Look Around: The Costs of Not Acting on Climate Are Adding Up Fast

From major hurricanes and flooding to droughts and fires, the refusal to accept the science of global warming is getting very expensive.

— by Common Dreams staff

The La Tuna fire that raged in Los Angeles over the weekend was the largest ever seen in the city. Wildfires in California have been tied to the effects of climate change. (Photo: @climatesignals/Twitter)

As Houston begins a recovery from Hurricane Harvey that is likely to last several years and cost many billions of dollars, the threat of extreme weather events around the country and the globe are illustrating the impact of climate change—and the damage being done by right-wing politicians including President Donald Trump who have refused to heed repeated warnings from scientists and other experts.

Author and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben summed up the current state of affairs in a number of major U.S. cities, juxtaposed with Trump’s decision earlier this year to withdraw from the 2016 Paris agreement on climate change:

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has warned that the damage done to the country’s fourth-largest city could cost the government $180 billion—more than Hurricane Katrina cost in 2005. Aside from rebuilding costs, Houston-area residents may pay in other ways as well: as Common Dreams reported, the Center for Biological Diversity finds that “Oil refineries and chemical plants across the Texas Gulf coast released more than 1 million pounds of dangerous air pollutants in the week after Harvey struck.

On Monday morning, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said there is an “increasing chance” that the Florida Peninsula and the Florida Keys will see “some impacts” from the rapidly-approaching Hurricane Irma, and that “rough surf and dangerous marine conditions will begin to affect the southeastern U.S. coast by later this week.”

In Los Angeles, meanwhile, firefighters spent the weekend fighting what Mayor Eric Garcetti called “the largest fire in the history of” the city, covering about 7,000 acres and forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate. The wildfire, known as the La Tuna fire, broke out amid temperatures in the hundreds, and the Union of Concerned Scientists has noted that climate change is “fueling the frequency of wildfires” throughout the state in recent years.

As Andy Rowell, writing for Oil Change Internationalwrote in a column on Monday, Harvey’s damage in Houston and across the region “should also be a wake-up call to the climate-denying president that unless he acts on climate, there will be more Harveys.”

Rowell continues:

It is a wake-up call to the media to accurately report the disaster, including how climate change fuelled its intensity. It is also a wake-up call to the oil industry in so many, many ways.

On a national and international level it shows how our continuing dependence on fossil fuels will drive more extreme weather events. On a regional level it shows how ill-prepared the fossil fuel industry—and wider petrochemical industry—were to an event like this, despite decades of warnings.

Instead the fossil fuel industry’s complacency, malaise, self-regulation and capture of the political system are all to blame too. They have led to a system of peril.

Writing for Common Dreams on Monday, Randall Amster refers to it as the “new normal of destabilization”—a world in which climate-related disasters are happening more often and with escalating costs.

“In just the past week,” he writes, “we’ve seen record-breaking rainfall and wildfires plague parts of the United States. Globally, such extreme events appear to be increasing in frequency and magnitude. Droughts, floods, fires, and more can be seen as warning signs of impending ecosystem collapse at the planetary scale, with impacts felt in locales and regions around the world. While no single event may be able to draw a causal line directly from climate change, the cumulative correlation indicates escalating destabilization.”

Meanwhile, Trump and his cabinet remain reluctant to discuss the causes of disasters like Harvey as they strike. Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt declared it was “misplaced” to discuss the storm’s link to climate change last week.

But that view was specifically countered by journalist Naomi Klein who said that it is in the midst of these climate-related disasters when the conversation about global warming and its impacts is most important.

“Talking honestly about what is fueling this era of serial disasters—even while they’re playing out in real time—isn’t disrespectful to the people on the front lines,” argued Klein at The Intercept. “In fact, it is the only way to truly honor their losses, and our last hope for preventing a future littered with countless more victims.”

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GOP Is In Chaos—and 2018 is just around the corner

70 days in and it’s already been pretty rough for residents of Trumpland.

