Around the Web: Green Collar Jobs, Water, Emissions Intensity

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 13 Aug 2007 17:37:00 GMT

Matt Stoller interviews Congresswoman Hilda Solis on Global Warming and Race at OpenLeft. Rep. Solis is hosting a global warming forum in Los Angeles this week.

Stoller writes:

By turning global warming into a jobs issue, Solis is working to reframe the often depressing and disempowering rhetoric of the environmental movement into language that different groups can get behind. There are interesting and unexpected allies here. A few weeks ago, I accompanied a Sierra Club lobbyist to a visit with freshman Tim Walz, and he’s using the same strategy in his rural Minnesota district – sustainable energy means jobs. Conservative rural residents are now proud of wind turbines, because it means economic growth. The political combination of rural and urban constituency groups is quite potent.

Good Magazine put out an excellent global water supply infographic poster.

Warming Law continues its unparalleled coverage of Massachusetts v. EPA.

Simon Donner takes a look at the question of emissions intensity.

Dingell-Global Warming Town Hall

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 08 Aug 2007 21:30:00 GMT

John Dingell’s second global warming town hall in Michigan’s 15th District.

University of Michigan – Dearborn Social Sciences Building 4901 Evergreen Road Dearborn, MI 48124

Debate on Cap and Trade with Environmental Defense

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 08 Aug 2007 20:37:00 GMT

Environmental Defense was one of several prominent environmental groups to embrace the Lieberman-Warner proposal:
Joe Lieberman and John Warner are providing remarkable leadership. By developing an approach that has environmental integrity and support from both sides of the aisle they are doing what is necessary to actually make law.
Matt Stoller of Open Left, who has been highly skeptical of all cap-and-trade approaches, let alone the Lieberman-Warner proposal, wrote this analysis yesterday:
Anyway, the bill Bush is going to get behind is the Lieberman-Warner bill, opposed by the Sierra Club but supported by the intensely corporate-friendly and compromised Environmental Defense. There’s a green civil war coming, with ED President Fred Krupp playing the role of the DLC. The other environmental groups are split, with the Pew Center and the Nature Conservancy following Krupp over the cliff. The Union of Concerned Scientists and NRDC are ‘concerned’, and the LCV and the Sierra Club are clear that this is a bad move. If you want to see a dysfunctional, degraded, and compromised movement that have lost touch with their mission statements, look no further than ED, Pew, and the Nature Conservancy.
Today, Tony Kreindler of ED responded on Stoller’s site. Here’s an excerpt:
What Lieberman and Warner have offered is a blueprint for a climate bill with an airtight emissions cap and a market for carbon that will spur investment in cost-effective emissions reductions. They also have a plan for managing economic impacts, and importantly, it doesn’t compromise the integrity of the emissions cap. Does that favor corporations over the environment? We don’t think so, and we won’t support a bill that fails the environmental test.

The discussion is continued at Open Left.

Dingell-Global Warming Town Hall

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 07 Aug 2007 19:30:00 GMT

During a Global Warming Town Hall meeting in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, August 7, Congressman John D. Dingell (D-MI15) will take questions regarding a carbon tax bill he intends to introduce as part of a multi-tiered approach to reducing carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions.

Under Dingell’s leadership, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce passed energy efficiency legislation that would remove from the atmosphere more than 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions (through the year 2030), which is more than the annual emissions of all cars on American roads today. The legislation is expected to pass the full House this week.

In the fall, Dingell also plans to develop a comprehensive, mandatory, economy-wide program with the goal of achieving as much as an 80 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. He is a co-sponsor of the Hill-Terry bill, HR 2927, which would mandate separate car and truck standards to meet a total fleet fuel economy standard between 32 and 35 mpg by 2022; increases up to 40 percent over current standards.

Pioneer High School Schreiber Auditorium 601 W. Stadium Blvd Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Environmental Non-Profits Respond to Lieberman-Warner 7

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 06 Aug 2007 05:58:00 GMT

In summary, US-CAP members Environmental Defense, Pew Center on Climate Change, and Nature Conservancy offer unequivocal praise of Lieberman-Warner.

NRDC (US-CAP) and Union of Concerned Scientists say it’s a starting point that needs fixing.

Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club say it has major problems; the Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters say that focus should stay on the Sanders-Boxer bill.

A number of organizations have not yet weighed in. Full quotations and links to the statements are below the fold.

Environmental Defense (part of US-CAP)

Joe Lieberman and John Warner are providing remarkable leadership. By developing an approach that has environmental integrity and support from both sides of the aisle they are doing what is necessary to actually make law.

