Burma in the Aftermath of Cyclone Nargis: Death, Displacement, and Humanitarian Aid

Posted by Wonk Room Tue, 20 May 2008 14:00:00 GMT

Witnesses

Panel I
  • Scot Marciel, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • Greg Gottlieb, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, U.S. Agency for International Development
Panel II
  • Sein Win, Ph.D., Prime Minister, National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma
  • The Honorable Thomas H. Andrews, President, New Economy Communications

Women, Nuclear Energy and Justice in a Warming World

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 06 May 2008 22:30:00 GMT

Join us for this public event where women Nobel Peace Laureates and co-founders of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, Wangari Maathai and Jody Williams, will discuss their vision of ‘climate justice’ – an approach to climate change that recognizes differential responsibilities for developed and developing countries, and puts the rights of people, especially women, at the center of the climate debate. Pat Mitchell, President of The Paley Center for Media and the former President and CEO of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), will moderate.

  • Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.
  • Jody Williams, founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, was awarded the Prize in 1997 for her work in creating an international treaty to ban landmines.

RSVP for this event.

Location: Carnegie Institution of Washington
1530 P ST. NW
Washington, D.C. 20035

Responses to Voinovich Climate Bill 1

Posted by Wonk Room Fri, 02 May 2008 20:05:00 GMT

Responses to Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio)’s draft climate legislation.

As E&E News reports, Sen. Voinovich is designing his bill “with input from several industry groups, including the Alliance for Energy and Economic Growth, the National Manufacturers Association, the Edison Electric Institute and the American Chemistry Council.”
The Washington office of Bracewell & Giuliani, a law firm that includes President Bush’s first-term U.S. EPA air pollution chief, Jeff Holmstead, and Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, also helped write the legislation.

EDF:

Ohio Senator George Voinovich today proposed to address the rapidly escalating threat of climate change by delaying meaningful federal action to control greenhouse gas emissions, obstructing existing state programs, and allowing U.S. global warming pollution to increase for decades to come.

“This proposal can be summed up in one word: bankrupt,” said Steve Cochran, national climate campaign director at Environmental Defense Fund. “It’s a detailed prescription for doing nothing. If you think climate change is a hoax, this is your bill.”

Jeremy Symons of the National Wildlife Federation:
The bill to nowhere.

Friends of the Earth:

This phony bill would not require mandatory reductions in global warming pollution. It’s Bush reincarnated—a repeat of the do-nothing policies of the last eight years, and an attempt to provide pollution-supporting senators a way to appear as though they are addressing global warming without actually doing so. Global warming threatens to create unprecedented food and water shortages in the coming decades, causing massive loss of life and social and political instability around the world. Any attempt, such as this, to block progress in this fight and prevent America from being a clean energy leader is repugnant and immoral. Voters are not going to be fooled. Any senator who votes for such sham legislation will answer for it at the ballot box.

Annual LCV Washington, DC Dinner

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 30 Apr 2008 22:30:00 GMT

The League of Conservation Voters is holding their 2008 Annual Washington, DC Dinner at Union Station on April 30.

Featured Speakers:
  • Congressman Tom Udall (NM)
  • Congressman Mark Udall (CO)

Union Station – East Hall 50 Massachusetts Avenue, NE 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Benefit Committee: $10,000

Host Committee: $5,000

Ticket price: $500

Dress: Business Attire

To RSVP, visit the website or contact Amy Eckenroth:

amy_eckenroth@lcv.org, 202-454-4568

Nominations of Kameran L. Onley, of Washington, to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior and Jeffrey F. Kupfer, of Maryland, to be Deputy Secretary of Energy

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 30 Apr 2008 19:30:00 GMT

E&E News:
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will consider a pair of Bush administration nominees for posts at the Interior and Energy departments, both of which have already been serving in those positions for months on an acting basis.

Jeffrey Kupfer is nominated to be DOE’s deputy secretary, the No. 2 position at the department. Kupfer is already serving on an acting basis, replacing Clay Sell, who left the department at the end of February.

Kupfer previously served as chief of staff for Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman. Before that, he served as a special assistant to the president for economic policy at the White House and earlier as executive director of the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform.

