Saturday, September 5, 2009
- Solar panels to boost property prices
- "Green" Verizon sponsoring anti-climate rally backed by coal giant Massey Energy
- Swing state poll finds 60% "would be more likely to vote for their senator if he or she supported the bill" and Independents support the bill 2-to-1
- Imagine a World without Fish: Deadly ocean acidification — hard to deny, harder to geo-engineer, but not hard to stop — is subject of documentary
Posted: 03 Sep 2009 08:36 AM PDT
The UK website BusinessGreen reports on a survey of 2,700 UK adults, which "found that half of respondents are interested in finding out whether their home is suitable for renewable energy systems, such as solar panels":
The same should apply in this country, especially since a lot Americans understand energy prices are going up whether or not there is a climate bill. The point is that as peak oil kicks in and the reality of human-caused climate change becomes painfully clear, energy efficiency, geothermal heat pumps, solar panels and the like will increasingly be seen as a desirable if not essential elements of a home, like an up-to-date kitchen, rather than just a "cost."
The story on the from the Energy Saving Trust survey continues:
Hence the need for maintaining tax credits, until we have a price for CO2 that represents its full damage cost.
Posted: 03 Sep 2009 05:58 AM PDT
Major U.S. companies must decide if they support clean energy, which delivers clean air and protects clean water for our children — or do they support the greedy corporate polluters? This ThinkProgress post exposes another company trying to have it both ways.
On Labor Day, tens of thousands of people will be gathering for the coal-powered "Friends of America Rally" in Holden, WV. The point of the gathering is to rail against the Waxman-Markey clean energy legislation. It will feature right-wing guests such as Sean Hannity and Ted Nugent (who once ranted about killing Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton), and is being pushed by mountaintop-removal mining company Massey Energy. Last week, Massey CEO Don Blankenship even recorded a video inviting people to attend the rally, saying they would learn about how "environmental extremists and corporate America are both trying to destroy your jobs." Watch it:
The sponsors for the rally are mostly regional oil, gas, and coal companies. However, the list also includes the Science and Public Policy Institute — a fringe climate-denial organization — and Verizon Wireless. CREDO Action recently launched a campaign calling on Verizon to drop its sponsorship. CREDO Political Director Becky Bond contacted Verizon's Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Gerace to inform him that that CREDO would be launching a campaign against Verizon. Gerace responded by disparaging Bond:
For the record, Bond never lived in a tree. Verizon's vice president of federal government relations also sits on the board of the global-warming denier National Association of Manufacturers.
Blankenship recently gained attention because the Supreme Court rebuked him for buying West Virginia judges. He has called opponents of his coal "communists," "atheists," and "greeniacs" and labeled a cap and trade system a "Ponzi scheme."
Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Laura Merritt told the Charleston Gazette that Verizon's decision to sponsor the rally was made "at the local level to support the community." "It wasn't an effort to take a position on any particular issue," she added. However, the pro-coal policies that Verizon is now sponsoring actually hurt communities in West Virginia. As the Wonk Room's Brad Johnson has written:
Interestingly, Verizon brags that "environmental stewardship is ingrained in Verizon's heritage, and the company prides itself on having a positive influence on the environment in which it operates." It has a whole page devoted to its "green initiatives." Take action here and tell Verizon that if it really wants to be green, it needs to stop sponsoring global warming denial rallies.
Update Miles Grant points out that the rally is being held "on a previous surface mine," an area that has been decimated by mountaintop removal.
Posted: 02 Sep 2009 05:01 PM PDT
The Politico reports on a new poll of 821 registered voters "in 16 key states who said they were likely to vote in next year's mid-term congressional elections":
Yes, this is precisely what ever other major poll shows (see Yet another major poll finds "broad support" for clean energy and climate bill: "Support for the plan among independents has increased slightly" plus links and Ruy Teixeira analysis below).
This poll is important because it interviewed likely voters in 16 states that have a large fraction of the swing Senators — AK, AR, IN, ME, MI, MO, MT, NC, NV, ND, NH, OH, PA, SD, VA, WV. More key results:
Strangely, the Politico piece has an opening sentence that is flat wrong, politically:
Posted: 02 Sep 2009 01:46 PM PDT
Global warming is "capable of wrecking the marine ecosystem and depriving future generations of the harvest of the seas" (see Ocean dead zones to expand, "remain for thousands of years").
