Telling people not to destroy the planet is an oversimplified way of describing what people working on climate change issues often do.
I think that everyone realises that this isn't an effective approach and a fair number of organisations have taken this to heart. Setting out a clear vision of a low carbon future is a valuable thing to do.
Major changes are ahead and if we are to develop our vision we need to understand how climate friendly policies effect the wider social agenda. There is perhaps no clearer example to this than restructuring cities and developing new models of urban transport.
A book on this very topic, removing cars from cities, has just arrived at my doorstep today. I`m yet to start this formidable looking text as i`m to busy reading 'Homage to Catalonia' and 'The Price of Fire'...neither of which have anything to do with climate change but a fair bit to do with revolutions (the Spanish and the Bolivarian).
Ahh...back to the point i found a facinating website with loads of reading for anyone interested in transport and the myriad issues that this borders on.
Climate Camp Workshop: AirportWatch--Why The Expansion Must Stop
John Stewart of AirportWatch makes the case for ceasing airport expansion in the UK. This case stretches across several themes, environmental, social and economic.
To an audience concerned about there homes, and indeed entire villages going under tarmac the case is not difficult to make. To those of us in the audience concerned about climate change the arguement is likewise utterly convincing. To those of you unconcerned about climate change and not in imminent danger of loosing your community for cheap hollidays the economic case for ending tax-breaks is surely something that we can agree on.
Aviation is massively subsidised aswell as unacountable for the pollution that it causes. At the very least the subsidies should be axed and the pollution costs represented in the price of a ticket. This on its own would likely reduce the rate of aviation growth significantly. Perhaps to a rate comparable to the rate of improement of technology in terms of local and global pollution.
For me that means the inclusion of aviation and international shipping.
That also includes annual budgets with limited overspend.
It also means targets in line with both the science and our historic responsibility so 60% vy 2050 isnt good enough...for the whole globe it may be but the UK should aim to go zero carbon apart from argiculture.
The Lib Dems are pledging a Zero Carbon Britain if they get into power. A coalition between Lib Dems and Labour is far from unlikely so perhaps this has some real significance.
The Liberal Democrat leadership yesterday outlined a vision of a zero-carbon Britain by 2050 when it published the most ambitious blueprint for climate change reform ever produced by a mainstream political party. Citing extreme weather events such as the Australian drought, the destruction of New Orleans by a hurricane, warm winters in Canada, and Britain's summer floods, Sir Menzies Campbell insisted that climate change was finally moving up the political agenda worldwide. "This time it's different," he told a press conference in London.
For a long time I viewed climate change as an issue apart from politics. I always saw that it impinged on a wide variety of areas from health to conflict and biodiversity but none the less i saw the issue as an essentially technocratic one.
I have known people who are far more political than myself and regularly used the term 'ideological' as a pejorative, basically equating it with unreasonable.
However, it must be said that the reasons for being against climate change are the same as reasons for being against much of contemporary economics and that many causes of climate change can be looked at from a radical (root cause) perspective as symptoms of a larger problem.
Doing other than this is starting to look daft. To put it simply, when i hear someone from south America telling me about the wage-slave conditions that are leading to exhaustion and death, when i hear about chevron dumping oil in a rainforest because they can...i don't see the logic in saying 'that isn't my issue' it may be more convenient to think in that way: separation of issues allows better management of one issue? In reality issues are so intertwined that we have to move our lines. It is always a difficult decision, where to draw the boundaries on your concerns, if they are two broad then is that idealistic with a lack of pragmatism...if the bounds are to narrow then you are a special interest group ignoring values that you hold dear.
I have just read a fascinating article from the USA Is Environmentalism Dead, a follow up to Death of Environmentalism. These articles have won me over and the Progressive agenda is now my arena. The battle for all of us is the physical sustainability of our planet and the path there is broad and value based...above all we need to fight for values and not for causes. In fact there may be differences in my views and those of other self-described progressives as i think that much of current capitalism has to be torn down. Many of the existing institutions and corporations.
For now, i am however, content to call myself a reformer rather than a revolutionary.
There are two visions of renewable energy: most of us share both of these visions but we need to fight to keep both as a reality.