During the first half of the decade, Kupfer held several positions at the Treasury Department, and the Harvard-educated lawyer has also worked on Capitol Hill as counsel for multiple committees. Interior water and science

At Interior, Kameran Onley would become assistant secretary for water and science. She has been doing that job since July, while also serving as assistant deputy secretary since January 2006.

She previously served as a special assistant to the chairman of the White House Counsel on Environmental Quality. Onley led the policy group that produced Bush’s Ocean Action Plan, an interagency effort to enhance leadership and coordination on ocean management.

At Interior, Onley has led the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force and co-chaired the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force. She also served as the lead Interior official in the management of the new Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in Hawaii.

Prior to joining the Bush administration, Onley was an associate director at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center. She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Seattle University and a master’s in agricultural economics from Clemson University.

Celebrate Appalachia

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 08 Apr 2008 22:00:00 GMT

Please join mountain lovers from across the country to:

Celebrate Appalachia

Join citizens in the fight to protect their communities from mountaintop removal mining.

Reception Hosted By:

The Alliance For Appalachia

Appalachian Citizens Law Center * Appalachian Voices * Appalshop * Coal River Mountain Watch * Heartwood * Kentuckians For The Commonwealth * MACED * Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition * Save Our Cumberland Mountains * Sierra Club Environmental Justice Program * Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards * Southwings * West Virginia Highlands Conservancy

With special thanks to:

Alaska Wilderness League, Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Christians for the Mountains, EarthJustice, Environment America, Friends of the Earth, Natural Resource Defense Council, Rainforest Action Network, and the national Sierra Club.

RSVP to J.W. Randolph at (202) 669-3670 or jw@appvoices.org

Enviros Criticize, Fete Ken Lewis of Bank of America For Climate Influence

Posted by Wonk Room Fri, 04 Apr 2008 11:04:00 GMT

Originally posted at the Think Progress Wonk Room.

bofaBank of America CEO Kenneth D. Lewis received two utterly different awards from environmental groups on Tuesday, April 1—the Energy Action Coalition and Rainforest Action Network (RAN) voted him the “Fossil Fool of the Year,” while the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) honored him at their annual fundraising gala as a “Force for Nature.”

Rebecca Tarbotton of RAN said, “Ken Lewis faced a who’s who list of polluters, but voters deemed him the worst of a very deserving crop.”

Frances Beinecke of NRDC said, “We have the know-how to beat global warming. What we need is the leadership to make it happen, and Ken Lewis is providing that leadership.”

Climate and environmental activists celebrated “Fossil Fools Day” yesterday, April 1, with actions across the globe protesting the fossil fuel industry. Heeding Al Gore’s call for “young people to engage in peaceful protests to block major new carbon sources,” they blockaded coal mines, coal plants, and energy company headquarters.

As part of the day of action, the Energy Action Coalition dedicated the Fossil Fools Awards to “the world’s biggest contributors to our global addiction to fossil fuels.” Kenneth Lewis won top honors for facilitating “nearly $1 billion in loans to Massey Energy and Arch Coal, two of the largest companies involved in the environmentally devastating process of mountaintop removal coal mining” in the last few years. Bank of America also made several billion dollars in loans and facilitated stock offerings in 2006 for Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private coal company.

NRDC’s tenth annual “Forces for Nature” $1000-a-plate fundraising gala feted Ken Lewis and NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg at Cipriani 42nd Street.

NRDC honored Lewis for Bank of America’s ten-year, $20 billion environmental initiative which “addresses climate change by championing sustainable business practices through innovative lending and investing strategies, new financial products and services and operations.” The initiative was launched last year. The new Bank of America Tower in New York City, when completed in 2009, will be one of the most environmentally friendly and efficient office buildings in the world.

At the NRDC gala, Lewis made the major announcement that Bank of America would adopt the Carbon Principles, “a set of guidelines that help advisors and lenders to power companies evaluate and address carbon risks in the financing of projects” drafted in January by Citigroup Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and Morgan Stanley. According to the Wall Street Journal, “the ‘Principles’ push utilities to explore other alternatives to regular coal plants . . . Still, the banks make clear they won’t stop funding all conventional coal plants—they’ll simply want assurances higher rates will cover likely costs of carbon.”

