all members who support clean energy or science-based policy“).

The good news is that The Hill reports, “A coalition of labor, environmental and veterans groups is spending serious money to make sure Democrats who supported the cap-and-trade legislation have political cover.”  Very important stuff, for sure — after all, the House is going to have to vote again on some House-Senate conference version of this bill in early 2010 assuming the Senate acts.

But we should be equaling if not beating calls to key Senators right now. Heck, I’m told that Senators who aren’t even really swing votes are getting more than 100 calls a day opposing climate action.  And those matter too, in terms of how even Senators on our side gauge public sentiment and how much they are willing to fight for the strongest possible bill.

Marches and civil disobedience have their place, but it is not what is needed in the next few months — unless you plan to March to DC with others in your state and talk to your Senator about why we urgently need a climate and clean energy bill.

People and clean energy businesses should be organizing calls in most states — although you can figure out the most important states and members from this post — see “Epic Battle 3: Who are the swing Senators?

If you think the bill should be a lot stronger — and who doesn’t? — make that the message.  I’ll do a post next week on what I think the core message of climate science activists should be, but, frankly, calls to Senators are taken by 20-something staffers (if you’re lucky), and they ain’t gonna be repeating any of your nuanced points.

Reason enough for passage of a bill with emissions targets like Waxman-Markey (preferably stronger) is to give the international climate negotiations in Copenhagen (and beyond) a fighting chance — and not to strangle a global deal in the crib as the deniers and polluters hope to do with their immoral and ultimately self-destructive filibuster.

William Butler Yeats knew nothing of global warming — but he knew everything about his era’s own self-inflicted global catastrophe, The First World War.  His 1919 poem, “The Second Coming,” has “nothing in common with the typically envisioned Christian concept of the Second Coming of Christ,” as Wikipedia explains, but is “an approaching dark force with a ghastly and dangerous purpose.”  No doubt that is why the poem resonates so well today — and why, I fear, it will ring increasingly true in the coming decades if we don’t change course soon:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

57 Responses to Memo to enviros, progressives: The deniers and dirty energy bunch are “full of passionate intensity” — and eating our lunch on the climate bill!

  1. MarkB says:

    “The opposition to Waxman-Markey did a good job with phone calls to House members. They at least matched the calls that enviros and progressives delivered — though I’m told an analysis shows that most of their calls were out-of-state, while most of ours were in state. Still, that’s one reason we didn’t get more votes.”

    I’ve seen lists of contact info going around right-wing circles of all Senators likely on the fence. I think this could be generating those calls – also explaining why many are out-of-state calls. Enviros need to do the same if they want to match this approach. However, Reps and Senators usually don’t pay much attention to non-constituents. Do they know that most anti-Waxman/Markey calls are out-of-state? Should it really matter to them that a few thousand cowardly zealots and fossil fuel interests from around the country are pestering them?

  2. Anonymous says:

    As an insider, it has been this way since Wednesday, June 23rd, 2 days before the House voted on it. It is insistent and no one know what they are talking about, just spouting GOP talking points. It is a problem that we need to respond to.

  3. Wes Rolley says:

    I have a good way to respond to this for my Democratic Congressman. In a district with nearly even Dem / Rep split, if he does not take a stand for serious efforts to address climate change, I will ensure that he has a Green Party opponent in 2010.

    I supported him as he removed Richard “ESA Slayer” Pombo from office, but he needs to remember who helped elect him.

    Others might start to think in the same manner.

  4. Gail says:


    When my marriage fell apart, I spent months weeping. All I wanted was a happy, cohesive, loving and supportive family.

    Why couldn’t I get that?

    Now, it is so much worse. All I want now is a future for my children to thrive.

    I don’t want my 3 daughters to starve, or be victimized by violence, or be forced to choose between suicide and cannibalism, when agriculture fails, and water is not available.

    I agonize over these looming prospects every day.

    This is our future prospect for our children if we don’t IMMEDIATELY cut back on all frivolous non-necessary expenditures of CO2, and invest wholesale in clean energy.

  5. I am irked to have put forth all this effort at telling Congress to just grow up, get smart and do the right thing. Do we really have such idiots and shills in Congress? Are they really that spineless?

    I plan to deliver the simple message that both science and history will judge them harshly. And it may come very soon. Congress should just walk over the astroturf and move on.

  6. hapa says:

    it freaks me out that “the world’s greatest deliberative body” can’t stand against a dead-wrong panicked minority. maybe if the senators had a plan for alleviating the economic burdens of the callers, or cared about those burdens, it would help them weather the storm of misspent rage.



  8. Nataraj says:

    May be if the bill was actually good activits would get active ?

