A Conversation with Eric Pooley about The Climate War

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"A Conversation with Eric Pooley about The Climate War"

Eric Pooley has written a spell-binding political thriller about who killed the climate bill and how they did it. It’s called THE CLIMATE WAR. Journalist Francesca Rheannon interviewed him for the radio show, Writers Voice. Pooley largely blames the fossil fuel lobby and its PR men for the failure to get a climate bill through the Congress. But in this excerpt from the full interview, he also points the finger at the White House.

Eric Pooley: When I started this book, I thought I was going to be writing a story with a happy ending. It would be the story of how we finally took the first step. But a funny thing happened on the way to the presidential signing ceremony: we didn’t take that first step. We managed to pass a bill in the House of Representatives and then the Senate and the President decided that they weren’t willing to fight it. They didn’t want to go to the mat for this bill in 2009 or 2010. And the Senate pulled the plug on the latest attempt to get something done. The President did not make so much as a peep about it. And they’re also claiming that they’re going to be doing it someday, but they keep kicking the can down the road, and at this point it’s a very old can, very battered from many kicks and a very long road and we’re not making a lot of progress.

Francesca Rheannon: Why does the fossil fuel lobby have so much greater power than all the other US businesses that stand to gain from it or stand to lose from catastrophic climate change?

EP: That’s a great question and the happy thing that’s happened in the last couple of years is there’ve been a lot very big profitable, powerful companies that have stepped forward and said, we have to do this: it’s time we put a cap on carbon and it’s time to accelerate the transition to clean energy and I’m talking to companies like General Electric, Dupont, Alcoa, and that has broken the de facto veto that big business has held over climate legislation for a decade.

However, it wasn’t enough to get the job done. The fossil fuel companies are intensely powerful and the manufacturers are very powerful and the US Chamber of Commerce and all of the companies represented there are powerful and they are still blocking the way forward.

Let’s break it down. Inside the electric utility industry, which is the sharp tip of the spear here — because that’s probably where we’ll begin the regulatory push — there are companies who have already de-carbonized. They are already getting a lot of their power from hydro, from nuclear, and beginning to get a lot more of it from solar and wind. They are saying, “Yes, let’s cap carbon, let’s accelerate.” Then there are utilities that are getting their energy still from coal and natural gas and they’re saying, “No, let’s not do this”.

It’s the coal-based utilities that have been dragging their heels and preventing change in tandem with the oil companies and the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, two big powerful industry lobbies that have been opposed to doing this. They have a lot of money to spend; they have a lot of clout on Capitol Hill. And there are about a dozen senators either from states that get a lot of their electricity from coal or states that produce coal, who have been blocking the way forward. The politics inside the Senate as you know, you need 60 votes to do anything so even if we have a slight majority, 50 or 52 people, in the Senate that are willing to vote for this, that’s not enough. We need to get to 60 to get it done. And so far we have not been able to do that.

Now why haven’t we been able to? I believe the most important reason is that the President of the United States has not gotten in there and fought for a bill. Obama has done a lot on climate, especially in the Department of Energy. It’s spent billions of dollars to accelerate electric vehicle production, battery factories in the US. There are seven new electric vehicle battery factories up and running or under construction in the state of Michigan alone. So that’s one of the things Obama has done. He’s also put through new fuel efficiency standards, and reduced emissions from car tail pipes. And he’s moved the EPA towards stationary regulation of factories and power plants that’s supposed to kick in next year — although that’s going to be another big battle.

So don’t get me wrong. The President has done a lot.  He’s done more than any president in history. Where he has fallen down, has been on the single most important thing: putting a price on carbon through a cap. And there he has talked a good game but the truth is, he has not stepped up. He has not put his considerable power behind this specific piece of legislation.

He has not led on three levels: the level of a sustained deep communication to the American people explaining why we need to do this; why we need to transition to clean energy and how we’re going to get it done; why a carbon cap is so important — he hasn’t really made that case — he’s made it intermittently, usually on a Tuesday afternoon in a visit to a solar factory that doesn’t get a lot of attention. When he did his Oval Office speech to the nation after the BP oil spill, he missed an enormous opportunity to tell people what we need to do and why. So that was a bitter disappointment to the heroic people who have been campaigning for climate legislation at the federal level.

