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Senate approps Dems prepare to kill EPA climate rules

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"Senate approps Dems prepare to kill EPA climate rules"

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Senate Appropriations DemsBreaking:  Energy Guardian reports (subs. req’d):  “Facing a likely test vote to delay Environmental Protection Agency greenhouse gas regulations, Senate Democrats Tuesday abruptly canceled plans to draft the agency’s 2011 appropriations measure this week.”

This Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee may vote to block the Obama administration from moving forward with global warming pollution rules.  Brad Johnson has the story.

While the Senate dithered and let Republicans kill climate legislation passed last year by the House of Representatives, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun rolling out rules to limit greenhouse gas pollution in the coming years. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) attempt to kill the finding that greenhouse gases are pollution died by a narrow vote of 47-53, but Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) is promoting a two-year moratorium on EPA climate action. Speaking to E&E News, climate peacocks Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) have announced they would potentially support killing EPA rules in the agency’s appropriations bill, to be marked up on Thursday:

“I’d like to see what amendments are offered, and I’ll make a judgment about that,” Dorgan said. “I do think that it makes sense to have some time here to have Congress make the ultimate decision rather than EPA.”

“I supported Murkowski, I’m supporting Rockefeller, so obviously I have inclinations to curtail some of the authority and the actions of the EPA,” Nelson said.

The appropriations committee is split 18-12 in favor of the Democrats, so four Democrats would have to join the anti-science Republican bloc to defend polluters:

Likely candidates besides Nelson and Dorgan include Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Mark Pryor (D-AR), who voted for the Murkowski resolution, and Tim Johnson (D-SD), who is co-sponsoring the Rockefeller proposal. Another possibility is Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), who said it was “too complicated” to answer when asked yesterday whether he would support an appropriations bill limiting EPA’s regulations.

It is unclear who would introduce the appropriations amendment. Dorgan and Nelson told reporters “they are not planning to propose amendments themselves,” and Murkowski may still be in Alaska. However, a spokesman for the top Republican on the committee, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), said he “expects to see amendments related to greenhouse gas regulations and offshore drilling.” Sen. Rockefeller told reporters he “has asked Democrats on the Appropriations Committee to sponsor his bill as an amendment.”

Senators are considering this maneuver even though President Obama has threatened a veto of such efforts in the past, and killing climate action does not have 60 votes on the floor. But a rider attached to a key funding bill by a handful of conservatives would be much more difficult for the president to kill. In a statement to the Wonk Room, the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s Dan Weiss blasts these potential moves:

It is the height of shamelessness that many of the same senators responsible for blocking pollution reductions now want to block EPA from setting pollution limits so Congress has time to act. This hypocrisy, combined with the Republican appropriators’ slavish devotion to big oil, makes it likely this effort will be another skirmish in the war to create jobs, reduce oil use, and slash pollution.

Update: 1Sky‘s Liz Butler responds:

As the EPA celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Clean Air Act this week, it is absurd that oil and coal companies and their allies in Congress want us to take a giant step backwards by gutting this landmark environmental law. The Senate must hold fossil fuel interests accountable by protecting the Clean Air Act as a critical tool to reduce global warming pollution and jumpstart investment in a clean energy economy.

This is a Wonk Room cross-post.

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48 Responses to Senate approps Dems prepare to kill EPA climate rules

  1. mike roddy says:

    People like Nelson and Landrieu are playing with our future, and the rule of law. Democrats like Kerry need to fight this as hard as they can. This effort will have to include publicly shaming Republican and Democratic oil whores, and a determined filibuster when the time comes.

  2. Michael Tucker says:

    On 9/11/10 Rockefeller is quoted here as saying:
    “People think they are protecting coal by pretending climate change doesn’t exist or that (by saying) carbon capture and storage is not needed. But burying one’s head in the sand is not a solution and can only backfire. Denying the problem of climate change may feel good in the short term, but in the long term, it only locks in an existing infrastructure for other fuels like natural gas and will cost coal miners’ jobs.”

    Today he wants to have a two year moratorium on EPA climate action.

