Tag Archives: clean coal

How to handle a warming climate with no water.

I haven’t posted much lately.  Frankly I’ve been very involved in two things.  One is working to build a nationwide Green Party organization to help local communities and candidates deal with water issues.  That may be important in California some day.

The other is more general and that is what most of this post is about.  I have been surprised by what the Obama administration is NOT doing on climate change. I think that I finally have it figured out and it is not good news.  Details on the jump.  

In a week when some attention was given to 350.org’s efforts to protest a coal fired power plant furnishing electricity to the Capitol building, the Governor of NY was meeting with energy folks to set aside the emissions cap / trade requirements for yet another coal fired power plant. That, in itself, makes me wonder just how vulnerable AB 32 is.

The question here is similar to the moral hazard argument about bailouts, only this time the economists have another name for it. Time Inconsistent Policy.  It is just a fancy word for caving in.

I got really upset, because things were to not making sense.  For example, Joseph Romm at Climate Progress is a physicist with experience working in the Dept of Energy.  He seems to have it right. He is also a Sr. Fellow at the Center for American Progress, which seems to be Obama’s favorite think tank.

I was very surprised when I found that Climate Progress, with it’s message that Coal in NEVER Clean, does not represent CAP’s policy.  In fact, it is being set by a couple of lawyers, Ken Berlin and Robert Sussman.  Berlin’s experience is in helping corporations respond to environmental regulation.

I won’t repeat it all since I already blogged it at California Greening.

We are all going to have to watch the AB 32 implementation very, very closely or we will end up like New York.  

Today’s Fires Are a Symptom, We Must Press for the Cure

Forest fires like those we see sweeping the Southland today are a collateral piece of damage from an environment that has grown more vulnerable through overdevelopment, neglect, and the continued harm from climate change.  There is no question that a hotter, drier climate makes the land more susceptible to wildfires which can expand and change direction in a split second.  We have had drought-like conditions all year in Southern California, which makes things worse.  The state has made efforts to reverse this pattern through strict regulation of tailpipe emissions, but has been stymied by a slow-walk from the EPA, who since December 2005 has refused to grant the waiver necessary to make this regulation law.  On Wednesday, California’s patience will run out, and they will sue the Bush Administration over this obstructionism.  The US Supreme Court has already ruled that states can regulate greenhouse gas emissions, now the EPA must relent and allow the states to govern their own regions in the manner they see fit.

This is more than an abstract concept.  We’re talking about lives and property and untold destruction.  And this lawsuit will hopefully spur Senate Environmental Committee Chair Barbara Boxer to move quickly at the federal level on a global warming bill that is not a massive giveaway to coal companies, but which takes definable steps to solve the problem.  Fortunately, there is real movement toward a carbon-neutral future and away from the delaying tactics and greenwashed “solutions” that have characterized the past decade.  The terrible fires today should be a powerful reminder of what we must do for a better environment in California and around the world.