  • The “Obamacare” repeal? Couldn’t get a vote.
  • The Muslim ban 1.0 and then 2.0? Laughed out of court.
  • The budget? “Dead on arrival,” at least, according to Senator Lindsey Graham.
  • “You’re fired” seems to have taken over as the mode of operation, thus far: every US Ambassador effective upon his inauguration (without a single identified replacement to date),  every high-level State Department employee,
    46 District Attorneys General, Acting US Attorney General, National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh 
  • The president thinks it’s a great idea to threaten and mount primary challenges against ultra conservative Republican Freedom Caucus members who defy his will. (He might want to look back in history.  That tactic didn’t work so well, even for a very popular FDR.)
  • This is supposed to be the presidential “honeymoon” period.  Uh — not with ratings in the mid-thirties and dropping like a rock!
  • House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, who was also a member of the trump transition team, flunked the “smell test” and appears to have completely derailed the House’s efforts to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the trump campaign colluded in any way with the Russians.
  • Then there’s our Internet Privacy? ISPs are now free to sell your browsing history to the highest bidder without our permission.
  • Via executive fiat, climate change is now collectively being ignored across the board in every governmental department and LGBT statistics have been wiped from the 2020 census.
  • And what’s next? Passage of an actual budget and the need to once again raise the debt ceiling to pay for government spending Congress has already authorized.  Is yet another government shutdown on the near horizon? Will that force Democrats to vote for passage of a horrific budget just to keep the United States afloat?

The corruption of this administration is both brazen and incompetent. Case in point: Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is about to sell his debt-laden Manhattan office tower to a bank owned by the Chinese government —> for several billion dollars above fair market value.

And if that’s not bad enough, it appears there might be evidence of Trump’s campaign coordination with Russian intelligence, strong enough that Mike Flynn won’t testify  before Congress without immunity.  Isn’t that the same Flynn who raled about if  one needs immunity, that’s an indication of being guilty?  The same guy who went on an on about that throughout the campaign?

Surprisingly, the Republican congressional delegation continues to insist that the emperor is fully clothed and has all his real hair. They are going to go down with this ship.  Once again, the Republican party is destroying itself.

Now the question is: Are progressives ready with a positive vision of a just society and the policies?  Are you ready to step up and run against the void?  Are you ready to step up to the plate and throw your hat in the ring?  Let us know, we’re listening and ready to step up and support your campaign run.  Need training?  Need folks willing to contribute or provide shoe leather for door-to-door canvassing?  We can help with that!  We just need to know who you are and how we can help.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Gutting Climate Protections Won’t Bring Back Coal Jobs

Trump is using sympathetic out-of-work miners as a cover for what is really just a handout to dirty industry.

— by

Jill Richardson

When Barack Obama announced the Clean Power Plan, Scientific American used his own words to criticize it for not going far enough.

“There is such a thing as being too late when it comes to climate change,” Obama said. “The science tells us we have to do more.”

Scientific American analyzed the Clean Power Plan and agreed, concluding that Obama’s plan didn’t go far enough, and would fail to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Now, Trump is dismantling even that. Obama’s insufficient effort to address climate change is gone with a stroke of Trump’s pen.

The plan was to go into effect in 2022, reducing pollution in three ways. First, by improving the efficiency of coal-fired power plants. Second, by swapping coal for cleaner natural gas. And third, by replacing fossil fuel energy with clean, renewable energy sources like solar and wind.

Old Man Miner

Trump claims the plan puts coal miners out of work. But it hadn’t even been implemented yet. In reality, cheap natural gas and the use of machines instead of people to mine coal are responsible for putting far more miners out of work.

In other words, Trump is using sympathetic out-of-work miners as a cover for what is really just a handout to dirty industry.

Meanwhile, Trump is cutting job training programs for coal country. Given that, it’s hard to believe he cares at all about jobs for coal miners.

And, with a surge in cases of fatal black lung disease among miners in Appalachia, anyone who truly cared about miners would preserve the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which helps coal miners get black lung benefits.

In short, Trump’s killing of the Clean Power Plan is a handout to dirty industry with no regard for the well-being of coal miners. And it’s putting us even further behind in our efforts to leave the next generation a habitable planet.

A better leader would find a way to promote clean forms of energy while simultaneously creating good jobs for Americans. Of course, that’s exactly what Obama’s one-time “green jobs” czar Van Jones called for, and the Republicans hated him.

