Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Keystone Day


Monterey. I suggest you go there.

Keystone Day. As I write this, the vote is set for tonight, and rumor has it that Senate Democrats are set to put it over the top. Another says they are stuck at 59. Arms will be twisted, and big money will be deployed. Some green-themed news...

Landrieu Tries to Gather Enough Votes on Keystone Pipeline
The WH can stall off due to the Nebraska court case, pushing this into January. If so, maybe we do the smart thing and get something out of it. President much smarter than Senate Dems.

If that is the case, people familiar with the president’s thinking say that in 2015 he might use Keystone as a bargaining chip: He would offer Republicans approval of it in exchange for approval of one of his policies.

The Greening of Barack Obama
Legacy time. And if Hillary taps Podesta, we have a chance to make it stick. Politico being Politico, they cite more than a few naysayers here, but the policy achievements will far outwiegh the politics in the eyes of history.

What changed, according to political and environmental sources close to the president, was Obama’s awareness that the environment is one of the few areas where a president can act unilaterally and to broad effect. Rallying nations and individuals alike to curb greenhouse-gas pollution is one mountaintop that Obama can climb, with or without Congress.

Kochworld's 2014 Lesson: It's All About Victimhood
Remember kids, the Koch Brothers are the victims here. How dare you ask them to be responsible citizens that contribute to society? Since you can expect more of the same in '16, the Dems would do well to figure out a counter argument to this crap right now.

So earlier this year, AFP dropped its economic argument against Obamacare in favor of TV ads with a bit more human drama, spotlighting people who had to drive twice as far to get to a doctor, for instance. Watch for AFP to continue with ads about environmental regulations putting business owners under water and Medicaid expansion causing doctor overload, Phillips said. "I'm just going to say this, though it probably comes out sounding like a joke: We need to keep taking back victimhood," Phillips said. "The Democrats cannot own that."

Will Republicans Need a New Message on Climate Change in 2016?
Of course they will. And given the victimhood above, they will offer mixed messages on it - but look for them to try and grab at this "populist" issue too.

“I think there will be a political problem for the Republican Party going into 2016 if we don’t define what we are for on the environment,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said. “I don’t know what the environmental policy of the Republican Party is.”... Inglis warned that the 2016 electoral map looks much worse for Senate Republicans than it did in 2014, when Democrats were competing in solidly Republican, or Republican-leaning, states. Younger voters, who are more likely to be concerned about the issue, also are expected to turn out in larger numbers given that it is a presidential year.

Revealed: Keystone company's PR blitz to safeguard its backup plan
TransCanada is prepping a backup to Keystone called Energy East, a plan that runs through Canada alone. If you oppose it, get ready to face a well-funded PR team that will attack you will "oppo research." Example: The spill in the Kalamazoo River is mentioned, the "good guy" ads from Enbridge followed, BP and the Gulf, the Koch Industry ads, so on, and we are entering the age of the permanent propaganda on behalf of oil interests.

In the five strategy documents, made available to the Guardian by the campaign group Greenpeace, representatives from Edelman’s offices in Calgary propose an exhaustive strategy to push through the Energy East project including mobilisation of third-party supporters and opposition research against pipeline opponents... Industry mobilised a million activists and generated more than 500,000 pro-Keystone comments during the public comment period, one of the documents says. “It’s not just associations or advocacy groups building these programs in support of the industry. Companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell and Halliburton (and many more) have all made key investments in building permanent advocacy assets and programs to support their lobbying, outreach and policy efforts,” the documents say.

Will Corporate Lobbyists and Conservative AGs Kill a Model Environmental Cleanup?
The Chesapeake Bay is plagued with runoff pollution that causes algae blooms and dead zones. The states surrounding the Bay, along with the EPA, came up with a plan to clean it up. "Conservatives" and their wealthy supporters are not pleased because they are afraid that they will be made to clean up their own backyard next. So, they are suing to stop it. The Big Lie here is the claim that clean up hurt the states' economy.

Much of the resistance to the EPA’s plan, called the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, is coming from outside of the states involved with the bay cleanup. Twenty-one state attorneys general — most from states that opposed Obama in 2012, such as Texas, Wyoming and Alaska — filed an amicus brief in the appeals process. Only one of the states, West Virginia, is in the affected region... A collection of legislators, mostly representing districts from outside the area and almost entirely Republican, also filed an amicus brief, writing that the decision “would allow the EPA to usurp this traditional state authority over economic development and land-use management decisions.” The legislators also said the suit would have a negative impact on bay states’ economies.

Fixed Fortunes: Biggest corporate political interests spend billions, get trillions
Stunning figures, but keep in mind this study includes the various bail-outs that kept us from falling into a Depression 2.0. Still, it proves a point - the money flows to the top and is for all intents guaranteed, while regular folks are merely lucky to get some of the crumbs.

After examining 14 million records, including data on campaign contributions, lobbying expenditures, federal budget allocations and spending, we found that, on average, for every dollar spent on influencing politics, the nation’s most politically active corporations received $760 from the government. The $4.4 trillion total represents two-thirds of the $6.5 trillion that individual taxpayers paid into the federal treasury.

Coal Rush in India Could Tip Balance on Climate Change
Why the China agreement was so important - we need to work on India.

India’s power minister, Piyush Goyal, said at a recent conference in New Delhi in response to a question. “The West will have to recognize we have the needs of the poor.” Mr. Goyal has promised to double India’s use of domestic coal from 565 million tons last year to more than a billion tons by 2019, and he is trying to sell coal-mining licenses as swiftly as possible after years of delay. The government has signaled that it may denationalize commercial coal mining to accelerate extraction.

Hydrogen Cars Join Electric Models in Showrooms
Around the turn of the century, these were predicted to be the "next big thing." Looks like they finally got the technology down, but, like electric, the infrastructure to power up is a problem. Producing hydrogen at this point is expensive and carbon intense. Fascinating read though. Fuel cells do have some advantages.

Dr. Chu, now a professor at Stanford University, is still among the skeptics — he, like Mr. Musk, sees electric batteries as the more promising path. But he said advances in solar and wind technologies made producing hydrogen by splitting water more economical. “I began to see more possibilities of clean hydrogen production,” he said in an interview last month. Other technologies could emerge, too. A hydrogen station in Fountain Valley, about 45 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, is in front of a wastewater treatment plant, because the hydrogen comes from human waste.

Second Texas Textbook Publisher Drops Climate-Denial Entry Amid Backlash

McGraw-Hill's announcement comes less than a week before the board votes to adopt a new set of social-studies textbooks in Texas. The news also comes days after Pearson Education, the largest textbook publisher in the world, moved to cut passages from its proposed textbook that had faced similar climate criticism. Here's what McGraw-Hill's textbook previously stated: "Scientists agree that Earth's climates are changing. Not all individuals, however, agree on the causes of these changes." That section will now be cut from the textbook.