Former EPA administrator Carol Browner will also be participating in the event.
Details here. Possibly more to come Monday morning.
Former EPA administrator Carol Browner will also be participating in the event.
Details here. Possibly more to come Monday morning.
International negotiators are flocking to PoznaÅ„, Poland to figure out how to extend the Kyoto protocol, whose climate targets end in 2012. I believe that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process is essentially dead — especially from a United States perspective — as I will discuss this week.
Still, PoznaÅ„ will be getting a lot of media attention from December 1 to 12, even if the United States is still represented by a bunch of bad cops. So here’s what you need to know. As the website on PoznaÅ„, aka COP-14, explains:
In part one, I suggested four principles that President-elect Obama’s economic team should follow as they create an economic recovery package. To sum up,
Obama clearly understands this prescription. He has announced that he will champion a two-year recovery package to create 2.5 million jobs, in part by “creating the clean energy infrastructure of the twenty-first century.” To his credit, he told governors and international leaders meeting in
“I promise you this,” he said in a taped address. “When I am president, any governor who’s willing to promote clean energy will have a partner in the White House. Any company that’s willing to invest in clean energy will have an ally in
The question is whether the Congress and the American people will support a recovery package designed not just for short-term stimulus, but for long-term health.
Obama hasn’t said how big his investment package will be, but there is speculation it could climb to as much as $700 billion. Here are some suggestions on how some of that money should be allocated:
The Canadian Coast Guard has confirmed that in a major first, a commercial ship travelled through the Northwest Passage this fall to deliver supplies to communities in western Nunavut.
The MV Camilla Desgagn©s, owned by Desgagn©s Transarctik Inc., transported cargo from Montreal to the hamlets of Cambridge Bay, Kugluktuk, Gjoa Haven and Taloyoak in September.
“We did have a commercial cargo vessel that did the first scheduled run from Montreal, up through the eastern Arctic, through the Northwest Passage to deliver cargo to communities in the west,” Brian LeBlanc of the Canadian Coast Guard told CBC News.
“That was the first — that I’m aware of anyway — commercial cargo delivery from the east through the Northwest Passage.”
NEW ERA IN ARCTIC SHIPPING?
When Barack Obama introduced us to his economic team in Chicago this week, you could almost hear an intercom blasting in the background: “Dr. Obama, please report to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, stat.”
The new advisors gathered around the President-elect looked like a crew of brilliant doctors about to go to work on a patient who is flat on his back and suffering a heart attack together with a bunch of strange and confusing symptoms — an apt description of the our economy today.
[JR: Thankfully, Barack is not cantankerous, misanthropic, and Vicodin-addicted, like a certain TV doc modeled after Sherlock Holmes. And hopefully, unlike both George Bush and Gregory House, team Obama won't nearly kill the patient several times before finding the right cure.]
How the Obama team chooses to diagnose and treat the patient will mean everything for the long-term prognosis. The economy needs more than a jolt from a defilibrator; it needs a heart transplant. The doctors should use the paddles if they must, but the patient needs a lot more treatment, both short and long term.
As Obama’s team begins work on a recovery package, I hope they’ll keep a few guiding principles in mind.
The Washington Post has a good piece on the Herculean effort the new heads of the EPA and Interior Department will face in dealing with the mess the Bushies made. This mess is comparable to the one Hercules cleaned up in his fifth labor when he diverted an entire river to clean up the Augean Stables.
The article also includes the long list of the names that have been floated so far for both agencies
Few federal agencies are expected to undergo as radical a transformation under President-elect Barack Obama as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department, which have been at the epicenter of many of the Bush administration’s most intense scientific and environmental controversies.
The Politico noticed the “overheated” response to their journalistic blunder (see “Politico pimps global cooling for Hill deniers“). To their credit, they partly acknowledge they made a mistake:
Giving voice to the losing side of a national debate is often fraught with peril. It requires navigating a terrain littered with grudges, slights, insults and hard feelings.
To do that without becoming ensnared requires extraordinary care. In Politico’s case, we slipped.
The article in question was never intended to offer a sweeping examination of the scientific support for or against climate change.
It set out only to provide an update on the last hold-outs against global warming given the dramatic shifts — both electorally and in public opinion — against their position.
Politico found them still feisty and readying for a fight despite their diminishing odds.
That’s the part we got right.
Here’s where we slipped: The headline overstated what was in the story. That’s a chronic problem in the industry that might have been mitigated if the article had plainly stated its narrow intent, which it didn’t. It also should have included the challenges to the cited scientific data.
Indeed, the headline was especially bad: “Scientists urge caution on global warming.” But so was the whole story, which Politico is still reluctant to accept:
[JR: The story doesn't say, but I assume the solar from the Mojave would be solar baseload aka CSP.]
