Climate change was a major issue in the 2008 elections. Both the Republicans and Democrats made proposals aimed at reducing carbon based emissions.
Here we are six years later and, after watching Congress dither around the topic, President Obama has issued an executive order to significantly cut carbon pollution from power plants. The goals proposed are modest compared to those supported by Presidential candidate John McCain and included in the 2008 GOP platform.
CNN was the only cable network of the big 3 covering the EPA announcement this morning. (Fox News was covering…Benghazi!)
Implementing the new Environmental Protection Agency rules will take several years. The EPA predicts implementation will avoid between 2700-6600 premature deaths and up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children:
The wailing from the right wing and their front groups has already begun. Expect to hear the words “job killer” combined with predictions of doom and gloom for the economy often in the coming days.
Given the propensity of the mass media towards giving these types a platform, it’s reasonable to expect we’ll be seeing lots of “debates.” Mouth-breathers funded by the Chamber of Commerce spouting misinformation generated by theexact same people and institutions that told us that tobacco was safe will be given equal time with scientists and academics.
What Obama Proposed
The first part of modern day GOP misinformation campaigns involves distorting what’s being proposed by the administration.
Here’s what is on the table, via the Los Angeles Times:
Under the proposal, the administration is seeking to reduce greenhouse gases by 30% from their 2005 level by the year 2030. The plan gives local officials wide leeway in how to go about meeting that goal but it represents a major challenge for many of the states that remain heavily dependent on coal; some are already girding to fight the president on the proposed new rules.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s rollout of the 645-page plan launches a yearlong period of comment and review. The 2005 baseline year chosen by the administration reflects a time when emissions of greenhouse gases were at a peak. They have been reduced by about 10% since then, largely because many power companies have shifted toward cleaner-burning natural gas amid its recent boom. Meeting the EPA goal would require a further 17% reduction nationwide.
And, via the New York Times:
The regulation is likely to stand as President Obama’s last chance to substantially shape domestic policy and as a defining element of his legacy. The president, who failed to push a sweeping climate change bill through Congress in his first term, is now acting on his own by using his executive authority under the 1970 Clean Air Act to issue the regulation.
Under the rule, states will be given a wide menu of policy options to achieve the pollution cuts. Rather than immediately shutting down coal plants, states would be allowed to reduce emissions by making changes across their electricity systems — by installing new wind and solar generation or energy-efficiency technology, and by starting or joining state and regional “cap and trade” programs, in which states agree to cap carbon pollution and buy and sell permits to pollute.
Ezra Klein, writing at Vox.com, points out the underlying GOP hypocrisy coming soon to a major media outlet near you:
In May 2008, Sen. John McCain traveled to Portland, Oregon, and delivered a speech that no Republican presidential candidate would consider giving today.
It doesn’t matter “whether we call it ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming,'” McCain warned. “Among environmental dangers it is surely the most serious of all.” McCain went on to propose a cap-and-trade plan far more aggressive than the power-plant rules the Obama administration is announcing today.
McCain’s plan would have limited emissions not just from power plants, but also from transportation, manufacturing, and commercial businesses. It sought to bring total US emissions 66 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. It wasn’t quite as ambitious as the cap-and-trade plan Obama proposed (here’s a good comparison, if you’re interested), but it was a real effort to deal with an urgent problem.
The Washington Post explained why the executive order focuses on power plants:
Existing power plants are the largest source of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions, accounting for 38 percent. (The transportation sector comes in second, at 32 percent.) Much of this pollution stems from aging, coal-fired power plants.
The EPA says the average age of the nation’s coal fleet is 42 years, meaning that most of them aren’t nearly as efficient as new coal plants, although many have been updated. Some were built when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, said Exelon chief executive Christopher Crane.
Of the 983 coal-fired units operating as of December at 523 plants, 63 percent are at least 40 years old, said John Coequyt of the Sierra Club.
Here’s where these “facts” come from: http://www.bermanexposed.org/
The End of America! Oh, my!
Here’s the opening salvo from the right, via The Hill:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) lambasted the Obama administration’s proposed regulation to limit carbon emissions from power plants, saying the middle class will bear the brunt of the rules.
“Today’s announcement is a dagger in the heart of the American middle class, and to representative democracy itself,” he said, referring to Obama’s decision to use his executive authority without Congress.
“Already reeling from the painful effects of Obamacare, the American people are now being told they have to shoulder the burdens of the president’s latest ‘solution’ in the form of higher costs, fewer jobs and a less reliable energy grid,” McConnell said.
The National Resources Defense Council anticipated the GOP line of attack:
The first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants can save American households and business customers $37.4 billion on their electric bills in 2020 while creating more than 274,000 jobs, a Natural Resources Defense Council analysis shows.
Those are among the tangible potential benefits of the anticipated limits on carbon pollution spewing from the nation’s coal- and gas-fired power plants. The standards are the centerpiece of President Obama’s plan to combat climate change and are scheduled to be unveiled on Monday.
In the study released today, NRDC said the federal carbon pollution standard could fuel a surge in energy efficiency investments, creating new jobs filled by electricians, roofers, carpenters, insulation workers, heating/air conditioning installers and heavy equipment operators, among others.
“Hawking” Lori Zapf
The OB Rag last week took umbrage with Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s not-so-subtle plug for GOP city council candidate Lori Zapf.
Okay, we know it’s election season, with the June 3rd Primary date less than a week away. So, why are Republicans Mayor Faulconer and District 6 Rep Lorie Zapf politicizing a proclamation today in honor of legendary skateboarder and native San Diegan Tony Hawk? The City is declaring Thursday, May 29 as “Tony Hawk Day” in San Diego.