    It has been said before, “I believe in global warming I just don’t think we should do anything about it.”

    With true believers like these, what are the Republicans worried about?

  3. Peter says:

    When the planet begins to bake, the seas become more acidic, water becomes a precious resource even in the Northeast- and crop failures in the US heartland fuel raging food prices hikes

    who is going to pay?- the majority of these crooked politicos living in their gated communities>?

  4. Jeffrey Crunk says:

    Every time a fund-raising arm of the Democratic Party calls to ask me for more contributions I explain why I refuse. The Democratic Senators who are playing Russian Roulette with my kid’s futures deserve all the contempt one can muster. The Administration must preserve the EPA’s statutory authority at ALL costs. This insanity has got to be defeated.

  5. peter whitehead says:

    America is only a pseudo-democracy. It cannot change, because consitutional rights mean that anyone with money can push any message they like via the mass media. The rich own the media, they own the politicians and there is no mechansim to change this. So much for checks and balances – more like cheques and imbalances.

  6. Andy says:

    Sorry, dumb question: are line-item vetos still being used? Would this amendment be a potential candidate for such a veto?

  7. Mark S says:

    It’s cr&& like this that makes me loose faith in the ability of our political system to work for the good of the people. Dems must absolutely be the champion of climate policy or it wont happen until it’s too late. Write your senators and representatives people!

    Andy: there have never been line item vetos at the federal level (at least in the last fifty plus years–not sure about ancient history).

  8. Bob Wallace says:

    Jeffery – We have to put our support behind the good guys. It’s not enough to withhold support for the bad ones.

    We might even have to help Blue Dogs get elected in November. It’s critical that the House, Senate and committee gavels stay in Democratic hands.

    Then next time around we need to put even more effort into getting better candidates into contention in Republican and Blue Dog areas.

    We won’t get further ahead by taking a step backwards….

  9. george ennis says:

    So the US is fully embracing ignorance.

    I expect after the November elections, there will bbe stepped up efforts to shut down any federal funding related to climate change science. So, unfortunately with it goes any hopes that the planet has of avoiding triggering natural positive warming feedback loops such as the lost of the albedo effect from the arctic ice, release of greenhouse gases from melting tundra.

    I expect by the time the US public wakes up to the danger the game will all but be over and we will only be able to discuss things like adaption to searing temperatures, extreme weather events and pronounced droughts. By then we can even have discussions about geo-engineering as we make last ditch efforts to save ourselves.

    Clearly even in a best case scenario where the Dems somehow hold onto the Presidency we will be looking at gridlock in government for a minimum of 2 to 6 years and possibly as much as 10 years. In all that time we continue along our current trajectory of CO2 emissions.

  10. paulm says:

    Congrats America….

    Utah Oil Sands: Canada’s Infamous Tar Sands Extraction Coming To U.S.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/14/utah-oil-sands-canadas-infamou_n_716225.html

  11. Peter says:

    #9

    I agree- at the earliest we may see some limited reductions at mid decade-perhaps more in 10 years. This all depends on how carbon begins to degrade the climate- and what kind of severe events take place.

    Frankly I do not see any meaningful reductions for 20 more years- by then the CO level will be around 430-435- probably too late, unless there is am immediate reduction (85%) in Coal- so perhaps 2040-2050 — by then all hell will have taken place- well I will be gone- but the future for so many looks very bad.

  12. catman306 says:

    Fooled you didn’t they.. You thought you lived in a representative democratic republic. It turns out you don’t.

    If the less-than-super-wealthy have little to no say in any political or economic matters, how can the children of the not yet born be any concern whatsoever to these short sighted and corrupt idiots?

    When Nature comes up against human nature, guess who loses. And how long would that contest go on? Nature surely doesn’t care, time is always on nature’s side.

    As to what to call our system of government, I leave as an exercise for the gentle reader.

  13. Bill Scott says:

    We have had nothing but moratoriums and kicking the can down the road when it comes to climate change. Does anyone think that any of these democratic senators really believes that the Senate will responsibly address C02 emissions over the next two years? It is time for the President to finally speak out forcefully on climate change and oppose the Rockefeller amendment. If he does not and this amendment passes he will have deservedly lost what credibility he has left on this issue, the democrats will again have insulted their base, and the carbon will continue to spew into the air.