So, communication is one place where Obama has not stepped up. Another is policy, getting deeply engaged with the Senate on a particular piece of policy. The third is good old-fashioned politicking and bending some arms to try to get those votes. You know, when we passed the bill in the House a year ago, Nancy Pelosi and Henry Waxman brought the bill to the House floor without having the votes in place and they forced the President’s hand. And for a week or ten days, Obama whipped that vote. He really worked hard and they won.

Now the President and his political advisors have been saying, “Well, we don’t have the votes in the Senate, so we’re not going to take it to the floor.” Well, we didn’t have them in the House, either and we got there because we went for it. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you say you don’t have the votes, you’re not going to have the votes.

And look, I know the Senate is harder than the House. It’s very difficult to get there. It’s not something you can do in a week or even a month. It takes sustained effort from the President and so far he’s not been willing to do it.

FR: Why didn’t Obama do this?

EP: Well, Obama gets the climate threat and he wants to do it. He thinks that the time is wrong politically and I don’t have to tell anybody what a tough time it’s been for the American economy and how many folks are out of work and how hard it is to talk about anything that would impose further short term costs on the American people. These costs, let’s be clear, are very low and for the vast majority of people they would be hard to even notice.

According to the EPA and the Congressional Budget Office and all of the best academic studies, we’re talking about maybe $70 to $140 dollars a year in additional costs to a middle income household by 2030. Now that’s not a lot of money. What’s more, the low-income people would be completely shielded from these costs because there are really smart people creating mechanisms to make sure that there’s a cushion for any low income American. In fact, they would come out ahead from these bills because they’d be given rebates that would make sure that they don’t incur any additional cost. So these are scare tactics.

But they are scare tactics that the Administration apparently thinks are so effective that they’re not willing to take them on. And it’s a shame, because we know that the high growth path into the future, the long term upside is so great from getting on this clean energy trail that we really have no reason not to do it.

We’re already losing and may even already have lost the clean energy race to China. There is more investment, private investment going into clean energy in China than going into the US and Europe combined. And China is spending nine billion dollars a month on clean energy technology and it plans to spend hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.

If we want to keep up with the Chinese, we need a market. We need a price on carbon. The President gets this. His economic advisors have talked about a scissors approach to economic recovery. A scissors has two blades. The first blade was the stimulus package. And there was about sixty or seventy billion dollars that went into clean energy in the stimulus package. The second blade of the scissors would be the cap and that would bring a lot of private investment off the sidelines. But we haven’t done the cap yet, so our scissors is missing a blade.

Hear the full interview 40-minute interview on Writers Voice with Francesca Rheannon, a nationally syndicated weekly radio show and podcast. Pooley talks about The Big Lie of the climate change denialists, makes the case for cap and trade, and says why the effort to get a climate law needs both political insiders like EDF and NRDC and outsiders like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth to succeed.

– Guest blogger Francesca Rheannon writes for CSRwire.com and Green Right Now.

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28 Responses to A Conversation with Eric Pooley about The Climate War

  1. Not in this economy. And since the Great Recession is expected to last for years and years, not for a long time.
    By then it may be too late.
    http://growthisnotsustainable.blogspot.com/2010/08/whos-in-charge.html

  2. Chris Winter says:

    The Climate War is a must-read book.

    OT: One of Francesca Rheannon’s two other links, Green Right Now, presents
    “Nine great environmental movies you may not know, but should see”
    by Brett Kessler, Green right Now, August 13th, 2010

    http://www.greenrightnow.com/wabc/2010/08/13/nine-great-environmental-movies-you-may-not-know-but-should-see/

    The movies are:

    1. Koyaanisqatsi (pronounced KOY-ah-nis-KAHT-see) — 1982
    2. Manufactured Landscapes — 2006
    3. The Love Life of the Octopus and 22 other films by Jean Painlevé
    4. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind — 1984
    5. Never Cry Wolf — 1983
    6. The Man Who Planted Trees — 1988
    7. Microcosmos — 1996
    8. The Gleaners and I — 2000
    9. Baraka — the 1980s

  3. Jeff Huggins says:

    After reading only the introduction to this post — and not the post itself — I can’t stop myself from saying something:

    If it’s true that “the fossil fuel lobby and its PR men” are largely responsible for the present failure to pass effective climate and energy legislation, then those folks and the industry that hires them are committing crimes against humankind and should, as soon as possible, start to be held fully accountable. Especially the leaders, i.e., the CEOs, the Boards, and etc.

    Relevant organizations and law firms should be building the strong case and, when ready, bringing strong charges and filing huge suits. At the same time, and necessarily, the public should begin boycotting the leading companies that are most responsible. Yes, yes, I know: We can’t boycott ALL of them until we have more options so we can get ourselves off hydrocarbon fuels and onto clean sources. But, we CAN (and should) boycott the most egregious foulers of the atmosphere, confusers of the public, and self-interested influencers of the politicians.

    I’m not joking. I was a chemical engineer from Berkeley and worked in the oil industry for several years, long ago. I had offers from Exxon, Shell, and Chevron, and worked for the latter. I have an understanding of science and of business (Harvard, McKinsey, etc.). At this point, I think that society should start holding the oil company leaders — and Boards — accountable, in no uncertain terms. (Sorry to those of you who have heard all that before.)

    I’m also sorry I didn’t read the whole post, and I’ve heard great things about the book. But, I couldn’t make it past the well-written introductory paragraph of the post itself.

    Yet, at this point, I don’t think we need more books: I think we need people to bring charges, file lawsuits, name names, launch major boycotts, help activate young people (whose future climate is at stake), and so forth. We should have started those things five or eight years ago. We’re already WAY behind schedule, and millions of people, as well as other species, will suffer because of all this slowness.

    Be Well,

    Jeff

  4. David Smith says:

    Jeff @ # 3; Here, here. two thoughts about action;

    1) There are 2 ways to affect corporate cash flow; one is boycotting product the other is to convince stockholders to divest stock. I’m not certain as to how the second would be acomplished but it’s worth some thought. It may be easier than boycotting 10,000 products.

    2) We need lots of people to give personal public testamony as to why they feel it is neccesary to tack steps to counter AGW now. I am speaking of regular people who do not have financial interest, Not company owners, not politicians. I mean thoughtful personal comments, written letters to the press and legislators, Talk to your church communities. Showing up at ralies and signatures on petitions and canned email letters are something different. Deep personal testiments are what is needed. Lots of them. Why you feel the way you do, what you are willing to do, what your not willing to do. Get real. I may be wrong, but this is place where the opposition can’t actually compete.

    I get the impression that alot of regular commenters to CP are bloggers themselves. They could express why they do what they do and what’s important to them. personal.

    Being right isn’t really getting the job done.

    Great book, read it cover to cover.

  5. max says:

    Apportioning blame is not very helpful for moving forward. Obama has done more than any other President in history in one sentence and he is to blame in the next sentence. Please.

  6. mike roddy says:

    Jeff, you’re right. Boycotts are the only strategy left- public protest is cursorily covered by MSM these days.

    About 10 years ago Rainforest Action Network organized a 50 person lie-in on Wilshire Boulevard in front of Occidental Petroleum HQ, stopping traffic at the busiest intersection in West Los Angeles for an hour. The protestors were carted off to jail.

    Media reaction? Zip. No coverage in either the Los Angeles Times or the evening news. It’s time to hit the oil companies where it hurts, in their pocketbooks.

    We also eventually will have to boycott products made from coal power in this country. There is not going to be any choice.

    As for Obama, his head may get climate change, but his heart obviously isn’t in it. The only explanation is that he’s looking to pass something during the lame duck period of Congress- but his lack of commitment so far will hurt him then, too. Congress is so obviously bought and paid for that it’s hard to imagine a scenario where they do the right thing- and I don’t see it as fighting for constituents. Republicans from the Dakotas and Kansas, for example, would benefit their constituencies by enabling wind power, a big money and job producer. Instead, they click their heels to Boehner and McConnell.

  7. Sasparilla says:

    A good piece, extremely disheartening.

    “Well, Obama gets the climate threat and he wants to do it. He thinks that the time is wrong politically…”

    This is probably the most depressing section of this article (for me), as we look towards more Republicans coming back into the Senate and House this fall…the political climate is only going to get worse from here on out. Its seems obvious the President has thought this since he came into office (since the House leadership had to push him to lobby to get the climate/energy bill through). Compared to what the President says, his actions indicate he doesn’t get it on climate change (or he doesn’t care) and the can is getting kicked down the road again till the next time all the stars line up (Dem President and Dem supermajorities in both Houses) – this is going to be a long time (and we didn’t have any time left). Has action on this issue been a mirage for this Administration from the start?

    Everything that has happened over these last 2 years is now causing me to question whether we have reasonable expectations of what this administration is going to let the EPA do with regards to regulating CO2 emissions.