  9. Lou Grinzo says:

    Richard: Yes, we really do have idiots and shills in Congress. Rule 1 of being an elected politician: Get re-elected. So they listen to the voters, whether they’re repeating things they don’t understand or not. We have a Dem House member in the Rochester area who voted against the bill partly because he says the feedback he got from his constituents was 19:1 against it. (The same guy, a freshman, was against wind power and lost the support of the Sierra Club over it.)

    Overall, we should not be the least bit surprised that the denier hordes are killing us politically. Their message fits perfectly with what people want to hear, and they’re relentless in getting that message out. The fact that it’s a steaming pile of post-animal refuse is irrelevant. The media won’t help us, our politicians won’t show so much as the spine of a jellyfish in voting for what they think is right if their constituents want them to vote the other way.

    It’s brute force politics time, people. Time to get angry, get organized, and get busy. Call and e-mail until your fingers are bloody stumps. Write letters to the editor. And never let up, because the denier hordes sure as hell won’t.

  10. Rick says:

    interesting that this is what the climate battle is going to come down to – paralysis. And it will be that way despite the existence of a charismatic and determined President and a party majority among the legislators.

    You couldn’t ask for a better set up – and yet it will still fail. Because we humans are not done with burning stuff yet. Thats how it’s gonna be.

  11. dhogaza says:

    May be if the bill was actually good activits would get active ?

    Oh, that’s smart thinking. Leave Obama empty-handed and *nothing* comes out of Copenhagen, and you and yours, as the world burns, will say “it’s all Obama’s fault”.

    My fellow progressives piss me off.

  12. Jeff Huggins says:

    The Scream

    I will be making my best contribution to the good cause in the near future. I also share the concern: Why can’t our elected leaders (those that will or may vote against addressing climate change) muster some intelligence, courage, and genuine ethics?

    Well, I’m doing my best. And I’ll send my best to Joe Romm within a few days, or perhaps a week, if I can keep to schedule.

    Be Well,


  13. Rick Covert says:

    Call my Republican Senators in Texas, hmmm? Texas, the land of the oil derrick has two Senators who will vote for a climate and nergy bill?! I’ll do m;y best to call in but I know how Cornyn and Hutchison will vote. Nevertheless I will still call.

  14. Rick Covert says:

    After I Galveston goes under water and becomes a reef, assuming the dead zone doesn’t take over we can declare the underwater city of Galveston a state park and name it the John Cornyn Memorial Sea Park.

  15. Will says:

    Nataraj, you don’t have to get into particulars, obviously don’t say you oppose Waxman Markey (even if you do), just say you want a strong climate bill that is guided by science and not special interests like the coal industry.

  16. metnav says:

    Even ten years ago, if I had suggested that the majority party’s proposed bill would be withheld from the minority party two hours from the vote — and then one copy was grudgingly provided, to be shared by all 435 Representatives , you would have looked at me like I was a crazy person…….

    Well that’s exactly what happened when the U.S. Congress voted on and passed the infamous HR 2454 Cap and Trade/Carbon Emissions Bill. Final vote: 219 Yea, 212 Nay. A little after 3 am on that very same day a 300 page amendment was added to the original 900+ pages. This is the longest suicide note in history and will further hasten our downward economic spiral. The U.S. Senate looks to debate it this Fall where it will likely get nowhere. Friday’s vote may have been a gift to the POTUS for the upcoming UN meeting knowing there’s little chance of it getting thru the Senate. Before Friday’s vote I made my feelings known to our Democratic Congressman. I see he voted No but I’ve no idea what his real motivation was. Some that voted Yes received calls 20:1 urging a No vote and they still voted Yes.

    This is about more than just higher electricity rates. It’s a massive redistribution of wealth, further limits our freedoms all under the guise of reducing an essential trace greenhouse gas, and does next to nil for energy independence. This Manmade Global Warming/Climate Change House Of Cards is tumbling down. Every week more and more new contrary evidence is seeing the light of day. The Mainstream Media won’t report it, but this vital information is getting out to those that want honest debate on this important issue.

    Looking past the Senate this Fall we have the December Copenhagen UN meeting on a new Global Warming Treaty. Remember the Kyoto Treaty? Well you ain’t seen nothing yet. I shudder to think what the U.S. delegation would love to commit us to for years or decades forward. Lastly there’s the U.S. EPA waiting in the wings to regulate all things CO2. Recently a leaked string of internal EPA e-mails detailed suppression of evidence that undermines the CO2 argument. Many derided the career EPA employee as not being a climatologist. Well Mr. Carlin has a physics degree. Al Gore is no climatologist or scientist but he’s allowed to testify before Congress on this issue. Madness!