  14. John McCormick says:

    People, wake up. If this amendment passe, (and it likely will) the train left the station. repubs takeover of the house. Game over.

    Start the ‘end game’ scenario.

    John McCormick

  15. BBHY says:

    Distrubing

  16. johna says:

    Bob WallaceJeffery – We have to put our support behind the good guys. It’s not enough to withhold support for the bad ones.

    So, who are the good guys again? In 35 years I’ve never voted for a Green Party candidate, but I will now. I’ve written my two senators (D) to say I can’t tolerate their failure to vote (or even discuss) C&Trade, or Renewable Energy Stds, etc. There is a minimum level for my support and they don’t meet it; my support goes elsewhere. They can ignore my demographic and loose votes, perhaps it will be enough to force them into real jobs. Or they can support sustainable policies that will create clean energy jobs and protect our inheritance.

  17. Sasparilla says:

    #16 johna – I’m with you, the Dems talk a better game than the Repubs when it comes to climate change but then where the rubber meets the road, its the same behavior.

    It’s time for the Green Party (I’ve never voted for a Green Party candidate in my life) to become a viable 3rd party here in the US, the Dems have failed and we don’t have time for them to zip their pants back up and tell us they really mean it this time if we just vote for them (in 10 or 20 years when the stars – house, senate, presidency – align again). Its funny I’d always assumed the Republicans would be the first party to fracture, but I also assumed the Dems actually meant what they said regarding climate change and at the national level they obviously don’t.

    Can’t say I’m very surprised about this action after seeing what’s happened since Obama got in (both the white house non support and the Senate’s non action last year and then flying the white flag this year before really trying).

    Sometimes I wonder if I’ve just been deluding myself by thinking we had a shot at this….(at this point that thought looks woefully naive).

  18. dbmetzger says:

    A softball piece from VOA with the token Rand corp denier. also an extreme weather result from all that snow we endured last winter.
    What is Behind Extreme Weather
    Hurricanes, floods, and record heat. Is the recent spate of extreme weather conditions the result of climate change? As Rebecca Ward reports, the verdict is still out on the possible causes of extreme weather. http://www.newslook.com/videos/250039-what-is-behind-extreme-weather?autoplay=true

    Washington Blizzard Delivers Up Baby Boom
    Nearly nine months after the Washington region was walloped by a blizzard, doctors are preparing for a bumper Crop. http://www.newslook.com/videos/249726-washington-blizzard-delivers-up-baby-boom?autoplay=true

  19. Peter Bellin says:

    I do not have the words right now to express my disgust at this development.

    Barbara Boxer support climate action, I will contribute again, and let her know it is hers leadership in this area that brings my financial support.

  20. espiritwater says:

    Acording to Hansen, homo sapiens may well become extinct by the end of the century if nothing’s done to stop Global warming. And these fools are still playing games? The Fossil Fuel industry must pay really well…

  21. Ben Lieberman says:

    Are there any courts where those affected most immediately by the failure to act can bring law suits?

  22. Wit'sEnd says:

    #15

    DISTRUBING

    Now there is a new word, that is relevant…beyond disturbing, disruptive, dis- screwing up the entire world.

    I like it!

    DSISTRUBING.

  23. James Newberry says:

    There seems to be few of the left (liberals) or right (conservatives) in corporatist American government, only corrupt stooges of plutocracy.

    Arrogance, ignorance and greed (AIG). Time to recycle the government. As long as money is “speech” and the door to governance, we are dead in the water.

    Speaking of water, what are five hundred lobbyists at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico? A good start. Maybe the same for most members of the upper house of plutocracy.

  24. Should we call these Democrats “DINOs” — Democrats In Name Only ?

  25. Paulm says:

    Death of the US. It is going to be the collapse of it’s economy and society.
    Only problem is it leave no hope for the rest of mankind and the biosphere.
    Lovely.

  26. George D says:

    We might even have to help Blue Dogs get elected in November.