    It seems most people in these forums (myself included previously) are expecting the Administration to let the EPA put the hammer down on major CO2 emitters (Coal Power Plants etc.) via regulation…but based on the actions of this administration over the last 2 years and the fact that this whole fight (CO2 emission reductions) that this administration cowers from is the same one with regards to EPA regulation (with Republicans being able to throw many of the same stones from the clean energy bill and new ones) and the fact that they seem so friendly with the fossil fuel industries – I’m scaling back my expectations of what the President lets EPA regulation do regarding CO2 emissions, I think we’ll be lucky if we get anything serious (with real consequences in the next few years) from the EPA. I hope I’m wrong.

    On this issue, the Democrats have put some money into green technologies (not actively trying to kill them like their predecessors), but in the end they have driven us to the same dead end (no climate bill and didn’t even try to pass it) that the Republicans strive for. Ever since the Dems starting actively courting big business campaign donations back in the late 70’s, they keep talking like they’re different from the Republicans (they are on social issues), but on many issues important to business (offshoring/destroying our manufacturing sector, destroying regulation of the financial industry, climate change legislation and on and on) they seem no better than the Republicans, same destination, just a different route there with lip service. Just my $0.02.

  8. Dana says:

    That was a pretty excellent summary, particularly of the good things President Obama has done and where he’s fallen short.

  9. Donald Brown says:

    Great book, it does not mention the failure of ethical leadership on climate change, that is, we as a nation urgently need someone to argue against the unceasing arguments in opposition to US climate change policies based upon cost to the US alone, that the United States has duties, responsibilities, and obligations to others and given that the world is waiting, particularly since we have delayed for 30 years while the problem has become beyond urgent, we must act as a grave moral duty. As long as climate change is discussed in terms of US interest alone, we will never get done what we needs to. See previous post here on : Are ethical arguments weaker than self-interest arguments.

    There is also building around the world a claim that the US behavior on climate change amounts to belligerent aggression, this should worry us, but a claim that has some substance in light of the thirty year delay nakedly justified on the basis of US interests.

    Donald A Brown, Associate Professor, Environmental Ethics, Science, and Law, Penn State University

  10. homunq says:

    As always with such strategy analyses (either backward- or forward- looking), I think it’s immensely counterproductive to take the filibuster as a given. How can you say “if we only needed 51 votes, we’d have already won”, and not in the next breath say, “so we should be trying to make it so the 60-vote threshold is not routine and insurmountable”?

    There is some possibility – say, at least one in a thousand – that global warming could kill billions; that alone makes this issue at least as important as any other. With filibuster reform, we can win this. Without filibuster reform, we cannot. Filibuster reform is possible. There is no good reason to oppose filibuster reform. I haven’t heard anyone denying any of those first four points; and if it comes down to the fifth point, the conclusion is inescapable that it’s at least worthy of serious consideration and debate.

    So what are the objections?

    Some say that the democrats, if they had the spine, could use the current rules to force Hollywood-style marathon filibusters and thus eventually pass important bills. Having looked into the current rules, I don’t think that’s true, but more importantly, it’s beside the point. 51 democrats could either try to twist the current rules to mean something totally different from how they’ve been used for the past 40 years, trying to force compliance from a variety of clever opposing forces inside and outside their own party; or they could change the rules to make matters clear. There’s no question which option is more likely to succeed, both as a short- and long-term fix.

    Some say that the filibuster is important to protect minority rights. They can’t point to a single historical example when it’s been used like this, unless the rich or other establishment elites count as a minority; but again, this is irrelevant. If filibuster reform is possible for a democratic majority now, it’s possible for any future majority; and since the system is so clearly broken, with literally hundreds of house bills, many of them relatively uncontroversial, that the Senate never has time for, it’s just a matter of time before reform happens. So the only question is, do we benefit now, or leave the benefit for some unknown future majority?

    Some say that the filibuster is a time-honored tradition which should not be lightly cast aside. This is the most laughable objection of all. The graph of how often the minority forces cloture calls to obstruct and delay has that familiar, hockey-stick shape. And the founders would be appalled: Alexander Hamilton’s feelings on the matter, from Federalist 22, are below.

    To me, the anti-filibuster reform crowd seems very reminiscent of climate denialists, albeit mostly the naive kind, not the malicious kind. There’s a strong chain of logic which leads to an urgent need for specific action; but instead of breaking that chain, they merely muddy the waters with vague doubts about its every link, moving hastily to another argument whenever you confront them with the facts.

