Environmental Protection Agency
Why Health Care Reform Beat Out Climate
September 10, 2010
Jonathan Bernstein and Matthew Yglesias have posts discussing why Democrats prioritized health care reform over climate change, when the latter is a more urgent and time-sensitive issue than the latter. I think Yglesias has a strong point that the disparate regional impact of climate change legislation made a partisan bill impossible, and the intense legislative cohesion of the Senate Republicans made a bipartisan bill impossible. I think a factor neither of them considers is public opinion.
Poll Shows Support For EPA Regulation
August 31, 2010
Democratic pollster Joel Benenson has a new poll showing pretty strong public support for EPA regulation of greenhouse gasses. I'm generally skeptical of polls by interested parties that purport to measure public opinion, since it's so easy to craft language that steers respondents toward a desired position.
Capping Off Bush Nostalgia Week
August 13, 2010
Just to continue the recent and rather strange thread in my recent thinking, George W. Bush really is looking better all the time, at least in relation to the GOP. I note that, while some Republicans want to revise the 14th Amendment, former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, former Bush evil genius turned just-evil-full-stop Karl Rove, and Rove's loyal ward Pete Wehner have all denounced this notion. There does seem to be a general trend for Republican presidents to look better with the passage of time as successive Republicans get crazier.
Where Did BP's Oil Go?
August 04, 2010
So what happened to the millions of barrels of oil that leaked out of BP's Macondo well? Where did it all go? Here's a chart from a new study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (click to enlarge): Rough summary: About one-quarter of the oil is still bobbing on the sea surface or washed ashore. Another quarter has been dispersed into microscopic droplets, either by artificial chemicals or natural processes. And another quarter has been "dissolved." All told, just 25 percent has been physically removed from the Gulf ecosystem. The rest is still lurking... somewhere.
Rush Limbaugh v. the Volt
August 02, 2010
The Chevrolet Volt was supposed to symbolize the resurgence of America's car industry while fostering energy independence.
The Planet Isn't Cooked Yet
July 27, 2010
Paul Krugman's column yesterday blamed the failure of the climate bill on industries that promote skepticism of the science of climate change along with cowardly politicians who failed to follow their conscience. Those factors are correct on their own terms. You can also add in the filibuster and the failure of industries like coal to recognize their need for some kind of regulatory certainty. But the truth is that public opinion played a major role as well. It's not that Americans oppose action on greenhouse gas emissions -- most polls show they favor it.
July 26, 2010
-- TNR's Afghanistan symposium -- Brad Plumer on the EPA's developing offensive against coal -- Matthew Yglesias moderates a debate between 2003 Niall Ferguson and 2010 Niall Ferguson.
The Coming Coal Shutdown
July 26, 2010
Enviro-types don't have much to be cheery about these days. Climate legislation has sputtered out. Jay Rockefeller is trying to delay the federal government's ability to rein in greenhouse gases. And the party of climate denialism is poised to grab a bunch of seats in Congress next year. So that means carbon emissions are just going to keep rising without end, right? Well, not necessarily.
Did a climate bill ever have a chance to squeak through Congress? Could anything have saved it? Politico's Darren Samuelsohn has a piece today about the usual, tiresome round of recriminations among greens after Harry Reid killed cap-and-trade. (Okay, technically Reid's putting it off until after August recess, but the odds of survival are grim.) The underlying question, though, is a good one: Peering back over the past two years, there were a few pivot points where things might have turned out very differently. What if McCain had won the election?
How the States and EPA Can Save Climate Policy
July 23, 2010
The Senate has basically given up on passing a climate bill. So where does that leave us? Yesterday, I noted on Twitter that the action is going to shift to the states and federal agencies. Remember, the EPA is obligated to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, and Lisa Jackson is moving ahead with those rules. (Here's my primer on that.) Meanwhile, as I've reported before, plenty of states are moving ahead with their own climate policies. There's already a (modest) cap-and-trade system for utilities in the Northeast called RGGI.