Fossil fuels have very volatile prices. Solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, energy efficiency — not so much. So the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources should be holding a hearing on how the climate and clean energy bill — which accelerates the transition to clean energy sources that never run out and that stabilize the energy bills of American taxpayers — decreases voltality.
“Across the country, Americans are experiencing first-hand the impacts of climate change, from growing pressure on water supplies to more intense droughts and fires to rampant bark beetle infestations,” said Salazar. “Because Interior manages one-fifth of our nation’s landmass and 1.7 billion acres on the Outer Continental Shelf it is imperative that we tackle these impacts of a failed and outdated energy policy. This secretarial order is another milestone in our continuing effort to change how Interior does business to respond to the energy and climate challenges of our time.”
The secretarial order signed today at Interior’s command center establishes a framework through which Interior bureaus will coordinate climate change science and resource management strategies. Under the framework:
Last week, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly promoted the conspiracy theories of a weatherman who believes “the globe is actually cooling.” O’Reilly’s guest, Accuweather meteorologist Joe Bastardi, scoffed at the connection between global warming and wildfires in California. Bastardi — who has an undergraduate degree in meteorology from 1978 and no other academic credentials — went so far as to claim that “global cooling is actually a cause of drought in California”:
I’m gonna show you the facts over the last two years. California has been very, very dry. Why is that the case? Well, whenever the Pacific Ocean starts cooling, and the global temperatures start to cool, California gets dry. You see this ocean temperature presentation, all this cold water off California means the air sinks over top of California. When it sinks, it dries out, so global cooling is actually a cause of drought in California, which by the way is a dry climate naturally.
The upswelling of cold waters in the eastern Pacific, known as La Nina events (the opposite of El Nino events), is certainly a factor in California’s epic drought and unprecedented wildfires. However, what Bastardi fails to mention is that temperatures have also been unusually warm during the present drought, despite the cold La Nina airmass:
Bastardi’s claim of “global cooling” is completely unsubstantiated. Even with the upwelling of cold water during the La Nina cycle, average ocean temperatures during the “cool” years of 2006-2008 were higher than any year before 1997. It has been the warmest decade for both ocean and land temperatures in recorded history. This summer, the La Nina event was replaced by its counterpart, El Nino, and average sea surface temperatures are now at their highest in recorded history.
Bastardi also showed a graph he purported was the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s forecast for global temperatures to “go up, up, up” against actual temperatures “over the last 10 years” supposedly “coming down”:
Fake IPCC Chart Claims ‘Global Cooling’
This graph is from a climate denier conspiracy website, The Next Ice Age Now, whose proprietor Robert Felix believes global warming is actually caused by “underwater volcanism.” The graph cites SPPI — the Science and Public Policy Institute, a fringe climate denier organization. Actual IPCC estimates find measured temperatures over the past decade to be well within the range of the forecasts. Furthermore, the Ice Age Now chart begins in 2001 — not “ten years ago. Because 1999 and 2000 were relatively cool years for this decade (though extremely warm historically), their inclusion in the denier chart would have ruined the “global cooling” claim. Bastardi, like other fringe deniers, is seeing patterns that aren’t there.
In July, O’Reilly mocked “hard core right-wingers who don’t believe in global warming even though the temperature shows that the earth has warmed in the last 30 years, three times faster than the previous hundred,” saying, “you don’t debate that.” Evidently, he’s changed his mind.
By Climate Guest Blogger on Sep 14, 2009 at 1:47 pm
As award-winning journalist Eric Pooley concluded in a comprehensive study of the media’s mistakes and biases during the Lieberman-Warner climate bill debate, “The press failed to perform the basic service of making climate policy and its economic impact understandable to the reader and allowed opponents of climate action to set the terms of the cost debate. The argument centered on the short-term costs of taking action-i.e., higher electricity and gasoline prices-and sometimes assumed that doing nothing about climate change carried no cost.” See How the press bungles its coverage of climate economics “” “The media’s decision to play the stenographer role helped opponents of climate action stifle progress.” The following repost from guest blogger Daniel J. Weiss, a Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, looks at a new study that aims to help address the flaw in economics coverage.
A new analysis of clean energy legislation finds that it will produce likely economic benefits of $1.5 trillion. The finding by the New
York University School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity explains that the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) is “cost”benefit justified under most reasonable assumptions about the likely social cost of carbon.’” In “The Other Side of the Coin: The Economic Benefits of Climate Legislation,” the Institute for Policy Integrity finds that the “benefits of H.R. 2454 could likely exceed the costs by as much as nine-to-one”:
Using conservative assumptions, the benefits of H.R. 2454 could likely exceed the costs by as much as nine-to-one, or more. The estimated benefits do not include a significant number of ancillary and un”quantified benefits, such as the reduction of co”pollutants (particularly sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide), the prevention of species extinction, and lower maintenance costs for energy infrastructure. Due to those limitations, the benefits estimates should be considered to be very conservative.
New York may be on the verge of becoming a world leader in energy efficiency. Working late into the night, the State Senate passed the historic Green Jobs-Green New York bill yesterday after more than a year of hard work from the WFP and a broad coalition of environmentalists, businesses, community groups, labor unions and key Senators and members of the Assembly. The bill – which had already passed the Assembly unanimously and is supported by the Governor – would make energy efficiency upgrades to one million homes and businesses across the state over the next five years and create tens of thousands of badly needed jobs.
Sen. Darrel Aubertine, the bill’s lead Senate sponsor and champion said: “This program will create jobs, save consumers on their energy bills and help get our economy back on track. This bill encourages conservation, helps consumers with the cost of capital improvements to their homes and businesses, and creates jobs in the new economy. It’s a win-win for New York State, especially Upstate New York where a well-trained workforce will be in demand to keep the heat in and energy bills down every winter.”
The key innovation in the bill is a revolving capital fund, which would leverage private investment in energy efficiency to massively increase the use of existing technology. Here’s how it would work: State certified contractors would perform free or low-cost energy audits for homeowners, looking for repairs and upgrades (like air sealing, insulation, new boilers) that can pay for themselves through the energy savings they create.
Here is a very impressive presentation from a 2009 TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference: “Photographer James Balog shares new image sequences from the Extreme Ice Survey, a network of time-lapse cameras recording glaciers receding at an alarming rate, some of the most vivid evidence yet of climate change.”
Sen. Robert Byrd from the coal state of West Virginia has long been seen as a pretty rock solid ‘no’ vote on the climate bill. Nate Silver’s “Probability of Yes” vote for Byrd is 19.4%, and I’ve heard that’s optimistic. He said this summer he wouldn’t vote for the House bill “in its present form” — although, like most Senators, he probably doesn’t know what in it.
Still, he has decided to engage in the process of working with other Democratic senators to push carbon capture and storage technology. His office press release quotes him saying:
“If our nation is to benefit from the next generation of clean coal technology, the private sector needs greater certainty and robust financial support in order to make the necessary investments….
I will continue to engage the Administration and the Senate to make sure that West Virginians have a seat at the table during this climate debate.”
E&E News PM (subs. req’d) had a big story on this Friday night, with details on the proposal:
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