|On Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a call for climate action that attracted considerable attention because of its forcefulness. Speaking in Jakarta, Indonesia, Kerry rebuked climate deniers, referring to them as “a tiny minority of shoddy scientists…and extreme ideologues.” He described the economic costs and catastrophic implications of inaction. Most strikingly, he suggested that climate change is “the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”
“It doesn’t keep us safe if the United States secures its nuclear arsenal, while other countries fail to prevent theirs from falling into the hands of terrorists,” Kerry said. Similarly, a serious response to climate change requires that all countries break their fossil fuel addiction. “At the end of the day, emissions coming from anywhere in the world threaten the future for people everywhere in the world,” Kerry said.
All of that nonproliferation work would be undercut if the US sold weapons-grade uranium to the countries it was asking not to build a bomb. In effect, that is what the United States is doing with fossil fuels. While the administration takes steps to cut down emissions at home—via investment in renewables, tighter efficiency standards for power plants and vehicles—Obama continues to promote an “all of the above” energy strategy that ensures oil and coal companies profit from selling American-made dirty energy abroad. It’s one of the most critical inconsistencies among the president’s climate policies.
Consider coal. The Environmental Protection Agency’s highly anticipated power plant rules are expected to dramatically hasten the shift from coal to natural gas and renewables in the domestic utility sector; internationally, Obama has said he wants to halt public financing for new coal-powered plants. But under Obama’s leadership the Bureau of Land Management has continued to lease federal land in Wyoming and Montana to Big Coal at below-market prices, [propping up the industry while cheating taxpayers] of an estimated $30 billion over the past thirty years. Now coal companies are lobbying for a rail-to-port pathway through the Pacific Northwest that would carry roughly as much carbon as the Keystone XL pipeline to foreign markets, and the Army Corps of Engineers has declined to conduct a full environmental impact study of the proposal.
One could argue that US exports are simply meeting demand that other countries would fill in our absence. But the United States has been working to make sure that demand doesn’t dry up, and that markets remain open for our dirty energy. As Tim Dickinson reported in Rolling Stone, US trade representative Michael Froman has tried to weaken new fuel standards in Europe that are intended to reduce emissions, largely out of concern for refiners of tar sands oil.[...]
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2007—Bloggers at Last Unite Tony Snow and WH Press Corps:
|Tony Snow and "real journalists" finally agreed on something tonight at a roundtable held forvery serious people at the National Press Club: Blogs suck. They’re mean. And ... and ... and ... they actually expect reporters to do their jobs!
We’ll skip Tony Snow. Who cares? But via Think Progress, a couple of journalists had some interesting things to say, kind of opening a door into the higher minds that are raised so far above the rest of us.
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin gets us up to speed on the CBO & minimum wage, and the latest ACA news, then helps us get a grip on the story of the multi-billion dollar WhatsApp buyout. In Crazy News: a DC taxi driver "kidnaps" a passenger, and Lay's potato chips aims for world domination. Then, back to reality, with more fallout from the VW vote. E.J. Dionne calls for "stand your ground" repeal, and Eugene Volokh apparently needed to tell people that allowing Muslims to use the same "conscience clause" exceptions conservative Christians want isn't Creeping Sharia. It's Creeping You Guys Don't Know What You're Doing.