    No. An anti-climate Dem is worse than an anti-climate Republican, because at least the Republican is open about it and can be held responsible. Putting up with compromises too far has got us nowhere in the last 20 years.

  27. Whatshisname says:

    You think your senator is bad. John Cornyn just emailed me an economic press release written by Fox News (sic).

    Any crop circle artists out there? “JOHN CORNYN KILLED MY PLANET!!”
    No, wait, make it something permanent, Nazca-style.

  28. Leland Palmer says:

    Human beings really are too stupid to live, it appears.

    Jay Rockefeller has a massive family financial conflict of interest. His family has traditionally controlled ExxonMobil, and ExxonMobil stands to profit by tens or hundreds of billions of dollars if the Arctic sea ice melts enough to allow oil drilling in the Arctic ocean.

    Time and again, we see Jay Rockefeller serving his family financial interests, while acting like a mole inside the Democratic party.

    Jay Rockefeller’s two year delay, and the delays and lies of the fossil fuel controlled Senators, may be enough to make sure that the Arctic becomes ice free in the summer.

    It may also be enough to pass tipping points that ensure truly runaway global heating, and extinction level climate destabilization, leading ultimately to a methane catastrophe.

  29. Prokaryotes says:

    Rockefeller kin urge Exxon to think beyond oil

    Members of the Rockefeller family, descended from the founder of what became Exxon Mobil Corp., challenged the oil giant Wednesday to focus more on renewable sources of energy.

    They also seek to establish a task force study of the consequences of global warming on poor economies, and called on Exxon to reduce greenhouse gas emission at its own operations.

    Exxon is “profiting in the short term from investments and decisions made many years ago by focusing on the narrow path that ignores the rapidly shifting energy landscape around the world, including developing nations,” said Neva Rockefeller Goodwin, a great granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller.

    The family members, who describe themselves as the company’s longest continuous shareholders, said they are concerned that the Irving, Texas-based company is too focused on short-term gains from soaring oil prices and should do more to invest in cleaner technology for the future.

    “They are fighting the last war and they’re not seeing they’re facing a new war,” said Peter O’Neill, who heads the Rockefeller Family committee dealing with Exxon Mobil and is the great-great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller.

    He said he had the support of more than 80 percent of family members over the age of 21. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24387781/

  30. _Flin_ says:

    These people are the Neville Chamberlains of Energy Policy. The all-words, no action faction.
    They stand and talk (like Chamberlain), while the world starts burning.

  31. Wes Rolley says:

    Until last October, I was CoChair, EcoAction Committee, Green Party US. I wasted a lot of time dealing with those, even some Greens, who said that we had to support Democrats because the Republicans were so bad. After last night’s primaries, we know that the Republicans have been drinking the Tea and will be much worse. Chris Mooney wrote the book on this earlier and it seems that he needs to do it again.

    But that is no reason to compromise everything. I will vote Green in California’s Senate Race even though Boxer is better than most on climate and Fiorina just said that she supports oil money backed Prop 23. I will vote for my Democratic Congressman, Jerry McNerney, just because he has a PhD and worked in the wind energy field for years.

    There are qualified Greens running in various states, but you can be sure that most will never get into a public debate so you can hear their opinions. It might be that Greens take no corporate money. At least they will not be compromised.

  32. homunq says:

    To those talking about the greens, from someone who voted Nader in ’96 and ’00 and would do it again in the same circumstances:

    Just as the sine qua non for climate legislation is filibuster reform, the sine qua non for a viable third party is electoral reform. Here’s a quick ABC’s lesson on the good proposals.

    “A” is Approval Voting. Instead of being able to vote for just one, which makes your ballot effectively irrelevant if you don’t vote for a frontrunner, you can vote for as many as you want. Just count all the votes; why should the system just throw away so-called “spoiled” ballots when the results of counting them would be more democratic? It’s simple, works with any voting machines, and is making headway in Colorado where the Libertarians are pushing it.

