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Hurricane Sandy: Beware Of America's Disaster Capitalists by Naomi Klein, The Guardian | November 6, 2012Less than three days after Sandy made landfall on the east coast of the United States, Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute blamed New Yorkers' resistance to Big Box stores for the misery they were about to endure. The same day, Frank Rapoport, a lawyer representing several billion-dollar construction and real estate contractors, jumped in to suggest that many of those public works projects shouldn't be public at all. The prize for shameless disaster capitalism, however, surely goes to rightwing economist Russell S Sobel, writing in a New York Times online forum. Sobel suggested that, in hard-hit areas, Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) should create "free-trade zones – in which all normal regulations, licensing and taxes [are] suspended". This corporate free-for-all would, apparently, "better provide the goods and services victims need". read more »
Romneyism by Robert B. Reich, robertreich.org | November 5, 2012By now, in these last remaining days before the election of 2012, we have learned enough about the beliefs of the Republican presidential candidate to see them as a worldview all its own – a kind of creed that explains Mitt Romney. Those who say he has no principles are selling him short. Despite its contradictions and ellipses, Romneyism has an internal coherence. It is different from conservatism, because it does not intend to conserve or protect any particular institutions or values. It is also distinct from Republicanism, in that it is not rooted in traditional small-town American values, nationalism, or states’ rights. The ten guiding principles of Romneyism are. read more »
The Storm We Can’t Ignore by Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, greenforall.org | November 5, 2012Lately it seems like no one wants to talk about global warming. The issue has received so little attention from our political candidates during this election cycle that you’d think the problem had evaporated. That is until this week when Hurricane Sandy hit, flattening coastal neighborhoods, leaving millions of Americans without power and forcing dozens of others to face the worst loss of all as their loved ones were swept away.The storm was unlike anything we’ve seen in a generation. It was also a sobering reminder of what’s in store for us if we don’t get serious about fighting climate change. We’ll face more frequent and intense hurricanes, along with drought, wildfire and flooding. Globally, we’ll see a spike in food and water shortages, famine, disease, and conflicts over shrinking resources. And poor communities will be hit first and hit hardest. read more »
Oil-Rig Wasteland: How The Election Looks From 37,000 Feet by Greg Hanscom, grist.org | November 5, 2012The last time I flew over the Wyoming gas fields, the scene hadn’t changed much. The gas boom is still going full throttle, thanks in part to deals the Bush administration cut before leaving office. That view from an airplane window is a vivid reminder of the price we’re still paying for eight years of environmental rollbacks, just as the scenes of Hurricane Sandy show the price our kids and grandkids will pay for years of drill-mine-log-everything policies. The last four years are littered with disappointment, but they at least show us that there has been a shift in priorities — a shift that could quickly be undone if we decide to let oilmen run the show again. read more »
Which Political Leader Will Deal with “Weather on Steroids?" by Alison Rose Levy, alternet.org | November 5, 2012In the face of a genuine human, societal, and economic catastrophe, President Obama, Governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie, and Bloomberg—all the front line public officials responsible for witnessing and addressing the full impact of Hurricane Sandy, have in different ways stepped beyond their comfort zones. The devastating impacts and enormous costs have forced these political leaders to recognize that for proper management and planning, politicians can no longer afford to dance around the climate change issue fearing to call a spade a spade in deference to the sensibilities of climate deniers and those who fund them. Now the question is: Will any of these elected officials truly step up to become a leader in the New Green Growth Economy? And if they did, what might that look like? read more »
Hurricane Sandy: Rebuilding Is Madness by David Gessner, salon.com | November 5, 2012“No one could have predicted this.” Those were the words of President Bush after Katrina, and as soon as they came out of his mouth you could almost imagine a hundred coastal scientists shaking their heads all at once, thinking, no sir, this is exactly what we predicted. So, too, New York City last week, though honestly — and I know that this isn’t what people suffering right now want to hear — a lot of the predictions painted a picture that was a lot worse. Water higher, winds wilder, buildings down. read more »
World's 'Cleanest Coal-Fueled Power Plant' Is A Climate Bait-And-Switch by Tony Davis, grist.org | November 1, 2012A few years back, Robert Redford narrated a documentary, Fighting Goliath, that told the epic Texas tale of how a coalition of ranchers, environmentalists, and others banded together in the mid-2000s against a giant power company’s plans to build 11 coal plants that would have belched pollution across the state. When the dust settled, only three plants were approved, and the rest were killed in a buyout of the power company, despite an effort by Gov. Rick Perry (R) to fast-track the scheme. Today in West Texas, the simple heroism of that tale has been replaced by a far more complex story of trade-offs, pragmatism, and scientific uncertainties about a project slated for what Odessa city officials call “the clean energy capital of the world.” At the heart of it all is one of the very first full-scale tests of that still hazy concept, “clean coal. read more »
