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Climate Zombies - House of Representatives (2011)

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http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2011/01/04/climate-zombie-committees/

The incoming Republican chairs of the House of Representatives plan to send the United States back to the Stone Age with respect to climate policy. All of them opposed the climate legislation supported by President Barack Obama, and now oppose limits on global warming pollution under the Clean Air Act. Several have accused climate scientists of doctoring data and suppressing dissent; the others merely claim climate policy is actually a conspiracy to destroy the American economy.

Financial Services: Spencer Bachus (AL). Bachus introduced legislation that accused climate scientists of fraud: “Whereas recent events have uncovered extensive evidence from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England (in this resolution referred to as the ‘CRU’) which involved many researchers across the globe discussing the destruction, altering, and hiding of data that did not support global warming claims.†[H.R. 954]

Ways and Means: Dave Camp (MI). “What is the science of climate change? What can it definitively tell us? Can it say who is responsible for it? Can it tell us what impact we can have on it, and if we can, what are the results, both positive and negative? From what I have read, there remains a great deal of uncertainty with regard to the scientific evidence about climate change.†[Camp, 2/25/09]

Budget: Paul Ryan (WI). “Unilateral economic restraint in the name of fighting global warming has been a tough sell in our communities, where much of the state is buried under snow.†[Racine Journal Times, 12/11/09]

Natural Resources: Doc Hastings (WA). “Over the last few weeks an international summit on climate change took place in Copenhagen, Denmark. It centered around developing a binding international climate change mandate. Unfortunately for the United States, this is likely to do much more harm than good. Instead of allowing all scientific opinions to be heard, this conference was devoid of an honest, comprehensive debate.†[Hastings, 12/18/09]

Oversight and Government Reform: Darrell Issa (CA). “One of the difficulties in examining the issue of the climate change and greenhouse gases is that there is a wide range of scientific opinion on this issue and the science community does not agree to the extent of the problem or the critical threshold of when this problem is truly catastrophic.†[issa 9/11/09]

Judiciary: Lamar Smith (TX). “We now know that prominent scientists were so determined to advance the idea of human-made global warming that they worked together to hide contradictory temperature data. But for two weeks, none of the networks gave the scandal any coverage on their evening news programs. And when they finally did cover it, their reporting was largely slanted in favor of global warming alarmists.†[smith, 12/8/09]

Science and Technology: Ralph Hall (TX). “There is growing concern and evidence that scientific data, from which global warming theories emerged, has been manipulated, enhanced or deleted.†[Hall]

Energy and Commerce: Fred Upton (MI). Upton joined the head of Koch’s Americans For Prosperity to question the threat of carbon pollution. “Moreover, the principal argument for a two-year delay is that it will allow Congress time to create its own plan for regulating carbon. This presumes that carbon is a problem in need of regulation. We are not convinced.†[WSJ 12/29/10]

Appropriations: Hal Rogers (KY). “This administration is trying to shut down coal and fire all of you,†claimed Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., adding that the EPA was practicing “strangulation by regulation.†[AP 9/15/10]

Armed Services: Buck McKeon (CA). “We must put a stop to the radical agenda that is rapidly making its way through Washington in the form of a Cap & Tax climate change bill, federal free-market takeovers, and government run health care systems.†[McKeon, 7/2/09]

Education and Labor: John Kline (MN). Kline attacked the House passage of the Waxman-Markey climate bill. “Created to raise federal revenue and reduce greenhouse emissions, this proposal will, in reality, drive up the price of everyday goods, strain the economy, reduce jobs, and impose a significant cost increase on every American who dares turns on a light.†[Kline, 7/10/09]

Small Business: Sam Graves (MO) and Agriculture: Frank Lucas (OK) In a joint op-ed with Doc Hastings, Lucas and Graves claimed climate legislation and carbon regulation would threaten the fabric of America. “Democrats in Congress have been arrogantly pursuing an ill-conceived cap and trade program that will slam rural families and businesses with a national energy tax. As a result, electricity prices would skyrocket, gas prices would balloon and thousands of jobs in rural America could be lost forever. In a two-pronged attack, President Obama is also instructing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to impose harmful new regulations and mandates on carbon emissions and energy consumption. This government power grab would give the EPA unprecedented authority to regulate anything that emits carbon—including semi-trucks, tractors, lawnmowers and even weed-whackers.†[st. Louis Post-Dispatch, 6/3/10]

Transportation and Infrastructure: John Mica (FL). “Earlier in the 111th Congress, the House of Representatives considered H.R. 2454, the energy tax bill also reffered [sic] to as the Cap and trade bill. I voted against this energy tax bill when it was passed by the House of Representatives by only a margin of seven votes: 219 to 212. The Cap and Tax legislation would impose an energy fee on almost all forms of energy.†[Mica]

A few of the committee chairmen, like Upton, Mica and Kline, have taken the moderate position of being willing to support climate policy, so long as it doesn’t involve any regulation, tax, government spending, or mandate of any kind that would actually reduce pollution. There is support among the Republican caucus for policy to accelerate global warming through new oil and coal subsidies, however.