    Remember Friday’s vote, because if this horror show is implemented on the American public it will blow up in our face as it has in every country this has been tried. At what cost in dollars and individual freedoms? Mark your calendar in RED, because that is the path we are heading toward. Contact your Senators and ask them if they’re prepared to defend a Yes vote for this misguided Bill. Let them know a NO Vote will ensure your support next election cycle.

  17. Metnav – it looks to me that you are very afraid of redistribution of wealth.

    I really don’t care about your wealth. But you don’t seem to care about my future. I think your attitude is far more dangerous than mine.

  18. gtrip says:

    Richard Pauli says : “I like redistribution of wealth and I don’t care about anyone but myself”…”my future is gone because of bad guy profit mongers”…give me health care and perfect climate or give me……a hall pass….

  19. John Stanley says:

    What this legislation is up against is 50 years of corporate infiltration of American democracy: a level of corporate manipulation that doesnt saturate the legislative process in this way anywhere else. Even the British government, a willing partner in the corporate war for Iraq’s oilfields, has announced a joined-up program to cut GHG emissions one third from 1990 levels by 2020, while hitting the EU target of 15% of energy from renewables. The opposition Conservative party complained that they stole its big ideas but immediately supported the program. In other words, our major English-speaking, capitalist and imperialist allies get it. This is about national as well as international survival: agricultural, economic and ecological. It is about whether our own genetic offspring can look forward to a future. American citizens are forced to look on as ‘representatives’ in Congress act out the wishes of Big Carbon, and the corporate media maintain a daily national regime of hypnotic distraction. In a pretty similar fashion, historians tell us, the Roman empire degenerated and collapsed.

  20. fred says:

    I will call tomorrow. Sad to see the invasion of the pro-pollution zombies starting in the few comments ahead of me. For those of you who worked seriously for Obama’s election, you will be familiar with this infestation. They get sick of the stench in the cesspools they generally inhabit, and come over thinking they can intimidate us or drown us out or chase us away from our own fora. They’re wrong every time. Ignore them.

    BTW, while you are calling for the climate bill, voice your support for health care reform. POTUS and the Dem leadership are pushing health care before climate in the Senate for a reason… after 9 months the DNC has finally put the infrastructure in place to– with all of our help– push a full, campaign-style grassroots effort on both of these bills. We will be seeing and hearing (and becoming) much more of this effort in the next 4-6 weeks on health care, which for unfortunate reasons of human nature seems to be the easier of the two issues to get the general progressive public re-engaged and ramped up and active… but once we achieve success on that using the new style grassroots legislative campaign, I have no doubt whatsoever that Obama will ask us to direct the same effort toward climate, so that we will be making 1000 calls per day to every 100 or 200 of the pollution-buddies’.

    But if we want those whose biggest issue is health care to support us when our time comes, support them now… MAKE THOSE CALLS and voice your support for both bills. (In whatever stronger, ideal form you most support!)

  21. Bob Wight says:

    Post 15 is a lot like what I’m coming across lately. Its mostly from angry middle-aged [snip] Fox News fans. “There is no global warming. There is no need for health care reform and Canadians die by the millions, I earned my money and I’m not giving it away… Its all those socialist democrats and Obama conspiracies, and we need to stand up to them!” Some of these guys are ready to start a brawl.

    Fox has done a good job of convincing these guys (none of whom has touched a chemistry book since 11th grade, if ever) that Obama, not global warming, is the threat, and they are calling their senators.

    I’ll be sure to call Specter and Casey.

  22. BBHY says:

    Well, the deniers won before the bill even got started. They managed to weaken the bill so much that most enviros won’t support it, while the opposition is steadfastly against ANY bill.

    Game, set, match!

    [JR: No, most enviros support the bill, but part of the vocal, activist community won’t. community]

  23. Gail says:

    Call your Senators – I don’t know what makes you think anyone here (other than the trolls) is NOT calling their senators, writing their newspapers, and contributing and organizing with or other groups.

    metnav, and gtrip, you have not factored in the costs of NOT cutting carbon emissions, which will dwarf the expense of switching to clean coal by many orders of magnitude. Forced migration for hundreds of millions from the rising seas alone will do that. And they’re not just going to rise in Bangladesh. They are going to inundate Florida, and Manhattan.

    I suggest you do some reading about the alternative to doing nothing and figure out what that will cost you. The insurance companies and the military know.

  24. Gail says:

    sorry, clean energy! clean coal is a fiction!

