Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Climate Change - What to do

On a local, Santa Clara County, Green Party email list, someone requested that we discuss what to do about the climate change meeting in Copenhagen. Below the fold, you can read my response. I thought it important enough to repeat here and will also utilize facebook, twitter, Green Change and any other site to get more people to look at it.

I am glad that people are looking to take some action regarding the December, 2009 Climate Change meeting in Copenhagen. If that is what stirs up attention, then it is good, because climate change is the biggest problem that we face as a nation, in the long run much more significant than health care.

In fact, with the prospect of the meeting in Copenhagen providing the replacement for the failed Kyoto accord, the key events start today. Today we are supposed to get the first released copy of a new climate change bill that bears the name of Barbara Boxer and John Kerry. From what I have read, this is a stronger bill than the one that was passed by the House of Representatives.

What to do:
Make sure that you are working from a base of knowledge, not just reacting to the latest stir-em-up notification. The easiest way to do so is to follow one of the following blogs:

  • Climate Progress - owned by Physicist Joseph Romm, Sr. Fellow in the Center for American Progress. The link takes you to his announcement of the Boxer - Kerry bill. aka Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act.
  • West Coast Climate Equity - A British Columbia based, low volume cite with strong backing. Dr. James Hansen (N.A.S.A.) and Bill McKibben are on the board. The link provided is to a post that contemplated the possibility of failure in Copenhagen, something that Romm's optimism will not allow him to do.
  • RealClimate - This is for those who want to understand the facts about the climate change events themselves and how to interpret the data. It is written by and for climate scientists and those in the media who need to know the facts.

There are two very serious problems inherent in the entire process.

One deals with the possibility that the the US delegation will have to go to Copenhagen without having a bill through Congress. The Republican delaying tactics that you now see in the Health Care process will surely be used to prevent dealing with Climate Change in any substantive way. Boxer and Kerry will be pressured to water down their bill just to get any bill through Congress before Copenhagen. In particular, with an exact 60 votes, the Democrats will need the vote of the King of Filibusters, Robert Byrd, to invoke cloture and shut off debate. Byrd is from West Virginia and will sell his vote for removing any and all restrictions on coal... the biggest source of CO2 in the US. Note: Sec. of Energy Chu has been quoted that he would rather his family live next to at nuclear power plant than one that burn coal.

The second problem is the fact that Boxer - Kerry still has provisions for fossil fuel subsidies and nuclear loan guarantees. At Climate Progress, Romm has expressed the opinion that nuclear is so completely expensive that no more nukes will be built anyway, so having something in the bill is not a very big issue. I disagree... or let me say that he trusts Congress more than I do. Both of these would have to go before I would support the bill.

Then, if we really believe that Green Jobs as promoted by Van Jones, is part of the solution, if we really believe that individuals should have the right to generate their own solar / wind power and sell that back to the local utility, if you really believe, as did presidential aspirant Kent Mesplay, that radically distributed power sources is a national security goal, then we need to pressure the California State Legislature to pass AB 560, which the Democrats allowed to die in the State Senate Committees this past term. Current law cuts off net metering for individuals when the amount of power sourced in that manner reaches 2.5%. We will reach that next year for PG&E. AB 560 would raise that to 5%. It is time that every member of the state legislature gets to know us personally, since we need to camp in their office until they agree to get this done. That is the essence of thinking globally, acting locally. It is the essence of community based economics.

Last night, I posted information about the nuclear position in Boxer - Kerry. I will continue to use California Greening to post positions regarding global warming and California's water crisis along with actions that need to be taken to pressure our legislatures, both state and national, to act for the people and not just troll for contributions.


chris said...

It sounds like something we need right now, jobs and clean energy.

BeWaterWise Rep said...

The primary cause of climate change is the release of greenhouse gases by human activities. We as responsible people can reduce our carbon footprint by implementing green ideas in our life, some examples are cycling or walking, recycling and re-using items like paper, plastic...and conserving water. Water-saving tips can be found at