Environment and Energy
As expected, John Kerry and Barbara Boxer introduced their Senate version of the climate bill today. (Though the name is a mouthful: The Clean Energy Jobs And American Power Act. CEJAPA? Better acronyms, please.) I'll have more once I look through it, but for now, you can find an overview here, a summary here, a section-by-section summary here, and the full text here.
All told, the draft Senate climate bill that John Kerry and Barbara Boxer unveiled today looks awfully similar to the Waxman-Markey bill that passed the House back in June. Everything you've read about that earlier bill, griping and cheering alike, basically still applies. Plus, lots will change as this bill shimmies its way through at least five different Senate committees, so there's no use pretending this is a final product or anything.
Should urban housecats be considered an invasive species? Maybe! Natalie Angier has a terrific story in the Science section of the Times today: In the view of many wildlife researchers, a pet cat on a lap may be a piece of self-cleaning perfection, but a pet cat on the loose is like a snakefish or English ivy: an invasive species. Although domestic cats have been in this country since the colonial era, they are thought to be the descendants of a Middle Eastern species of wild cat, and there is nothing quite like them native to North America.
A few Vine-esque stories from around the intertubes: — In recent weeks, a bunch of electric utilities have left the Chamber of Commerce due to its opposition to action on climate change. So, today, the Chamber felt the need to clarify: "We've never questioned the science behind global warming." It's a nice sentiment, but as Brad Johnson documents, it's not even sort of true. — Wow, this is horrible: Koala populations in Australia are vanishing thanks to an outbreak of chlamydia and some mysterious AIDS-like retrovirus.
With the big Copenhagen climate summit looming in a few months, negotiators have just made public an early, 200-page draft of the global treaty that will, in theory, replace the Kyoto Protocol. But that's only if an endless yarn of differences can get untangled. The current draft is very, very far from official, and still has plenty of sections couched in square brackets—which signals issues still up for squabbling. The bracketmania is a little unnerving to look at.
It looks like Barbara Boxer and John Kerry will introduce their climate bill into the Senate on Wednesday. Dave Roberts has a great preview of what to expect. Boxer has said she's planning to model her proposal after the Waxman-Markey bill that elbowed its way through the House in June, albeit with a few tweaks: She wants, for example, to amp up the short-term emission targets, aiming for a 20 percent cut in CO2 emissions below 2005 levels by 2020, instead of the 17 percent cut Waxman-Markey calls for.
It's not considered the height of political savvy here in the United States to point out that European lifestyles are greener than our own. Don't expect that line in an Obama speech anytime soon. Too many facets of European life—the cramped apartments, the clotheslines for drying laundry—would likely strike suburbanites as inconvenient, burdensome, or even downright primitive.
In The New York Times today, James Kanter checks in on Europe's foray into carbon trading. In particular, he hears Jürgen Thumann, the president of BusinessEurope complain that it's been rather costly for Europe to be the only entity that's put a hard cap on greenhouse gases so far. If the United States, Australia, Japan, and other nations would only join in on the fun, then cutting carbon emissions would be much, much cheaper for everybody. Thumann's actually onto something here.
Last week, The Hill’s Briefing Room found a passage in former Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer's juicy new tell-all, Speech-less, that might be the book’s most shocking nugget: In an early 2008 speech, Bush had originally planned to endorse cap-and-trade before being talked out of it by a "small but merry band of conservatives in the White House." At one point, the words cap and trade were put into the climate change speech, with the president expressing his support for the policy. Then somehow this leaked to the conservative press.
Our oceans have been the victims of a giant Ponzi scheme, waged with Bernie Madoff–like callousness by the world’s fisheries. Beginning in the 1950s, as their operations became increasingly industrialized--with onboard refrigeration, acoustic fish-finders, and, later, GPS--they first depleted stocks of cod, hake, flounder, sole, and halibut in the Northern Hemisphere.