  25. hikaye says:

    Richard Pauli says : “I like redistribution of wealth and I don’t care about anyone but myself”…”my future is gone because of bad guy profit mongers”…give me health care and perfect climate or give me……a hall pass….

  26. anon says:

    Hahaha, teh conspiracy is moving nicely…

  27. Pat Richards says:

    Something that will work better than phone calsl and emails would be a MILLION people showing up in front of the Capitol Dome after debate starts on the bill in early September. But, as far as I can tell, no one is no planning for such a MARCH ON WASHINGTON. Why not?

    Sure, the calls and emails are a good thing — but why make them now, when the Senate is going into recess and won’t be doing anything serious about the bill until September 8 (or later)? Better to hold off on the messaging until after September 8 when they are back in their offices and debate on Waxman-Markey begins.

    But still… no huge March on Washington to support the bill? What a bunch of pansy activists we all are. We keep talking about this will decide our children’s future but we’re not willing to spend the time and effort to stage a massive rally for it in D.C.?

  28. Great post Joe,

    Had no idea. So, also, as part of strengthening Senate resolve, please let the Senate know that we are already past the enfeebled Senate national RPS requirements:

  29. “If you think the bill should be a lot stronger — and who doesn’t? — make that the message. I’ll do a post next week on what I think the core message of climate science activists should be.” An analysis and prioritization of what needs to be strengthened, based on NRDC testimony, in summary:

    1. Remove provisions that curtail state authority over emissions through their own and/or regional initiatives, even temporarily (Section 861).
    2. Provide rules for trading of carbon offsets using regulated exchanges in a transparent manner. Include safeguards such as “position limits.” Protect the market from the explosion of another subprime market (in carbon offsets). Provide a wholly reliable framework for ensuring the reality and additionality of reductions or sequestrations.
    3. Expand use of offset provisions that would slow international deforestation.
    4. The sourcing of biofuels must not weaken existing provisions that protect ecosystems and biodiversity. Hold to key provisions of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) including that Act’s definition of renewable biomass that provides vital protections for wildlife, native grasslands, old‐growth, natural forests, and federal forests. Introduce significant new provisions surrounding the development of biofuels. Require, for instance, full lifecycle accounting of the carbon emissions from producing and using biofuels.
    5. Return undiluted authority to the EPA to regulate emissions under the authority of the Clean Air Act (Section 111). Allow for tougher standards set through state authority. Renounce the claim of the USDA to some-how co-regulate – its a setup for regulatory stalemate and inaction.
    6. Replace provisions for a renewable fuel standard with a low carbon fuel standard, modeled on the California low carbon fuel standard. The standard should be technology-neutral and performance-based, providing the maximum flexibility and incentive to innovate with new fuels.
    7. Allow for the ability of the President to set tariffs and other border restratints, so as to preserve American competitiveness as well as the accuracy of offsets in meeting stated emissions objectives.
    8. Remove exemptions under New Source Review (NSR) provisions, so that the Act applies equally to all sources, old or new (Section 833).

  30. Gosh, I am called out twice for words I did not write. So perhaps now it is time to say something.

    Richard Pauli says: “It is a fine line between shill and saboteur”

  31. David Lewis says:

    Can I quote Henry Waxman? Here is what Waxman, in his recent book “The Waxman Report” said about what makes a successful law:

    “The greatest misconception about making laws is the assumption that most problems have clear solutions, and reaching compromise mainly entails splitting the difference between partisan extremes. This is rarely the case, and legislation crafted this way usually fails. “Meeting in the middle” doesn’t work for the simple reason that it invariably neglects to solve whatever problem raised the issue in the first place. Take the problem of smog. If 200 million tons of pollution must be eliminated to clean the air, and industry wants to emit 100 million more, any splitting of the difference would effectively make things worse: The offending industry would wind up being saddled with additional costs, and the air wouldn’t be noticeably cleaner. Nobody wins. Successful legislation, on the other hand would find a way to solve the problem and clean the air without putting anyone out of business or costing anyone a job.”

    – page 77, The Waxman Report, Henry Waxman, 2009. Section 1 “The Art of Making Laws”, Chapter 5 “The Clean Air Act”. It looks like Waxman-Markey wouldn’t meet Waxman’s own test of what a good law is.

    And, on the subject of getting a less than adequate bill passed now because it can be beefed up later, Henry, again:

    “The episode serves as a stark reminder of the industry’s tremendous power, and why it is important, when crafting legislation, never to give too much away. In all my years as a legislator, I can’t recall a single example of a law where, when drug companies were granted excessive government concessions, we ever managed to scale them back later”.

    Page 73, The Waxman Report.