A post on ocean acidification from the new Conservation Law Foundation blog has brought to my attention that the first documentary on the subject, A Sea Change: Imagine a World without Fish, is coming out.
Ocean acidification must be a core climate message, since it is hard to deny and impervious to the delusion that geoengineering is the silver bullet. Indeed, a major 2009 study GRL study, "Sensitivity of ocean acidification to geoengineered climate stabilization" (subs. req'd), concluded:
If you want to understand ocean acidification better, see this BBC story, which explains:
Or see this Science magazine study, "Evidence for Upwelling of Corrosive "Acidified" Water onto the Continental Shelf" (subs. req'), which found
Or listen to the Australia's ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, which warns:
I'd like to see an analysis of what happens when you get to 850 to 1000+ ppm because that is where we're headed (see U.S. media largely ignores latest warning from climate scientists: "Recent observations confirm … the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realised" — 1000 ppm).
The CLF post notes:
In June, dozens of Academies of Science, including ours and China's, issued a joint statement on ocean acidification, warned "Marine food supplies are likely to be reduced with significant implications for food production and security in regions dependent on fish protein, and human health and wellbeing" and "Ocean acidification is irreversible on timescales of at least tens of thousands of years." They conclude:
If we want to save life in the oceans — and save ourselves, since we depend on that life — the time to start slashing carbon dioxide emissions is now.
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Thursday, September 3, 2009
coalition of corporations and national conservation groups that ... Is Controversial Coal Lobby Front Group ACCCE On The Verge of ... Huffington Post
|coalition of corporations and national conservation groups that ...|
| Is Controversial Coal Lobby Front Group ACCCE On The Verge of ...|
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
- Energy and Global Warming News for September 1: Big Money Returns to Wind Power
- Global warming, California, and "What a 1-Degree Temperature Increase Means for Wildfires"
- The rhetoric gap: Can Obama give 'em Hell (and High Water) before it's too late?
- As the debate moves from health care to climate care….
- The Holy Grail of clean energy economy is in sight: Affordable storage for wind and solar
- Breaking: Boxer and Kerry to delay introducing climate bill — thank goodness (again)!
- Deniers go ape for Scopes climate trial, Inhofe quotes John Stuart Mill — an early proponent of sustainability!
- Energy and Global Warming News for August 31: Can push for climate bill forge lasting labor-enviro alliance?
Posted: 01 Sep 2009 10:03 AM PDT
Chalk up another one for the Obama-Democratic stimulus (see "EIA projects wind at 5% of U.S. electricity in 2012, all renewables at 14%, thanks to Obama stimulus!").
Posted: 01 Sep 2009 09:11 AM PDT
The scientific literature paints a hellish future if we don't quickly reverse greenhouse gas emissions trends (see "Climate change expected to sharply increase Western wildfire burn area — as much as 175% by the 2050s"). Even the watered down, consensus-based 2007 IPCC report acknowledged the danger:
Now brutal heat and drought are fueling massive California wildfires once again (see, for instance, the BBC piece "Heat fuelling California wildfire"). We can't expect much from the status quo media (see "CNN, ABC, WashPost, AP, blow Australian wildfire, drought, heatwave "Hell (and High Water) on Earth" story — never mention climate change"). So here is CAP's Tom Kenworthy explaining "What a 1-Degree Temperature Increase Means for Wildfires" — and I'll end with some comments on this positive or amplifying carbon-cycle feedback:
The final reason to worry about the climate-wildfire connection is that wildfires are a classic amplifying feedback, since burning forests release carbon dioxide that accelerates global warming. As the 2006 Science article, "Warming and Earlier Spring Increase Western U.S. Forest Wildfire Activity" (subs. req'd), concludes soberly:
We are simply running out of time to stop all of the carbon-cycle feedbacks from intensifying and to stop these devastating, record-breaking wildfires from becoming the normal climate.
Posted: 01 Sep 2009 06:57 AM PDT
Michael Lind has a terrific Salon column today, with the subhead, "Why can't Democrats mobilize the public for healthcare reform? Blame the demagogy gap." I'd replace demagogy with the less incendiary and more accurate "rhetoric gap."
Demagogues are a dime a dozen, and demagogy isn't inherently persuasive or winning. But rhetoric is. Rhetoric is what makes a great, successful President (see "The greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor": How to be as persuasive as Lincoln, 3).