    “B” is Bucklin voting, also known as APV (for Approval/Preferred Voting or American Preferential Voting, its name when used in the Progressive era). As well as approving as many candidates as you want, you can “prefer” some of them. If any candidate is preferred by a majority, they win; otherwise, it’s essentially the same as Approval, although if several candidates are approved by a majority, the most-preferred candidate wins (this makes it safer to approve generously if you want to).

    “C” is Condorcet, also known as PCV (Pairwise Champion Voting). In rare cases, mostly when there are two ideologically-similar candidates vying for the same portion of the electorate, Bucklin can fail to elect a candidate who would beat all others in head-to-head races. You can blend it with APV, by having a runoff in the rare cases where the PCV and APV winners aren’t the same.

    You may have heard of IRV, Instant Runoff Voting, a different reform. While it is better than simple plurality, it is prone to a lot of the same problems. Approval and APV are both simpler and give better results.

    Anyway, sorry for the off-topic lesson, but every time somebody says “we need to make a viable third party” without saying “we need to organize for electoral reform and make a viable third party”, they’re in danger of wasting a lot of effort. Strategy matters.

    [JR: Oh, you were the one who helped elect Bush. Great.

    Sorry. Small fringe parties don't help. Just look at the Tea Party, which has pretty much eliminated the Republicans chance of taking over the Senate.]

  33. Mark says:

    “Human beings really are too stupid to live, it appears.”

    What is wrong with our species?

    Why are the ignorant people making the decisions, while those with knowledge stand to the side, pleading and begging?

    There has to be a way to force this issue into the public consciousness. There has to be.

    There has to be something that I can do, other than reduce my own consumption.

    Please, someone, figure this out quickly.

  34. Leland Palmer says:

    Hi everyone-

    The Rockefellers get a lot of good press, mostly because of their charitable activities, perhaps.

    On the other hand, if ExxonMobil was a country it would be the fifth or sixth largest carbon emitting country on the planet.

    It’s been calculated that ExxonMobil’s products have produced five percent of all the carbon emitted during the industrial revolution. Is ExxonMobil therefore legally liable for five percent of the hundreds of trillions of dollars of climate damages that will plausibly occur from global heating over the next century?

    ExxonMobil’s gross revenues are something like 400 billion dollars per year, greater than the GNP of all but a few countries.

    It might even be encouraging that Jay Rockefeller is being forced to act and speak openly, rather than operating behind the scenes, speaking through front organizations like the Council on Foreign Relations. This may be a sign of desperation. It may be a sign that the controlling segments of the family- perhaps represented by David Rockefeller Sr.- really, really want to stop or delay EPA regulation of CO2 sources.

    We need to pay attention to what they do, not to what other people say about them, or to what they say about themselves. The bottom line is that Jay Rockefeller is asking for a two year delay in EPA regulation of carbon sources, and that could profit ExxonMobil by tens or hundreds of billions of dollars, if it allows oil drilling in the Arctic in the ice free summers.

  35. homunq says:

    Wow. No, I’m the one who helped elect Al Franken; I made over 150 calls to older Hispanic voters, and at least 3 told me that I’d convinced them to make it to the polls.

    Seriously. I voted for Nader in states (Clinton and then) Gore won safely, as a part of committed voting reform activism. I’d do it again in the same circumstances, but I sure as heck didn’t vote for Nader in 2004.

    The tea party is not a political party, but an intraparty movement. I certainly oppose their goals, but for right now the progressives should be using those tactics. Nate Silver on 538 has shown that Republicans who move to the right lose, but democrats who move to the left don’t; perhaps it’s because both parties are to the right of the electorate. Anyway, that has nothing to do with third parties.

    My message on third parties is and was: this country needs to break out of the R-D duopoly, and that takes strategy. There are some opportunities for safe third-party-building votes, but there are also times when it’s not worth the risk. Meanwhile, we also need an inside strategy for voting reform.

    Blaming me for Bush is insulting, inaccurate, and uncalled-for. It’s also not the kind of attitude which actually wins races for Democrats*. Please take it back.

    (*No, that’s not a threat; of course I’ll be sending in my absentee for Boxer, and this time even for Pelosi, even though she doesn’t need my vote. I’m ready to be a Democrat when I have to. And even if I weren’t, I’d be voting against 23.)

