Monday, April 09, 2012

Global Warming Flip-Flopper Mitt Romney Will Probably Flip-Flop Again if Elected

It is well documented that Mitt Romney has flip-flopped on global warming, going from a believer to a denier. A recently discovered letter written by Romney, then governor of Massachusetts, to fellow Republican George Pataki, then governor of New York, with regard to setting up a regional system to regulate greenhouse gases which eventually became the Northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), stated that Romney agreed with Pataki regarding the need to “reduce the power plant pollution that is harming our climate” and that cap-and-trade was “an effective approach” for dealing with climate change. Fastforward about 8 years and Romney now running for the Republican nomination for president said “We don't know what's causing climate change, and the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try and reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.” Of course, there is wide agreement among climate scientists that we do know with near certainty what is causing climate change, and it is mainly greenhouse gas emissions from human sources.

It seems safe to assume that if Romney defeats Obama that he will maintain his nonsensical position that we don’t the know cause of climate change until he is sworn in next January. Many conservatives of course fear that Romney would after some time revert back to attributing climate change to humans and their fears are probably well justified. There will be tremendous pressure on Romney to recognize humans as the main cause of climate change from leaders all over the world, and particularly leaders in Europe. The tension caused by Romney’s present view will prove too troublesome in international relations. Even George W. Bush, a staunch climate change denier, eventually conceded and acknowledged that global warming is real and is attributable to humans. To satisfy his conservative base, Bush set up an alternative world forum on climate change that focused on voluntary commitments, in effect, undermining the UN process of trying to obtain legally binding commitments to reduce emissions. It seems likely that Romney would follow this same course and focus on voluntary commitments, again undermining attempts to obtain legally binding commitments among nations. As long as the Republican base continues to deny reality and favors irrationalism over reason it is difficult to see how any Republican president can do much more and still remain politically viable.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Americans Elect Frontrunner Buddy Roemer Has a Muddled View on Global Warming

Buddy Roemer, former governor of Louisiana and former Republican, has a commanding lead among the declared candidates in the Americans Elect nominating process for president. Ron Paul has far more votes but he is a drafted candidate and may choose not to participate in this process of nominating a candidate using the Internet. Global warming has pretty much become a toxic subject in national politics so few candidates are saying much but Roemer has responded to this question: "Are humans substantially responsible for global climate change?" His answer from a YouTube video of an interview with Skeptics Guide to Government was posted on the website

"I think the globe is warming – beyond scientific curiosity now it’s a scientific fact. The cause of it is probably more than one thing. There are cycles in the Earth’s history where temperature rises and falls. We might be on one of those cycles. But I don’t think there is any question that man’s effect on his environment is also a factor. So we need to be commonsensical. We need to be – we need to plan out how to ameliorate, how to diffuse man’s effect. Maybe man has nothing to do with it. How can we take the risk?"

What are voters to make of this response? There is something for everybody. It could be due to a natural cycle, man is a factor, maybe man has nothing to do with it. His view is closer to that of scientists than the view of outright deniers, but do we really want this man whose thoughts seem to be so mixed up on this issue to be leading the country?

Monday, April 02, 2012

Presidential Candidate Rocky Anderson Has a 15-Point Plan to Stabilize the Climate

It’s been 20 years since the nations of the world met at the Rio Conference to address the problem of global warming and little has happened other than the problem has grown much worse. One of the reasons for this lack of a response is the failure of US leadership. Justice Party presidential candidate Rocky Anderson, a former mayor of Salt Lake City, claims he can provide such leadership. His campaign lists a 15-point plan for accomplishing this.

1. Put the United States on course for a zero-net-carbon economy by mid-century.

2. End all taxpayer subsidies for fossil fuels and shift the revenues to a crash program of research, development, and commercialization of clean and renewable energy resources. This includes subsidies for carbon capture and sequestration.

3. Insist on full funding and scientific integrity in the national climate change science program, as well as U.S. support for the ongoing research of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

4. Champion a market-based approach to reducing the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, but support and defend the authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gas emissions if market mechanisms are not promptly put in place by Congress or prove insufficient.

5. Fully use the authorities past Congresses have granted the President to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from government operations and to aggressive goals for government use of low-carbon materials and resources. Fight for sufficient funding by Congress to make the U.S. government, including the Department of Defense, leaders in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

6. Direct appropriate federal agencies to modify their grant and loan programs to support low-carbon development and climate adaptation measures by state and local governments and the private sector.

7. Use the bully pulpit to push for greater economy-wide transparency on climate risks.

8. Reinstate FEMA’s Project Impact, a program under the Clinton Administration that helped communities create public-private partnerships to prevent and respond to natural disasters.

9. Institute policies to make carbon “visible”, including carbon-impact statements for federally funded projects and carbon-impact analysis of federal agency budget requests.

10. Make the reduction of America’s carbon debt as high a priority as reducing its financial debt; and deliver a “State of the Nation’s Ecosystems” address to a joint session of Congress each Earth Day.

11. Direct the EPA and Energy Information Administration to count the carbon impact of America’s imports when they calculate U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

12. Direct America’s National Laboratories to increase their collaboration with U.S. industry in the development of critical carbon-cutting technologies, including advanced batteries, utility-scale energy storage, cellulosic ethanol and low-wind-speed turbines.

13. Make the United States a constructive and proactive leader in the effort to negotiate an effective and enforceable international treaty that reduces the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, conserves the world’s forests, and transfers clean energy technologies to developing nations.

14. Champion reforms in national transportation policy to favor funding for mass transit and non-vehicular mobility over funding for roads.

15. Direct the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation to develop guidelines for designs and materials that reduce the carbon footprints and increase the resilience of America’s infrastructure, particularly as it is repaired and modernized in the years ahead.

That’s an ambitious program and makes far more sense than President Obama’s “all of the above” energy strategy which he has been recently trying to sell to the country.