I blog about the health care debate in part because success there probably makes it more likely we'll see a climate bill and in part for what it tells us about Obama's messaging. The 'good' news on the first front is that the American Enterprise Institute's savvy centrist Norman Ornstein writes today that "The odds remain reasonable that a solid, if not dramatic, health reform bill can make it through this process and become law. Any bill, under these conditions, will be a major accomplishment. The odds have been improved, not damaged, by the president's approach" — thanks to "Obama's Health-Care Realism." We'll see.
Although he has the eloquence to be an FDR — and his achievements in clean energy and climate to date are far greater than most progressives give him credit for (see "The Green clean energy FDR: Obama's first 100 days make — and may remake — history") — Obama can't truly be the clean energy FDR if he doesn't master FDR's ability to fight rhetorical fire with fire.
Now, unlike health care, where the whole message is a muddle, team Obama has half of the energy and climate message right (see "Clean energy messaging 101: 'Green' jobs are out, 'clean energy' jobs are in").
And that's why they are doing better on climate than health care — having passed a bill through the house and still winning on the issue in the polls.
But team Obama has mostly given up half its message unilaterally. As I wrote in July — and as subsequent conversations support — I'm told by multiple sources that the political operatives in the White House have bought into the ecoAmerica bullshit that we mustn't explain to the public the serious threat posed by climate change (see Messaging 101b: EcoAmerica's phrase 'our deteriorating atmosphere' isn't going to replace 'global warming' — and that's a good thing). And bullshit it is (see Mark Mellman must read on climate messaging: "A strong public consensus has emerged on the reality and severity of global warming, as well as on the need for federal action" — ecoAmerica "could hardly be more wrong"). That's a key reason Obama didn't even show up for the single biggest climate science announcement of his administration — the report on U.S. climate impacts — thus negating any impact it might have had on the debate (see here).
Of course, the White House doesn't have any problem telling the public and the media day after day the myriad catastrophic consequences that await the country if we don't act on health care (millions more without health care, a bankrupt economy, exploding premiums). No, it's only talking about the myriad catastrophic consequences that await the country if we don't act on climate that is verboten. That means most of the messaging will be on clean energy and jobs — which is a great message, one I've pushed for two decades now — but it hardly justifies or motivates a 42% reduction in CO2 emissions in two decades and an 83% reduction in four decades, along with all the extensive accompanying regulations.
Since the other side has no positive message on climate, this half-message may still may work. But fundamentally, it is wrong headed, and I'll lay out the full message this month. Obama needs to give 'em Hell and High Water.
I'll end by excerpting the Lind piece at length because I think it makes some important points:
You can read this excellent proposed speech in Salon.
I would note that, unlike health care, the public understands who the enemies are — the polluters, Big Oil, and the conservatives who have been kowtowing to them for years. That's another reason we're doing better on climate than health care.
Posted: 01 Sep 2009 05:26 AM PDT
Posted: 31 Aug 2009 05:21 PM PDT
Enabling safe, clean energy that will never run out is a key to averting catastrophic climate change. Roughly half the "solution" to global warming is solar and wind [see "How the world can (and will) stabilize at 350 to 450 ppm"]. Of course, many U.S. concentrated solar plants will use low-cost, high-efficiency thermal storage. In the longer term, plug-in hybrids and electric cars are likely to play a key role in storage, if issues surrounding battery life can be solved and/or battery leasing strategies pan out (which would also create a large aftermarket for batteries that utilities could use). Another strategy for grid integration is natural gas. In this repost, guest blogger Craig A. Severance discusses what he learned about available technology from interviews with leading storage firms. Severance is co-author of "The Economics of Nuclear and Coal Power" (Praeger 1976) and a former Assistant to the Chairman and to Commerce Counsel, Iowa State Commerce Commission.
As the world meets this December to set plans to halt global warming, it is expected America and other industrial nations will commit to a daunting task: reduce CO2 emissions 80% by 2050. In just 40 years, a complete revolution in how we use and supply our power must happen, or the world will face catastrophic effects of runaway climate changes.
As a new power plant typically lasts 40-50 years, many scientists are now arguing we must simply stop building new power systems that use significant amounts of fossil fuels. They argue we must move to a high reliance on the wind and the sun for our electricity.
Abundant Power. The U.S. has enormous wind resources, capable of generating over 20% of U.S. electricity from wind by 2030, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
The sunlight falling on our deserts, parking lots, and rooftops has even more power – enough to supply 69% of U.S. electricity by 2050 according to published studies.
