We've had four and a half hours of presidential and vice-presidential debates. We've covered a lot of ground. There's been a lot of substance. Yet it is unconscionable that the biggest crisis the world faces has not yet warranted a mention: global warming.
Will it be mentioned in the last presidential debate on Monday? more »
washingtonpost.com — We know, we know. No one in Washington wants to talk about climate change. Neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney mentioned the subject in the second presidential debate on Tuesday. And there’s a widespread belief that a cap-and-trade program to cut carbon emissions won’t resurface in Congress anytime soon. Still, that hasn’t stopped our friends on the other side of the Atlantic from tackling the issue. And there’s a new report from the analysts at the Environmental Defense Fund, looking at the track record of Europe’s cap-and-trade system over the past seven years. Some of the lessons here are worth a closer look.
guardian.co.uk — On 4 October 2012, in rural east Texas, a 78-year-old great-grandmother, Eleanor Fairchild, was arrested for trespassing on her own property … and I was arrested standing beside her, as we held our ground in the path of earth-moving excavators constructing TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline. Seems there's showdown in Texas – but, in fact, it's a battle being waged all over the United States. It's being fought by ordinary citizens of all colors, economic strata and political persuasions – against the world's wealthiest multinational corporations, misinformation and deeply embedded fears. While I'm not a fan of war terminology, in these struggles, war analogies seem to highlight both the crisis at hand and perhaps the solution we seek.
motherjones.com — Jacob Susman is frustrated again. Sitting in the bright green conference room of his company's trendy industrial office, overshadowed by the Brooklyn Bridge, he's a clean-cut poster child for the "green economy": Since 2007, Susman's OwnEnergy, which installs wind turbines, has grown to be one of the nation's most prominent wind installers. But he's plagued by a recurring nightmare: "Every few years the industry has to drop everything for six or nine months and focus exclusively on having the credit passed." He's talking about the Production Tax Credit, the federal subsidy that gives a 2.2-cent per kilowatt hour break to wind energy producers. Those pennies add up to about $1 billion per year, no chump change for the burgeoning industry. The subsidy, a touchstone issue in the presidential campaign, is set to expire at the end of this year, and uncertainty about whether Congress will extend it has led to layoffs and much anxiety in the industry.
grist.org — The Big Energy industries (oil, coal and gas) along with their political allies like Mitt Romney are waging war against sustainable energy and efforts to transform our energy system and reverse global warming. In many instances, they are aided and abetted by the very powerful nuclear power industry. One of their main lines of attack (used repeatedly by Romney in his first debate with President Obama) is that the federal government is picking energy “winners and losers.” Romney says he will not invest in “chasing fads and picking winners and losers” among energy technologies and will instead allow the free market to determine energy development. Romney is right about one thing: The government does pick winners and losers in the energy sector. What Romney has not told the American people, however, is that the big winners of federal support are the already immensely profitable fossil fuel and nuclear industries, not sustainable energy.
truthdig.com — The next great battle of the Occupy movement may not take place in city parks and plazas, where the security and surveillance state is blocking protesters from setting up urban encampments. Instead it could arise in the nation’s heartland, where some ranchers, farmers and enraged citizens, often after seeing their land seized by eminent domain and their water supplies placed under mortal threat, have united with Occupiers and activists to oppose the building of the Keystone XL tar sand pipeline. They have formed an unusual coalition called Tar Sands Blockade (TSB). Centers of resistance being set up in Texas and Oklahoma and on tribal lands along the proposed route of this six-state, 1,700-mile proposed pipeline are fast becoming flashpoints in the war of attrition we have begun against the corporate state. Join them.
grist.org — There are 1,001 reasons to love the local/slow/organic food movement. Whether we care about animal rights, our carbon footprint, or the poverty-obesity link, it behooves all of us to take a serious look at our food choices. But before we get too carried away by the promise of small-scale, chemical-free growing, let’s look at some of the cold, hard facts: a billion people go to bed hungry every night, and another billion aren’t too far from that; we’re about to add another 2 billion people to the global population; the planet is warming (fast), meaning more heatwaves and drought, which is bad news for growing food. Translation: It’s going to take more than backyard chicken coops and window-box gardens to get us through the next few decades.
tomdispatch.com — Last winter, fossil-fuel enthusiasts began trumpeting the dawn of a new “golden age of oil” that would kick-start the American economy, generate millions of new jobs, and free this country from its dependence on imported petroleum. Ed Morse, head commodities analyst at Citibank, was typical. In the Wall Street Journal he crowed, “The United States has become the fastest-growing oil and gas producer in the world, and is likely to remain so for the rest of this decade and into the 2020s.” Once this surge in U.S. energy production was linked to a predicted boom in energy from Canada’s tar sands reserves, the results seemed obvious and uncontestable. It turns out, however, that the future may prove far more recalcitrant than these prophets of an American energy cornucopia imagine.
motherjones.com — It was quite the messaging turnaround. In his September 6 acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, President Obama—whose reticence about so much as mentioning global warming has flummoxed environmental activists—used the subject to launch an unexpected attack on his opponent. "Climate change is not a hoax," the president declared. "More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They are a threat to our children's future." In the after-speech gabfest, Politico cited the moment as one of Obama's top applause lines. Obama's shift comes as pollsters and strategists are increasingly saying that Democrats—and even perhaps some Republicans—could be using the climate issue to their political advantage, especially after a summer of drought, wildfires, and record heat.
daily.sightline.org — We are hearing a lot these days about a small group of Americans—the approximately 7 percent who remain undecided about which presidential candidate they’ll vote for. So where do these few—but mighty, and mightily sought out by political operatives—stand on climate change? The latest data from Yale Project on Climate Change Communication indicate that a broad majority of undecided likely voters—as well as Obama-leaning voters—know climate change is real and want the United States to do more to address it.