Fossil Fools Day

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 01 Apr 2008 04:00:00 GMT

On April 1, 2008 young people from around the world are rising up to show the world that we refuse to fool around with climate change and our future. The Energy Action Coalition is calling on communities across Canada and the US to join this global day of action and show the fossil fuel industry and bad politicians that we mean business. Ideas include, but are by no means limited to: rallies at gas stations or representative offices, Critical Mass bike rides, office occupations, Billionaire’s for Tar Sands/Coal demonstrations, spank the bank visits, high-powered projections of solutions on the side of dirty energy factories, Board of Trustees meeting take-overs, hold a clean energy camp at a dirty energy site, do solar installations, make spoof videos and websites, offer alternative, clean energy bus rides, do some coal mining of your own at a coal company’s headquarters . . .

Groups participating in Fossil Fools Day include the Energy Action Coalition, Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, Rising Tide North America, the Australian Student Environment Network, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, & Rising Tide UK, & Rising Tide Australia.

Find events here.

Report Vindicates Sebelius: Coal’s Cost Puts Kansans 'At Significant Risk'

Posted by Wonk Room Wed, 26 Mar 2008 23:04:00 GMT

Originally posted at the Think Progress Wonk Room.

In October of last year, the administration of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) denied permits for two new coal-fired plants in her state because the greenhouse gases such coal plants would emit constitute a threat to the environment and public health. Last Friday, she vetoed a legislative attempt to allow the plants to be built. Opponents of the veto claimed “the decision is costing the state jobs and economic investment” and warned of “higher electric bills for Western Kansas,” where the plants were proposed.

But a landmark report released yesterday by an esteemed financial research firm finds that, in fact, Sebelius has been acting in her state’s best economic interests.

Innovest Strategic Value Advisors finds that Sunflower Electric Power Corporation, the company whose proposal was denied, failed to account for the effects of the likely regulation of carbon dioxide on the cost of coal-fired electricity when it sought to build two 700 MW coal plants in Holcomb, Kansas:

Innovest examined the economics of the transaction and determined that under the most plausible regulatory scenarios the decision to build new coal generating capacity will put Sunflower Electric’s ratepayers – who in this particular case are the actual owners – at significant risk. The report concludes that Sunflower’s management has not adequately addressed the competitive and financial risks associated with climate change in deciding to pursue the expansion of its Holcomb Station power plant.

Sunflower was remiss in not considering that federal legislation that places a price on carbon emissions is extremely likely, considering the bipartisan support and strong international pressure for such action.

The report compares the economics of coal plants versus natural gas plants, which have a considerably smaller carbon footprint, and concludes:
In general, this analysis demonstrate that gas is the more financially sound choice for the construction of baseload generating capacity in all scenarios except 100% free allocation [to power companies] of carbon allowances.

It is thus unsurprising that the coal lobby attacked the natural gas industry when the decision was made.

The report also notes that western Kansas has “among the nation’s most abundant wind resources” and that the cost of wind power has plummeted 80% in the last 20 years.

Next Steps on Oil-for-Renewable Package

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 04 Mar 2008 17:02:00 GMT

Upon the House passage of the oft-stymied oil-for-renewable tax package as a standalone bill (H.R. 5351) last week, Ben Geman of E&E News reported on a possible mechanism for moving the bill through the Senate with a simple majority:
Senate Democrats are eyeing a filibuster-proof budget bill as a vehicle for energy tax provisions that have narrowly failed to win the 60 votes needed to cut off debate, several lawmakers said yesterday.

Energy taxes are a “candidate to be considered in [budget] reconciliation,” Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) told reporters. “I think we have to look at things that reduce our dependence on energy.”

The oil-for-renewables package, which faces the threat of a Bush veto, received resounding support from a broad coalition of industry, investors, and environmental organizations in a press conference today on the first day of the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference. President Bush is scheduled to offer the keynote address to the convention tomorrow.

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