Will Climate Get Some Respect Now? by Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times | November 1, 2012President Obama and Mitt Romney seemed determined not to discuss climate change in this campaign. So thanks to Hurricane Sandy for forcing the issue: Isn’t it time to talk not only about weather, but also about climate? It’s true, of course, that no single storm or drought can be attributed to climate change. Atlantic hurricanes in the Northeast go way back, as the catastrophic “snow hurricane” of 1804 attests. But many scientists believe that rising carbon emissions could make extreme weather — like Sandy — more likely. In that sense, whatever its causes, Sandy offers a window into the way ahead. So brace yourself, for several reasons. read more »
Name Storms After Oil Companies -- They're The Ones Most Responsible For Climate Change by OurFuture.org Staff, OurFuture.org | October 31, 2012As gutsy New Yorkers begin the task of drying out the city, here’s one thought that occurred to me last night watching the horrifying pictures from a distance. It’s obviously not crucial right now — but in the long run it might make a difference. Why don’t we stop naming these storms for people, and start naming them after oil companies? Global warming didn’t “cause” this hurricane, of course — hurricanes are caused when a tropical wave washes off the coast of Africa and begins to spin in the far Atlantic. But this storm rode ocean waters five degrees warmer than normal, so it’s no great shock that it turned into a monster. By the time it hit land, it had smashed every record for the lowest barometric pressure, and the largest wind field. Sandy had a big head start on flooding out the city. read more »
Senate Democrats Kill Cap-and-Trade Bill, greenenergyreporter.com | July 23, 2010
Cap -and -trade is officially dead. This afternoon Senate Democrats, in a caucus meeting, decided not to pursue legislation that would seek to cap carbon and other green house gases by pricing them, a market-friendly scheme known as cap-and-trade. read more »
Senate Gives Up on Moving Climate Bill Before August Break, thehill.com | July 23, 2010
The Senate on Thursday abandoned plans to take up climate change legislation before the August break, likely dooming the effort for the rest of the year.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) insisted the Senate could return to climate change this fall, but that proposition seems doubtful in an election year in which Democrats are wary of losing their majorities in the House and Senate.
Draft Green-Industry Outline May Help Climate Talks , thehill.com | July 23, 2010
While Senate Democrats have punted for now on a bill to cut power plant carbon emissions, a small band of environmental groups and utility companies have forged a tentative deal that could help revive the measure down the road. read more »
Climate and Energy Bill Delayed as Political Support Withers, mcclatchydc.com | July 23, 2010
Bowing a lack of support, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid on Thursday said there'd be no vote this summer on a bill that would put the nation's first limits on the carbon pollution responsible for global warming. The decision could doom the measure's long-term chances as well. read more »
Bowing to Political Reality, Senate Democrats Drop Broad Energy Bill, Los Angeles Times | July 23, 2010
Senate Democratic leaders shelved plans for major energy and climate legislation on Thursday, bowing to political reality and probably ending hopes for action this year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, boost alternative energy production and wean the nation from carbon fuels. read more »
Workers on Doomed Rig Voiced Concern About Safety, The New York Times | July 22, 2010
A confidential survey of workers on the Deepwater Horizon in the weeks before the oil rig exploded showed that many of them were concerned about safety practices and feared reprisals if they reported mistakes or other problems. read more »
Senators Press Reid for Tougher Renewable Power Standard, thehill.com | July 22, 2010
A trio of Senate Democrats is trying to build political momentum for including a tough national renewable electricity standard, or RES, in wider energy legislation that may reach the floor next week. read more »
12 Dems Press Reid on Carbon Curbs as Energy Bill Talks Continue, thehill.com | July 22, 2010
A largely liberal group of 12 Senate Democrats are urging Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to ensure that upcoming energy legislation imposes curbs on greenhouse gas emissions.
The new pressure comes amid a flurry of Capitol Hill meetings about the shape of the upcoming energy bill, which is expected on the floor as soon as next week.
Recovery Act has Created and Saved 2.5-3.6 Million Jobs, Many in Clean Energy, climateprogress.org | July 19, 2010
On Wednesday, July 14th, Vice President Joe Biden and Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) Chair Christina Romer released CEA’s new fourth quarterly report on the economic and job creation impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). read more »
Obama to Launch Ocean Initiative, Los Angeles Times | July 19, 2010
President Obama on Monday is set to create a national stewardship policy for America's oceans and Great Lakes, including a type of zoning that could dramatically rebalance the way government regulates offshore drilling, fishing and other marine activities. read more »