Post BP Disaster: Support grows for comprehensive energy bill that makes carbon polluters pay

Posted on  

"Post BP Disaster: Support grows for comprehensive energy bill that makes carbon polluters pay"

pic2

As the BP oil disaster drags on, the public’s desire for clean energy investments and increased oversight of corporate polluters has greatly intensified.  CAP’s Daniel J. Weiss and intern Ariel Powell have the important data and charts from a major new poll.

The League of Conservation Voters commissioned a poll by the Benenson Strategy Group, President Obama’s pollster in 2008, to measure public support for clean energy reform in the wake of the BP oil disaster.   The central finding is that the public wants real changes in our energy policies:

In the aftermath of the spill, people firmly believe Congress needs to do more than just make BP pay. They understand America needs more than a band-aid; we need real, comprehensive energy reform.

BSG surveyed 800 people nationwide from May 25 to June 1, and compared the results to a similar poll taken in May.  The poll found growing support – and intensity – to “regulate corporate polluters” instead of simply to “invest in clean energy sources.”

Two thirds of the respondents in June supported more regulation on corporate polluters, up from 65 percent in May, less than a month ago. Similarly, 65 percent of people support increased investment in clean energy sources, up from only 57 percent in May.  The number of those who feel most strongly about additional regulation increased by nearly twenty percent.

pic1

The poll did not pull any punches when asking whether people wanted real reform.  Only 23 percent of those polled agree that,

We need to ensure that BP pays every last dime of the damages they’ve caused, but Senators would be wrong to try to use this tragedy to pass some huge new Washington program and job-killing energy tax.

Two-thirds of the respondents agree that,

BP must pay for the damage they’ve done. But our addiction to oil threatens our security and we need more than a band-aid for that. Senators need to pass real reforms to hold polluters accountable and invest in clean energy.

BSG found overwhelming support for an energy bill that would,

Limit pollution, invest in domestic energy sources and encourage companies to use and develop clean energy. It would do this in part by charging energy companies for carbon pollution in electricity or fuels like gas.

Overall, 63% of those likely to vote in 2010 supported it with only 29 percent opposing it.

  • Democrats: 81 percent support, 14 percent oppose.
  • Independents: 63 percent support, 27 percent oppose.
  • Republicans: 45 percent support, 47 percent oppose.

Not only is there broad support for comprehensive clean energy legislation, voters also want solutions now.  Those polled were more likely to vote against their Senator if she/he voted to delay action than they were if their Senator simply opposed the energy bill.

pic3

This strong support for the energy bill holds up even in the face of strong opposition. After hearing the following messages, 64 percent of likely 2010 voters supported the energy bill while only 25 percent opposed it.

  • Opposition Message: This “Cap and Tax” bill is nothing more than a job-killing energy tax. It puts a huge new tax on gasoline, driving up the price you pay right at the pump, which is the last thing our economy needs right now. This bill will cost middle class families, who are already struggling to get by, $2,000 a year. First, the bailouts, then healthcare“¦now Congress wants another $660 billion of taxpayers’ hard earned money for a wasteful Washington program that would kill jobs across the country.
  • Support Message: Oil companies and lobbyists have fought energy reform for decades to protect their profits. But American can’t afford another $20 billion oil spill catastrophe. And we can’t afford to keep sending a billion dollars a day overseas for foreign oil. It hurts our economy, helps our enemies and puts our security at risk. Congress needs to stand up to the oil companies and special interests funding their campaigns. They need to pass real reform that puts America back in control of its energy situation – with clean energy sources that are made in America and work for America.

The poll also found that a majority of independent voters – by 2.5 to 1 – “would be more likely to re-elect a bill supporter.”