Union of Concerned Scientists

We welcome new ideas when it comes to fighting global warming, and are pleased that Senators Lieberman and Warner are providing leadership on this issue. But their proposal must be strengthened tobe effective.

UCS calls for a stronger cap and criticizes the industry giveaways and the level of carbon offset allowances.

NRDC (part of US-CAP)

We look forward to working with Senators Lieberman and Warner to further improve this proposal’s targets and timetables and to ensure that the bill’s valuable pollution allowances are invested in energy efficiency and other measures to reduce consumers’ costs, not create windfall profits for polluters.

Friends of the Earth

The Lieberman-Warner legislation is just one more proposal that won’t get the job done on global warming.

FOE calls for a stronger cap with faster reductions and criticizes the industry giveaways (“The legislation also violates the ‘polluter pays’ principle”).

Sierra Club

The Warner-Lieberman proposal and others are oriented toward meeting the needs of the coal, utility and auto industries. Congress should instead focus on proposals like Boxer-Sanders and Waxman that better meet the needs of communities, families, and the environment.

Sierra Club calls for a stronger cap and a more progressive focus.

Pew Center for Climate Change (part of US-CAP)

The Lieberman-Warner proposal represents a critical step toward a workable climate solution, combining many of the best elements of earlier cap-and-trade bills. It proposes ambitious greenhouse gas targets and innovative mechanisms to ensure that the costs of meeting them are reasonable. Importantly, this proposal avoids the use of price caps or other mechanisms that would undermine the program’s environmental objectives and the economic efficiency of a market-based approach. With their bipartisan proposal, Senators Lieberman and Warner are leading the way toward strong Senate action to curb U.S. emissions and avoid the worst potential consequences of climate change.

Joe Romm, Climate Progress

It looks pretty good to me.

Nature Conservancy (part of US-CAP)

We commend Senators Warner and Lieberman for their commitment to enacting strong climate legislation. The thoughtful outline released today indicates that the senators are on track to write a bill that would help to address climate change and would be beneficial for conservation.

League of Conservation Voters

While we applaud Senators Lieberman and Warner for producing a global warming bill, we believe we can and we must do better than a 10 percent cut in global warming emissions by 2020. We look forward to working to ensure they ultimately produce a bill that accomplishes what the world’s best scientists say is necessary – reducing global warming pollution by at least 15-20 percent by 2020 to reach the goal of at least 80 percent reductions by 2050. We urge other members of the Senate to cosponsor the Sanders-Boxer bill (S. 309) – a bill that will help our country meet the global warming pollution reductions required to help our country secure a brighter future.

I couldn’t find any public statements from organizations such as Greenpeace, Defenders of Wildlife, World Wildlife Federation or the World Resources Institute.

EPW Delegation to Greenland

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 02 Aug 2007 14:43:00 GMT

Last weekend, Sen. Barbara Boxer led a delegation from the Environment and Public Works Committee to Greenland:
  • Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)
  • Ben Cardin (D-Md.)
  • Bill Nelson (D-Fl.)
  • Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)
  • Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)
  • Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)
  • Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)
  • Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)
  • Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Inhofe sent staffer Mark Morano, a former writer for the rightwing Cybercast News Service. Richard Alley of Penn State University, the lead author on the United States Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was the scientific advisor on the trip. They met with Arkalo Abelsen, Greeland’s environmental minister.

News coverage

* Associated Press: Georgia senator views effects of climate change in Greenland
Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia traveled to Greenland over the weekend to get a firsthand glimpse at the effects of global warming.

The first-term Republican from Marietta said the trip reinforced his belief that the United States should gradually move away from fossil fuels like oil and coal. But it didn’t convince him that more urgent steps are needed, and he remains unconvinced that the current warming is a departure from long-term natural cycles.

“There is no question that carbon (dioxide) is contributing to the warming but there’s also no question that warming is cyclical and has happened in the past,” he said in a phone interview Monday.

Renewable Fuels Infrastructure

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 31 Jul 2007 18:30:00 GMT

The Subcommittee on Energy will receive testimony on how to improve our renewable fuels infrastructure to accommodate the increasing volumes of renewable fuels in the transportation sector.

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
  • Alexander Karsner, assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, Department of Energy
  • David Terry, project coordinator, Governors’ Ethanol Coalition
  • Charles Drevna, executive vice president, National Petrochemical and Refiners Association
  • Jonathan Lehman, advisor, VeraSun Corp.
  • Deborah Morrissett, vice president of regulatory affairs/product development, Chrysler Technology Center
  • Phillip Lampert, executive director, National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition.

