The motion to recommit (to kill the bill) failed 191-226.
Last month, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center reported “the globally-averaged combined land and sea surface temperature was … the ninth warmest for the January-July year-to-date period” (out of 129 years), as I reported here. The first seven months of the year were +0.45°C (+0.81°F) warmer than the 1961-1990 average.
Now here’s the shocking news. The NCDC just reported that “the globally-averaged combined land and sea surface temperature … ranked as the ninth warmest … January-August year-to-date period.” The first eight months of the year were … wait for it … +0.45°C (+0.81°F) warmer than the 1961-1990 average.
So you see, there has been essentially no warming whatsoever from July to August, which is probably because August tied with 1995 as the tenth warmest on record.
Bottom line: Other than a record decline in Arctic sea ice (see “Arctic shrinks by an Alaska and 3 Arizonas in August“), August was a pretty dull month climate-wise — heck, “El Ni±o/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions were in a neutral phase during August” — and I was desperately trying to spice it up with a sexy headline that might at least temporarily excite my few remaining denier readers.
Since interest in the campaign seems to have brought in a bunch of new readers in the last few weeks, let me repeat the key points from my last post on the monthly data.
McCain Rep Lies: McCain’s Global Warming Targets ‘Consistent With International Scientific Consensus’
I’ll be appearing on the live Meet the Bloggers webcast this Friday, September 19, at 1 PM: meetthebloggers.org.
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Sen. John McCain’s “I’m a Ph.D. economist” adviser, is evidently having a mental meltdown, perhaps brought on by the collapse in the financial markets engineered by McCain’s other “economic brain,” Phil Gramm.
Although his comment giving Sen. McCain credit for the miraculous invention of the Blackberry is meriting deserved ridicule, Holtz-Eakin’s column in yesterday’s Financial Times on climate change includes unambiguous lies to defend McCain’s polluter-friendly climate plan. Holtz-Eakin lies about McCain’s cap and trade plan:
His policy would reduce emissions to 2005 levels by 2012 and ultimately 66 per cent below 2005 levels by 2050, and would cover sectors responsible for just below 90 per cent of all emissions. These targets are consistent with the international scientific consensus and reflect the balance between environmental objectives and the need for economic growth. . . . Despite this, Mr Obama has chosen an unrealistic target for emissions reductions, and opposes measures to ease the transition.
The numbers are accurate, but everything else is a lie. The international scientific consensus in 2007, as clearly defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report (Working Group III, Chapter 13, Box 13.7), calls for the United States and other industrialized nations to reduce emissions 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, and 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
McCain’s targets are totally inconsistent with the international scientific consensus, and Obama’s are also insufficient, though less so. Holtz-Eakin’s claim that Obama’s targets are “unrealistic” is bizarre, considering that McCain and Obama have proposed the same emissions target for the year 2020.
McCain’s plan has major loopholes which would make achieving such targets unlikely. Furthermore, McCain supports giveaways of pollution credits to industry, guaranteeing massive windfall profits for polluters at the expense of American families.
But this analysis is likely giving too much credence to the words of Holtz-Eakin directed to the international audience of the Financial Times. Speaking to the American public, McCain surrogates like Steve Forbes and Tim Pawlenty have denigrated cap-and-trade legislation. In 2000, candidate Bush claimed he’d regulate carbon dioxide pollution, but put Dick Cheney in charge of energy policy. In an eerie replay, McCain today has tapped Sarah Palin — who doesn’t believe in global warming — to be in charge of energy policy.
I understand that CGI will also have Senator Inhofe keynote on climate science, Karl Rove on ethics, and President Bush on openness in government. Seriously — or ridiculously, take your pick — the CGI has announced that
Would this be the John McCain who voted with Inhofe (R-Big Oil) and against clean energy and clean water a staggering 42 out of 44 times in the past decade? Or the McCain who then missed eight straight votes on renewable energy tax credits only to lie about it at the Aspen Institute on videotape?
Or the McCain who told voters at a videotaped town meeting that even if you maximized renewable energy “in every possible way the contribution that that would make given the present state of technology is very small, is very small…. I’d be glad to send you the figure…. the truly clean technologies don’t work“?
Or the McCain who picked a global warming denier as his running mate? Or the McCain who mocked the idea of energy efficiency this summer? Or who managed to tell a mere 10 energy lies in his big convention speech?
The events of the last few days, weeks, and months on Wall Street are, I think, sadly germane to this blog. Of all the characteristics that quintessentially define what it means to be a modern American today, “living beyond our means” would certainly be at the top of the list.
We are seeing a massive and ultimately unsustainable transfer of wealth from Americans to other countries, particularly China and the oil producing nations. The inevitable result is a long-term decline in the value of the dollar and hence a long-term decline in our standard of living relative to the rest of the world — all in the name of overconsumption and, ultimately, self-destruction. It almost makes you want to shout, “Drill baby, drill.” Almost.
So it’s hardly a surprise that our entire financial system appears to be a house of cards. I’m not sure anyone should shed a tear for the Masters of the Universe at Lehman, but they had started to do some good work in the carbon/climate arena, which I had previously blogged on. In memorium I’ll repost the highlights.
McCain: ‘I Do’ Support An End To Mountain-Top Removal, But Coal Companies Also ‘Doing A Much Better Job’
UPDATE: Video via Progressive Accountability added.