In Los Angeles on Monday, Mayor Villaraigosa’s office presented a ground-breaking plan to generate 1.3 GW of solar electricity by 2020. But this effort is just one of many initiatives that LA has taken as a leader in urban sustainability and green policies.
[This is my list. I'd love to hear what you feel thankful for.]
10. Tina Palin [Sarah Fey?]. Palin helped ruin John McCain’s chances by turning off independents and in general being emblematic of his erratic approach to decision-making. Plus she is the gift that keeps on giving as “64% of GOP voters say Palin is their top choice for 2012,” which means she may help lead conservatives to an even bigger defeat in 2012. And she made possible Fey’s SNL uber-fey impression. Talk about win-win. Thank you very much!
9. Climate Scientists. If you enjoy spending time outdoors, thank a climate scientist for helping to alert the world in the 1970s and 1980s to the dangers of chlorofluorocarbons, which led the nations of the world to control their use just in the nick of time to save the ozone layer that protects us from dangerous ultraviolet radiation. Can you believe that within five years of the first scientific papers on CFCs deadly impact, the United States voluntarily banned their use in spray cans? Now saving the planet requires much more than simply doing good science. It requires a willingness to suffer the gauntlet of the climate deniers disinformation campaign. And the stakes are much higher — the health and well-being of the next 50 generations. TYVM James Hansen et al.
8. The Thrilla in Vanilla. OK, it wasn’t Ali-Frazier, but Henry Waxman’s smackdown of John Dingell for chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee was high drama with high consequences. Finally, we have a champion of serious action and strong regulation, someone who gets the dire nature of global warming, in charge of the crucial committee for climate, energy, and health-care legislation. TYVM House Democrats!
7. The Daily Show. And the Rachel Maddow Show. And the Colbert Report. With a gazillion channels, the wasteland is vaster than ever. But thanks to Jon Stewart and his ilk, sometimes TV seems only half vast [and yes, I've waited a long time to use that pun]. How would we really know what’s going on — and how would we retain even a smidgen of our sanity — without these modern-day bards? Certainly not by paying attention to the drivel that passes for the MSM (see, for instance, “The New York Times blows the bark beetle story“). Oh, and maybe a TYVM to Mad Men, House, Entourage, Battlestar Galactica, and yes, Lost, for distracting us or at least me from the worst reality television show in history — The West Wing starring Dick Cheney and George Bush.
The Bush White House, though in the shadows of President-elect Barack Obama’s transition effort, continues to subvert the rule of law and impede action on global warming — in other words, Bush isn’t just pardoning turkeys. Last week, the White House emailed mayors asking them to oppose the Environmental Protection Agency’s draft proposal for greenhouse gas regulations. According to the Washington Post, the email by Jeremy J. Broggi, associate director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs reminded mayors to formally submit complaints to the EPA:
At the time, President Bush warned that this was the wrong way to regulate emissions. Chairman John D. Dingell called it “a glorious mess.” And many of you contacted us to let us know how harmful this rule would be to the economies of the cities and counties you serve.
Broggi, a young Dick Cheney protegé, also linked to a November 20 U.S. Chamber of Commerce blog post by Bill Kovacs that makes the absurd claim regulation of carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act “will operate as a de facto moratorium on major construction and infrastructure projects.” Broggi’s lobbying against his own government is nothing new — last year the Department of Transportation lobbied Congress to oppose global warming regulations.
To avoid action on global warming despite a direct order from the Supreme Court, Bush’s people have brazenly flouted their Constitutional obligation to faithfully execute the law, ignoring science, ignoring Congressional subpoenas, even ignoring emails from the EPA. Just as former attorney general Alberto Gonzales claimed the Geneva Convention’s ban on torture was “quaint,” EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson called the Clean Air Act “outdated” and “ill-suited” to the task of regulating greenhouse gas emissions.
However, it is the approach of the likes of George Bush, Stephen Johnson, Bill Kovacs, and John Dingell to the climate crisis that is “outdated,” “ill-suited,” and “a glorious mess” — not laws like the Clean Air Act. Robert Sussman, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund and co-chairman of Obama’s EPA transition team, explained last month:
In fact, a new administration could enforce new global warming regulations with common sense, focusing on large emitters of greenhouse gases to achieve reasonable reductions while spurring trillions of dollars worth of economic growth and green-collar jobs.
Come January, Dingell will have been replaced as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), and the Bush administration by Obama’s team. Sadly, Kovacs will continue plugging his dangerous message of inaction, although major companies are starting to abandon the Chamber’s reactionary rhetoric.
Broggi’s email reminded Bush’s allies in “bold, underlined text” that the public comment period for these proposed regulations closes this Friday, November 28. You can join the We Campaign in sending the message that the EPA can and should take immediate action to control global warming and to help repower America.