2:44 PM Klobuchar Ethanol and biodiesel are near and dear to Minnesota, but I believe this is also an issue of national security. I’m glad the energy bill requires auto manufacturers to have 50% of their vehicles be flexfuel by 2015. Minnesota ranks first in E85 infrastructure.

2:56 PM Karsner An E85 infrastructure should be a goal but not an exclusive goal. We see no technical reason why flexfuel vehicles cannot be more ubiquitous across all markets.

Dorgan Do you think the marketplace will solve this problem?

Karsner I think the question is whether we have the proper stimulus.

Dorgan I’ve talked about the gas company impediments.

Karsner I had lunch with Gov. Pataki. On a state by state basis those issues are being addressed. On E85 we have a need to address it.

Dorgan Franchises are barred from listing E85 on their signs.

Karsner I can’t speak for the position of the franchise owner, but the New York model may be something we need to examine.

Dorgan Conoco Phillips will not allow sales on the primary island. Should we just wait for the states to deal with it?

Karsner The New York example has been tested. I’m not an expert on contract law. Is it an impediment? Obviously, yes.

Dorgan When we see this kind of restraint on the sale of E85, should we act, or say so be it?

Karsner Something needs to be done. Some policy stimulus. I don’t start with the premise that the oil companies are necessarily an adversary to the outcome.

Dorgan It appears to me their actions are adversarial to the sale of E85.

Karsner Were I a franchisee I likely would see it that way.

Dorgan What about as a policy maker? Keep it off the main island, don’t allow credit cards, don’t allow advertising.

Karsner I understand your meaning. Fundamentally you have a conflict between the national imperatives and the law. The problem is that this is private contract which both parties have joined freely with.

Dorgan You seem to suggest the intermediate blends might get faster adoption.

Karsner Intermediate blends goes as low as anything above E10. All pumps are certified for E15. In theory you could aggressively pursue E85 and E15 at the same time.

Dorgan Our goal is 36 billion gallons. If we don’t market it, we won’t get there.

3:22 PM Under questioning from Tester: Karsner It may be that the oil companies’ agreements are not aligned with the national security imperative.

Tester There’s a lot of misinformation out there about ethanol. Is there action on the part of the DOE to solve that problem?

Karsner It’s not a one-time story.

Carbon Market Efficiency Board

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 30 Jul 2007 17:14:00 GMT

Last week, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) presented the Containing and Managing Climate Change Costs Efficiently Act (S. 1874), a piece of legislation authored by Joe Lieberman’s former environmental advisor, Timothy Profeta, who now heads the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University.

The proposal would establish the Carbon Market Efficiency Board which would oversee the emissions trading market established by cap-and-trade legislation. The board would operate much like the Federal Reserve Board, providing information on price and low-emission technology investment trends to Congress and the public, and it would adjust the price of emissions permits when a “market correction” is needed. The first measure is to expand companies’ ability to “bank” permits, or borrow permits against future year reductions. The second measure, to be used if high prices are not relieved by the first measure, is to add a slightly larger number of permits to the market. This temporary increase would be compensated for by reducing available permits in a later year, when more options have been developed.

Profeta testified about the proposal in last week’s hearing. His white paper goes into further detail.

The bill is intended to be folded into the Lieberman-Warner package to be presented as a discussion draft at the end of the week.

John Warner (R-Va.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) are cosponsoring the bill, in a bipartisan show of strength by pro-business Senators. [The League of Conservation Voters/Chamber of Commerce scores for the senators are: Warner 14%/100%, Graham 29%/92%, Landrieu 43%/75%, Lincoln 43%/67%. By way of comparison, Lieberman is 71%/44%.]

Responses to the proposal:

EPA Administrator "defers" to the Department of Transportation

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 26 Jul 2007 16:43:00 GMT

At today’s hearing on the California waiver, EPA administrator Stephen Johnson refused to condemn or even comment on the Department of Transportation’s lobbying against the waiver. He also refused to state whether or not the administration is opposed to the request.

In his testimony, he admitted speaking to the Secretary of the Department of Transportation, Mary E. Peters, at the beginning of the comment period, and obfuscated over what they discussed. He admitted that they discussed reaching out to her “constituency”, which when pressed by Sen. Boxer, he understood to mean governors and members “particularly interested” in transportation. He avoided saying what the Secretary’s intentions or views were and whether he recommended the “constituency” should send in comments.

His new excuse for not making a decision on the waiver request is the “voluminous” amount of comments. He was understandably accused of footdragging by the Democrats on the panel.