The first vision is of a rapid decarbonisation of our energy system and a mitigation of climate change. This is underway and accelerating fast. The second is a decentralisation of energy, a more local approach where personal ownership of renewables and a lessening of corporate involvement in energy systems causes a reduction in political power associated with energy provision. This second vision sees renewable energy as anti-imperialist in the sense that investment is local and impacts of energy acquisition for one portion of the global population are not imposed on another portion. This is a fine vision, and in terms of concern about climate change (largely motivated by our concern of its impacts on people) this appears to be a nice synergy.
In practice some renewable energies require large amounts of land, and with agrofuels in particular this can lead to indigenous peoples being forced off there land. Other renewables can often be produced in a sympathetic way, but if the attempt isn't made then they can be hugely destructive.
Renewables are only as good as they seem if the people where they are developed are either the ones doing the developing or are heavily involved. Decentralisation is preferable to mega-projects and open access to good technologies in a open source manner is a very significant factor in getting power to the people.
Camp for Climate Action: World Development Movement discussion on climate justice with the use of there climate calander to highlight the comparative responsibility for climate change of the northern and southern nations.
The world business council on sustainable development (which has published many facinating reports) has just released a report entitled 'Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Business Realities and Opportunities' (PDF) advocating green building and debunking some of the myths about how much this costs.
Geneva, 21 August 2007 - Survey finds green costs overestimated by 300% and a need to foster zero net energy construction. Key players in real estate and construction misjudge the costs and benefits of "green" buildings, creating a major barrier to more energy efficiency in the building sector, a new study by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) reports.
Respondents to a 1400 person global survey estimated the additional cost of building green at 17 percent above conventional construction, more than triple the true cost difference of about 5 percent. At the same time, survey respondents put greenhouse gas emissions by buildings at 19 percent of world total, while the actual number of 40 percent is double this.
So save a copy to your hard drive and keep it safe for the next time you want to argue for higher building standards...remember this is from an organisation where CEO's get together it is not a green group.
Convergence for Climate Action: East and West Coast USA
A protest at Bank of America, and organisation know for its funding of mountain top removal coal mining. This practice is not just a climate crime it destroys whole regions of Appalachia, tunring biodiverse mountainous areas into biologically dead moonscapes. This action is part of the southeast convergence for climate action. An event inspired by and in solidarity with the Camp for Climate Action (held last year at Drax and this year at Heathrow airport).
I have been processing video from the Camp for Climate Action all day. Much of the video that i recorded is now on my PC. I uploaded one whole session although it took all night to encode. I will do another video tonight. For now, i have uploaded a selection of short 'highlight' clips to a new youtube account.
Check them out...and let me know, where you at the Climate Camp: what did you think of it?
I left the camp on Sunday evening convinced that a new political movement has been born -
George Monbiot in The Guardian
Some details of the climate camp show:
Interviews, recordings and reports from the amazing 2007 Camp for Climate Action near Heathrow Airport, London.
Seven days of workshops, sustainable living and direct action on the root causes of climate change.
The show covers:
- participatory education and consensus decision making with Alice of the Trapese Collective (editors of "Do It Yourself - a handbook for changing our world published by Pluto Press) - analysis of the media coverage in conversation with the media team - a conversation with local residents about their views of the Camp - other stuff
In a few hundered words i cannot possibly do justice to all the varied activities and experiances provided by the camp for climate action. Nonetheless i must be brief, we have online internet access but the dozen computers available freely are in high demand.
I arrived tuesday to a camp that was largely setup although significant work was still underway. People where directed to one of the geograpgically based neighbourhoods...the set up was regional but this was a guide--infact i decided to staty in the London rather than Scotland neighbourhood.
At that time the camp was along the same lines as last years event at drax . Since then the camp has ixpanded dramatically and now there are perhaps 1200 people on site...a lot of new faces. This is both encouraging and worrying as the camp is hel together by social glue consisting of shared experiances in its organisation, there is no learership so everyone must be engaged.
The workshops have been going on all week but have just finished, now the focus is the mass action that we will be taking on sunday and monday. This has to be able to accomidate eveyone on site, and many of the locals who we are very keen to work with. We will most likely be marking out the proposed runway in an entirely legal and cooporeative effort with the local community. We will also be blockading BAA...this may be more difficult to achive and will likely lead to arrests for blocking roads.