But the fact of the matter is that climate-smart policies create jobs. They create jobs retrofitting buildings, manufacturing solar panels and wind turbines, innovating to create more efficient batteries, and discovering the best way to upgrade our power grid.

It seems that, if we installed a wind turbine near the White House, Trump could single handedly provide the nation with clean energy from all of the bluster coming out of his mouth.

In the meantime, catastrophic climate change is as much of a crisis as ever, and the clock is ticking.

OtherWords columnist Jill Richardson is the author of Recipe for America: Why Our Food System Is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It. Distributed by OtherWords.org.

‘Sheer Reckless Folly’: Trump Destroys Obama-Era Climate Rules

“Aside from provoking a large-scale nuclear war, it is hard to imagine an American president taking an action more harmful to the U.S. than Trump’s effort to accelerate greenhouse gas emissions”
— by Nika Knight, staff writer at CommonDreams

Smog envelopes the Salt Lake City skyline in November 2016. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/cc)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday set about aggressively dismantling Obama-era climate policies with an executive order decried as “sheer reckless folly,” which will increase U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the climate crisis.

“Aside from provoking a large-scale nuclear war, it is hard to imagine an American president taking an action more harmful to the U.S. than Trump’s effort to accelerate greenhouse gas emissions,” said David J. Arkush, managing director of Public Citizen’s Climate Program, in a statement.

“This day may be remembered as a low point in human history—a time when the world’s preeminent power could have led the world to a better future but instead moved decisively toward catastrophe,” Arkush added.

The order instructs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to rewrite former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), which would have limited the emissions of coal-powered power plants. It also lifts the moratorium on federal coal leasing, repeals limits on methane emissions from fracking, and directs the agency to reconsider the Social Cost of Carbon and the National Environmental Policy Act guidance on greenhouse gas emissions.

“The EPA’s rollback of basic environmental rules demonstrates that when it comes to the health of our children, our communities, and our climate, this is an administration of lawlessness and disorder,” said Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of the grassroots sustainability group UPROSE, in statement.

“Indigenous peoples will not stand idle as we tell the world the Earth is the source of life to be protected, not merely a resource to be exploited and abused.”
—Tom BK Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network

“For frontline communities, those of us impacted first and worst by the extraction economy, this means an escalation of public health crises, from asthma to cancer. It means an utter disregard for those of us most vulnerable to climate disasters,” Yeampierre added. “It means a world of volatility and exploitation for our children and grandchildren.”

Environmentalists, local and state leaders, and advocacy groups are vowing to resist.

“The best way to fight against these executive orders is to take to the streets,” as 350.org executive director May Boeve put it.

“President Donald Trump tearing apart the CPP is an act of aggression and violence against the sacredness of Mother Earth and Father Sky,” said Tom BK Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, in a statement. “Our indigenous prophecies and teachings tell us that Life as we know it is in danger. The atmosphere and the environment cannot absorb anymore concentration of greenhouse gases. As Indigenous peoples, we still understand our responsibility as guardians and the need to take action as defenders of the Earth. Indigenous peoples will not stand idle as we tell the world the Earth is the source of life to be protected, not merely a resource to be exploited and abused.”

“As a member of the climate justice movement, we stand defiant in the face of these orders and are prepared to hold the line,” Yeampierre said. “We will meet these violent policies with a deeper commitment to a Just Transition away from fossil fuels, toward renewable energy, local resiliency, and a regenerative economy worthy of leaving our children.”

The climate movement has numbers on its side, groups observe. “Millions of Americans have called for strong climate action, submitting more than 8 million comments asking the EPA to take action to cut carbon pollution from power plants,” noted Environment America. Recent polling confirms that a vast majority of Americans support climate action.

Moreover, despite the Trump administration’s dubious claims of job creation, the Department of Energy showed that renewable energy jobs have already overtaken fossil fuel industry jobs, and the trend shows no sign of slowing.

As the federal government gives up its role in the climate fight, many now see local and state leaders taking up the charge.

“The West Coast will be allied with the rest of the world that understands science.”
— Washington Gov. Jay Inslee”

[A]s our most successful climate programs face attack on the federal level, it is incumbent on states to double down on their climate commitments,” Environment America wrote. “We are calling on our governors to keep leading the charge and push the progress we need to tackle the climate crisis and get 100 percent renewable energy.”

West Coast politicians are already uniting under the umbrella of the Pacific Coast Collaborative to battle the federal government’s rightward turn on climate.

“As the governors of Washington, Oregon, and California and the mayors of Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles, we speak today in support of the Clean Power Plan,” the Pacific Coast Collaborative wrote in advance of the executive order. “We speak in unified opposition to the idea of any decision by the President to limit our region’s economic opportunities or our commitment to doing what’s right to make our cities and states cleaner and healthier for future generations.”

“The West Coast is going to move forward to beat climate change,” said Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state, according to Northwest Public Radio. “The West Coast going to move forward to build clean energy jobs. The West Coast will be allied with the rest of the world that understands science.”

“It is up to the American public to move the nation in the right direction on climate and clean energy despite the worst efforts of the so-called leader in the White House.” — David J. Arkush, Public Citizen

“Many states and cities in the West will continue to lead on clean energy because it makes economic sense, and those states that tie their fate to Scott Pruitt’s doomed strategy of delay and deny face an increasingly risky future,” said Bill Corcoran, Western campaign director for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign.

And despite the frightening actions of the Trump administration, states and cities are already taking strong action to fight climate change. California last week passed the nation’s strictest methane regulations, and on Monday the Maryland state senate passed a statewide fracking ban. Maryland’s Republican governor has already signaled his support for the ban.

People nationwide are also ready to rise up and march for climate justice.

“Even as Trump dismantles environmental protections to shore up the fossil fuel industry, support for action to stop global warming is at an all-time high,” said 350.org’s Boeve. “Now it’s up to communities to bring our vision of a healthy climate and a just transition to renewable energy to life.”

Those who support climate action and oppose Trump’s fossil fuel-friendly administration will gather for the Peoples Climate March in Washington, D.C., on April 29, as well as the March for Science in D.C. and elsewhere on April 22.

“From the upcoming congressional recess through the Peoples Climate March and beyond, we’ll be putting pressure on lawmakers to defend the climate and building power to stop the fossil fuel industry for good,” Boeve said.

“Now is the time to come together and build an economy where investments are made to benefit workers, communities of color, women, and low-income folks, not the fossil fuel industry,” said Rae Breaux, lead climate justice organizer for the People’s Action Institute, in a statement.

Public Citizen’s Arkush added: “It is up to the American public to move the nation in the right direction on climate and clean energy despite the worst efforts of the so-called leader in the White House.”

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Congress’s Repeal of Obama Methane Rule Will Cost Taxpayers Hundreds of Millions

Repealing the methane rule will waste $330 million in taxpayer-owned natural gas and cost “all of us” in terms of direct payments to the public, increase in greenhouse gases, climate and air quality.

A gas flare is seen at a natural gas processing facility near Williston, N.D. CREDIT: AP Photo/Matthew Brown

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Friday to pass a resolution to undo a measure that would cut air pollution, prevent the waste of taxpayer dollars, and curb climate change-causing pollution.

The Bureau of Land Management’s methane waste prevention rule aims to limit venting, flaring, and leaking of methane — the main component in natural gas — from oil and gas operations on public lands. The House is seeking to use the Congressional Review Act to repeal the rule, in what many see as a continued escalation of the most significant congressional attack on environmental rules and standards in American history.

Repealing the rule is expected to result in the waste of $330 million in taxpayer-owned gas annually, and reduce direct payments to the public by $800 million over the next decade, analysis shows.

“Those in Congress working to overturn guidelines that will reduce methane pollution would be taking money away from American taxpayers and removing protections for Americans’ health and the environment,” Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society, said in a statement.

“More than $1.5 billion in natural gas has been pointlessly burned and sent into the air since 2013,” Williams said. “It defies common sense for Congress to allow companies to waste our resources and ditch basic safeguards limiting the release of harmful methane pollution.”

Between 2009 and 2015, oil and gas producers on public and Indian lands vented, flared, or leaked an estimated 462 billion cubic feet of natural gas. An ICF International report calculated the value of the lost federal and tribal natural gas resources at an estimated $330 million per year.

In addition, a report by the Western Values Project found that without the rule, taxpayers could conservatively lose almost $800 million in royalties over the next decade from the venting and flaring of natural gas on public lands. These revenues are crucial tax dollars that fund local governments, education programs, and infrastructure projects.

Repeal of the rule could also have significant consequences for public health. When natural gas leaks during production, methane and toxic air pollutants like benzene and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released. By reducing venting and flaring, the rule was expected to reduce VOC emissions by 250,000 to 267,000 tons per year as well. VOC’s are a precursor to ground level ozone, which poses a real threat to children who suffer from asthma and can affect Americans’ daily lives. Nationally, there are more than 750,000 summertime asthma attacks in children under the age of 18 due to ozone smog resulting from oil and gas pollution.

“The Methane Rule will reduce hazardous air pollutants that damage the health of local communities by contributing to increased smog, asthma attacks, and other respiratory ailments,” Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, wrote in a letter to members of the House. “Methane pollution is also a potent greenhouse gas, and the rule is an important step in reducing our contributions to a changing climate that threatens our health, communities, ecosystems, economy, security, and way of life.”

As a greenhouse gas, methane traps 86 times more heat than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. BLM estimates that the methane waste prevention rule could avoid an estimated 164,000 to 169,000 tons of methane emissions per year — a reduction of about 35 percent, equivalent to eliminating the emissions of at least 924,000 vehicles.

BLM received over 300,000 comments on the rule. which is supported by a wide range of stakeholders, including conservation groups, sportsmen and women, tribal leaders, western congressional delegations, and consumer watchdog groups.

But, the oil and gas industry has long fought against this rule as being “unnecessary” and lacking real benefits. According to a report from Public Citizen, oil and gas opponents of the rule spent over $130 million to influence Congress in the past year.

“Opposition to a particular government regulation should not mean overlooking potential waste, fraud, and abuse at the expense of taxpayers,” said Ryan Alexander, President of Taxpayers for Common Sense in an op-ed. “The oil and gas industry argues that companies, not the BLM, should decide when to pay a royalty on gas that is lost during drilling. Taxpayers own this resource, and it is insulting and irresponsible that we would defer to the oil and gas industry to tell us when it will pay for it.”

The House is using a rare measure to repeal this rule called the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows Congress to revoke rules issued by the executive branch within 60 legislative days of their finalization. Before this month, only one rule had ever been overturned using the CRA — a workplace safety rule that was implemented in 2000 by the Clinton Administration and overturned in 2001.

“We applaud the House of Representatives’ attention to this important matter and ask that all members of the House support this resolution when it is considered on the floor,” American Petroleum Institute president Jack Gerrard wrote in a letter to Congress. “We know that the exploration and production of federal oil and natural gas will further enhance U.S. economic and national security, and that a forward-thinking energy policy that prioritizes and grows federal production will benefit all Americans.”

CRA resolutions cannot be filibustered and require only a simple majority to pass in both chambers. If a rule is disapproved using the Congressional Review Act, a “substantially similar” rule cannot be issued unless Congress passes new legislation.

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On Day One, Trump’s WhiteHouse.gov Scrubs Every Mention of Combating Climate Change

New administration’s official site offers ‘America First Energy Plan’ which boasts ‘direct obstacle to a livable future’ by promoting fracking and coal

Trump’s America First Energy Plan isn’t a plan at all, said Sierra Club head Michael Brune, but “a polluter wishlist that will make our air and water dirtier, our climate and international relations more unstable, and our kids sicker.” (Photo: Julia DeSantis via Climate J20/flickr/cc)

Soon after Donald Trump took his oath as the 45th President of the United States, the new White House web page for his administration went up. Among the key differences from the previous administration’s—the lack of any reference to the threat of climate change.

While climate change was listed as a top issue on the Obama White House official site, the new page now lists ‘America First Energy Plan’ as among the top six issues.

The new page states: “For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule” That is the only use of “climate” on the page.