    And people who clearly understand that a 50-vote threshold would make all the difference in the world (almost literally) yet do not join the call for action… well, I just don’t understand it.

    Sorry, maybe I get a little too worked up about this, but as you can see I feel it’s vitally important that US climate activists unite in understanding how crucial this issue is.

    Hamilton: “To give a minority a negative upon the majority…, is … to subject the sense of the greater number to that of the lesser… to embarrass the administration, to destroy the energy of the government, and to substitute the pleasure, caprice, or artifices of an insignificant, turbulent, or corrupt junto, to the regular deliberations and decisions of a respectable majority…. Commonly… the public business must, in some way or other, go forward. If a pertinacious minority can control the opinion of a majority, …[the results are] tedious delays; continual negotiation and intrigue; contemptible compromises of the public good. And yet, in such a system, it is even happy when such compromises can take place: for upon some occasions things will not admit of accommodation; and then the measures of government must be injuriously suspended, or fatally defeated….. Its situation must always savor of weakness, sometimes border upon anarchy.”

  11. homunq says:

    If you agree with me about the filibuster, join the movement.

  12. John Howley says:

    We can’t blame the fossil fuel guys for defending themselves. It’s the old political science equation: the small minority of losers are more intensely motivated than the majority of people who cannot see how they will benefit from capping carbon. If the majority could be motivated to contribute small amounts of money, then they would overwhelm the fossil fuel guys easily. People will eventually figure it out, but it may be too late. How do we accelerate the education and mobilization process?

    To some extent, spending too much time on the Washington-focused policy debate is to blame. As Pooley shows, Washington is the most favorable battleground for the fossil fuel guys. Also, “cap and trade” and “carbon tax” — it’s all pretty gauzy. The politicians like it vague.

    What matters is what infrastructure gets built. Do we build new coal mines? New coal-fired plants? New oil pipelines? Or not. Do we continue to build houses and office that are not net-zero-energy?

  13. catman306 says:

    homuq, thanks, I already have.

    At least if the filibuster is fixed (from 60 to 50 senators), then the Democrats won’t have the excuse of ‘obstructionism’. But they probably need that excuse (because they are party to that obstructionism), so I don’t expect them to really make the change. The Status Quo always wins, even if it kills them and the rest of us,too.

  14. homunq says:

    Catman306: Don’t be too pessimistic. I doubt the filibuster will be abolished outright, as I think it should be; but the chances for some reform are good, hopefully one that’s substantial enough. Here’s Senator Tom Udall, speaking of his pledge to force a debate on rules change next January:

    “So first thing, at the beginning of the next Congress, I will move for the Senate to adopt its rules by a simple majority. This is the Constitutional Option….

    If the Senate adopts its rules at the beginning of each Congress by a simple majority, as provided by the Constitution, we can have an institution where each and every senator is held accountable.

    It’s simple. We adopt the rules, we play by the rules and if you abuse the rules, we can fix the rules. It’s what the House does. It’s what nearly every legislature in the world does. And it’s what the U.S. Senate should do to make sure we’re accountable to the American people.”

  15. mike roddy says:

    Donald Brown, #9, excellent. Americans have no idea of the bitterness we have caused in places like Pakistan, The Salel, and even India. This will haunt us before long in all kinds of ways if we don’t get moving.

  16. Steven Leibo says:

    First let me say, we absolutely do need more books if they are as good as Climate Wars. We need them because those of us who actively write and speak on these topics need more evidence and anecdotes to make our own public outreach more effective and Climate Wars is full of wonderfully usable material of that sort.

  17. Jeff Huggins says:

    “Belligerent Aggression”

    I’d like to note and add to a point made in Comment 9, by Donald Brown, and also mentioned in Comment 15 by Mike Roddy.

    I don’t have immediate access to my dictionary, so my mind is not quite clear enough to know whether to agree with the term ‘belligerent aggression’ on Donald’s Comment 9, but I’ll mention what I think along the same lines.

    In my view, if you think of the collective “us” as the U.S., then it’s unfortunately correct to say, I think, that our actions and inaction (regarding climate change) demonstrate an intensely self-focused, short-sighted, negligent and unethical disregard for other peoples around the world, other species, the long-term healthy sustainability of humankind, and even ourselves.

    I think we are demonstrating gross negligence, and in many cases we are demonstrating conscious and willful gross negligence.

