What a difference a year makes for Republican candidate Scott Brown. Just last year Brown voted to support a regional greenhouse gas emissions trading plan and now he saying he’s not even sure climate change is a problem.
While uncertainty remains about what a Republican win in Massachusetts means for health care reform, there seems little doubt that it would be bad for the clean energy package making it’s way through Congress.
Just over a year ago Brown voted in favor of a regional greenhouse gas cap-and-trade initiative in his capacity as a state legislator.
Massey Energy(NYSE: MEE), the 4th largest coal producer in the country is running political-style attacks in West Virginia claiming that “tree hugging extremists and self-serving politicians” are killing jobs, while the coal industry is “fighting hard for Appalachian jobs” and “what’s right.”
I am assuming that when Massey talks about fighting for Appalachian jobs they aren’t referring to the fact that earlier in 2009 they cut employee pay by 6% and then recently increased the performance bonus for Massey’s CEO, Don Blankenship, by $600,000.
And I think it’s also safe to assume that when Massey talks about fighting for “what’s right” they aren’t talking about the major environmental violations over the years culminating in a record $20 million settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA stated that Massey had violated its Clean Water Act permits “… more than 4,500 times between January 2000 and December 2006.”
President Obama’s speech wrapped up a few minutes ago with nothing new announced. But as long as this session continues there remains hope that world leaders can deliver a fair, ambitious and legally binding deal.
Things continue to evolve and according to the draft version of the agreement, the major issue of the amount of greenhouse gas emissions cuts by what year, remains unanswered.
As it stands, the text states:
Annex I Parties to the Convention commit to implement, individually or jointly, the quantified economy-wide emission targets for 2020 as listed yielding in aggregate reductions of greenhouse gas emissions of X per cent in 2020 compared to 1990 and Y per cent in 2020 compared to 2005…
Based on the best scientific research these numbers should be 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and by 80-95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has already done everything it can to kill the chances of a legally binding agreement emerging from the Copenhagen climate change summit.
Now it can sit back, relax and watch the action from a coffee shop outside the United Nations conference, content that its efforts to derail U.S. climate policy have effectively hamstrung the international negotiations.
As explained clearly in “The Global Climate Change Lobby,” an excellent new report from the Center for Public Integrity, corporate lobbyists and trade associations focus their attention on tampering with domestic legislative efforts, and then stand by and watch as their positions and talking points contaminate international negotiations indirectly.
Business interests (or BINGOs as they’re called in U.N. speak) “can have very little effect at these meetings,” according to Nick Campbell, a European industry lobbyist who has represented the International Chamber of Commerce at U.N. climate talks since the early 1990s when the global effort to fight climate change began with the Rio Earth Summit.
If the Chamber or other lobbying groups send any staff to international summits like the upcoming Copenhagen conference, their goal is to “loiter” in the coffee shops and collect business cards from delegates they can target later on legislative matters back home.
There will be a lot of noise around the world on Sept. 21st when people all over the globe - from New York to Guatemala to Dakar - join together in a Global Climate Wake Up Call.
Organized by the amazing folks at Avaaz, Oxfam, Greenpeace and 350.org the Global Wake-Up Call , will see people from all walks of life get together in public places to sound the alarm and urge our political leaders to stand up and take bold action at the Copenhagen Climate Treaty Summit scheduled for December of this year.
These will be peaceful, spontaneous “flash mobs” in public places where people will sound the alarms on their mobile phones, flood their governments with phone calls urging climate action, and make a tremendous noise. The images, sounds, and videos will be stitched together overnight for presentation to world leaders at the United Nations the next day.
To say that the Copenhagen Summit is a key moment in our history would be the understatement of the century. At this meeting our government representatives will decide the path we will take for the next decade: Will we continue to allow the unabated burning of dirty fossil fuels like coal and oil? Or will go down a path that starts to reduce this over reliance on fossil fuels and begins to take full advantage of clean, healthy, cheap and unlimited power sources like the sun and the wind?
The CAP poll shows that, in swing states, 63 per cent of voters support the climate change legislation currently being considered in the Senate. And yet the Bonner crowd was fomenting a “grassroots” campaign specifically designed to make it look like the public was taking quite a different position.
The mass amounts of hot air spewed forth daily by self righteous right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh are probably a significant contribution to the warming of our planet. Someone should do a study to confirm this.
What’s less doubtful is the effect Limbaugh’s blustering babble has had on Republican lawmakers who continue to ignore the mountains of scientific evidence telling us that we need to deal with the issue of global warming.
Here’s a typical Limbaugh global warming quote:
“Despite the hysterics of a few pseudo-scientists, there is no reason to believe in global warming.”
Many on the right in Washington regard Limbaugh as a hero. In fact, the rumor on Capitol Hill is that Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) has a Limbaugh poster stapled to the ceiling over his bed, so he can wake up to his “glorious leader” every morning. But that’ just a rumor.
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) has launched a campaign today urging Republican leaders to stop parroting Limbaugh and start listening to their reasonable colleagues like Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who are both taking action in their respective States.
So take a moment, sign the petition here and enjoy the short video the LCV has produced to go along with their campaign:
SolarMission Technologies and its Australian subsidiary, EnviroMission Limited produced this 5 minute video on the pilot plant in Spain. It is an older video (2000) but gives a decent understanding of the solar tower concept.