    [JR: Thanks for this. Since Waxman is most responsible for the W-M bill, that should tell you it is better than most progressives think — which it is — and that a significantly better bill could not have been squeezed through (which should have been obvious from the vote).]

  32. Steve M says:

    Wow, did no one expect a massive industry-funded astroturf campaign to kill the climate bill? And a lot of the right-wingers see this as a potential “gotcha” issue for 2010. So progressives just need to suck it up and work hard.

  33. Progressives do need to work hard, but I got an email from today saying:
    “The energy bill passed by the House of Representatives contains an
    ugly surprise. Instead of shifting America to solar and wind power, the
    bill would actually continue America’s reliance on the dirtiest form of
    energy there is—coal power.”

    It contained a link to an LA Times article that said the bill provided incentives for using coal [!] and that quoted Nordhaus and Schellenberger, one saying that the bill is a “deal with the devil” and another saying that it did everything the coal interests wanted.

    I think the negators on the left (eg, moveon, Friends of the Earth) are as big a problem as the deniers on the right.

    [JR: Can’t argue with that.]

  34. Steve M says:

    Yes, there are some bad provisions in the House bill, but before anything becomes law we need a Senate bill, and then a conference between the two. And progressives will have some pretty solid support from Obama and Pelosi to make sure that conferenced bill is as green as possible. We’re a long way from the finish line, and have to make the Senate bill as good as possible, but let’s not set up the circular firing squad yet.

  35. Joe M says:

    The only viable alternative to carbon emmiting energy is nuclear and hydroelectric power. The problem is that many enviromentalist also oppose these. It is well known that Sen Kennedy opposes a wind farm off cape cod and I’ve heard of solar farms als having some problems from enviromentalists. I think that there are a lot of reasonable people who are opposed to cap and trade because they see enviros as opposed to energy production in general.

  36. Jeff Huggins says:

    You know, this whole thing is getting a bit sickening in more ways than one.

    Even people who are very interested and concerned (like me) cannot keep up with the details and why one hand of the same body is fighting with the other hand. Most people in the general public are confused enough about the problem itself, and not very many of them have much time to spend on it, so when the groups of people who ARE concerned about it start saying different things about bills and this or that or another thing, the WHOLE THING gets confused, and all but the most “dedicated” of folks, who have time on their hands, just have no other choice but to throw their hands up and “flip a coin”, knowing that if the two hands of the same side continue fighting, nothing will get passed anyhow.

    “Time for a beer!” “Make that two!!” “And, do you have a few aspirin?”

    So, all I can say is, can the several “sides” within the group of folks who WANT to solve the problem, just get together, be adults, get the facts straight, and grow up? If there is one thing that history has shown, it is that self-destruction is self-destruction. The fragmentation among the groups who WANT to address global warming is amazing and deeply, deeply concerning. If the groups insist on continuing with that fragmentation, they’ll only have themselves to blame. Indeed, I’m not going to give any more financial contributions to ANY group until the main groups sit down at a table and get their acts together.

    Please DON’T call me for contributions, or stop by my house, until that happens.

    Meanwhile, while we are “fighting” amongst ourselves, the folks who don’t care about global warming are getting ready to clean our clocks.

    I am “usually” more “calm” in my messages, but this is a bit too much.


  37. Steve M says:

    Whoa whoa whoa. Let’s look at the big picture. When President Obama addressed Congress in February and talked about his domestic agenda, he said (I’m paraphrasing) “It all starts with energy.” And Henry Waxman said Energy and Commerce would get a bill done by Memorial Day, and they did. And Pelosi said she’d get a bill through the House by July 4th recess, and she did. And Harry Reid has said the Senate will get it done by the end of the year, and we’re thisclose to 60 votes, despite the jockeying we’ll continue to see from various Senators. So hang tough, and remember: who benefits if we fail to pass a clean energy and climate bill?

  38. aöf says:

    Very good, congratulations article

  39. Dano says:

    Calm Down!!

    We have numerous recent national surveys and polls that find the public wants action. It is obvious to staffers that an organized campaign is going on, and we can trace the source to the Tea Baggers, as they give instructions on their home page for doing exactly what Joe described above.

    What you should be doing,, if you want to do some actiony stuff, is sending poll results to your electeds and appointeds.



  40. fred g says:

    Global warming as a theory has been sliced and diced so many ways. It has been defeated from every conceivable angle. It is total BS.

    For such nonsense, you morons want to destroy our economy? Of course! You are indeed that stupid.

  41. MarkB says:

    Fred g writes:

    “For such nonsense, you morons want to destroy our economy?”