So far for me the highlights have been a workshop on the Stanstead Expansion, the moment when a Bronze level commander from the police decided to send his 15-20 men on camp , only for them to be pushed off and to be rebuked foraggressive policing by the silver commander. George Monbiot's talk in the main tent also went down a storm...later this moved to the london neighbourhood for several hours if discussion including questions from Johan Hari of The Independent.
Much of my timehas been taken up with recording many of the workshops so that they can be uploaded to the internet and shared with the wider world.
I have also recorded a variety of small clips from around the camp and hope to edit these together, along with the footage to be taken tomorrow from the protest to produce a small 4 minute propmotional video of the camp.
At the last count we have 5 wind turbines, a large number of small solar electric pannels.
That is a very brief record of what has gone on so far, for far more please go to indymedia, that has been providing extensive coverage.
Apparently the Staines railway station meet up was a bit of a rouse, although a mini bus service will be provided since so many people now think that this is near to the site. However the easiest way to get to the actual site, which is north not south of Heathrow is to follow one of the instructions bellow.
Latest news here >>>
We now need lots of people to come down and get everything set up.
We are on Sipson Lane, between the villages of Sipson and Harlington, North of Heathrow.
By public transport:
Train from Paddington to 'Hayes and Harlington' station.
From there bus 90, 140 or H98 heading South. Get off at the corner of Harlington High Street and walk West along Sipson Lane about 600 metres.
About a 2 mile walk - south into Harlington village then as above.
Go one station further on to West Drayton and take the 222 bus to the Western (Sipson) end of Sipson Lane. (i`m going for this option as it basically involved getting on the 222 and asking for sipson lane...even i can manage that!)
Camp for Climate Action pitches its tents on the site of the proposed third runway
12 August 2007 For immediate release
***PRESS CONFERENCE AT 1:30 PM ON SUNDAY 12th AUGUST***
The Camp for Climate Action is being set up 800 metres from BAA's head office. Last night 150 people converged on the site, which is located on the proposed path of the third runway.
Campers are now busy building a temporary ecovillage in preparation for the opening of the camp on Tuesday morning.
Up to two thousand people are expected throughout the week, who will take part in the 100 workshops on offer (1), experience sustainable living in action, and build a lasting community of resistance to airport expansion and climate change.
‘BAA haven’t scared us off - we're camping in their back yard. The camp is not covered by the injunction, and everyone is free to come along. We are calling for everyone who knows that governments and corporations will not solve the problem of climate change to come to the camp, to put a stop to the third runway when it’s clear that no one else will, and to help build just, lasting solutions to climate change,’ said Julie Anderson from the site.
From the camp there will be a day of mass direct action starting at midday on Sunday 19th August. The form this action will take will be decided by camp participants during planning meetings taking place throughout the week.
Camper Sam Thompson said: ‘Everyone’s desperate to know what will happen on the day of action. What we do know is that one of the key aims of the camp, and the day of action, is to confront the aviation industry that is driving airport expansion – which is criminal in a time of climate crisis.’
People are now advised to travel to the campsite via Hayes and Harlington railway station (2). Journalists are invited to tour the site at 11 AM daily, from Tuesday 14th – Friday 17th inclusive (3). There will be a press conference at 1:30 PM on Sunday 12th August in front of the site.
Print and broadcast quality footage is available upon request.
1. The full workshops programme for the Camp is available at www.climatecamp.org.uk/wshops.pdf 2. The site is located on Sipson Lane, between the villages of Sipson and Harlington. 3. Please read important information for journalists wishing to cover the camp at www.climatecamp.org.uk/press.php
With the hammering that Heathrow has been getting for poor service recently i think that travel by trains is going to make significant gains on journeys within Europe.
Eurostar reports roaring ticket sales
Channel Tunnel train company Eurostar says the imminent opening of its new high-speed line has contributed to a huge boost to ticket sales.
The firm said today that two weeks after tickets went on sale for the maiden journeys from its new UK base at St Pancras International, more than 110,000 passengers had booked seats.
Eurostar services relocate to St Pancras on November 14th after 13 years at London Waterloo International.
The change in station coincides with the opening of the high speed one rail line that connects to services on the continent.
The travel times of 2hrs15min for London-Paris is pretty sweet, as is 1hr50min for Brussels!