Other renewable power sources — such as geothermal energy, municipal waste-to-energy, and biomass – will also play a role, but they pale in size compared to the gargantuan resources of wind and sunlight.
How We Use Energy vs. How Nature Provides. Though nature provides all the energy we may need, there is a problem. We demand power literally "at the flick of a switch", not just when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining.
This basic fact about how we use power versus how nature supplies clean energy has caused many to discount the idea that wind or solar power can ever supply more than a small fraction of our electricity. Critics of renewable electricity call it "intermittent" and "unreliable". They say we can't "catch the wind", nor can we command the sun to always shine.
These critics see two possible choices for the future. We can develop more stable supplies of renewable energy by coupling wind and solar projects with storage. Failing that, they argue we should give up on renewables as a primary source of electricity, and instead build more nuclear power.
The flaw in the nuclear path, beyond its tremendous cost, long lead times, and imported fuel, is that nuclear is not actually "dispatchable" power. Nuclear plants are designed to run all the time at fairly steady output — meaning nuclear power cannot provide the "peaking power" now provided by gas turbines. Thus, a nuclear path would still rely heavily on fossil fuel power plants to "ramp up" on a daily basis to provide the power needed during these daily swings.
A truly dispatchable system providing over 80% reductions in carbon emissions, therefore, must rely on some form of energy storage. The energy storage can allow us to fully utilize wind and sunlight as our main power sources – supplying both "base load" power and dispatchable daily peaking power with energy from these inexhaustible supplies.
Energy Storage and Today's Grid.
Despite critics, wind farms and solar photovoltaics are already feeding zero-fuel-cost power into today's electric grid with little or no energy storage. At current levels, the fluctuations in wind and solar output are backed up by the same "load-following" and "peaker" natural gas power plants that already must handle wild fluctuations in customers' demands for electricity. Indeed, the DOE's "20% Wind by 2030″ scenario modeled how wind could supply this very significant portion of U.S. electricity needs even with no storage of the wind power.
As long as natural gas remains cheap and acceptable to use, many argue that developing ways to store wind or solar energy may be a case of "a solution in search of a problem". They note natural gas peaking plants are cheap to build and don't need to operate much more than they already do, to provide firming power to renewables.
"Different sectors like to associate with wind power," the NY TImes quoted Robert E. Gramlich, policy director at the American Wind Energy Association. "But we don't want to give anyone the impression that storage is needed to integrate wind. Even growing 20-fold, storage isn't needed."
A Better Way. Though wind and solar can be integrated without storage for a long time to come, energy storage proponents argue that coupling wind or solar power with utility scale energy storage is a "Better Way". If stored wind or solar energy instead of natural gas plants can be used to generate power when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining, less natural gas will be burned to provide dispatchable power.
Though storage will cost money, burning less natural gas will save money on fuel costs. Also, there are now times when excess wind farm kWh's have been sold onto the grid at extremely low prices or even given away, because they occurred in the middle of the night when there was very low demand for power. Storing that wind energy, for sale of kWh's the next day when prices are higher, would generate more revenue. While less dramatic, solar power production can also be shifted to higher-demand periods, from solar noon to late afternoon/early evening when utilities typically experience maximum summer peak demands.
The most important motivator, however, to find a "Better Way" is the need to achieve phenomenal reductions in CO2 emissions. While it may take until 2030 to reach a 20% contribution to the grid, what then? Going beyond this level will require dispatchable renewable power. Twenty years is within the lifetime of any new power plant built today, so storage proponents argue we should already be building to achieve minimum levels of fossil fuel use.
Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES). A proven technology, ready to use now, for economical storage of massive amounts of renewable power is to compress air at very high pressures, and store this compressed air in large underground caverns, depleted wells, or acquifers. When the wind turbines and solar plants reduce output, and power is needed, the compressed air is released and run through turbines to generate power:
Because the caverns or acquifers are so large, hundreds of hours of output can be stored, providing the ability to cover very long "doldrum" wind periods or stretches of cloudy days. Most CAES turbines can also run in natural gas-only mode in the extreme event the cavern becomes fully depleted. A reliable, fully dispatchable electricity generation system is provided.
CAES has a well established track record at scale. A 280 MW plant in Hunthorf, Germany has run since 1978, and a 110 MW plant at McIntosh, Alabama has been in continuous operation since 1991.