    The notion that gradually reducing emissions over 40 years will “destroy our economy” is a false assertion that has been sliced and diced on so many ways and defeated from every conceivable angle. It is total BS.

    For such nonsense, you s want to destroy our planet?

  42. Aaron says:

    Fred g wrote, “It has been defeated from every conceivable angle.” Please show us a single angle that you speak as I haven’t seen a single SCIENTIFICALLY based “angle” refuting AGW.

  43. Bob Wright says:

    Here is a very encourqging article about large corporations behind GHG reduction legislation. (even if it ends with a caveat by goofball Bjorn.) Maybe it isn’t greenwashing anymore?

  44. Craig says:

    Rick Covert,

    I know how you feel. I have one of the most conservative members of Congress representing me in the House. But calling can still make a difference. If conservative representatives are overloaded with calls in favor of the legislation, will they vote for ACES? No way. Especially if they don’t want the RNC to put up a challenger in their next primary. But what they might do is back off (slightly) from their rabid denunciation and outright slander of the bill. It can help give more moderate Republicans (the two of them remaining) some breathing room. It can also reduce (once again slightly) the amount of misinformation and lies hoisted upon the public by conservatives.

    By throwing a stone in the right side of the pool, the waves ripple across the entire surface (sorry about the lousy analogy).

  45. David Lewis says:

    “If you can’t take their money, drink their booze, screw their women, and then come in here the next day and vote against them, you don’t belong in Sacramento”.

    – Jesse Unruh, speaker of the California State Assembly in the 1960s, quoted by Waxman, on lobbyists. [The Waxman Report: How Congress Really Works, page 16 ]

    There’s a lot of detail on how Clean Air Act came to be, how it didn’t amount to much for many years, and how it ended up being strengthened because Reagan mounted such a great attack on it. Waxman was in the thick of it over AIDS as well.

  46. Gail says:

    Pat Richards, I agree. Here is my email to Bill McKibben ( this morning:

    Dear Bill,

    I am a member of and extremely concerned about the consequences of climate change. I believe I am not alone in thinking that if we are to avert catastrophic effects we must act swiftly, however, there does not appear to be a unified movement capable of standing up to the massively well-funded coal and oil lobbies.

    There are many citizens that want to act but the movement is too splintered among many worthy environmental and scientific organizations for a concerted and powerful voice to emerge.

    I believe 350 has the best platform to become the umbrella we need to move forward, but unfortunately, the October march will occur well after the Senate debate on Waxman-Markey.

    I would like to propose that 350 go to the table with other activists and organize a march on Washington over Labor Day weekend. It’s a family holiday but part of the appeal could be – bring the family and save the family. It’s also a time when many people have the time off from their jobs (those that still have jobs!)

    It should be an action not against Obama, who is the best friend environmentalists have ever had in the White House, but in support of Obama, who should give a speech.

    Call it – Yes We Can Three Fifty. Yes We Can will resonate with the majority of Americans who elected Obama, and Three Fifty is the right goal. Progressives who are disenchanted with W-M because it doesn’t go far enough would turn out in droves.

    I know time is short, but this is the age of the internet and with your backing, this idea could go viral in days.

    People are BEGGING and desperate for this leadership.

    I hope you grab this opportunity.


    Gail Zawacki
    Oldwick, NJ

  47. Gail says:

    Bill McKibben’s reply:

    Hey Gail–greetings from the Maldives, where I’m meeting with the president tomw re 350, which is going exceptionally well around the world.

    Our small crew can’t organize what you’re talking about, but there are others thinking the same way–some kind of late summer push from many groups. I should know more in ten days time if you want to write me back. Oh, and I’m pretty sure Congress will not have taken any kind of final action by Oct. 24, so thsoe events will help as well, especially if we can show a real global groundswell.

    much thanks for your good work and thinking–bill

  48. cinsellik says:

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  49. Rod Adams says:

    It is a bit distressing – though quite interesting – to see how many people are trying to turn a legitimate discussion on energy and the environment into a partisan food fight with one party in white hats and one in black.

    From my point of view, the discussion should be focused more on technical, science and economic issues. As someone who agrees that polluting our shared atmosphere is BAD and should be discouraged, I sometimes am internally conflicted because I also understand that our current way of life is built on access to controllable energy that can move things, heat things, cool things, and speed communications. I would be hopelessly depressed except for one thing – I have been given the opportunity to live in a self contained environment where we had all the power we needed to move things, heat things, cool things and communicate and did not produce any pollution at all.

    I know that many of my fellow Obama supporters view the idea that coal, oil and gas burning can be reduced by expanding uranium fission as a Republican sponsored red herring, but that view is one that ignores history. Some of the biggest fans of Atoms for Peace were liberal (and conservative) Democrats (like Al Gore Sr., John F. Kennedy, and Scoop Jackson) who recognized that expanding power options is a good thing for general prosperity and is something that does not necessarily suit the goals of the existing fuel suppliers. Those atomic energy supporters understood that increased supply generally drives prices down. Lower prices lowers margins and revenues for existing suppliers in a market like energy where total sales volume is price inelastic.

    In the battle over climate legislation, there is a strong voice that generally votes for Democrats that seems to believe that energy should cost more, not less, and that effective, affordable, low pollution sources like nuclear should be ignored – neither encouraged nor discouraged, but definitely not invited to participate in the solution.

    @Lou Grinzo – the Democratic congressman from Rochester that you mention (Eric Massa) is an old friend of mine. We were classmates at the Naval Academy. We were in many of the same classes since we were both English majors at a school where 80% of the students were in engineering or science majors. He is a very smart guy who cares deeply about his constituents and understands health care issues from a very personal level – he is a cancer survivor who recognizes that his military health care benefits protected his family from dire economic consequences.

    He recognizes how damaging it would be to his northern New York constituents to dramatically increase the cost of heating. He is also worried about the effect of the bill on the large manufacturing employers who still maintain production in his district. He knows his constituents cannot afford to absorb any more plant closings.

    He was greatly disturbed on a process level by the 3:00 am delivery of a 300 page amendment. (I know that Eric that reads quite rapidly, but it is pretty difficult for anyone to be ready to vote on a bill in the morning after that kind of amendment delivery schedule.) Finally, as a retired Naval Officer, he has had direct experience in living in a nuclear powered floating city and cannot understand why the 1400 page bill has only passing reference to that emission free power source.

    Rod Adams
    Publisher, Atomic Insights

  50. Gail says:

    “I would be hopelessly depressed except for one thing – I have been given the opportunity to live in a self contained environment where we had all the power we needed to move things, heat things, cool things and communicate and did not produce any pollution at all.”

    Sorry – is this satire? A nuclear sub is a “self-contained environment producing no pollution”?

    Exactly how much pollution was creating in fabricating that submarine? Mining the source of the power and forging all the metal? Where is the spent fuel? Where did the waste from the crew wind up?

    “A nuclear powered floating city”? Did you grow your own food with nuclear power?

    It’s your lack of full accounting for true costs of production and maintenance that makes your position unconvincing. It seems like you and Eric Massa are basing policy on romanticized memories of your salad days aboard a nuclear sub when you took for granted the manufacturing of said sub.

  51. Rod Adams says:

    @Gail – I recognize the importance of full life cycle analysis and acknowledge that I did not include the components that you mention in my brief post. However, I have to push back a bit.

    When was the last time that you challenged a solar or wind power advocate for the same data? Where do 2.5 MWe wind turbine developers get the 400 tons of steel and 600 tons of concrete necessary for their construction? Do people who live in cities where the power comes from wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal produce any less waste than people who live on submarines? (If you happen to know of any example cities that do, please share your knowledge.) Do any cities grow their own food these days?

    With regard to your question about the used fuel from all US nuclear submarines, surface ships, land-based prototypes and aircraft carriers – we know exactly where it all is. There is a facility at the Idaho National Laboratory called the Naval Reactors Facility that has a component called the Expended Core Facility/Dry Storage Facility. It houses the used fuel material left over from more than 50 years of Naval nuclear power operations.

    Here is an interesting quote from the page describing the facility:

    “SNF is measured by the weight of the uranium or plutonium it contains. The total weight of spent nuclear fuel currently maintained at the INL is approximately 285 Metric Tons of Heavy Metal (MTHM ), where a metric ton is 1,000 kilograms—about 630,000 pounds.
    “Heavy Metal” indicates that the weights include only the actual nuclear fuel-not the cladding metal that surrounds the fuel or the metal assemblies in which the fuel rods are contained. The most common heavy metal in SNF is uranium oxide.
    Because of the configuration of the spent fuel, with cladding on the fuel and metal assemblies, the spent fuel at the INL would be enough to fill about two houses (1,300 square feet each) to a depth of eight feet.”

    As an aside – the Navy is not the only source for that used fuel inventory. The stated amount also includes used material from DOE reactors in other states, research reactors that the United States helped support in other countries over the past 25 years, and some used material from commercial nuclear power plants—such as the damaged fuel and core debris from the Three Mile Island Unit.

    The total volume and known location is pretty amazing compared to the fact that we have no idea where the waste products are from oil powered ships. Our remaining oil fired ships burn about 10 million barrels of oil per year. Before she was recently decommissioned, USS Kitty Hawk, the last oil powered aircraft carrier, consumed about 6% of that total – something close to 600,000 barrels (80,000 tons) of oil per year. If the ten nuclear aircraft carriers used oil, they would release something close to 2.7 MILLION tons of CO2 per year.

    Of course, I guess we could power our aircraft carriers with solar, wind or geothermal power. Might be just a bit of an engineering challenge. (Grin)

    Rod Adams
    Publisher, Atomic Insights

  52. Gail says:

    Rod Adams asked me:

    “When was the last time that you challenged a solar or wind power advocate for the same data?”

    If I had seen clean renewable energy advocates claim to create no pollution, waste or adverse environmental effects in their construction or operation, I certainly would question that. But I haven’t.

    In general, you are right. We should insist that every energy industry fully account for all the costs involved.

    It seems to me by any definition that nuclear waste, if it is not recycled but is rather, dumped, (even if you want to call it “housed”), qualifies as pollution.

    I did not say people in cities create less waste – I asked you where the waste on the clean submarine went. Was it treated or just discharged into the ocean?

    There are cities that have urban gardens but of course, they don’t supply much of their food. But then I don’t know of any cities on land that claim to be self-sustaining.

    Personally I would be perfectly happy if all aircraft carriers were simply abolished.

  53. Rod Adams says:

    @Gail – Although we have some fundamental differences, we also have some common ground worth discussing. I would love to live in a world where people did not fight or see the need to waste resources on equipment used for that purpose, but I have not yet found such a world. I do read about it in science fiction and escape there as often as possible.

    I am also a long time student of the English language (my mom was an English teacher and Dad also loved reading) so I take some issue with the following statement:

    “It seems to me by any definition that nuclear waste, if it is not recycled but is rather, dumped, (even if you want to call it “housed”), qualifies as pollution.”

    That is not how’s legal definition of “pollution” would look at carefully stored material.

    The page includes definitions from a number of different sources and perspectives; essentially all of them include the words “discharge” or “release” to the environment. The concept seems to require uncontrolled introduction into a place where the toxin can harm living creatures or cause changes in the surrounding ecology. The household cleaners under my kitchen sink and the teak oil I keep in my garage would be pollution if I poured them out in my yard or into the drains at the curb that lead directly to the Chesapeake Bay. However, if I use them carefully and follow the instructions, I do not consider them to be pollution by definition.

    I also continue to challenge the use of the pejorative word “dump” for the way that we handle used nuclear fuel. It is completely inaccurate, slanted and comes very close to propaganda. It might have been reasonably close to accurate for the way that nuclear waste was handled 40-50 years ago, but it is just wrong when applied to used nuclear fuel today.

    Rod Adams
    Publisher, Atomic Insights

  54. Gail says:

    Hi Rod, I am glad to have this discussion. I do disagree about the definition of pollution as it pertains to nuclear waste, since it persists for such a long time, it is illusory to contend that it will be safely “housed” for the period of time it must be if not to leak into the environment.

    In fact, the household cleaners under your sink, even if used carefully and instructions are followed, still end up polluting the Bay, eventually. Even medication that is excreted ends up going into the Bay, via toilets, and re-emerges in drinking water, to make little boys have lower sperm counts, and frogs have the genitalia of both sexes.

    Just as we agree we must take into account costs up and down the life of creating sources of energy, we should have a full account of the ravages of all forms of pollution, whether it is nuclear waste, bleach, cosmetics, pesticides, fertilizers, or well…the list is endless.

    Eventually, the full accounting will occur one way or the other. Whether it is due to our civilization voluntarily cutting back on such foolishness as military equipment, or we just summarily annihilate one another with weaponry, until there’s no one left, the big aircraft carriers and subs are going to become obsolete.

  55. Rod Adams says:

    @Gail – The persistence of toxicity from used nuclear fuel is not unique. There are many elements and chemicals that have toxic effects on humans and other life forms that do not decay at all – they have an infinite half life.

    I fully recognize that there is no way to abandon used fuel or put it somewhere that will never need monitoring and trained human operation. The same can be said of lead, mercury, chlorine, and arsenic.

    You wrote:

    “In fact, the household cleaners under your sink, even if used carefully and instructions are followed, still end up polluting the Bay, eventually. Even medication that is excreted ends up going into the Bay, via toilets, and re-emerges in drinking water, to make little boys have lower sperm counts, and frogs have the genitalia of both sexes.”

    Does this mean that your personal philosophy would lead to abandoning the beneficial effects of medication? Would you like to make household cleaners illegal?