Eurostar says that the 186mph speed line – 50 per cent faster than UK domestic rail services – will cut average journey times by 20 minutes, making trips to Paris two hours fifteen minutes long and journeys to Brussels one hour and fifty one minutes in duration.
"We are seeing a huge surge in advance bookings for travel on high speed one," commented the company's chief executive Richard Brown.
"It's solid evidence that the travelling public is excited by the prospect of journeys that are at least 20 minutes quicker, the experience of travelling at 186mph in the UK, and the desire to switch from flying in order to 'do the right thing' for the environment."
Needed for Climate Camp: Windows Laptop + Camcorder
I`m off to the Camp for Climate Action in a couple of days and i`m helping to record the workshops. I`m very excited about the whole thing now :-)
I`ve bought new tapes for my camcorder and already had a few so i`m at about 55 now, these will be shared with the others who have camcorders. We have 3 camcorders (that i know of) for recording events.
We also have on-site internet access. I have just secured the use of a decent laptop.
However, the laptop currently runs Linux so there will be some hastle in installing XP and i`m not sure if my video editing software will work perfectly. So two things.
1. It would be great if you are going to the climate camp and have a laptop if you could bring it and let me know that you are doing so.
2. We are still on the lookout for camcorders (we have quite a bit of tape!) so please bring one if you have it.
Contact me on calvin.jones(at)gmail.com
p.s as a bonus you can keep the top-grade video editing software i have!
Why I am Going to the Camp for Climate Action Calvin Jones calvin.jones(at)gmail.com
From the 14 to the 21 of August 2007 people from all over the UK will come together to form the Camp for Climate Action at Heathrow airport. Described last year as ‘Glastonbury, science seminar and protest all in one’(1), we clearly have a lot to live up to. Last year this mixture of education, protest and entertainment captured the media imagination with the camp receiving unheard of news coverage for a climate change protest. At that time we focused on dirty coal(2), this year the focus has changed to the ever expanding aviation industry.
Deciding to highlight aviation growth with this years climate camp was not an easy decision. But we asked ourselves: ‘Where are government policies on climate change weakest or most badly needed?’. The answer is clearly the aviation industry: a heavy polluter that is highly subsidised and growing fast. Just imagine would could be done with the £9 Billion in subsides given to aviation(3). That is a lot of hospitals, schools…or tax cuts!
The government has climate policies that exclude aviation and aviation policies that exclude any consideration of climate change. According to a cross-party group of MPs who looked at this conflict, growth in aviation emissions are likely to entirely destroy progress made elsewhere(4). Whereas the government has shown it’s rhetoric to outshine it’s performance the Camp for Climate Action seeks to lead by example. The week long event will have a strong emphasis on learning, both about low carbon living and about communicating climate change. Renewable energy such as Solar and Wind will power the event, including on-site internet access, projectors and lighting(5).
Heathrow was chosen as the symbol of aviation due to it’s international profile and it’s vast carbon footprint—larger than many countries(6). It was also important to us that many local people are already strongly resisting the expansion of Heathrow, we felt a strong desire to strengthen their fight.
We have three aims:
To highlight government hypocrisy in pursuing both a climate plan and an entirely inconsistent airport expansion plan.
To support local communities i there struggle against loosing homes under the ever expanding tarmac of Heathrow.
To educate ourselves and all those who join us about low carbon living.
We do all this with a simple philosophy:
Climate change is our generations challenge, it must not be left to burden our children. As governments fail us the realisation is clear, action is our responsibility: we are the ones who we have been waiting for.
Here is a bit more information about what actually happened with Monday's injunction outcome, which should hopefully clear up any confusion based on unclear and misrepresentative press stories!
First and most important: the camp is NOT covered by the injunction, and you will not be breaking the law by coming to the camp! The camp is going ahead as planned – not because it’s ignoring an injunction, but because it is not affected by the injunction.
Second, this was a victory for us and for freedom to protest, not for BAA. BAA originally sought an incredibly wide-ranging, draconian injunction that could have affected 5 million people and that covered a wide geographical area including the Piccadilly line and parts of the M25 motorway. What they got was an injunction that is civil and not criminal (ie. no additional powers of arrest), against 3 named individuals and the group Plane Stupid, and with a much reduced geographical area over which the injunction applies. EVERYONE is free to come to the camp WITHOUT breaching the injunction, including those named on the injunction. In other words, the judge denied most of the original injunction, and gave BAA something much smaller and much less powerful.