The case for the California waiver, including an update from the Environmental Protection Agency

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 26 Jul 2007 14:00:00 GMT

  • Stephen Johnson, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

10:53 Inhofe is attacking a statement made by the president of the American Council on Renewable Energy. This is so typical of these hate-filled people. I was called a traitor by one of the extreme left. See if it’s appropriate to be a part of this organization. “It is my intention to destroy your career as a liar. I will launch a campaign against you. Go ahead guy, take me on.” The waiver request strikes me as a backdoor effort, though I need some education on this, to usurp the Congress’s role in setting CAFE standards. If a handful of states are able to come up with standards different from the United States, what will happen to CAFE standards?

Johnson There are two sections of the Clean Air Act: Section 209, for California waiver petitions. There are three conditions if any are triggered to deny the petition. Section 202 deals with mobile sources.

Inhofe It’s very elaborate what the law requires you to do. I think you have done your job. How can California assess the CAFE standards to be so radically different from the Department of Transportation’s estimation? CARB requires about 44 MPGs and 27 MPGs for trucks. Don’t you think the federal regulators know more about it than CARB? How can CARB’s mistaken feasibility assessment be corrected?

Johnson There is a case before the 9th Circuit. In the meantime we are continue to review and evaluate voluminous and unprecedented comments on the waiver.

11:01 Lautenberg I think you’re wrong on this issue. It amounts to footdragging.

Johnson I don’t believe it is legal for me to lobby any member of Congress. I think it is good for members of Congress to talk with each other. The responsibility to make a decision lies solely with me.

Lautenberg We’re talking about a forever delay here. Eighteen months while the air is pollution, despite Sen. Inhofe’s disbelief climate change is happening. He called it a hoax. We have hoax floods and hoax droughts and hoax hurricanes and hoax tornadoes. Mr. Johnson, the one thing I don’t want to see happen is the demise of our automobile industry. But it ought not be juxtaposed with the threat of climate change. This footdragging is unacceptable. Is it true that the request for the waiver has been in for eighteen months?

Johnson The waiver request came in December 2005. In February of 2007 we informed California that we were going to await the Supreme Court decision.

Lautenberg Those details are irrelevant to the urgency of climate change.

Johnson I agree that there is an urgency to deal with the voluminous comments. Climate change is a very serious issue and we have a responsibility to deal with this in a timely and deliberate fashion. There are still thousands of comments. We just received 800 pages from California. It takes time for our staff to do a thorough review.

Lautenberg Why don’t we see the urgency to do something about climate change? Can you imagine that California is trying to delay this?

Boxer California is going to sue to get action.

11:12 Lautenberg If this was a fire, action would be taken. We are facing lots of dangerous situations. Any delays put our society at risk. I urge you to try and expedite this waiver request.

11:14 Carper I want you to fully respond to my request.

Johnson Thank you for your leadership. I want to apologize for any miscommunication.

11:24 Boxer These thirteen states want to do it yesterday.

11:30 Boxer The EPA’s job is to protect the public health and welfare. Is the Bush administration opposed to granting the waiver?

Johnson We’re going through a very deliberate process.

Boxer Is the administration opposed to granting this waiver?

Johnson The administration recognizes the responsibility to make an independent decision.

Boxer The DOT was calling members of Congress attacking the waiver. Is it appropriate for the administration to lobby Congress against the waiver?

Johnson I respectfully defer to the Department of Transportation.

Boxer You are responsible for the health and welfare of the people of this country. You sit here and can’t condemn that this administration has been lobbying Congress against this waiver.

Johnson I’m not responsible for the DOT. I defer to the DOT.

Boxer If you defer you say that you think it’s okay.

Johnson I defer to the DOT.

Boxer Since we know members of DOT were actively lobbying members of Congress, were you aware this was going on?

Johnson I told the secretary of the DOT I was inclined not to grant an extension.

Boxer That’s not my question.

Johnson I described my awareness in my conversation with the secretary of the DOT.

Boxer Did you try to stop the DOT from soliciting opposition?

Johnson My responsibility is not to the DOT.

Johnson I’m good, but I’m not that good to oversee every email in the DOT. I did not see a script;

Boxer You did not know they were lobbying Congress.

Johnson I only talked with her about talking with her constituency.

Boxer Who’s her constituency? She’s not an elected official.

Johnson There are members of Congress and governors who are particularly interested in transportation issues.

Boxer Your constituency is the American people. I believe this administration has already decided not to grant this waiver. My belief is there’s going to be hiding behind this executive order. Now you’re using the comments, most of which are form letters in favor of the waiver, as an excuse. You’ve said nothing to condemn what the DOT did. Your job is to protect my constituents and the rest of the country. I couldn’t be more disappointed. We’re going to keep the pressure on. Thank you very much and we stand adjourned.

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