And Faulconer and Zapf will be down at the OB Skateboard Park today at 11:00 am to host some kind of event. But why Zapf? She is running for District 2 – BUT SHE AIN’T THERE YET ! Why the heck will she be there – except to promote her candidacy against Democrat Sarah Boot.
If anyone ought to be there, it should be Councilman Ed Harris – who does represent District 2. Was he invited? Was Sarah Boot invited?
But wait! It gets better!
Councilman Ed Harris dropped in on the story’s comments with this little tidbit:
I did not learn about the event until that afternoon. I was not invited to participate and my office was never informed.
Balboa Park Centennial Volunteers Wanted
Critic turned organizer David Lundin is delivering already on his promise to make the 2015 Centennial Celebration more open and inclusive.
All Potential Volunteers, Planners and Participants for “The Centennial of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park – “SPRING TO THE PAST”™, A SPRING WEEKEND 2015 CELEBRATION are invited !
The First “All Are Invited” get together, open suggestions, brainstorming, all ideas are welcome, and “Who is really interested in VOLUNTEERING ?” thing in Hillcrest will be Thursday, June 12, 6:30 PM.
The Venue will be the Bamboo Lounge, 1475 University Avenue in Hillcrest. This is a Restaurant/ Bar, so all ages can be accommodated. NOT a 21 and Up venue. We can hold a lot of people, and will have a cash BAR and almost-free food !!!
We have a meeting with City Special Events Staff on 11 June, so should have lots of specific information.
The NRA Joins with the GUN CONTROL EXTREMISTS!
Yes, indeedy. Only in the United States would a call for people to stop lugging their metal penis proxies around in restaurants and retail location be denounced as extremism.
You’d better sit down. The National Rifle Association issued a statement late last week telling gun activists in Texas who insist on carrying assault-style rifles in public places to knock it off.
“Now we love AR-15s and AKs as much as anybody, and we know that these sorts of semiautomatic carbines are among the most popular, fastest selling firearms in America today,” the statement said. “Texas, independent-minded and liberty-loving place that it is, doesn’t ban the carrying of loaded long guns in public, nor does it require a permit for this activity. Yet some so-called firearm advocates seem determined to change this.”
“[I]t is a rare sight to see someone sidle up next to you in line for lunch with a 7.62 rifle slung across his chest, much less a whole gaggle of folks descending on the same public venue with similar arms,” the NRA continued. “Let’s not mince words, not only is it rare, it’s downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself. To those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to oneself or one’s cause, it can be downright scary.”
The gun-rights group Open Carry Tarrant County sued City of Arlington, Texas for changing a city ordinance that made it more difficult for its members to approach motorists with pocket-sized copies of the Constitution while they were carrying rifles.
Over the weekend, more than a 100 Open Carry members showed up at Home Depot parking lot in North Richland Hills to protest the City of Arlington’s rules about approaching motorists.
Their response to NRA’s declaration, via Twitter:
“The NRA has lost its relevance and sided with #guncontrolextremists and their lapdog media.”
Reporter Glen Greenwald is Coming to San Diego
Over the weekend The New York Times revealed, via documents released by Edward Snowden, that those selfies and fun shots posted on social media are being scanned by the government in the name of National Security.
The National Security Agency is harvesting huge numbers of images of people from communications that it intercepts through its global surveillance operations for use in sophisticated facial recognition programs, according to top-secret documents.
The spy agency’s reliance on facial recognition technology has grown significantly over the last four years as the agency has turned to new software to exploit the flood of images included in emails, text messages, social media, videoconferences and other communications, the N.S.A. documents reveal. Agency officials believe that technological advances could revolutionize the way that the N.S.A. finds intelligence targets around the world, the documents show. The agency’s ambitions for this highly sensitive ability and the scale of its effort have not previously been disclosed.
The agency intercepts “millions of images per day” — including about 55,000 “facial recognition quality images” — which translate into “tremendous untapped potential,” according to 2011 documents obtained from the former agency contractor Edward J. Snowden. While once focused on written and oral communications, the N.S.A. now considers facial images, fingerprints and other identifiers just as important to its mission of tracking suspected terrorists and other intelligence targets, the documents show.
Reporter Glen Greenvwald (formerly with The Guardian and now on his own with The Intercept) is the man Edward Snowden turned to after leaving the NSA realm, and has been responsible for some of the best coverage of the excesses being carried out by spy agencies.
He’s currently on tour promoting his book “No Place to Hide,” which details the beginnings of his relationship with Snowden, lambastes the mass media for the subservient attitude on reporting on surveillance and addresses what it means when a government pries so invasively into the private lives of its citizens.
He will be appearing at the North Park Theater on Saturday, June 21st. Tickets are a mere $6. You can (and should) buy them here.
Check Out the SDFreePress Calendar
Thanks to the efforts of Brent Beltran, the San Diego Free Press now has an on-line calendar of events. You can see events in the arts, performances and political gatherings of every persuasion by clicking on the ‘Calendar’ Tab at the top of the page. To get your event listed, drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
On This Day: 1786 -Twenty-six journeymen printers in Philadelphia staged the trade’s first strike in America over wages: a cut in their $6 weekly pay. 1967 – “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was released by the Beatles in the US. 1998 – Voters in California passed Proposition 227. The act abolished the state’s 30-year-old bilingual education program by requiring that all children be taught in English.
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