In a townhall meeting yesterday in Orlando, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was asked if he supported an end to the economically and ecologically destructive practice of mountaintop removal coal mining. His reply:
Mountaintop removal is decimating Appalachia — 25 percent of Wise County’s historic mountain ranges have been destroyed forever.
McCain couldn’t let well enough alone. He then incoherently continued, “I’ve seen a dramatic improvement in the behavior of the coal companies. They are doing a much better job.”
McCain’s answer may have been influenced by the many coal lobbyists running his campaign, like Frank Donatelli (Dominion Resources), Jerry Kilgore (Alpha Natural Resources), and Nancy Pfotenhauer (Koch Industries). In the past eight years, the use of mountaintop removal — destructively blowing up mountain peaks to reach coal seams with as few workers as possible — has steadily risen. Coal companies are making record profits by exploiting workers and raping the land at an ever faster clip. Here are just a few of the crimes and misbehaviors of King Coal in recent years:
Massey Energy, The Largest Coal Company In Appalachia, Has A Horrendous Labor, Safety, and Environmental Record. Between 1997 and 2006 there were 12 fatalities at Massey mines. Less than 4% of Massey’s workforce is unionized. An EPA suit for $2.4 billion worth of fines for thousands of Clean Water Act violations, including a 300 million gallon coal slurry flood, was settled in January 2008 for $20 million. Former Massey executives hold top regulatory positions in the Bush Administration. [RAN; Gristmill, 12/19/07]
Massey’s Corrupt Judges Overturn $76 Million Verdict. Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship spent millions to install corrupt judges on the West Virginia Supreme Court, even sharing Monte Carlo vacations. In April, the Supreme Court overturned a $76 million verdict against Massey, with Brent Benjamin, on whose election Blankenship spent $3.5 million, casting the deciding vote. [Gristmill, 4/5/08]
Utah Coal Company Sues To Prevent Voter Oversight Of Power Plants. “Attorneys for a power company are suing to remove a ballot initiative in Sevier County that could stand in the way of a new coal-fired power plant. Proposition 1 would require voter approval before the county can issue a ‘conditional-use’ permit for facilities like a power plant. It would also revoke permits already approved for construction of a power plant.” [AP, 9/1/08]
‘Reckless Disregard For Safety’ Led To Deadly Crandall Canyon Disaster. The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration asked for a criminal investigation into the August 2007 Crandall Canyon coal mining disaster, which killed nine men. MSHA official Richard E. Stickler said, “Through its investigation of the tragic accidents last year at Crandall Canyon, MSHA determined that the operator and its engineering consultants demonstrated reckless disregard for safety.” [MSHA, 9/3/08; Mineweb, 9/4/08]
Peabody Coal Bankrolling ‘Drill Here, Drill Now’ Propaganda. Peabody Energy, the largest coal company in the world, is the largest corporate backer of American Solutions for Winning the Future, Newt Gingrich’s 527 corporation selling the false “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” campaign to block progressive energy solutions. [Wonk Room, 7/30/08]
So what is the “much better job” that McCain claims the coal companies are now doing? The only act King Coal has cleaned up is their propaganda campaign to sell “clean coal,” joining Big Oil to spend two million dollars a day promoting their agenda of continuing to dig America deeper into the pollution pit.
See extended video from Progressive Accountability.
UPDATE #2: The Center for American Progress Action Fund letter on the bill is here. Bottom line: CAPAF supports it.
UPDATE #1: The full bill is here.
The thorough Congressional Quarterly summary is here.
A shorter summary from the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming is here.
And then E&E News (subs. req’d) has a good piece on the bill, reprinted below:
Deseret News, owned by the Mormon Church and “usually described as moderate to conservative” may have begun the slow march toward climate reality. A story this month titled, “Bark beetles are feasting on Utah forests” begins
A vicious cycle is brewing in Utah: Bark beetles are killing a lot of trees in the state. Dead trees are fuel for wildfires, which experts say contributes to global warming. And climate change is now being blamed for an increased population of bark beetles.
The Dixie National Forest bears one of the most obvious signs in Utah of the mark being left by a tiny tree predator commonly known as the bark beetle, a wood-boring insect that in large enough numbers can decimate an entire forest.
“We’re talking hundreds of thousands of acres they have basically been wiped out — pretty much the entire spruce component in the Dixie National Forest,” said Colleen Keyes, forest-health program manager for Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. “It’s really something to see. You would be very surprised. It’s hard to describe until you see it — it’s just dead trees as far as the eye can see.”
The fact that bark beetles wipe out whole species of trees or are a vicious climate cycle is not suprising to Climate Progress readers (see “Nature on stunning new climate feedback: Beetle tree kill releases more carbon than fires” and “Climate-Driven Pest Devours N. American Forests“) — or to our neighbors to the north.
“The pine beetle infestation is the first major climate change crisis in Canada” notes Doug McArthur, a professor at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. The pests are “projected to kill 80 per cent of merchantable and susceptible lodgepole pine” in parts of British Columbia within 10 years — and that’s why the harvest levels in the region have been “increased significantly.”
No surprise, then, that the disaster is even bigger in our most northern state, which just happens to be run by a global warming denier. As Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) explained two years ago: