Monthly Archives: May 2010

Top climate highlights plus NAS video

On E2, Reid says he’s serious about energy and is planning to convene a Democratic caucus next month to

“discuss how to proceed on energy and climate change legislation.”

On Grist, David Roberts applauds Thomas Friedman on his New York Times op-ed in which Friedman worries that Obama won’t make a strong push for climate legislation in the wake of the Gulf oil disaster and compares it to George W. Bush’s lack of vision when dealing with the public outcries and aftermath of 9/11. Friedman explains:

“No, the gulf oil spill is not Obama’s Katrina. It’s his 9/11 — and it is disappointing to see him making the same mistake George W. Bush made with his 9/11. Sept. 11, 2001, was one of those rare seismic events that create the possibility to energize the country to do something really important and lasting that is too hard to do in normal times. President Bush’s greatest failure was not Iraq, Afghanistan or Katrina. It was his failure of imagination after 9/11 to mobilize the country to get behind a really big initiative for nation-building in America.”

Green focuses on the three new studies released by the National Research Council, part of the National Academy of Sciences, calling for action on climate change.

The report states that the most efficient way to reduce carbon dioxide pollution is to put a predictable and rising price on it.”

Dot earth also has the story which includes an interesting video which explains the significance of the three reports in the wider climate policy debate.


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Top Climate News from the Past Few Days

On E2, an environmental coalition asks the White House to step up its support for clean energy and climate legislation.  Here is an excerpt:

“Mr. President, we ask you to urgently convene all stakeholders and lead the effort to craft a comprehensive clean energy and climate policy that will be enacted this year and will move America toward energy independence built on clean American power.” The coalition includes the World Wildlife Fund, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Pew Environment Group and others.

On Grist, Scott Luthcke, a NASA climate scientist, explains how he has spent the last 6 years weighing Greenland. And she has been losing a lot of weight – an average of 183 gigatons, per year, for the last six years – due to ice melt.

Dave Roberts of Grist makes the case for supporting the American Power Act.

“So is it worth doing? Is the bill worth fighting for with the kind of passion that was brought to health care or even the presidential election? I believe the answer to that question is an absolute, unqualified, overwhelming yes. However flawed and inadequate, Kerry’s bill would represent a sea change in American life. It would lend desperately needed momentum to the global fight against climate change. Failure would be a tragedy and passage a huge, vital victory.”

Grist also tackles the pressing issue of how the American Power Act will affect farmers.

“Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency predicted that such a program could provide annual net benefits to farmers as high as $18 billion — an amount that could fundamentally change the way America farms.”

On Green we learn that the United Nations has chosen a new head of the climate secretariat: Christina Figueres of Costa Rica.

Climate Progress highlights new NASA data showing that 2010 has had the hottest January to April temperatures on record. A new NOAA report with similar findings is highlighted here on E2.

Ezra Klein explains the implications of the proposal currently being discussed in the Senate which would limit EPA’s ability to regulate carbon.

“Murkowski’s bill would disagree with the EPA’s finding that carbon is a danger and needs to be regulated.”

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10 Things We Like about the American Power Act

1. The American Power Act will help us research and develop innovative renewable energy sources here in America.

  • The bill will unleash billions of dollars of private-sector investment in clean energy jobs and projects here in America.  Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO of General Electric puts it best:  “National policy – including an effective price on carbon and a strong, nationwide clean energy standard – is needed to drive increased investment, which in turn creates new technologies and jobs.”

2. The American Power Act was crafted with the intention of rising above partisan politics. This bill is not about choosing sides or playing favorites, is it about finding real solutions to our climate and energy problems and laying the foundation for an international climate treaty.

3. The American Power Act will help America become the world leader in clean energy investment and technology, a title currently held by China.

  • According to Information Technology and Innovation Foundation “Asia’s rising “clean technology tigers” – China, Japan, and South Korea – have already passed the United States in the production of virtually all clean energy technologies, and over the next five years, the governments of these nations will out-invest the United States three-to-one in these sectors.”

4. The American Power Act is good for American manufacturers. The balanced energy strategy that includes development of alternative energy such as wind and solar as well as investment in new domestic energy sources will create jobs in clean technology manufacturing.

  • The bill includes a $5 billion expansion of the clean energy manufacturing tax credit.

5. The America Power Act will create jobs, at least twice as many as an energy-only bill.

6. The American Power Act will cut carbon pollution 17% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.

7. The American Power Act will cut our dependence on foreign oil and help us break the cycle of sending a billion dollars a day to countries that hate us.

  • Included in the bill are significant tax incentives for conversion of trucks to natural gas vehicles.
  • There is $7 billion annually earmarked for improving transportation efficiencies and mass transit systems.

8. The American Power Act is good for business. It will create predictability in the market, spurring clean energy investment and job creation.

  • The APA sets a hard price collar of $12 to $25 for carbon. The tight $13 range is a vast improvement over the $18 range suggested in the House bill. A smaller range limits wild price fluctuations and leads to higher investor confidence levels.

9. The American Power Act will protect Americans, especially low-income Americans, by ensuring that energy costs stay under control and that revenues collected from utilities under a carbon cap will be rebated to consumers.

10. The American Power Act will help domestic agriculture and forestry by providing farmers, ranchers and forest owners with opportunities for new revenue streams in the off-set market.

  • USDA will have authority over the domestic offset program which will ensure wide-spread participation and that benefits are shared across the industry.
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“Dirty Air Act” – Worse than Nothing

Wouldn’t it be great if members of congress would follow a Hippocratic Oath for legislators – first, don’t pass bad laws? The Gulf Coast oil disaster proves once again that our over-dependence on fossil fuels comes with a huge human and environmental price. The best way to unleash our clean energy future and transition off oil and other fossil fuels is to cut America’s carbon dioxide pollution.

Unfortunately, some in Congress don’t seem to get it. Instead of supporting a strong climate and energy bill, the Senate is considering a resolution sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) that would set new restrictions on EPA’s ability to cut pollution. This is worse than doing nothing and would take away an important tool in promoting a declining cap on America’s global warming pollution and unleash our clean energy future.

Please take action now to urge your Senators to oppose the misguided Murkowski bill.

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Blog highlights from the past few days

On the Council on Foreign Relations, Michael Levi defends carbon capture and sequestration(CCS) in response to Robert Bryce’s op-ed in the New York Times where Bryce expressed his skepticism of CCS as a viable option for emissions reductions.

Green compares the House and Senate climate bills and concludes that the tighter carbon price collar in the Senate bill (a range of $13 in the Senate bill versus $18 in the House bill) is better for investors.

Grist shares some strategies on how to support international climate action. They remind us that

“It is critical that the U.S. become a strong component of international efforts to address global warming by passing a climate and energy bill this year.”

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Senators’ reactions to the American Power Act

On E2, Ohio Senator Sherrod Browd commented the American Power Act.

“We need an energy policy that reduces our dependence on foreign oil and addresses the serious threat of climate change,” he said. “I applaud Senators Kerry and Lieberman for advancing this issue. Done right, a clean energy bill will also be a jobs bill.”

Gernot Wagner, EDF expert economist, had this to add:

The American Power Act is most definitely also a jobs bill. We are not out of the woods yet and must do everything we can to stimulate demand for investment. That’s where the cap comes in, and clear rules for where to invest. While the economy collapsed, businesses – especially in the energy and manufacturing sectors –held back investments in part because they are waiting for exactly these kinds of clear rules on climate policy. Now is the time to set those rules.

Mother Jones shows how key Senators are engaging in the process to help advance the climate bill. Jeff Bingaman from New Mexico said:

“I appreciate the time and effort that Senators Kerry and Lieberman have put into crafting this discussion draft and will offer them and Majority Leader Reid my constructive comments and suggestions as I review it.”

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