    [JR: Nader is probably about as much a sore spot for me as it is for you. Maybe more. So I can't take back any criticism of a Nader voter, sorry. Particularly someone who would do it again.

    Nader in case you didn't know wasn't running to build a third party. Indeed, one could make a stronger case that he was running to destroy the Green party. That was the outcome. In any case, while he specifically promised that he would not campaign in competitive states, that turned out to be a lie. And while he could have spent time attacking Bush, he in fact wanted to get as much media attention as possible (rather than either build a party or achieve green party outcomes), so he attacked Gore as much as possible and help create the grotesque misperception that there was no difference between voting for Bush and voting for Gore. Anybody who voted for him and says they would do so again is endorsing a man who consciously tried to help elect George Bush -- and who succeeded. And the fact that Gore didn't run a great campaign is quite irrelevant. Shame on Ralph Nader.]

  36. homunq says:

    Seriously, JR, I don’t think you even read past the first sentence of my first message. I was encouraging productive organizing, while discouraging counterproductive division: “Anyway, sorry for the off-topic lesson, but every time somebody says “we need to make a viable third party” without saying “we need to organize for electoral reform and make a viable third party”, they’re in danger of wasting a lot of effort. Strategy matters.”

  37. Wes Rolley says:

    Joe,
    if, as you say, small fringe parties do not help, and the consequences of political non-action is the end what we call civilization, then what harm is done in voting Green. If there are no consequences for Congressional Democrats failure to act, there will surely be consequences for out failures to act.

    Now, I am sure that my Congressman (D) understands. He has a PhD in some field of math and had a career in wind energy. But, I really wonder about the rest.

    If you think that voting Green is a bad idea, then find another way to make Congressional office holders understand that the public will hold them accountable at the ballot box… the only way that we have. Unless you can do that, stop complaining.

    [JR: If it were up to the Democrats, we'd have a serious climate bill. So symbolic gestures or things that actually do weaken the chances for beating whatever conservative is in the race don't strike me as a good use of time. It is possible to take the view that nothing is going to happen either way, but then the argument is moot. I focus 95% of my effort on the people who are the real source of the problem.]

  38. homunq says:

    Wes, the “other way” besides voting Green is staring us in the face. Look at the Tea Party. By working essentially within one party, but without letting themselves be a fully-coopted subsidiary of that party, they have the attention of every officeholder from that party.

    Of course, the corporate and media backing helps a lot. On our side, we’d have to be creative and united to replace that. But being willing to get honestly mad at the useless “leaders” who claim to be on your own side is productive.

    (And yes, even though the teabaggers have probably kept the Senate from going Republican, they have still been very effective in their goal of pushing debate to the right. And as I said earlier, Nate Silver’s shown that, unlike Republicans, Democrats have a lot of room to go left before they fall off any crazy-cliffs and start losing because of it.)

  39. homunq says:

    Joe, I said I’d do it again in the same circumstances. I also said I didn’t do it again in reality.

    I understand that you think I’m very wrong on this. Although I still think that you and I are on the same side, I don’t object if you say how wrong you think I was and am, using the strongest terms. But blaming me for Bush is crossing several lines. It’s factually wrong; I did not of course vote for Bush, and no way I could have voted would have made Gore more likely to win. And it encourages division. My anecdote about my past vote, though true and nothing I’m ashamed of, was told in order to establish sympathy and encourage people to come together, in fact NOT to vote for third parties without having a serious, long-term strategy. Your accusation serves no such current purpose; it’s just rehashing an old fight.

    So, again, please take it back. I’m not asking for an apology – you can still call me all kinds of names – just a retraction. Bush is not my fault.

    [JR: It was meant to be snark and not serious. Of course you are not to blame.]

  40. Leland Palmer says:

    I was telling my wife about Jay Rockefeller’s attempts to impose a two year delay on EPA regulation of carbon sources.

    “Why would he do that?”, she asked.

    “Well, the official reason is that he’s a Senator from a coal state, West Virginia”, I said. “The unofficial reason might be that ExxonMobil wants to drill for oil in the Arctic in the summer, though”, I said.

    She shook her head, in consternation. “That’s probably what happened to Venus”, she joked disgustedly. “I’ll bet under that reducing atmosphere, there are ruins of freeways and so on, from Venusians that fought the same political battles”, she said.

    Probably not, of course, and she was not really serious.

    But it is that sort of consequence that we might face over greed for Arctic oil and West Virginian coal.

    Vacation on Venus, anyone? Conditions are a balmy 800 degrees C, and the sulfuric acid rain is really spectacular, this time of year. The metal snow that apparently falls on the high peaks probably looks spectacular, except that the atmosphere is so dense it bends the light so that you can’t really see it.

  41. Leland Palmer says:

    Whoops, correction:

    Temperatures on Venus are only a pleasantly warm average of 460 degrees C, roughly 750 degrees K. Temperatures are practically Arctic, by comparison to 800 degrees C. :)

    We’re further from the sun of course, but Venus has apparently lost most of it’s water by dissociation of water into hydrogen and oxygen, and loss of hydrogen into space. So our initial greenhouse effect could actually be greater, perhaps, once the oceans start to boil due to the additional water in the atmosphere. It’s a good question, just how hot it would get, if we totally tip the climate system over and create conditions similar to Venus.

    On the other hand, rock weathering and a tectonically active planet might eventually bury enough carbon as carbonate to return conditions to stability.

  42. Ziyu says:

    Why the right wing is probably secretly liking climate change while publicly denying it.
    Continued dependence on oil will raise oil prices as more countries industrialize. More oil money = more campaign money for right wing folks. When water resources and biodiversity start declining, there will be more terrorism, instability, and resource wars. That would support the right wing military buildup and the military industrial complex. More campaign money for right wing folks again.

  43. espiritwater says:

    Palmer, #29: Rockerfeller is also part owner of “the Fed”, according to Mike Ruppert. In his book, “Confronting Collapse, he says that the the Fed, which prints our money (fiat money, no longer based on the gold standard) is just a privately owned bank… owned by Rockerfeller, a Bush relative, and others. (In a hurry, library will close soon! Hard to concentrate!)

  44. espiritwater says:

    “The Shock Doctrine– the Rise of Disaster Capitalism” by Naomi Klein. In this book, she tells why corporate elite are so unconcerned about global warming… they expect to get a “Get Out of Jail Free” card… Confident they will be able to buy their way out of the worst of it.

    (I haven’t read the book, just saw a review of it… looks interesting!)

  45. Leland Palmer says:

    Hi espiritwater-

    Yes, I need to read that book, it’s been on my reading list for a long time. She also talks about the Chicago school of free market economists there, and makes the point that Obama has been loosely associated with that group. The University of Chicago was endowed by the Rockefellers, and that endowment is one of the ways that the Rockefellers maintain effective control of their corporate empire, supposedly. David Rockefeller received his PhD in economics from there, and in his biography Memoirs he talks about how he was criticized for this not being a “real” degree by rivals at Chase Manhattan bank.

    We’ve been talking about ExxonMobil, but the real financial power behind the supposed Rockefeller financial empire is JPMorgan Chase, a bank with assets valued at something around 2 trillion dollars. JPMorgan Chase also gobbled up Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual during the financial “crisis” paying only 2 dollars per share for Bear Stearns stock, and only paid something like 1.8 billion dollars for WaMu, corporations worth far, far more. Supposedly, tricks were played by hedge funds acting in apparent collusion to artificially inflate the number of shares of the stock of Bear Stearns, and so make it appear that the value per share was crashing, which led to a run on the bank, and the subsequent acquisition of Bear Stearns by JPMorgan Chase.

    According to sociologist Thomas R. Dye, who has had students building a database for decades on financial elites and power in the U.S., the Rockefeller financial empire until recently was the “best example of the oligarchic model of American governance”. In his latest book in the series “Who’s Running America?”, though he says that Rockefeller financial power is increasingly fragmented among many heirs to the Rockefeller fortune. In his books, he talks about a network of over one hundred major American corporations controlled by this financial empire, through a system of interlocking corporate directorships, trusts, charitable foundations, university endowments, trust departments of banks, and so on.