However they tried to spin the story on Monday (by the way, the reason their ‘BAA wins injunction’ story got out first is because they sneakily started talking to the press before the hearing was over!), BAA are definitely not the winners in this case. The entire hearing has been a farce, with the judge at times confused, at times thoroughly unimpressed at BAA’s inability to decide exactly what the injunction covered. Embarrassment continued as BAA was denounced across the board, by everyone from the big NGOs to Ken Livingstone and the political parties to civil liberties groups. And finally, BAA were ordered to pay all court costs, apart from Plane Stupid’s.
So, BAA got very little of what they were originally seeking, got nowhere in attempting to stop the camp, gave the camp loads of free publicity, and are now out of a considerable chunk of change. We won, not BAA.
Loads of people have now heard about the camp who might not have previously; but equally some people might be worried that this injunction will affect them if they come to the camp. Please forward this email and help to spread the word amongst your networks that the camp is not covered by the injunction, and the outcome was in fact a real victory for protest at Heathrow this summer.
Keith R over at Temas has just nominated Climate Change Action for a "Blogging for Positive Global Change" award. In other words a climate change blog meme has been started and it's my turn to reccomend some of the best blogs in the field.
I would like to thank Keith for nominating me as a reccommended climate blogger. He has a very interesting blog which is rather unique in it's regional focus (Latin America), combined with it's coverage (environmental issues) and it's language (English).
The rules of the meme are as follows:
Here are the rules:
When you get tagged, write a post with links to up to 5 blogs that you think are trying to change the world in a positive way.
In your post, make sure you link back to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.
Leave a comment or message for the bloggers you’re tagging, so they know they’re now part of the meme.
Optional: Proudly display the “Bloggers For Positive Global Change” award badge with a link to the post that you write up.
So my five nominations are:
SusHi--Ken bloggs about sustainability in Hawaii, ever since he started this blog i have been amazed at his profligacy. Numerous posts every day, and lots of good stuff amongst the collection. Think of it as Treehugger run by one man ( i know it's insane).
DeSmog blog--Kevin Grandia, Ross Gelbspan et. al., do a great job at "clearing the pr pollution that clouds the science of climate change". Hear a doddgy sounding report, check de smog blog and found out who paid for it, what the actual facts are and how it has been distorted. A great resource.
Bristling Badger --A fellow participant in the Camp for Climate Action, Merric is a UK voice of climate activism. Not purely climate change and not entirely free of politics but good stuff, i perticularly like the briefing on aviation and climate change. There is some really well researched work.
Itsgettinghotinhere.The best student climate activism blog on the web. Canadian and US bloggers update the site frequently with information on marches, sit-ins and other awareness raising activities. A must read for North Americans with an interest in climate change.
Jeff Sachs is an eloquent speaker, he makes a compelling case for the need for sustainable development. In my favourite book on sustainable development that I have yet read, Jonathon Porritt makes the case that Capitalism As If The World Matters is a possibility... In this series of lectures Sachs shows vividly that we have no choice.
The speaches bellow are taken from the bbc Reith Lecutures website where they are avilable for streaming.
The 21st century will be marked by severe natural resource limits, the rise of new economic powers and the threats of failed states. These are tectonic changes with the potential to unleash global-scale upheavals. Global cooperation of an unprecedented depth and scale will be needed but we are not yet prepared for such cooperation.
The biggest challenges that we face - climate change, alleviation of hunger, water stress, energy - are translated in the shadow of ignorance into "us versus them" problems, with only the weakest links to underlying scientific principles and technological options.
Power and America have seemed synonymous for the last fifty years. No longer. Power in the 21st Century is shifting to the East: to India and above all to China. Facing up to the end of centuries of North Atlantic dominance - first Europe then the U.S. - will pose huge challenges.
Lecture 4: Economic Solidarity for a Crowded Planet (MP3)
This lecture considers the challenges of extreme poverty and the extreme worry of the rest of the world which fears for its own prosperity. It spells out the limits of the free market to solve these problems and proposes a plan of action which presents choices to those listening.
