May 10 News: Biden Says ‘You Should Be Attacking The Carbon Emissions, Period’

Joe Biden waxes prosaic about the impediments to action on climate change and what accomplishment he is proudest of: the clean energy investments in the Recovery Act. [Rolling Stone]

In the very beginning, we decided that we had to move on this. And we thought, cap-and-trade. But it got shut down, even when we had a Democratic Congress. So from that point on, the president has been trying to figure out how he can use his executive authority to make some real changes. We’ve been dealing with a Congress where a significant portion of the other party thinks there’s no such thing as global warming. …

The thing I’m proudest of that we were able to get done in the first term was the Recovery Act. It had $90 billion in clean-energy programs. We had a lot of money going into research and development, and also tax credits for wind and solar energy. Republicans say to me, “That’s not government’s role,” and I say, “Why in the devil do you think we have the investment tax credit you guys get for drilling for oil? How did that start?” The reason it started was six, seven decades ago, we didn’t have the technology to know how many dry wells you had to dig before you hit a gusher, so we rewarded people for going out and exploring. We still spend $4 billion a year on that — and they don’t even need it anymore. And yet they fight us on renewable-energy tax credits. …

But it’s been hard to get our arms around, with this Congress, what you know you should be doing. You should be attacking the carbon emissions, period, and whether it’s cap-and-trade or carbon tax or whatever, that’s the realm in which we should be playing. In the meantime, the president is going to use his executive authority to, essentially, clean up the bad stuff, encourage the good stuff and promote private industry moving in that direction. If we had a different Congress, I think you’d see a more aggressive emissions legislation.

Senate Republicans continue to prevent a committee vote on Gina McCarthy’s nomination to head the EPA after boycotting the meeting yesterday morning. [New York Times]

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Bob Semple on the GOP “temper tantrum” yesterday: “What’s truly dumb about this charade is that Ms. McCarthy is not an ideologue.” [New York Times]

Organizing for America continues to roll out its offensive on congressional climate deniers, recommending investment in tin foil hats. [The Hill]

The Economist on hitting 400ppm: “The last time such values prevailed on Earth was in the Pliocene epoch, 4m years ago, when jungles covered northern Canada.” [Economist]

Is there a civil war brewing in the Republican Party over acknowledging the reality of climate change? [National Journal]

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If it’s cold, it must be time for a poll to show that fewer Americans believe climate change is happening. [U.S. News and World Report]

Prince Charles tees off on climate deniers and “the international association of corporate lobbyists,” saying they are turning the Earth into a “dying patient.” [Guardian]

U.S. oil production is at a 21-year high, which makes it hard to argue that the Obama Administration is waging a war on fossil fuel leasing. [CNBC]

More concerning than fracking putting fluids into the groundwater is fracking taking all the groundwater. [Huffington Post]

Air pollution increases the risk of resistance to insulin, which can turn into diabetes in children. [Bloomberg]

The U.S. Global Change Research Program released a tool that helps researchers examining links between public health and climate change. [The Hill]

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The Army is starting off a $7 billion investment in renewable energy with a set of power purchasing agreements in geothermal energy. [GreenTech Media]

Myanmar will have the world’s third-largest solar plant. [CleanTechnica]