E&E News PM reports on the meeting between PEBO, VPEJB, and the Nobel-Prize-winning VP:
“All three of us are in agreement that the time for delay is over,” Obama said. “The time for denial is over.”
He added, “We all believe what the scientists have been telling us for years now, that this is a matter of urgency and national security, and it has to be dealt with in a serious way. That is what I intend my administration to do.”
Obama has called for a cap-and-trade program that would cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
I will post shortly a detailed analysis on why that 1990 target is no longer adequate. More on the meeting:
We all create our own reality, and shut out the voices we do not want to hear. But there is no issue we are less willing to entertain than man-made climate change. Here, three worlds seem to exist in virtual isolation. In the physical world, global warming appears to be spilling over into runaway feedback: the most dangerous situation humankind has ever encountered. In the political world – at the climate talks in Poznan, for instance – our governments seem to be responding to something quite different, a minor nuisance that can be addressed in due course. Only the Plane Stupid protesters who occupied part of Stansted airport yesterday appear to have understood the scale and speed of this crisis. In cyberspace, by contrast, the response spreading fastest and furthest is flat-out denial.
The most popular article on the Guardian‘s website last week was the report showing that 2008 is likely to be the coolest year since 2000. As the Met Office predicted, global temperatures have been held down by the La Ni±a event in the Pacific Ocean. This news prompted a race on the Guardian’s comment thread to reach the outer limits of idiocy. Of the 440 responses posted by lunchtime yesterday, about 80% insisted that manmade climate change is a hoax. Here’s a sample of the conversation:
By Climate Guest Blogger on Dec 9, 2008 at 2:33 pm
The Washington Post has a terrific profile of Van Jones. Jones authored the recent NYT bestsellerThe Green Collar Economy, and is currently on a book tour discussing how investment in green infrastructure and stimulus can provide pathways out of poverty as part of a national transition to a low-carbon economy.
If you’ve ever read Jones or seen him speak, you know just how moving he can be. His events are widely attended by all ages and racial groups. It’s worth YouTube-ing recent speeches (start here) or checking out a local book event.
The Washington Post quotes him on his uniquely relevant vision for our times:
I’ve just returned from Europe with a new understanding of what the world expects from the United States on global climate change, now that Barack Obama will be president.In a word: Everything.
I spent two days in PoznaÅ„, Poland, at the 14th Conference of the Parties — the gathering of nations now underway to work on a global climate deal scheduled to be signed one year from now in Copenhagen. From there, I went to London for a series of meetings with business and environmental leaders. Because I’ve been involved in proposing a climate action plan for the next president and Congress — one of dozens undoubtedly descending upon the transition team — everyone wanted my take on what President Obama will do.
The weather in Poland was cold and gloomy, the weather in London was cool and foggy, but the mood in both places was sunny in anticipation of U.S. leadership. Obama’s approaching inauguration has filled international climate activists with hope.
Lisa Jackson, President-elect Barack Obama’s co-chair of his energy and natural resources transition team, has emerged as the top candidate to be administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Jackson, a 46-year-old African American engineer, left her job as administrator of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to become Gov. Jon Corzine’s chief of staff on December 1. Jackson has a mixed record at the New Jersey DEP, earning praise for her work ethic but criticism for difficulties achieving the department’s mission.
In an exclusive interview with ThinkProgress, Gov. Corzine says Jackson has been “remarkably successful” despite a limited budget and competing state priorities:
Lisa Jackson is, without question in my mind, someone who has overwhelmingly been successful as an environmentalist, but also she has also been a person who understands that we have to move in a disciplined thoughtful manner. We can’t do everything at once. . . I think Lisa has done a remarkable job of trying to move the environmental agenda forward within a constrained world.
Corzine’s view is shared by local environmentalists like the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions’ Sandy Batty, and Environment New Jersey’s Dena Mottola Jaborska, who told Environment and Energy News that Jackson is “a skilled administrator who’s willing to listen” and the “best DEP commissioner that New Jersey had for a long time.” Jackson’s agency “has suffered from a slate of budget cuts by Democratic and Republican governors alike, and thousands of staff positions have been lost over the years.” Struggling to reduce a multi-billion-dollar state debt, Corzine himself has slashed the DEP budget even as the department’s responsibilities have expanded to handle global warming. Read more
The energy and climate news is coming way too fast and furious for me to comment at length on every story. So here is everyone’s favorite WV reporter, Ken Ward Jr. on the story:
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – One of the world’s largest financial institutions said this week it will phase out lending money to coal operators that use mountaintop removal mining.
Charlotte-based Bank of America Corp. said it will stop financing companies that produce more than half of their coal from mountaintop removal.
“We feel the practice has a significant impact on the environment and on communities,” said company spokesman Ernesto Anguilla.
I’m glad they “feel” that way ’cause it is pretty darn obvious to just about everyone. Still, isn’t it great that the country’s biggest bank is secure enough in its sense of self-worth to share its feelings with us? But I digress:
The conservative movement stagnation has few leaders more frozen in the cement of denial than Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI). Greenwire (subs. req’d) reports that he flew all the way to Poland just to warn “Democrats today that they will lose their congressional majorities in 2010 if they try to pass a significant global warming bill along the lines of what President-elect Barack Obama promised during the campaign.”
Aside from the senseless self-destructiveness of Sensenbrenner’s blanket opposition to serious climate action, the Congressman is apparently unaware of the fact that no climate bill proposed to date kicks in before 2012 — and he is the former Chairman of the House Science Committee! But that doesn’t stop him from ranting about the imminent and dire consequences of trying to pass legislation to avoid the not-so-imminent but infinitely more dire consequences of inaction:
Edited by Joe Romm, we cover climate science, solutions and politics. Columnist Tom Friedman calls us "the indispensable blog" and Time magazine named us one of the 25 "Best Blogs of 2010." Newcomers, start here.