Related Posts:

« »

29 Responses to Post BP Disaster: Support grows for comprehensive energy bill that makes carbon polluters pay

  1. Dan B says:

    Susan;

    Thanks for this post. Now for the details…

    A strongly supportive energy bill ad has been playing on local TV – even in primetime. It calls out the bickering between Democrats and Republicans then scrolls through a series of “clean energy solutions”. The final statement is “Let’s do them all.” It’s an excellent reframing – clean energy vs. partisan bickering that makes it seem as though there’s no partisan disagreement and sweeps “Drill baby, drill!” under the rug.

    I like it.

    What is deeply disturbing are two items on the “do everything” list: Nuclear and Clean Coal.

    Nowhere does it say what I want to hear: Let’s devote the same amount of money to each per kilowatt generated in the next 10 years. There’s also no discussion of weaning fossil fuels, especially imported fuels, off subsidies and tax breaks.

    Therein lies the place to game the system – big bucks for nuclear and “clean coal” would suck the life out of renewable energy projects.

    Details, details… How about leveling the playing field for starters.

  2. llewelly says:

    Off topic, but of possible interest to those interested in how the current Atlantic hurricane season may affect the oil spill.
    In La Nina by July? Dr. Jeff Masters briefly discusses new observations which imply a La Nina may develop by the time hurricane season peaks, and how that might affect hurricane activity. He presents a table of the last 15 Atlantic hurricanes seasons, 5 El Nino, 5 La Nina, and 5 ENSO neutral, and their activity levels. On average, the ENSO neutral years have been the most active, but this is dispassionately (but not entirely) due to the very weird super-active hurricane season of 2005. However – longer views of hurricane history, going back to 1950, show more intense hurricanes in La Nina years than average. Jeff also compares this year to 1998, a year in which 6 tropical storms (one which became a hurricane) occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, and two of those passed directly over the present location of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill..

  3. Lobo says:

    Joe, please also see this op-ed “the climate majority” in the NYT on new poll results re: Americans attitudes toward climate change. Will you put it up on CP? It’s a real debunker and source of hope …

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/09/opinion/09krosnick.html?hp

  4. Craig says:

    The folks in the Obama administration, including the president himself, are either cowards or idiots. Idiots for not using the BP oil spill to galvanize the country into making a hard push for a clean energy future. And idiots for not reading the poll numbers and recognizing that the country is eager for such a push. Or maybe cowards for not wanting to stick their necks out even a little bit for risk that the public’s mood may change.

    Now is the time. There won’t be a moment like this again. The Democrats will possibly lose their majorities in one or both chambers. That means no climate/energy bill for years. We can not wait that long.

    I am an Obama supporter. I voted for him primarily because I thought he recognized the danger of climate change better than any national figure. And I thought he would finally be the leader America needed. If he does not wage a relentless campaign this summer to pass legislation, I will be bitterly disappointed.

  5. Slvrenew says:

    Call for CLEAN ENERGY – YES! But let’s not be naive. Our energy (and planetary) future is too important to leave in the hands of self-serving corporations. BP, Goldman Sachs, Chevron et al, have invested billions in destructive INDUSTRIAL SCALE wind, solar and geothermal that will result in “drilling” of our remote terrestrial ecosystems. Vast areas of the San Luis Valley, CO and Mojave Desert have already been targeted for destruction. If the public was aware of this, we might see a very different preference reflected in the polls but they are not. We need to broaden the scope of the dialogue and consider fundamental energy policy reform that decentralizes (and democratizes) our massive, corporate controlled energy system. If we blindly and angrily call for clean energy – we will get more of the same destructive mining of our ecosystems. We can’t stand by idly and expect the entrenched energy industry (“clean” or otherwise) to do the right thing. For MORE information visit: http://slvrenewablecommunities.blogspot.com/ and http://www.basinandrangewatch.org/Alerts.html

  6. JeandeBegles says:

    The tittle of the article is a bit misleading. Whaou, american people are OK that the carbon polluters have to pay for their pollution!
    Alas, only the business sector has to pay. Only the business sector are the bad guys!
    That we, individual citizen could be carbon polluters, is an impossible idea. An inconvenient truth, as smartly stated by Al Gore.
    When will we get rid of these childish attitudes?: we are not the polluters, the polluters are:
    * the others
    * the oil companies
    * the big business
    *….

  7. prokaryote says:

    AP IMPACT: BP spill response plans severely flawed

    BP PLC’s 582-page regional spill plan for the Gulf, and its 52-page, site-specific plan for the Deepwater Horizon rig are riddled with omissions and glaring errors, according to an Associated Press analysis that details how BP officials have pretty much been making it up as they go along. The lengthy plans approved by the federal government last year before BP drilled its ill-fated well vastly understate the dangers posed by an uncontrolled leak and vastly overstate the company’s preparedness to deal with one.

    “BP Exploration and Production Inc. has the capability to respond, to the maximum extent practicable, to a worst case discharge, or a substantial threat of such a discharge, resulting from the activities proposed in our Exploration Plan,” the oil giant stated in its Deepwater Horizon plan.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100609/ap_on_bi_ge/us_gulf_oil_spill_sketchy_plans

  8. prokaryote says:

    In UK Case, Oil Industry Faces Criminal Charges for 2005 Explosion

    The safety practices of oil companies operating in Britain will be highlighted on Tuesday in the conclusion of a criminal case following the 2005 Buncefield oil storage explosion, in which 40 people were injured and 250,000 litres of petrol spilled less than 30 miles from central London.
    http://solveclimate.com/blog/20100608/uk-case-oil-industry-faces-criminal-charges-2005-explosion

  9. prokaryote says:

    Cleaning the Oil-Drenched Pelicans
    Vegetable oil and diluted dish detergent are used to clean up the birds.
    http://abcnews.go.com/gma/video/gulf-disaster-day-49-bps-cap-slows-oil-10844452&tab=9482931&section=1206825

  10. prokaryote says:

    Oil spill makes it vital to keep morale up in Gulf region

    They say that anything that can distract Gulf Coast residents from the trauma of the oil spill — whether it’s prayer, a party or just venting their anger — may help prevent the long-term mental health consequences that have plagued previous disasters, such as the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

    A 1993 study for the National Institutes of Health showed significant mental health issues in Alaska one year after the Valdez spill. Among 599 area residents, nearly 10% of them showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, the study found.

    The study concluded that the mental health consequences of the spill were “as significant as its impact on the physical environment.”
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-06-08-oil-morale_N.htm

    The best cure is to transform off-shore rigs into wind farms.

  11. Chris Dudley says:

    There is a write up worth reading of a Stanford poll which found 75 per cent of Americans believe humans are responsible for warming: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/09/opinion/09krosnick.html The interpretation of some recent news organization polls showing something different is that those polls had questions about news coverage rather than questions about warming.

    On action here is what they say:

    “Fully 86 percent of our respondents said they wanted the federal government to limit the amount of air pollution that businesses emit, and 76 percent favored government limiting business’s emissions of greenhouse gases in particular. Not a majority of 55 or 60 percent — but 76 percent.

    Large majorities opposed taxes on electricity (78 percent) and gasoline (72 percent) to reduce consumption. But 84 percent favored the federal government offering tax breaks to encourage utilities to make more electricity from water, wind and solar power.

    And huge majorities favored government requiring, or offering tax breaks to encourage, each of the following: manufacturing cars that use less gasoline (81 percent); manufacturing appliances that use less electricity (80 percent); and building homes and office buildings that require less energy to heat and cool (80 percent).

    Thus, there is plenty of agreement about what people do and do not want government to do.”

    It is interesting to me that the tax break thing indicates that people don’t know much about the tax burden. There are local impact fees sometimes on building and there are sales taxes on materials and income taxes for labor and perhaps a corporate tax on those who don’t know how to depreciate equipment but it would be very hard to target a tax break to energy efficient building. Targeting building codes would work though. The complexity of the tax system probably keeps us from understanding its limitations.