Lecture 5: Global Politics in a Complex Age. (MP3)
The key political novelty of our age is mass political awareness and mobilization. Mass mobilization has brought the Age of Empire to an end, and accounts for the failures in Iraq. No society any longer tolerates being ruled by another. Social mobilization can be a dramatic force for positive change.
On June 4, 2007, China released its first national climate change plan. Prepared by China’s National Development and Reform Commission, the plan outlines China’s strategy for addressing climate change through national programs aimed at mitigation, adaptation, science and technology research, and increasing public awareness.
Information on China and climate change is not the easiest thing in the world to come across but one good site for keeping up with the debate is ChinaDialogue a great site, which, due to it's team of transltors, allows you to leave comments that are then translated...also all the articles are in both english and chinese.
With the Senate already having voted on an energy bill and the House expected to take up energy legislation this month, the next course of action expected after the August recess will be a debate on emissions reduction legislation. Will Congress favor a cap-and-trade approach or a carbon tax? Are there enough votes in the House and Senate to pass a climate bill? During today's OnPoint, Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, discusses Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Arlen Specter's (R-Pa.) recently introduced climate bill. She explains why she believes the safety valve option is not the best approach and compares cap-and-trade to a carbon tax.
Monica Trauzzi: Welcome to OnPoint. I'm Monica Trauzzi. Joining me today is Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Eileen thanks for coming on the show.
Eileen Claussen: My pleasure.
Monica Trauzzi: Eileen, Senators Bingaman and Specter recently introduced the Low Carbon Economy Act of 2007. It's a cap-and-trade approach, but it still takes the economy into account with their safety valve provision. How does this new legislation contribute to the overall climate discussion in Congress and what's your take on it?
Eileen Claussen: Well, I mean there are a number of different cap-and-trade bills that have been introduced, and I think the more that are introduced and the more different provisions there are in them the better the discussion will be and the better the bill that emerges will be. I think the Bingaman-Specter bill is important for a couple of reasons. One is that it does get the safety valve on the table and up there for discussion. The second thing it does is that it really provides incentives for carbon capture and storage and for other technology development. And I think that is a very positive thing that wasn't in any of the other bills either. So it may end up by being the right end of the debate, but it's a debate that we have to have.
Monica Trauzzi: The safety valve provision is very controversial on the Hill. What's your take on that?
Eileen Claussen: Well, I mean when you do a cap and trade I think you immediately assume that we are doing something for the environment, but because it's got a lot of flexibility built into it, it will be something that the economy can handle and handle well. But one thing about a cap and trade is that it really provides certainty on the environmental outcome. So when you set a cap, that's the cap you meet. And I think when you introduce a safety valve, particularly if it's a low one, and I would say the Bingaman-Specter safety valve at $12 a ton and going up, going up, but going up relatively slowly, still is something to be concerned about. What you're really doing is setting a price cap rather than an environmental cap. And you're essentially saying the environment, well, we'll get what we can, but only up to $12 a ton or $13 a ton or whatever it is. So you lose the environmental flexibility, but you do gain economic certainty. So, again, it's a trade. I mean from our perspective it's not a trade we should be making, but it is a trade.
Monica Trauzzi: So the other option for addressing climate change would be a carbon tax. If companies have to pay for emissions, won't they try to emit less? Doesn't it just make sense that way? Why don't you think carbon tax is the way to go?
Eileen Claussen: Well, a carbon tax, very much like a safety valve actually, sets a price. You don't know what the environmental outcome will be from setting that price. And it also basically says that the government can determine what the right price is to get to a certain environmental outcome. And, quite honestly, I'd rather put my money on the market, which is what a cap and trade does, because there the market sets the price. The government doesn't set the price. But beyond that, the tax is in many ways just like a cap-and-trade system. The prices will go up. You've got all kinds of people who will want all kinds of special favors. In a cap and trade they'll want you to give them more allowances. In a tax they might want to be exempted from the tax. All the same issues come up in both of these. But I think the final thing about a tax that it's important to point out is that as a political matter I think it's going to be much more difficult to try to get a tax through. So I'm for environmental certainty and something that we can actually make happen. And I'm not sure that a tax does either of those things.
Monica Trauzzi: Proponents of a carbon tax would say it's simpler to implement than cap and trade. It's less controversial once it's in place, individual industries won't be singled out. And also revenues from the carbon tax would go directly to the government. Doesn't that seem like a good deal?