CAES systems use gas turbines almost identical to normal natural gas peaking turbines. However, they only use about 1/3 the natural gas, because 2/3 of the natural gas energy in a regular turbine is used to compress air before it enters the turbines, and this compressed air would now be supplied by the stored air. Natural gas would still be needed to heat the air before it enters the turbines.
CO2 Reductions. While not a 100% carbon free power system, a wind or solar coupled CAES power plant system can achieve >80% reductions in fossil fuel use. A baseload CAES/wind system (designed to provide at least 85% Capacity Factor power to the grid) would typically provide half of its total power directly from the wind farm to the grid, without cycling through the CAES plant. The other half of kWh's supplied to the grid would come from stored energy in the CAES, at about 1/3 normal fossil fuel use. Total fossil fuel use per delivered kWh would thus drop to roughly 1/6 of a normal fossil fuel plant, an over 80% reduction in CO2 output.
A carbon-free electric system is also possible, with CAES plants fitted with thermal storage. The thermal storage would store heat from compressing the air, for later use to heat the air going to the turbines. Known as "adiabatic" CAES plants, the stored thermal energy replaces the need for natural gas, causing the entire system to run on renewable power alone. Because thermal storage is costly, it is not expected CAES plants installed in the next decade will include it. However, a regular CAES plant can later be retrofitted with thermal storage, when it becomes more economical or society demands zero-carbon power.
Geological Formations Suitable for CAES. A nationwide network of CAES plants could use the same types of geological formations, and depleted gas wells, as are currently used to store most of the nation's natural gas supplies. Wide areas of the U.S. — most notably the wind-rich central states — have these formations and depleted wells:
Cost of Renewable/CAES Power Systems. Because the caverns, aquifers, and wells are already there, CAES offers very economical energy storage.
Estimates for CAES plants range from $750/kW of generating capacity up to about $1,200/kW, with the difference being primarily the number of hours of energy storage. A wind farm/CAES system (taken as a whole) capable of providing baseload capacity factors of 85% could be built for around $5,900/kW of equivalent baseload capacity, including the wind farm itself and the CAES facility. While this is far more than a natural gas plant, it is comparable to a new coal fired power plant and at least 1/3 less costly than the same capacity if added through nuclear power.
Unlike a nuclear or coal plant, the CAES plant would be fully dispatchable power, able to increase and decrease its output along with fluctuating customer demand. This flexibility is a major advantage for usefulness to the electric grid.
Total costs/kWh from this system would also be competitive. Estimates indicate that if the wind farm is built with the 30% Federal Tax Credit (still available through 2012), a total wind/CAES system could deliver baseload power to the grid at about 10.5 cents/kWh. This cost would rise to about 13.0 cents/kWh without the wind Tax Credit. (Effectively, the Tax Credit if used wisely could pay for the CAES plant to convert an intermittent wind farm into firm, dispatchable power.)
Though more expensive than kWh's from a new baseload natural gas power plant (which would probably be about 9 cents/kWh), a wind/CAES system would be well protected from future fuel cost increases. Also, at 10.5-13.0 cents/kWh, the baseload wind/CAES system would only be about half the cost/kWh from a new nuclear power plant.
Pump Water Up and Let it Fall Back Down. Pumped hydro-electric storage is just that simple — when you want to store energy, use electricity to pump water to a high level. Then, whenever power is needed, let the water fall through hydroelectric turbines to generate power. You don't get all your electricity back (about 22% is lost), but you get it when you need it. This enables you to accept power from renewable sources when not needed, and store it for use later.
Pumped hydro storage is the largest utility energy storage method in the world, with 20,800 MW already in use in the U.S. However, its use has slowed because of limited sites for hydroelectric power dams.
Enter Riverbank Power Corporation, with its simple idea: combine two well-established technologies into one. First, use standard deep mining techniques to create a large cavern 2,000 feet deep, under a body of water such as a river or abandoned quarry. Then, install 4 gigantic 250 MW hyrdroelectric turbines at the bottom of shafts, for a massive 1,000 MW power supply available on demand. When power is needed, let water fall down the shafts and generate power. When renewable power is available, pump the water back up.
Riverbank Power is now actively exploring 15 sites in the U.S. and Canada, for selection of its first five 1,000 MW pumped hydro (AquabankTM) facilities. Wiscasset, ME is high on the list, where Riverbank has already performed successful bore hole tests of the underlying rock. The Wiscasset site is very symbolic, as it is the home of the former Maine Yankee nuclear power plant, decommissioned more than a decade ago. A boon to Riverbank Power is the site is still set up to connect directly to the transmission grid.
Costs. Because Riverbank Power has to dig out its own cavern, its cost to construct is significantly higher than a CAES plant — estimated at $2 Billion for the 1,000 MW facilities, or roughly $2,000/kW. Also, instead of dozens or hundreds of hours of storage, Riverbank plants are designed to run for 6 continuous hours before the water would need to be pumped back up. The timetable is good for hour-to-hour or minute-to-minute fluctuations but not long stretches with no wind or sun.
Riverbank is confident of its business plan, and is not asking for taxpayer or utility dollars. Its turbines use no fossil fuels, and the facility should last 100 years. The company plans to buy power at cheap prices, and sell power when it is needed more, at a higher price.
If it does that for 100 years, the Company feels it should pay for the initial $2 Billion investment many times over, while creating jobs and giving green energy developers a solid market for their power.
Batteries to Store Power When and Where Needed. While both CAES and pumped hydro storage plants hold the promise of very large scale economical storage, they both require special siting. CAES requires an available underground cavern, well, or aquifer, while pumped hydro requires a water resource. Batteries, however, can go virtually anywhere, and take almost no lead time compared to the larger projects.
Xtreme Power is a company out there today, already selling product, by identifying customers who have needs and who are willing to pay for solutions. The company has a systems approach employing modular battery packs that can be scaled to provide Mwh of power storage, together with power electronics control systems.
Xtreme Power can shift 4 hours of power to a later time, for roughly 5-10 cents/kWh. In many electricity markets, the difference in value between different times of the day can more than pay for this cost.
The company has some large scale systems going in before the end of this year, and plans to deliver at least 75 – 100 Mwh of power storage in 2010, with more that can be delivered. Most of its customers are large solar and wind developers, who are eager for a solution and ready to pay for it now.
Sodium Sulfur (NaS) Batteries. Another battery solution which is also already commercially available is sodium sulfur. Xcel Energy has a 1 MW NaS battery installation underway from NGK Insulators to store up to 7.2 Mwh (in other words, over 7 hours of power), of wind energy for use when most needed. The system will be adjacent to an 11-MW wind farm owned by Minwind Energy LLC, in Luverne, Minnesota.
Let's Not Store These Ideas For Later. When renewable energy was still a long way off, the solution to energy storage seemed to be the unattainable "Holy Grail". It was always to be found, yet never found.
Now, however, the answers are actually here, and they are simpler and plainer than we expected, Store air. Pump water. Use advanced batteries. Like Indiana Jones in his Last Crusade, we need to know when the true Grail is right in front of us.
As Michael Breen from Xtreme Power told me, "Let's stop jabbering about it, . . We just need more demonstration units so the industry can talk about this more intelligently."
This is now happening. Is the Holy Grail finally found?
Posted: 31 Aug 2009 01:50 PM PDT
UPDATE: A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Jim Manley, just released the following statement: "Senator Reid appreciates the leadership of Senators Boxer and Kerry as they shepherd this important legislation through their respective committees. They are working diligently to craft a well-balanced bill and Senator Reid fully expects the Senate to have ample time to consider this comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation before the end of the year."
Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) have just released a joint statement:
This delay from the planned Sept. 8 rollout for climate bill strikes me as a good idea. A month ago I had written "Looks like no Senate vote on climate and clean energy bill until at least November — thank goodness!" I have said many times "Obama can get a better climate bill in 2010" — although that is true only if he and Congress have a coherent strategy to do just that, which at this point, they don't (see below). The reality is that given conservatives' immoral intransigence and progressives' generally lame messaging, my statement should be revised to "Obama can get a climate bill — but only in 2010."
To the extent Boxer and Kerry are taking this time to develop a better bill and a coherent messaging/outreach strategy, that is all to the good, because it's increasingly clear we are going to get precisely one shot at this. I had written in July:
Now it is officially impossible to imagine a Senate vote before November. And I'd say it's now at most 50-50 the vote isn't until December or January, which would put a final bill, conferenced and passed again by both House and Senate, on Obama's desk maybe in March. That should not be a surprise to CP readers.
I'll update my July 4-part analysis below:
Now the individual bills won't be finished until late September, so the merged bill may not exist until early October. Ideally, Kerry and Boxer will take the extra time to get Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) on board. He is chair of the "the influential U.S. Senate Finance Committee," as his website puts it and very busy on healthcare. To the extent that he supports the Boxer bill and Finance agrees with EPW, the bill has a better chance of moving.
Memo to Boxer and Kerry: Can we please do better than the "Kerry-Boxer bill"? The House bill was California-Massachusetts. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) would be nice.
Hmmmmm. If only some newspaper like, say, the Washington Post, would report on how well we're getting organized and how the polling is still good…. Nah.
Well, this key element looks like it is taking shape (see "Peaking Duck: Beijing's Growing Appetite for Climate Action" and " 'China will sign' global treaty if U.S. passes climate bill, E.U. leader says").
I see little point in a final Senate vote before China spells out at least some of what it is planning to do.
That remains as true as ever.
But most important of all is that team Obama and the Senate leadership learn from the health care reform morass/debacle and get in front of the messaging and framing of the climate bill. The climate bill is, as noted above, actually easier from a political perspective than health care reform — in part because our side has a clear, winning positive message. But we still only have half a message — and in September I will lay out the rest of the message.
Posted: 31 Aug 2009 11:29 AM PDT
Who would ape the Luddite U.S. Chamber of Commerce in their call for "the Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century" on global warming? Why the monkey-see, monkey do deniers at Planet Gore and the office of Sen. James Inhofe (R-OIL).
Inhofe's office actually quoted me:
Note: If you aren't evolved, then my attack wouldn't be ad hominem. Ad simian, maybe.
In any case, my fact-based critique quotes at length from the major court case already held on climate science (see here), in which the witness for the deniers, John Christy, essentially agreed with the witness for climate science, NASA's James Hansen on the key points, and where he didn't, the judge explained that "it appears that the bulk of scientific opinion opposes Christy's position" and that Christy's view "does not fall within the mainstream of climate scientists."
What is truly bizarre is that Inhofe staffer David Lungren quotes Mill:
So many things are wrong with this argument. We're not talking about an "opinion." Climate science is … science. There have been innumerable "hearings," including the Vermont court case, but far more importantly, through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change process in which every single member government — including the Bush Administration, China, and Saudi Arabia — got to "hear" every single word of the scientific conclusions of the hundreds of scientists who have reviewed thousands of articles (articles which themselves were subject to a scientific "hearing" in the peer review process). The IPCC summaries are agreed to word for word by every government (which is one reason they tend to be watered down). The results of the hearings can be found here and are summarzied here, "Absolute MUST Read IPCC Report: Debate over, further delay fatal, action not costly."
The deniers just don't like the facts that they hear, so they stick their fingers in their ears and yell "La la la la la la la" over and over again or is that "ooh ooh, ee ee, ah ah" (see "Can you PROVE to me that global warming is being caused by mankind?"*).
I am filing this under humor in part because it is unintentionally hilarious that Inhofe's staffer quotes Mill, a man who understood the difference between science and opinion — a man who was one of the early proponents of the argument that unlimited growth was unsustainable! Indeed, on that final point, Wikipedia's entry on Mill notes:
If you want to see just how brilliant Mill was, read "Of the Stationary State":
That's someone ahead of their time. And Mill wrote this in 1848 when the world population was a mere 1.2 billion — under 5 times smaller that today!
I seriously doubt Inhofe's office agrees with Mill's views, which they obviously don't understand. I can't possibly believe that if Mill were alive today he would come to any other conclusion but that he was right all along and that we urgently need to stop the global Ponzi scheme and embrace sustainability fast. After all, Mill also "clearly set forth the premises of the scientific method," something Inhofe's office utterly rejects (see Scientist: "Our conclusions were misinterpreted" by Inhofe, CO2 — but not the sun — "is significantly correlated" with temperature since 1850 and Inhofe keeps making stuff up, this time utterly misquoting Revkin on Hansen and "Uber-denier Inhofe misquotes Hadley, gives big wet Valentine's kiss to Pielke — go figure!").
It's worth nothing that in "On Liberty," Mill notes:
Preventing harm to others — ruining a livable climate for billions of people — is what climate action is all about.
FROM JOHN STUART MILL TO KENNY ROGERS
Yes, it's a long way from quoting John Stuart Mill to quoting a Kenny Rogers song. But what do you expect from a guy who 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.
Finally, the Christian Science Monitor has a great piece, "Are climate change deniers like creationists?" which notes:
The piece then points out "in some cases, it's the very same people who deny both phenomena":
Posted: 31 Aug 2009 11:03 AM PDT
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