    As a pocketbook issue, rationing gasoline to the point were the price falls below a dollar a gallon and people who use less than their ration get paid for their surplus* ought to find support if implemented in a transparent manner as laid out in our congressionally approved standby gasoline rationing plan. The President only has to say go.

    The price for gasoline can be quite low while to price for extra rations can be high. Those who profess a deep love for price signals such as the President can have their cake while also eliminating the profits of oil exporting countries.

    Finally, it seems to me that a tax on electricity was never an issue, just on coal and gas fired generation. This is a case where these pollsters got the question wrong. It seems to me also that closing mines with poor safety records would be a good first step in limiting coal use. This would also be an opportunity to replace coal mining jobs with silicon refining jobs since whole labor forces would be available in a specific areas.

  12. mike roddy says:

    This is a very revealing poll, and should come as a surprise to Democratic Congressmen, who tend to parse their support for clean energy by throwing bones to nuclear, natural gas, and so on. It should come us a suprise to many of us here on Climate Progress, too, who bit on the conventional wisdom that a gas tax would result in a revolution from the Ford 150 driving, gun toting majority.

    It turns out that the American people are way ahead of our politicians.

    First, let’s just write off places like Texas and Wyoming. They’re not going to change. A bigger problem is the timidity of Democrats in failing to use this as a key campaign issue. The oil companies have intimidated them, along with the media, but the public gets it.

    Obama is in a difficult position, because he trusted BP way too long (thanks again for your posts above, Prokaryote). Besides pivoting toward clean energy, the president needs to express the fact that oil and coal companies at this stage in our history have exhibited a pattern of acting against the national interest. Charges include air and global warming pollution, dangerous practices, dishonesty, and bribery.

    The Democrats seem to believe that they need coal and oil company money for their campaigns too, or don’t want to risk their wrath. Apparently they didn’t notice that one thing we have learned from Blankenship and Hayward is that the opposition is incredibly weak, intellectually and spiritually. Congressmen tend to be so greedy themselves that they have been impressed by the fit and finish of all of those lobbyists and oil company executives.

    They’re easy pickings, Democrats. Get a little backbone for once in your lives.

  13. JK says:

    @#5 JeandeBegles: “Alas, only the business sector has to pay. Only the business sector are the bad guys!
    That we, individual citizen could be carbon polluters, is an impossible idea.”

    I don’t agree. It isn’t the idea that’s impossible for us. The deniers who happen to be Americans deny that carbon emissions are pollution whether the emitters are individuals or businesses, but the Americans who acknowledge that excessive carbon emissions are pollution have no trouble admitting that individuals are carbon polluters. Depending on how new laws and regulations are structured (and assuming they’re structured in ways favored to maximize the reduction of carbon emissions), businesses will (a) become more efficient to avoid costs; (b) pass to consumers legitimate costs of reducing emissions; or (c) do both a and b. Americans know this, and the poll numbers show a willingness to begin shouldering the costs that will be passed to consumers. [And, of course, it's not just carbon pollution we need to pay for--it's the costs for all ecosystem services and externalities (e.g., other pollution and environmental destruction).] The problems: Our politicians will pander to the big corporate polluters, the deniers, and the right-wing constituents who don’t want governmental regulation or any threat of increased cost to them. And there’s also the question, when push comes to shove, of how much cost we the acknowledgers will take on in the short run and the sacrifices and changes we will make now. We all would be more motivated if fossil fuels were priced at their true cost. What’s the current estimate for the true cost of a gallon of gasoline?

    Incidentally, I recently sent letters supporting the energy bill to my two senators, who are Republicans. I received this response from one of them:

    “Dear Friend:

    Thank you for contacting me regarding cap-and-trade legislation. I welcome your thoughts and comments.

    I strongly oppose the cap-and-trade legislation being considered in the 111th Congress. In our effort to reduce emissions, I believe we must invest in alternative sources of energy. Wind, solar, nuclear, and biomass are clean, safe and effective sources of power. Their increased use would create thousands of jobs and allow us to produce energy for Americans, by Americans.