Eileen Claussen: Well, I'd like to ask those people, when they fill out their tax returns how simple it really is, because the bottom line is that a tax is not simple. You have to decide at what levels. Is everyone at the same level? Do you exempt certain people from the tax? What do you do with the revenues? Who do you actually give them to? Those are exactly the same issues that you have in a cap and trade. There it's the allocation of allowances, here it's the amount of the tax and how you distribute it. So that argument, I think, really it's just the same. So, really I think, it comes down to this issue of cost certainty versus environmental certainty. And given what we know about the climate issue and what we know about what really needs to be done, I'd like to have a flexible cap and trade that gives companies a lot of ability to move things around and do what they can do. And those who can do it cheapest can do the most. I think that is actually the best deal for the environment and the economy.
Monica Trauzzi: What about in Europe? They haven't had much luck with the cap and trade there. Are you taking that into account?
Eileen Claussen: I guess I would dispute your assertion that they're not having much luck with it there, because I think we have to put it into perspective. The budget period under Kyoto doesn't actually start until 2008. What the E.U. did was try an early phase to see how to make it work and they didn't make it work perfectly, I mean in that sense. People who say, oh my God, look at it, they're right it didn't work perfectly. They didn't actually know how many allowances to distribute. They exempted certain kinds of people. They learned a lot. They didn't even have a good database to know where the emissions were to get started. But the actual program doesn't go into effect until 2008. And based on what I'm starting to see now from the E.U. they learned a lot from those lessons and I think it will be a system that really works.
Monica Trauzzi: Considering the fact that passing the Senate energy bill was a big battle, RPS didn't make it through, there were debates on CAFE, is this Congress weary of making changes? Are you confident that this Congress will be able to pass any emissions reductions measure?
Eileen Claussen: And my confident? No. Do I think there is a chance, a decent chance? Yes. And I say it understanding how complicated it is and how many people will pulled in how many different ways and it will make it very hard. In the House you only need a simple majority, but in the Senate you need 60 votes. And when I try to count up where the votes could be for a cap and trade it's not going to be a cakewalk. So, I'm not confident that we're going to get something in 2008. I am very confident that if we don't get it in 2008 we will get it in the next year or two after that. Don't forget, this is the first year where there's been a serious debate about how to design a cap and trade system. There have been 105 hearings on climate change since January. I mean we didn't even have 50 hearings in the 10 years - well, added up together, prior to this. Then there was debate about is climate change real and do you do something about it? Now it's about how you actually design a system that will work, so if not by 2008, almost certainly by 2010.
Monica Trauzzi: Chairman Dingell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are seemingly going head-to-head on the climate issue. There's a lot of tension in that relationship and she's gone ahead and created a global warming panel to sort of lessen Dingell's impact. Is that proving to be successful? Dingell says that the panel is an embarrassment to everybody.
Eileen Claussen: Yeah. I don't think anything that raises serious issues about the climate issue should be an embarrassment. But that said, I think the bill that gets considered will come out of the Energy and Commerce Committee. And Representative Boucher and Congressman Dingell are the key players in those committees. And I think we look to them for the bill that's maybe changed as it makes its way through the house. But that's really where it's going to come from. But that said, I think the special panel is doing a good job of keeping climate change in people's minds, and that's really what it was created for.
Monica Trauzzi: And on the Senate side another head-to-head we're keeping an eye on is Bingaman and Boxer. They have very different and competing ideas about how we should approach the climate issue. How much of an impact do you think that these inter-parties debates have on the eventual passage of legislation? Does it make it more difficult?
Eileen Claussen: Well, I think it's interesting in the Senate that, yes, you do have the Sanders-Boxer bill, which is essentially the California targets in the California program. You now have Bingaman-Specter, which has been referred to Environment and Public Works. And you've got this effort by Senators Warner and Lieberman to also come up with a bipartisan bill, which I'm guessing is going to end up somewhere between Sanders-Boxer on the hand and Bingaman-Specter on the other. So the Environment and Public Works Committee, and eventually the Senate as a whole, will actually have an array of things to look at. I'm pretty confident that something will come out of Environment and Public Works in the fall. We'll have to see exactly where that middle ground is and what it looks like. But, again, 60 votes in the Senate is not going to be easy even when it comes out of committee.