A bit depressing, but thank God these corrupt nit-wits don't have the final say.

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Yesterday Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA) sent a letter to his House colleagues responding to comments that the Environmental Protection Agency was overstepping its bounds in regulating carbon. Rep. Connolly’s articulate letter clearly shows that EPA has the legal authority to regulate carbon pollution, and that the EPA has had such authority since the Clean Air Act was first written in 1970.

A letter to fellow House Reps:

January 5, 2011

Dear Colleague,

There has been a great deal of debate about the best way to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. The most remarkable aspect of this debate is the utter misrepresentation of facts by some who support repealing part of the Clean Air Act. We have heard claims that the Clean Air Act was not intended to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. As our constituents say to us, “Read the bill!â€

The Clean Air Act of 1970 explicitly permitted the EPA Administrator to consider climate change when adding pollutants to its list of 6 criteria pollutants.

When adding pollutants, Congress directed the Administrator to consider “emissions of which, in his judgment, cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.†Congress’ definition of “welfare†included weather and climate impacts:

“All language referring to effects on welfare includes, but is not limited to, effects on soils, water, crops, vegetation, manmade materials, animals, wildlife, weather, visibility, and climate, damage to and deterioration of property, and hazards to transportation, as well as effects on economic values and on personal comfort and well-being, whether caused by transformation, conversion, or combination with other air pollutants.†[42 U.S.C. 7602(h)]

Congressional debate about the 1970 Clean Air Act included debate about climate change: · Senator Caleb Boggs (R-DE) inserted a White House report into the record, which stated, “Air pollution alters climate and may produce global changes in temperature. . . . [T]he addition of particulates and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could have dramatic and long-term effects on world climate,†into the record.

· Representative Hastings Keith (R-MA) noted that vehicle emissions are one of the primary sources of carbon dioxide pollution: More than 60 percent of our national air pollution problem is caused by automobiles. This is particularly acute in areas of high population density which receives a concentrated dosage of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles.â€

· House hearings included discussion of climate change, including this testimony from the Administrator of the Consumer Protection and Environmental Health Service: “There are two schools of thought on whether or not we are going to heat up the atmosphere so that we melt the ice caps and have flooding of our land or whether we are going to do the reverse in terms of holding out radiant energyâ€

Congress even debated climate change when debating the 1965 Clean Air Act amendments, which the 1970 Clean Air Act amended; Congressman Heltoski of New Jersey noted in floor testimony:

“It has been predicted that by the year 2000, the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide may have increased by about 50 percent; and many believe that this will have a considerable effect on the world’s climate, but nobody has been able to make a convincing guess about just what that effect will be.â€

Many of us continue to believe that a legislative solution would be preferable to Administration- driven regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.

Ironically, the same special interests which now complain loudly about regulation were opposed to legislation too. They can’t have it both ways: Either we’re going to get off Middle Eastern oil or we’re not.

If the Senate can’t pass energy legislation then we’ll have to rely partially on the Clean Air Act, which has a forty year track record of success. Repealing portions of the Clean Air Act would keep us addicted to foreign oil and endanger our coastal cities, public health, and agricultural production.

Sincerely,

Gerald E. Connolly

Bravo!!!!!

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Republican Study Committee proposes unilateral disarmament to China in innovation, clean energy

Posted By Guest On January 21, 2011 @ 6:18 pm In Tea Party extremists.

http://climateprogress.org/2011/01/21/republican-study-committee-unilateral-disarmament-to-china-in-innovation-clean-energy/

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has explained why China’s bid for clean energy leadership should be our “Sputnik Moment.†[1] The Center for American Progress and ClimateProgress have proposed a variety of common sense strategies for responding to China’s innovation and competitiveness policies [2]. But the conservative movement is hell-bent on forever ceding leadership in the most important job-creating industries of the next several decades, as Kate Gordon, CAP’s VP for Energy Policy explains in this cross-post. [3]

On Thursday, the Republican Study Committee unveiled its Spending Reduction Act [4], a broad swath of recommendations aimed at cutting trillions of dollars out of the budget. The committee, which includes the vast majority of Republican House members (175 out of 242), claims these cuts are necessary [5] so government does not “rob our children of the opportunity to reach for the American Dream.â€

But the American Dream depends on American prosperity and leadership. And several of the committee’s cuts explicitly undermine our future prosperity, especially in the area of clean energy technology.

The global clean energy sector is booming. Global markets in renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions reached more than $240 billion [6] in 2010.