WH Energy page just minutes before new Administration took office

Screenshot from the new Trump administration's White House site

Screenshot from the new Trump administration’s White House site The Climate Action Plan refers to Obama-era climate regulations, and the Waters of the U.S. rule, as the Washington Post explains, “is an EPA action to protect not only the nation’s largest waterways but smaller tributaries that critics think should fall under the jurisdiction of states rather than the federal government,” a rollback of which could “end up benefiting some Trump-related businesses.”

The “energy plan” page adds that the new administration “will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution” and is “committed to clean coal technology,” referring to carbon capture and storage—a costly technological process that has so far proven a failure.

The page adds: “President Trump will refocus the EPA on its essential mission of protecting our air and water”—though it stands to be “every polluter’s ally” if Trump’s pick to head the agency, Scott Pruitt, is confirmed.

The Obama White House site, in contrast, listed climate change as a top issue, stating: “President Obama believes that no challenge poses a greater threat to our children, our planet, and future generations than climate change.”

Addressing that magnitude, Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said, “Minutes after he was sworn in, any illusion that Trump would act in the best interests of families in this country as President were wiped away by a statement of priorities that constitute an historic mistake on one of the key crises facing our planet and an assault on public health.”

Rather than a plan, Brune said it’s a “polluter wishlist that will make our air and water dirtier, our climate and international relations more unstable, and our kids sicker.”

At the same time, the pledges for more fossil fuel extraction are not at all surprising, said 350.org executive director May Boeve. “Trump’s energy plan is par for the course of the President’s climate denial, but it’s nonetheless alarming for the movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground.”

“Fulfilling this plan would not only set back years of progress we’ve made towards protecting the climate, but would undoubtedly worsen the devastating impacts of the climate crisis, from rising sea levels to extreme weather. This is not a plan for a brighter future—it’s a direct obstacle to a livable future, and we will do everything we can to resist it,” she said.

As New York magazine notes, also missing from the new White House site are sections on LGBTQ equality, civil rights, and healthcare.

How Can DJT Make America Great If He Works to Exacerbate Climate Change?

Credit: DallasCityNews.net

According to a survey from the Conservative Energy Network (CEN), there is strong conservative support for renewable energy. The survey found that there is majority support for solar power and state net metering rules. Seventy percent of respondents also said the U.S. should place a greater focus on wind energy production. Meanwhile, 76 percent favored greater solar energy production. In contrast, only 23 percent of respondents favored coal as an energy source. The survey also reports strong support for state renewable energy portfolio rules.  That survey was conducted buy CEN after the November elections.

The results of the survey counter the views of Republican millionaires in Congress, as well as President-elect Donald Trump who supports coal and who has promised to repeal any and all climate change associated policies. His choice for Department of Energy is none other than Dancing with the Stars drop-out, climate change skeptic, BIG oil promoting, ex-Gov. Ricky Perry.

Currently, the Department of Energy (DOE) considers climate a major research focus and has a whole host of supercomputers trained on“national challenges,” including climate change.  Those same supercomputers are also used for safeguarding the nation’s nuclear stockpile.  Since no underground testing has been allowed since 1992, only simulations are used to simulate nuclear weapons tests these days.

In 2007, under President G.W. Bush, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change  issued a report advancing information regarding climate science research. It wasn’t, however, until 2009, during President Obama’s administration that Perry challenged that report as well as the  Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to limit carbon emissions.  He alleged the IPCC’s study was built on falsified data and with “uncertain and highly questionable science.”

As governor of Texas, Perry did support renewable energy and Texas does rank first in wind energy production, another area studied by researchers on supercomputers. Perry has supported supercomputer use in storm prediction, and has praised NASA, a big employer in his state, for its role in “technological advancement.”  It remains to be seen how much research would be stunted, abandoned, or trashed should be be confirmed.  In fear of that research being destroyed, efforts are now underway to ensure environmental data doesn’t disappear under the Trump administration.