Monica Trauzzi: Switching gears, internationally President Bush is planning a meeting for this year with the world's greatest emitters. Does this effort add to the discussion about what we should do post Kyoto? Or does it sort of muddy the waters a bit?
Eileen Claussen: I think it depends really on how the administration chooses to frame it. President Bush went into the G8 meeting with a very particular idea of convening this group of major emitters to talk about a long-range aspirational target. That is actually not exactly what came out. What came out is a discussion among the major emitters, and that is the important group to get together, but they're not only going to talk about an aspirational long-term target, they're going to talk about what the framework should be going forward. So, on the assumption that the Bush administration actually takes what came out of the G8 and makes that sort of the agenda for this coming meeting, which I think is going to be the end of October, and any subsequent ones, it could actually be a useful discussion. The President also said, and I think this is quite important, that what comes out of this process will go into the convention process. It won't be an attempt to do something outside and keep it outside. So, if something useful comes out of it, it could actually help the process. If nothing useful comes out of it, which is always an alternative, the process will continue.
Monica Trauzzi: All right. We'll end it right there on that note. Thanks for coming on the show.
Eileen Claussen: My pleasure.
Monica Trauzzi: This is OnPoint. I'm Monica Trauzzi. Thanks for watching.
I`m not sure what i think about this film...it will all depend on weather the focus is on the solutions and all the great people working on them or on the scary science.
There have been serious investigations on the best strategies for behaviour change, as opposed to scaring people, but still, perhaps inevitably from the scale of the problem dramatic, theatrical language is used, language with an 'inherent council of despair' language that discredits actions as meaningless and insignificant.
People need to start learning these lessons.
"11th Hour," the exciting new global climate change documentary produced by and hosted by Leonardo DiCaprio. Coming to a theater near you on August 17th."
In the news industry everyone knows that the bad news always comes out on a Friday afternoon. Why? Because everyone also knows that most media has filed early and gone home for the day.
Seems the Bush administration pulled this little PR trick just last week with the release of its 19-month overdue US Climate Action Report.
The report was released last Friday (July 27th) by the Department of State in the form of this media memo. The release was not mentioned in the department's daily press briefing, nor is it mentioned in the news section of the White House's Council on Environmental Quality website.
And did the Bush Administration succeed in avoiding any press? Almost. The Student Operated Press reported it. No offense to the SOP, but I would say mission accomplished.
H/t to Rick Piltz and his great work on Climate Science Watch.
The report was released very quietly, because..? Also Via DeSmogBlog
It's no wonder the Justice Department avoided any press attention over the latest US Climate Action Report released on Friday. (see this previous post for details).
You can find the whole report here - I've taken the liberty of highlighting some of the more interesting quotes that I'm sure the White House would love to sweep under the rug...
From the section "Greenhouse Gas Inventory:" (pdf)
* "In 2004, total greenhouse gas emissions rose to 7,074.4 teragrams of carbon dioxide equivalent, which was 15.8% above 1990 emissions."
* "From 1990 through 2004, US greenhouse gas emissions increased by 15.8 percent. Specifically, C02 emissions increased by 20 percent, CH4 and N20 emissions decreased by 10 and 2 percent, respectively."
From the section "Projected Greenhouse Gas Emissions:" (pdf)
* "Over the same period from 2002 to 2012, while GHG [greenhouse gas] intensity is declining, total gross GHG emissions are expected to rise by 11 percent."
* Table 5-2 in the same section reports that even if the US fully implements its climate programs and measures, total greenhouse gas emissions will continue to rise between 2012 and 2020.
* "From 2000 to 2020 total C02 emissions [from energy consumption] - as calculated with Full Implementation of Climate Program Measures - are projected to rise by 17 percent..."
From the section "Impacts and Adaptation:" (pdf)
* "...despite increases in winter precipitation, in many places a large percentage of the traditionally snow-covered areas of the northwestern United States has experienced a decline in spring snow-pack, especially since the middle of the 20th century."
* "The warmer temperatures projected with rising concentrations of greenhouse gases are expected to exacerbate present risks of drought in the United States."
* "In recognition of significant potential impacts from climate change, the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act states: 'Because global warming may result in substantial sea-level rise with serious adverse effects in the coastal zone, coastal states must anticipate and plan for such an occurrence."