Kalee Kreider, Al Gore’s spokeswoman, tells the Wonk Room: “We look forward to a day when the Chamber of Commerce is not seen as a neutral arbiter of information and the rule of reason is re-established in governance.”
NOTE: See below for definition of the inane “Gore effect.”
The mere fact that the National Review Online would name their climate blog “Planet Gore” (PG) tells you how little regard they have for science in general or for those working to prevent the greatest preventable threat to the health and well-being of future generations.
In the blogosphere, strong adjectives fly wildly, and I myself have been known to use them from time to time. But Chris Horner’s attack on me (and Grist’s Dave Roberts) today is beyond the pale. Responding to our shredding of what are easily two of the worst climate pieces of this century by a reasonably legitimate news operation (see “Politico pimps global cooling for Hill deniers” and “Politico’s journalist malpractice“), PG’s Chris Horner wrote:
On cue, aspiring Obama administration climate thug Joe Romm of the Soros-funded Climate Progress … and David “Nuremburg-syle trials for those b@$tards” Roberts of Grist did what they’re paid to do: change the subject by attacking the person with names and slurs.
First off, that requires an apology. I have made very clear I do not aspire to the Obama administration. Seriously, though, in what way am I “a brutal ruffian or assassin“? That does require an apology. It is inexcusable, even for someone with Bush-like language skills who doesn’t know the meaning of the word nonplussed and who once told CNN’s Glenn Beck, “This is a political issue because it’s been politicized, and we wouldn’t even be talking about it right now if it weren’t for the politicians.”
Second, Horner wins the 2008 “instant self-revelation award” for revealing himself to be a hypocrite in a single sentence. He calls me a “thug” and then claims I change the subject by attacking the person with “names and slurs.” As anyone who read my post can see, I provided extensive links to studies and experts who debunked the Politico’s central nonsense about global cooling. Characteristically, however, Horner simply rants without any appeal to facts or evidence.
Third, Horner works on climate issues as a Counsel at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which actually runs ad campaigns aimed at destroying the climate for centuries. You can read all about Horner at ExxonSecrets.org. He is a master of pushing long-debunked denier talking points, stating as recently as April 2005, “the atmosphere inarguably shows no appreciable warming in the 25-year history of satellite and radiosonde measurements (initiated in response to the cooling panic).” Amazing how “inarguable” denier claims turn out not only to be arguable but scientifically disapprovable — yet CEI still keeps the long-debunked statement on its website.
Energy companies remove the tops of entire mountains. Now it turns out humanity’s use of that coal is removing the tops of entire glaciers.
Climate models have repeatedly underestimated the speed and scale of major climate change impacts (see list below). That is why climate scientists — and indeed everyone but the blinkered deniers — are increasingly desperate that the we cut emissions sharply and quickly.
A major new study by leading international cryosphere scientists, including American’s own
rock ice star, Lonnie Thompson,”Mass loss on Himalayan glacier endangers water resources” (subs. req’d), finds yet another key impact occurring faster than predicted — the melting of the Naimona’nyi Glacier in the Himalaya (Tibet). The study concludes ominously:
If Naimona’nyi is characteristic of other glaciers in the region, alpine glacier meltwater surpluses are likely to shrink much faster than currently predicted with substantial consequences for approximately half a billion people.
The study notes that Naimona’nyi is the highest glacier (6 kilometers above sea level) “documented to be losing mass annually.” MSNBC reports:
Lonnie Thompson of Ohio State University and a team of researchers traveled to central Himalayas in 2006 to study the Naimona’nyi glacier, expecting to find some melting…. But when the team analyzed samples of glacier, what they found stunned them.
The glacier was being literally decapitated like a West Virginia coal mountain:
As part of its stimulus and financial recovery efforts, the British equivalent of the Secretary of Treasury, Chancellor Alistair Darling, has announced a £100m pledge to insulate homes in the UK.
The measure has three purposes: to stimulate the economy through an initiative that will create jobs and spark economic activity, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity/heat used during the winter, and finally, to trim the energy bills of approximately 60,000 homes.
The package that Chancellor Darling announced is a long-term investment in the country’s infrastructure (other measures included accelerated spending for flood defense, rail transit, energy efficiency) in order to trigger near-term stimulus. The Center for American Progress (CAP) has proposed a similar set or proposals (here) as an economic and green recovery pathway.
Judy Woodruff introduced the first segment tonight by very briefly mentioning a “changing climate.” But neither of the two stories on the plight of the polar bear included even a single sentence to let the viewer know that human emissions are almost certainly the primary cause for the loss of Arctic ice that the polar bears rely on for feeding.
That’s doubly pathetic from one of the few TV shows that typically uses its extra coverage time to lay out the full issue in a thoughtful manner. You can listen to the audio here, but I wouldn’t bother.
The media bear much of the blame for our inaction to date.