    And that is a problem, for more than one reason. I’ll just mention one of them.

    The fact is that it won’t matter if we, in the U.S., find ways to not think of ourselves that way. It won’t matter if we find excuses that satisfy us. What will matter is how the other 95 percent of the world’s population judges what we are and aren’t doing, or even modest portions of the world’s population.

    And the facts are pretty clear about what we are and aren’t doing, from the outside looking in.

    This by itself should cause us great concern. After all, facts speak for themselves. And, it probably won’t be very hard for other countries to form a view that we, in the U.S., are being irresponsible — because a growing number of U.S. citizens feel precisely the same way.

    This is one of the many reasons why I am not comfortable — nor should any of us be — with the actions of ExxonMobil, most of the rest of the oil industry, the coal industry, Fox News, and many of the pundits and so forth. Unfortunately, they are pulling us down, giving us a very bad name, and ultimately they are putting all of us in harm’s way. What can be more clear?

    That’s why it is time for big boycotts, civil actions, major lawsuits, and criminal charges. Too much time has passed. How long does it take us to learn, I mean really?

    If you view us all as one big household, figuratively speaking, someone in our household is throwing big rocks out the window at the neighbor’s place, and that someone (ExxonMobil, etc. etc.) does not want to stop doing it and does not want us to adopt ways to effectively stop it. That’s a problem, and not a small one.

    I am tiring of being grouchy. What are we going to do, besides redoubling the number of e-mails someone sends?

    (Sorry for the rant, but …)

    Cheers,

    Jeff

  18. dhogaza says:

    Here’s Senator Tom Udall, speaking of his pledge to force a debate on rules change next January:

    “So first thing, at the beginning of the next Congress, I will move for the Senate to adopt its rules by a simple majority. This is the Constitutional Option….

    One of my senators, freshman Jeff Merkley, is working with Udall on this. Apparently there are several first-termers wanting to push for this.

  19. Mossy says:

    #10 Homunq — “There is some possibility – say, at least one in a thousand – that global warming could kill billions;” — I think your estimate is a tad too low, perhaps the opposite ratio might be more accurate, unfortunately…

    On a more optomistic note, everyone who reads this should sign this change.org petition: http://www.change.org/global_warming_education_network/petitions/view/obama_please_educate_and_lead_on_climate_change

  20. arkitkt says:

    I liked his argument, he was hitting all the right notes, policy, technology, politics, until he got to “putting a price on carbon.”. Cap and trade has not done anything to reduce pollution but it has made lots of folks very wealthy. It won’t work, it is not the solution and it should be off the table in any national agreement on climate.

  21. Mandy says:

    Actually, I think that society should start holding the oil company leaders — and Boards — accountable, in no uncertain terms.

  22. Roger says:

    This is a fantastic post and subsequent thread of commentary. Kudos to all of the above readers.

    Pooley’s right about Obama, and, given the circumstances, it is fair to say that Obama’s done a lot, but not as much as he promised he’d do when I met him on the campaign trail in NH. (And I feel I have a right to be critical since I pulled out all the stops to help him get elected, all on the basis of his strong stance on the climate, and his promise of “Change we can believe in!”) Instead, it sadly seems as if money and power, not the greater good, still rule the day in DC. All of our futures sacrificed to the god of greed.

    But there’s still hope for those who can muster some political activism. A coalition of climate organizations, large and small, including Bill McKibben’s 350.org, Greenpeace, 1Sky, GWEN, and numerous others, are working to orchestrate a global day of climate action, with the general theme of ‘getting to work’ to solve the climate crisis, beginning on October 10th. Leading up to this day, from September 7th to 9th, 350.org will be bringing some of President Carter’s original White House solar panels from Maine to Washington DC in order to encourage President Obama to put them back where they belong: on the White House roof, to serve as an example to the nation.

    To find out more, and join the fun, go to http://www.gwenet.org and click on the link to GWEN’s White House Work Party. We will be following up on 350.org’s request that Obama put solar panels back on the White House, and also asking the president to do more in terms of the leadership that is called for in order for us to successfully protect American citizens (and others around the world) from the ravages of climate change.

    While you’re at it, as Mossy suggested above, please follow a second link on GWEN’s home page to our petition asking Obama to “Please Educate and Lead on Climate Change!” As Pooley indicates, if people really understood what is at stake with regard to climate change, thanks to an Obama-inspired, government-sponsored public information campaign, most of them would insist on immediate action to preserve a livable climate for generations to come

  23. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Arkitkt –

    it seems you are blithely unaware of the highly credible track record of “Cap, Allocate & Trade” ?

    Somebody has sold you a lemon of a ready-made opinion.

    If you can show me another mechanism whereby, under an annually declining cap,
    emissions rights can be allocated equitably among commercial and public bodies or whole nations,
    and can then be redistributed to reflect their varying practical needs over time,
    and can do so in a manner allowing enough confidence of future needs being met to allow the negotiation of the swiftest feasible phasing out of the target pollutant,
    I’d be interested to see it.

    But perhaps you’d rather wait and hope to see all nations agree a fixed allocation framework now, and then be stuck with it for the next 40 years ?

    Or perhaps you take the Bush line and don’t believe in any sort of cap, let alone allocations, and would rather “leave it to the market” to sort out, someday, via the advance of new technologies ?

    Or maybe you’d rather wait for a revolution to a command & control economy, and sort out the problem after that via the ability to impose effective regulation or an effective carbon tax ?

    Notably Sweden, with its long tradition of ethical government, has managed an effective carbon tax after 30 years of public education. Do you think we have that long ?

    Regards,

    Lewis

  24. David Smith says:

    #21, Mandy; I would add investors to the list of acountable parties. There is no question that if I invested cash with in a drug cartel, I would be considered an accomplice and would go to jail if caught. Why should people (investors) be allowed to make money in an industry that is undertaking behaviors that would probably be illegal except for the tremendous efforts exerted by said industry to insure that such laws never come into existence? We certainly consider people who fund terrorists to be terrorists themselves but we turn a blind eye to corporate investors because we are they.

    Investors are participants with vested interest.

  25. ToddInNorway says:

    All the coal-powered electricity is going somewhere, and it is the end-users of this that hold the keys to the solution, namely radical energy efficiency. We must kill the demand for the coal power first, and begin to replace it with everything better as soon as possible afterward. I challenge each of you who read this to answer two simple questions: Is my electricity coming from coal? and Have I done all I can to reduce my electricity consumption? Have you replaced all your old incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs or CF bulbs? Do you have good insulation to reduce heat loss in winter or heat gain in the summer? What kind of windows? Proper sun shading to reduce indoor heat gain? Do you have an idea of how much hot water you use and why? Can you replace your electric hot water heater with a solar hot water heater? Clean filter on the heat pump EVERY MONTH? Replace the old fridge with a super-efficient model? Etc… This is where the revolution begins. Kill the market for coal-fired electricity at the end user. Forget your politicians for now, they are clueless, useless and downright in the way.

  26. arkitkt says:

    @ Lewis C.

    I respectfully disagree with you. Moreover, nobody has sold me a ready made opinion. It so happens that I am a researcher at an institution in the NE area(no need to name names) and my work is on carbon markets, particularly the EU-ETS. There is NO credible evidence, of any reductions that can be directly attributed to cap and trade.

    You said: “it seems you are blithely unaware of the highly credible track record of “Cap, Allocate & Trade” ?— can you please point me to this research? Don’t bother to refer me to the myths created by Stavins and his partners. That stuff has been debunked over and over but policy makers don’t seem to get it. Of course not, there CO2 market is a money making machine and it does give the appearance of “solving the problem”…it does not.

  27. chek says:

    Persuant to comments 21 & 24, I would recommend holding Board members and shareholders for the preceeding five years to account. In the case of the fossil duel companies let’s say 1998, which is when their paid mouthpieces like to assure us is when AGW supposedly peaked.

    Anything less ends up like those shell companies that are found after an accident to own nothing more than the ship or the installation that tanked when sued.

    Peer pressure from where it has some effect may be the only available way the decadent and nihilistic can be brought to heel.

  28. DrD says:

    I read The Climate War a couple weeks ago and recommend it as an excellent political companion to scientific reading. But don’t expect to come away from it in a hopeful frame of mind. I’m not yet completely convinced that the situation is hopeless, but I have to admit that between the increasingly accurate predictions of climate scientists and the political bog (in the U.S.) that seems to stymie real and needed change, my expectations for my grandchildren’s future are not high.
    I do, of course, appreciate all the untiring efforts of Dr. Romm, readers of and contributors to Climate Progress, and millions of people around the world who really do care about my grandchildren. Thanks.