    Some Members of Congress have expressed their intent to mandate a cap-and-trade policy to be imposed on all Americans. I believe that cap-and-trade would increase energy prices. In 2008, Peter Orszag, who then served as the Director of the Congressional Budget Office, and who now serves as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, testified before the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Finance about the implications of a cap-and-trade regime. In his testimony, Director Orszag stated, ‘Under a cap-and-trade program, firms would not ultimately bear most of the costs of the allowances, but instead would pass them along to their customers in the form of higher prices.’

    For this reason, I believe that a cap-and-trade approach to address climate change would be onerous and would adversely impact the economy. It could create added economic hardship for farmers, ranchers, workers and small businesses, in addition to consumers. The last thing our nation needs during this time of economic hardship is higher energy prices and higher levels of unemployment due to a federal mandate passed down from Washington.

    As your Senator, I will continue to fight against this misguided legislation. As I continue to stand against cap and trade, I will keep your comments in mind. I appreciate hearing from you, and I hope you will not hesitate to contact me on any issue that is important to you.

    Sincerely,
    Kay Bailey Hutchison
    United States Senator”

  14. Mike #22 says:

    As the poll shows, the public understands these issues well when the questions and topics are kept simple. There is a clear majority for clean energy and against CO2 pollution.

    But the public can’t understand the current legislation because it is too lengthy, and the politicians distance themselves from 1000 pages long bills precisely because they can’t sell them to a public that won’t take the time to read them. I’ve read parts of the bills and can see why a detailed approach to cap, trade, invest, and rebate is more predictably fair than simpler mechanisms; I can also see that these 1000 page bills are grist for the right wing noise mill.

    The politicians need to craft legislation that the public can read and can understand. Make it as simple as possible. There are two important elements. One is to send a clear carbon signal to the economy. The other is to jump start clean energy and efficiency. I don’t think a simple tax would accomplish the jump start. Consumer habits will not create the fast transformation needed in transportation and electricity–only government scale programs can do this.

    Simple legislation. Simple framing: clean energy versus spill, American Power versus BP. Repeat the message a hundred times.

  15. prokaryote says:

    The cost are high in the first phase of installing the new technologies.
    Once the infrastructure is constructed and mass scale production of electric vehicles approach the cost will drop. It is always cheaper if you develop big quantities. In the long run you earn money because the technology itself is more reliable – efficient.

    If you look at the countries who switch to clean energy or which introduced a carbon tax, like sweden or denmark you can clearly see that it turns out profitable. Both countries rank in the top 5 of the most competitive economies today.

  16. prokaryote says:

    AP Exclusive: Scuba Diving in the Gulf Oil Spill
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGX7krQYI_4&feature=player_embedded

  17. catman306 says:

    Kevin Drum writes R.I.P. Climate Bill:

    “Today probably marks the official death of climate legislation in the United States. Lindsey Graham, the only Republican even nominally favorable toward any kind of carbon pricing plan, has announced that he can’t support the Kerry-Lieberman bill because it doesn’t allow enough offshore drilling (!), and without Graham there’s pretty much zero chance of getting any further Republican support. So the odds of passing climate legislation, already slim, have now dropped to zero. The only option left is a pure energy bill, something that accomplishes very little, and accomplishes that little solely by offering up subsidies to every special interest you can imagine.”