An award-winning Swedish design firm, ADDI, has a novel plan to save the polar bears from the loss of their Arctic ice habitat:
I’m about to reveal Canadian state secrets:
William Shatner is an overacting jerk. The tar sands are an unfixable climate disaster.
Lock me up in Gitmo! Or wherever the Canadian version of that hellhole is. I’m guessing Athabasca.
The Onion CBC News reports:
CBC News has obtained a government document that says reducing greenhouse gases from Western Canada’s oilsands will be much more difficult than some politicians and the industry suggest.
The ministerial briefing notes, initially marked “Secret,” say that just a small percentage of the carbon dioxide released in mining the sands and producing fuel from them can be captured.
The oilsands are the fastest-growing source of CO2 in the country, set to increase from five per cent to 16 per cent of total emissions by 2020 under current plans.
Capturing the gas and pumping it underground has been the key public strategy for reducing the oilsands industry’s contribution to global warming.
Only in Canada is it a government secret that conservative politicians and the fossil fuel industry lie to further their agenda. At least in the good old United States of America, our state secrets are really secretive stuff like torture and eavesdropping.
Erika Lovley, the Politico’s energy and environment reporter, today wrote a full-page article on the dying breed of global warming deniers that promotes their brand of toxic stupidity.
Lovley unquestioningly quotes extremist denier Joseph D’Aleo, Sen. Jim Inhofe’s (R-OK) aide Marc Morano, and Cato Institute fellow Patrick Michaels in a piece littered with bald assertions and slanders against the scientific community without any basis in reality.
She talks of a “growing accumulation of global cooling science,” and a “growing number of scientists” who are “questioning how quickly the warming is happening and whether humans are actually the leading cause.” She claims Al Gore is a “crusader on climate change” who is “unconcerned” by the “growing science.”
The only specifics she mentions to support this extended screed are D’Aleo’s “Is Global Warming on the Wane?” in the Old Farmer’s Almanac and the Global Warming Petition Project. The Almanac piece purports that global warming is due to sunspot variation, and the petition claims — as Lovley faithfully transcribes — to have the signatures of “31,000 scientists across the world” agreeing with the assertion that “man’s impact on climate change can’t be reasonably proven.” These are both zombie lies, animated by the efforts of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and credulous reporters like Erika Lovley, years after they have been pronounced dead by all reputable authorities: Read more
A coalition of leading environmental groups has delivered a 400-page report (pdf) to PEBO’s transition team covering every aspect of energy and environmental policy.
The NRDC’s Switchboard blog has a bunch of more manageable summaries by their leading experts here.
If you like the old media’s misreporting on climate (see “The NYT blows the bark beetle story” and so does NBC), then you’ll love this whopper from the Politico, “Scientists urge caution on global warming,” which opens:
Climate change skeptics on Capitol Hill are quietly watching a growing accumulation of global cooling science and other findings that could signal that the science behind global warming may still be too shaky to warrant cap-and-trade legislation.
Growing accumulation? Too shaky? An entire piece on climate science that never actually talks to one single reputable climate scientist?
Even as pure political reporting, the piece is beneath rank amateurish — as if climate change deniers on the Hill are “quietly” doing anything.
Has the reporter, Erika Lovley (sic), been following this issue for more than a week? Note to Ms. Lovley: The deniers on the Hill have been shouting their disinformation for years. Try listening to the recent Senate climate bill debate (see “Is 450 ppm politically possible? Part 6: What the Boxer-Lieberman-Warner bill debate tells us“).
This piece wins the 2008 prize for a press release masquerading as journalism – a tough category to win given the competition: NYT suckered by ExxonMobil in puff piece titled “Green is for Sissies.”
Even by old media’s standards, the story is laughable. It is built around “Weather Channel co-founder Joseph D’Aleo and other scientists” who are pushing the “global cooling theory” (aka well-debunked denier talking point numero uno, see links below).
Note to Ms. Lovley: D’Aleo holds no doctorate in any scientific discipline. Whether holding a Masters in meteorology qualifies in general as being a scientist I will leave to others, but meteorologists should not simply be treated or quoted as experts on climate (see “Are meteorologists climate experts?“).
Here’s where the Politico jumps the shark into the territory best left to The Onion. The story actually builds its case around D’Aleo’s article in that well-known, highly credible, peer-reviewed scientific climate journal, The 2009 Old Farmer’s Almanac.
You can’t make this stuff up. Well, maybe you can’t, but deniers can. They can make stuff up, print it in places like the Almanac, and then get “media” outlets like the Politico to regurgitate it wholesale:
I’m reprinting a piece from Meg Imholt, an intern at Greenpeace USA and V.P. of American University‘s environmental club, EcoSense. GM continues to fund and pimp fuel cell vehicles aka “The car of the perpetual future” or “The Last Car You Would Ever Buy — Literally.” The key point is Meg’s final one — “green” remains primarily a marketing strategy for GM: