In 2007, Huntsman and Schwarzenegger touted their leadership on climate issues. AP Photo.
Jon Huntsman’s unorthodox presidential campaign is having a tough time dealing with his unconventional energy and environmental record.
Like other GOP candidates who were global warming science and cap-and-trade champions just a few years ago — think Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty — Huntsman has tried to distance himself from his recent history to appeal to the right.
But he’s also courting the middle, which suggests that he could come back to the controversial climate change policy if the economy improves. By doing so, Huntsman is running the risk of being seen as an Arnold Schwarzenegger-style Republican who will only antagonize many of the primary voters he would need to win the GOP nomination.
The former Utah governor will be the keynote speaker July 28 at the Theodore Roosevelt Banquet for the advocacy group Republicans for Environmental Protection, an organization that has criticized House Republicans for their attacks on the Obama administration’s environmental policies.
Huntsman also appears to have sent a message with his hiring this month of Mark McIntosh, an environmental attorney from the George W. Bush White House, as his campaign’s top policy director.
McIntosh most recently worked for former White House General Counsel C. Boyden Gray’s law firm representing industry clients. But what antagonizes the right is a resumé that also includes stints managing policy operations at the Pew Environment Group, handling water and natural resource cases in Florida with Earthjustice and ties to a family foundation that supports the likes of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters and the Earth Day Network.
“To grasp just how significant is McIntosh’s selection, imagine if at the outset of his campaign for the 2000 GOP presidential nomination George W. Bush had appointed as his top policy adviser Carol Browner, former EPA administrator and longtime environmental adviser to Vice President Al Gore,” Mark Tapscott, editorial editor at the Washington Examiner, wrote last week.
Powerful business and industry groups appealed to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson Friday to pull back upcoming smog standards, calling the rules a test case of the White House’s commitment to ensuring regulations don’t hinder U.S. competitiveness.
Senior officials with the Business Roundtable, the American Petroleum Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other groups met with Jackson Friday afternoon to make the case that her decision to toughen Bush-era standards will hurt the economy.
The groups are looking to make the rules politically difficult for the White House to advance by calling them out of step with President Obama’s highly touted executive order this year on regulatory reform.
“This flunks that test,” said Business Roundtable President John Engler after the roughly hour-long meeting at EPA headquarters.
“It is easy in the abstract to be for something, but now we have a . . . test case if you will, and it is a test case involving the most expensive regulation ever to come down the road,” added Engler, a former Republican governor of Michigan.
A new loan program begins today for Southern York County residents who want to make energy improvements to their homes but may not be able to afford a conventional loan.
After 18 months of delays and stumbling blocks, the Seacoast Energy Initiative revolving loan program is ready to be rolled out.
The final action occurred Friday when South Berwick Town Manager Perry Ellsworth signed the agreement. The Town Council on Tuesday unanimously agreed to be the lead town for the program.
The program is being funded with a $500,000 grant from Efficiency Maine Trust. It is expected that $400,000 will be used for the loans and $100,000 will be spent on startup, legal and administrative costs.
Under the terms of the loan program, residents of York, Eliot, Kittery, South Berwick, Ogunquit and North Berwick, regardless of income, can apply to receive a loan up to $7,500.
A Chevron Corp. employee’s email blunder gave a rare—and unintended—glimpse into the inner workings and rich profits of its energy trading operations.
The midday email, inadvertently sent Friday to media organizations, contained spreadsheets, tables and charts that gave a breakdown of Chevron’s profits, losses and exposures trading crude and refined products such as gasoline.
They offered an unusually detailed look at how one of the world’s largest energy producers was able to leverage its size and geographic reach to profit to the tune of $360 million this year to date through trading activities.
Chevron confirmed the authenticity of the documents.
Want to save the planet? Plant a tree.
Or maybe a lot of them. Or maybe don’t cut down so many.
These are the implications of a new study, which found that the world’s forests play an unexpectedly large role in climate change, vacuuming up the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) and storing the carbon in wood, according to research published online Thursday by the journal Science.
That, in turn, helps regulate CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere – and keeps the planet from overheating.
About one-quarter of the earth’s land surface is covered by forest. But while scientists and schoolchildren have long known that trees absorb carbon dioxide, no one was sure how significant their role was, overall. Oceans, the atmosphere, and other terrestrial ecosystems also absorb carbon.
So how much is due to forests? Forests are incredibly diverse across different regions – tropical, boreal, temperate – and different conditions: growing fast, being cut back, dying off, or being replanted. Researchers have struggled to get a complete picture of how much impact forests alone had on climate. Until now.
With all eyes riveted on the debt talks and efforts to avert an economy-busting government default, little attention is being paid to another debt that is similarly ballooning out of control and threatening to spur its own economic chaos:
The carbon debt.
Those pesky greenhouse gas emissions that we spew to power our businesses, drive our cars and heat and cool our homes are accumulating in the atmosphere like an unpaid bill with compounding interest.
Economists now say that the bill for all that unchecked carbon pollution is a lot bigger than previously thought — and that the longer we wait to pay it, the more it’s going to cost us.
A new peer-reviewed report released this week by the Economics and Equity for the Environment (E3) network found that each ton of carbon dioxide emitted in the atmosphere results in as much as $893 in economic damages, far greater than the government’s current estimate of $21 per ton.
Jim Rekoske is a scientist and a businessman, so he doesn’t much care for predictions. His expertise, though, is in a field that’s fueled by predictions.
As vice president and general manager of Honeywell’s UOP renewable energy and chemicals business, Rekoske is helping lead an effort that has a growing demand, yet so far little supply.
To some, his predictions may seem bold, but so is the cause — to create a clean energy market that will supply the fuel that powers the future of aviation.
“The demand is there,” he said. “The ability to grow these oils in a way that does not impact the food chain also exists. There really is no reason [this couldn’t work] other than the normal inertia, which is present at the beginning of any new endeavor. So we need to overcome that normal inertia.”
If the industry can get past that resistance, Rekoske envisions 1 to 1.5 billion gallons a year of plant-based oil being converted to jet fuels and being blended at up to a 50 percent mix with the 65 to 70 billion gallons of conventional jet fuel produced each year.