    I sure hope he is wrong.
    ‘When life hands you lemons (the Gulf Gusher), turn it into lemonade (a meaningful climate/energy bill)’

    http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2010/06/rip-climate-legislation

  18. prokaryote says:

    BP shares tumble as U.S. probes oil spill

    British energy giant BP Plc’s (BP.L) (BP.N) stock price tumbled on Wednesday as it faced more U.S. government and congressional scrutiny over its handling of the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

    U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told a congressional hearing that BP’s latest effort to try to contain the oil gushing from its deep-sea well may have increased the flow of crude 4 to 5 percent above what it was before.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN0810510120100609
    The oil spill, which began on April 20, is causing an ecological and economic disaster along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

  19. glen says:

    Ref: posts 3, 11, 14

    The pdf(download link) “Measuring Americans’ Issue Priorities: A New Version of the Most Important Problem Question Reveals More Concern About Global Warming and the Environment”: http://woods.stanford.edu/docs/surveys/Krosnick-May2010-Measuring-Americans-Issue-Priorities.pdf

  20. Wonder why BP needs collection capacity of 28,000 barrels/day for 5,000 bpd oil flow, or 12,000, or 19,000 bpd: http://bit.ly/BP28k

  21. Raul says:

    I’m glad to hear that beyond gulf pollution was and is completely
    prepared to move beyond any situation, unfortunately, those of the US left behind when they went to prove to themselves that theirs is of
    the better way were left to find that we are not prepared to clean up
    and they (beyond gulf pollution didn’t really leave that much high
    tech equipment to use.
    Why, it seems, that to move beyond pollution, they prepared by buying
    huge pleasure boats and many of such said pleasure boats as a corporation.

  22. Raul says:

    Maybe beyond pollution will bring some of their corporate pleasure
    boats to help the locals move beyond pollution for a little bit as
    well to help relieve active stress syndrome.

  23. Chris Dudley says:

    Ken Salazar seems like a very poor manager and he should probably resign as Secretary of the Interior. Just yesterday he approved new drilling in the Gulf in water less deep than 500 feet. He is making the President a liar. Either, as the President says, all available resources are being devoted to the current oil spill, or Mr Salazar is holding oil spill response resources in reserve to deal with a new spill from new drilling. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/09/us/09latest.html Either the President lies when he says all resources are being directed to the current spill or he lies when he says drilling must have safeguards (such as an adequate spill response).

    There can be no new drilling until the President gets some rest. And he won’t get any rest until this spill is cleaned up which will take at least into the Fall. Let Salazar rest instead and stop making things more difficult for the President.

    No Cabinet Official should ever put a President in that kind of position. Nothing destroys a Presidency faster. Salazar should resign now.

  24. prokaryote says:

    Feds give BP deadline on contingency plans for oil collection

    Top Senate Democrats have called for a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s corporate liability laws in the wake of the Gulf disaster, arguing that companies have little incentive to make safety and environmental concerns a top priority.

    Specifically, the senators blasted a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that cut the amount of punitive damages a jury awarded to victims of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill by $2 billion.

    Also during Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, they criticized the 1990 Oil Pollution Act, which would potentially limit BP’s liability for economic damages incurred by the Gulf spill to $75 million. Critics note the amount is a small fraction of the cost a major oil spill such as the Gulf disaster will inflict on communities.

    The latest estimates have put the rate at a minimum of between 12,000 and 25,000 barrels a day (500,000 to 1 million gallons), but scientists on the government’s Flow Rate Technical Group have complained about the quality of video provided by BP to determine those numbers and have said the rate could be significantly higher.

    BP’s own worst-case scenario puts the high-end estimate at 250,000 barrels (10.5 million gallons) a day.
    http://edition.cnn.com/2010/US/06/09/gulf.oil.spill/index.html

  25. fj2 says:

    Central to the northeast United States which is the world’s third largest economy, it is long overdue that New York City’s Bloomberg administration proceeds with relentless advocacy and implementation of “The City-State Model” adapting to and mitigating the accelerating environmental catastrophe with tens of millions of people at a time. A million people planting three trees a day plant a billion trees in a year’s time! Cities converted to hybrid human-electric transport and transit are well on the way to producing the equivalent of billions of gallons of petroleum emission free without increased energy production.

    In techno-speak, this feeds off the concept of this planet strategically populated by the human equivalent of extremely powerful multi-core computer processors ready and waiting for crucial instructions to broadly deploy highly disruptive positive change tapping directly into extraordinary natural capital in the form of human capital deeply entrenched in the engines of human civilization.

    First and foremost is extensive implementation of bicycle systems as never before — even more than in China except perhaps in numbers with 430 million cyclists and 120 million using electric bikes — and much more advanced quick-build, highly modular, hybrid human-electric, lighter-than-human-weight transport and transit in partnership with this country’s industrial powerhouses such as IBM and Caterpillar required for extensive vehicle and infrastructure builds.

    One natural and ongoing concern is that mass migration to this much better form of extremely low-cost human mobility will devastate the United States and global economies. This may only be a distant possibility as an extraordinary unprecedented amount of work will have to be done even more extensive than what was achieved during World War II which wiped out the long lingering effects of the 1929 economic crash and depression, increased life expectancy by an unprecedented seven years, and created zero unemployment. As successes progress resources will be freed up to advance other extremely pressing actions addressing accelerating environmental devastation.

    The so-called common wisdom is absolutely incorrect that economic growth is tied to more driving; just more waste.

    “For reference see “Debunking the Myth That Economic Growth is Tied to More Driving” (City Fix)

    http://thecityfix.com/are-vmt-and-gdp-really-correlated/

    It should be very obvious that ongoing national business models supporting heavy industry-related transportation systems based on cars is a huge waste of valuable resources, do not make good economic sense and encourage economic instability being completely outmoded, self-destructive, and something developing countries including China and India must learn in order to immediately start scale-appropriate mitigation of rapidly accelerating environmental devastation.

    It will also give the developing world added economic leverage — and moral authority — over the less-responsive affluent developed world unwilling or unable to reduce extremely dangerous, wasteful, and self-destructive practices.

    Cities are built to solve the transportation problem by bringing everything close together. They are also built to very efficiently take full advantage of the enormous wealth provided by human capital with concentrated hyper-mobile face-to-face populations requiring tremendous resources of food, housing, education, libraries, the arts, religion, sciences, etc., etc. with increased capability to convert these necessities and agencies to net-zero and or near net-zero emissions and energy status.

  26. Craig says:

    The NY times article several of you linked is amazing. The Stanford study essentially found that overwhelming majorities of Americans accept that humans are warming the climate and want the government to enact regulations. Other polls came up with similar findings.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/09/opinion/09krosnick.html?hp

    The politicians, especially many Democrats, are making a huge mistake by not leading on this issue.

  27. Raul says:

    Is it true that converting to a more sustainable practice has elements
    of the one doing the converting to better has been wrong somewhat?
    It would seem that some would take advantage of such so that they
    would have even more company being as they are.
    Would seem that it is a tradition of some religions that conversion
    to a better way has forgiveness to those tardy of conversion.
    But as in all sins, great sins toward the future of all carries
    great concern for all.
    It would be proper for the church that condolences the wealthy,
    to look at how the actions of today will carry into the future.
    My condolences and apologies to the gulf of pollution for that is
    way to hard a way that the gulf has before it.

  28. prokaryote says:

    Poll: Many fault federal regulators for Gulf of Mexico oil disaster

    Just a quarter of Americans back expanding offshore drilling in the wake of the BP oil spill, and most fault federal regulators for the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/09/AR2010060903547.html

  29. JeandeBegles says:

    At JK (comment 13).
    Thank you for answering. I think we completly agree on the basics (the need to put on a price on the externalities that are destroying our environment).
    Your republican senator hasn’t got it at all: he refuses cap and trade because of higher energy prices. I agree that higher energy prices are not an easy proposal for politicians. (that is why we support the Hansen proposal of a carbon tax with equal redistribution to the public, this is a fair and simple principle: every one has the same rights and the same duties, and with this principle, the poor is protected and the rich will pay for his unsustainable way of living).
    We have to get rid of easy politicians and choose courageous ones like Churchill, roosevelt, De Gaulle, Mandela and so on.