So far, America has been a leader in this space: The Next10 Venture Capital Association found that more than 40 percent [7] of all venture capital investment in clean energy happened in the United States last year. But without continued investment across the technology innovation cycle—from invention at the federal labs and publicly sponsored universities, to public-private partnerships aimed at commercializing and licensing new technologies, to technical assistance to make our manufacturers the most advanced and efficient in the world—we will forfeit whatever leadership we have managed to gain.

The Republican Study Committee’s recommendations undermine each of these areas of critical investment.

The recommendations go after the Applied Research program at the Department of Energy, cutting $1.27 billion from this core set of activities designed to identify which new innovations in America’s labs and universities is primed for actual commercialization and market-readiness. This is the kind of research that turns theories into profitable ideas, and it is where most innovative American companies are born.

The recommendations slash a further $70 million per year from the Department of Commerce’s Technology Innovation Program, aimed at fostering public-private partnerships to develop high-risk technology—the kind of technology investment rarely made by the private sector—in areas of national interest. Last summer, the program awarded a grant to three companies working on a new way to coat steel “faster, cheaper, and greener†[8] by replacing traditional coatings made of degradable heavy and toxic metals. The technology will make the steel less toxic, less of a health hazard, and less prone to constant (and costly) repair. It is the kind of investment in early-stage, high-risk technology that most private steel companies have no incentive to make, since it affects long-term maintenance costs more than short-term profits.

The committee doesn’t stop at cutting basic research and development. It goes after one of the foundational pieces of America’s economic strength: our advanced manufacturing sector. The Manufacturing Extension Partnership program works with a tiny $125 million budget to help small and midsize manufacturing firms across the country become more efficient and more competitive, including helping firms realize key energy efficiency gains. The U.S. industrial sector consumes about one-third [9] of all our country’s energy, and efficiency gains can be the difference between a manufacturing firm’s survival or demise. The MEP program can also help firms that have been part of traditional supply chains—for instance, in the auto sector—retool to tap into new markets, such as electric drive trains or wind turbine production. The health of our manufacturing sector, so central [10] to our country’s current middle class and our long-term innovation and competitiveness, depends on this kind of targeted assistance.

But the Republican Study Committee doesn’t care. It would slash the MEP budget entirely, saving $125 million each year. The MEP’s current work creates or retains more than 50,000 manufacturing jobs per year according to the Apollo Alliance [11]. The RSC would rather jettison these jobs to save what is, in the context of the overall deficit, a drop in the federal budget bucket.

Last but not least, the RSC goes after the Economic Development Administration. The committee cuts $293 million from this Department of Commerce program responsible for working with states and cities across the country to develop smart, accountable economic development plans that will help America’s regions create jobs today and foster tomorrow’s seeds of innovation. The EDA has many functions but one critical piece of its mission is to leverage scarce public dollars by strategically investing in regional “race to the top†programs that encourage existing firms, universities, and government entities to pool resources and knowledge, and collaborate around shared innovation agendas. One such program, the Energy Regional Innovation Cluster program, focuses on fostering new breakthroughs in invention, commercialization, and deployment of clean energy technologies. This same general strategy brought us Silicon Valley and the Research Triangle’s biotech advances. If the RSC is interested in making federal dollars go further, this is exactly the program to fund, not cut.

The United States has been a leader in innovation and entrepreneurship in the clean energy sector, as in so many industries before it. But our global leadership rests on our continued commitment [12] to strategic public support for research, development, production, and deployment of these technologies. By undercutting the programs that most efficiently and effectively invest in these building blocks of innovation, the RSC will consign America to the role not of global leader but of global consumer. That doesn’t sound like the American Dream to me.

– Kate Gordon

And Coal Fly-Ash may be much more destructive than preciously thought.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=is-coal-fly-ash-responsible-for-mas-11-01-23

Burning coal is nasty business, concentrating all kinds of toxic metals and resulting in potentially deadly fly ash. That's why stretches of the Emory and Clinch rivers in Tennessee essentially died when flooded with coal ash slurry two years ago.

Now imagine that happening on an apocalyptic scale: millennia-long volcanic eruptions setting on fire--even exploding--massive coal deposits in present day Siberia. That's what some scientists think may have set off the Permian mass extinction some 250 million years ago.

Roughly 90 percent of all ocean life died as a result. It was the end for ammonites and trilobites. Life itself may have barely survived the most devastating mass extinction event known to science, hence its name: the "Great Dying." And the reason could be coal ash, according to new research published in Nature Geoscience.

So far out of 500MW of Solar PV Plants to be built in Thailand, Chiang Mai is getting none. Why? Mae Moh 2,200MW coal plant which makes 21,000,00 Tons CO2 a year and thousands of tons of toxic Fly-Ash

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