On Nov. 30th, the European Commission unveiled a draft plan to reform Europe’s power grid.  The goal is to cut energy waste, better integrate renewables, and phase out subsidies for coal-fired electricity generation.  Their draft plan sets a binding target to cut energy use by 30% and for renewable energy to make up at least 27% of the bloc’s power mix, both by 2030. I wonder what kind of plan Rick Perry might propose, other than shutting down  and dismantling the Department of Energy as he has previously espoused, putting himself and thousands of others out of a job, or whether he’s going to adopt a drill-baby-drill, more subsidies for BIG oil, to hell with the climate policy.

Worth the Repeat: Rep. Mark Amodei NV2 = Certifiable Climate Denier

(Originally posted on Rockolitics on May 20, 2014)

I wrote to Rep. Mark Amodei NV2 expressing my concerns about climate.  Here’s his response in which (1) he espouses climate change denialism (“I do not believe it is appropriate for the federal government to advocate one position over the other”), and (2) advocates that we should commission an “unbiased research effort funded by both the government and the private sector to answer the essential questions about climate change.”  Unbiased? Really? What’s biased about 97% agreement amongst scientists who study the world’s climate? I guess that isn’t good enough for “Mr. I Know Better Than Scientists” and that he’ll do all he can to stall out any action until it’s too late to do absolutely ANYTHING that might mitigate the dire circumstances in which we’ll find ourselves mired within the next decade or two.

Thank you for contacting me to express your thoughts on climate change. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.

As you know, climatology is complex issue. For the past century scientists have widely accepted that the earth is slowly becoming warmer. Over the past 30 to 40 years, some have noted the rate of increase has become steeper.

There are many theories regarding what has caused the increase and how it can affect life as well as the environment. Most believe the earth’s warming is largely man made and that the increase in greenhouse gases is the main factor in rising temperatures. The focus of debate comes from the lack of scientific consensus on how the earth will continue to warm, and what we should to do curb the effects of any warming. Some political leaders and environmental supporters stipulate that the earth’s temperature could rise by as much as 6 degrees by the end of the century. Other noted environmentalists say that rate of increase is implausible. Over the past decade, we have seen a major slowdown in global warming and scientists are still in the process of explaining this phenomenon.

Like you I believe we need to be good stewards of our environment. I also believe we need to be wary about sweeping environmental policies driven more by emotions than by sound science. We need to be careful that our policies don’t trade one bad environmental practice for another. As an example, some of our more fuel efficient and therefore emission friendly vehicles are made with materials that are very energy intensive to mine and take much longer to decompose than those of their less fuel efficient counterparts.

I do not believe it is appropriate for the federal government to advocate one position over the other. I do agree we must have an unbiased research effort funded by both the government and the private sector to answer the essential questions about climate change. Since 1990, the U.S. has spent at least $50 billion on climate research.

With sound science and a clear understanding of the natural climate cycles that the earth undergoes, we will be able to develop effective solutions to the human causes of global warming. As legislation to address this issue comes to the House floor for a vote, be assured I will consider it carefully and keep your thoughts in mind.

I appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to apprise me of your opinions and hope that you will contact me again should you have any further comments or concerns. If you would like additional information on my activities in the House, please visit my website, www.Amodei.house.gov or connect with me on facebook.com/MarkAmodeiNV2 and twitter.com/MarkAmodeiNV2.

In closing, please know that I consider it a privilege to serve and represent you and your family in Congress.


Most interestingly, and hilariously, his letter invites me to connect with him on Twitter:


When I clicked on “FOLLOW” … I got the cute little note at the top of the page indicating that I’ve been BLOCKED from being able to follow MY REPRESENTATIVE TO CONGRESS at the request of the user.

Clinton Has A Plan To Combat Climate Change

Hillary Clinton believes climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time. That’s why she’s released a bold plan to make the United States the clean energy superpower of the 21st Century, create millions of good-paying jobs across the country, save families money on their energy bills, and ensure that no community is left out or left behind in the clean energy economy, from coal country to Indian country to our inner cities.

Her strategy calls for three goals to achieve within ten years of taking office:

  • Generate half of our electricity from clean sources, with half a billion solar panels installed by the end of her first term.
  • Cut energy waste in American homes, schools, hospitals and offices by a third and make American manufacturing the cleanest and most efficient in the world.
  • Reduce American oil consumption by a third through cleaner fuels and more efficient cars, boilers, ships and trucks.