    Are we living in an oligarchy? We’re invading foreign countries based on lies and searches for fictitious weapons of mass destruction, We’re suffering financial crashes that appear to be engineered, which are apparently benefiting a small elite. Our main means of mass communication, the corporate press, appears to be controlled. And Obama, handed an economy in an apparently engineered free fall, is thwarted at every turn in his attempts to deal substantively with climate change.

  46. James Newberry says:

    Thanks Leland Palmer for your analysis.

    Former economist of the International Monetary Fund, Simon Johnson, says in his book 13 Bankers we are definitely an oligopoly, oiligopoly, I mean oligarchy (or all of the above).

    One might say we are getting burned out. Time to recycle the government.
    It is a burning issue involving the issue of burning.

  47. David Ferrell says:

    Leland Palmer – I found your posts #35, 41, 42, and 46 very interesting.

    Here I’d like to comment on a couple of issues connected with your wife’s joke about Venus—that the Venusian greenhouse effect ran away because an intelligent life form similar to ourselves began loading the atmosphere with greenhouse gases, and their political system, like ours, couldn’t stop the process. The only prima facie argument against that idea is that Venus went to Hell relatively early in its history—perhaps two billion years ago—which wouldn’t have allowed much time for higher forms of life to evolve, the planets themselves having fully formed only a little more than four billion years ago.

    Also, large meteoric impacts, including of solar system asteroids, were much more common in that early era, tending to cause mass extinctions relatively frequently, making it difficult for higher forms of life to maintain their foothold.

    NASA’s James Hansen, who should know if anybody does, says it’s possible that if we humans tried hard enough and long enough—or were stupid enough—we could force the climate with greenhouse gases to the point where the oceans boiled and the terrestrial greenhouse effect ran away completely. Hansen discusses this in a video interview (or the 5-minute portion entitled “The Science of Global Catastrophe”) at http://bigthink.com/jameshansen : highly recommended!!!

    And yes, Earth’s surface temperature after that catastrophe would be much higher than the temperature on Venus today (where the surface pressure is a crushing ~90 atmospheres, mainly due to CO2) and would remain hotter than Venus until the bulk of Earth’s water was lost due to sunlight-driven dissociation of H2O vapor at the top of the atmosphere and the escape of hydrogen to space—a process taking at least hundreds of millions of years. All the water formerly in the oceans would be in the atmosphere as heat-trapping steam—some 100 atmospheres worth—and all the carbonate rock in Earth’s crust would thermally decompose to liberate the planet’s stores of carbon as CO2—again about 100 atmospheres worth. At that point the surface pressure on Earth would be an inconceivable ~200 atmospheres or thereabouts, with the highly oxidizing atmosphere being, as I figure it, ~99% a mixture of CO2 and H2O vapor plus traces of SOx, nitrogen, argon, and the like. Any free oxygen would become bound with surface minerals as on Venus today, with everything in its highest oxidation state.

    The fact that Earth is further from the sun than Venus would make no significant difference to this situation. Due to the highly reflective clouds which enshroud Venus, the planet actually absorbs fewer watts per square meter of sunlight than our present Earth. Nor is the runaway greenhouse reversible. You suggested a scenario by which it might possibly be reversed:

    “…rock weathering and a tectonically active planet might eventually bury enough carbon as carbonate to return conditions to stability.”

    This won’t work (1) because carbonate can’t exist (i.e., is unstable and decomposes) at the temperatures we’re talking about and (2) the strongly acidic environment (mostly due to sulfuric acid derived from sulfur minerals in the planetary crust) would in any case react with carbonate to liberate CO2. As a final technical point, the kind of geochemical weathering you’re talking about depends on liquid water, a no-no under these extreme conditions. So the only possible state of a planet like Venus is exactly the stable state it’s in now. The runaway greenhouse is to a planet what death is to a biological organism—thermodynamically irreversible.