Clinton has long fought for clean energy and measures to curb climate change:

  • As Secretary of State, she built an unprecedented global effort to combat climate change, making it a key U.S. foreign policy priority, and with President Obama achieved the key diplomatic breakthrough that yielded the first international climate agreement in which major developing countries like China, India, and Brazil committed to reduce their GHG pollution.
  • She has praised the Paris climate agreement, calling it a “testament to America’s ability to lead the world in building a clean energy future where no one is left out or left behind.”
  • TIME op-ed: America Must Lead at Paris Climate Talks — “As Secretary of State, I put combating climate change on the agenda for my first trip to Beijing and kept it there over the next four years. I appointed the first high-level special envoy for climate change and led an international effort to launch the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to reduce so-called “super pollutants” that make up just a fraction of emissions, but drive a disproportionate share of warming. As President, I will protect and build on the progress President Obama has made at home.”
  • As Senator, she twiceintroduced the Strategic Energy Fund Act to prioritize investment in smarter energy and extend tax credits for ethanol, wind, and other renewable energy sources. The Strategic Energy Fund Act would have eliminated key tax breaks for oil and gas companies. She also introduced a measure that was signed into law requiring the Pentagon to address the risks of climate change in its strategic planning.
  • She worked with Senate colleagues of all stripes to confront these challenges, teaming up with Bernie Sanders to create job training opportunities in the clean energy industry, and working with Jim Inhofe to expand alternative energy use in federal buildings.
  • She worked with Senator Chuck Schumer on legislation calling for the study and potential creation of a national heritage area surrounding Niagara Falls. Following the release of the study, the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area was established in 2008. She worked with Carl Levin to safeguard wildlife and promote sound water management in the Great Lakes region, and she consistently fought against opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

While Clinton believes the U.S. must act to tackle climate change, Donald Trump is burying his head in the sand by claiming it’s a hoax.

Time to Deal with Climate Change is Right Now

ChipEvans01— By Chip Evans, Candidate for U.S. Representative to Congress representing NV-CD2

The time is now for climate change deniers to follow or get out of the way.

As a state, Nevada must fully embrace the ongoing national movement towards clean, sustainable, renewable energy and start a rapid transition away from fossil fuel energy to a job-creating green economy.

So what are some smart things to do?

Step one: Focus on job creation first.

From my days as the founding director of the Cleantech Open in Nevada, I am aware of many technologies that are market-ready or in development to make, store and discharge energy sourced from a multitude of sources. Each of these technologies creates a clear opportunity to create good-paying green jobs. Our Northern Nevada unions already have extensive training programs underway or at the ready to get workers up to speed and job-ready in a short period.

Step two: Facilitate growth of our newly-arriving technology companies.

We must invest in and develop a high-speed data highway to all corners of Nevada. This data highway would make our existing businesses more competitive and help Northern Nevada attract new businesses. It would also help repopulate the downtowns of our rural communities.

Creating this rapid data highway will require a public/private partnership. The private sector alone cannot handle the upfront expense for a still-small customer base.

We have compelling examples of successful public/private partnerships with the development and construction of the national highway system back in the ’50s and the national electric grid even earlier than that.

Step three: Remove roadblocks and monopolies to open up energy-choice/independence.

Another key ingredient of progress will be untethering consumers from current independent energy-related constraints and a return to both accommodation and incentives to lessen reliance on grid-provided power.

Removing energy monopolies would result in greater competition, leading to good-paying jobs. It also has the added benefit of lessening the need for large coal-fired or nuclear power plants – a great outcome for our environment and the people of Nevada.

This November, we must consider the cost of our votes. We must consider whether or not it’s worth it to elect anyone who represents climate deniers and the status quo, or someone with new energy, fresh ideas and is willing to shake things up.

It’s time we accept the facts: Climate change is here. Climate change is real. Combating climate change, now, will be good for our economy.

Whether it’s in Nevada or any other state, we need to work together to get stuff done and create more green energy platforms, and move away from our dependence on fossil fuels.

Our planet, our humanity and our economy depend on our collective actions.