How the Senate raised CAFE standards against all odds

Crossposted at DailyKos

Last week, the Senate passed an energy bill, which among other things raised CAFE standards (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) to 35 mpg by 2020 for cars and SUVs.  McJoan broke the news last Thursday and immediately put pressure on the House to do the same.  Although many wanted the standard higher and sooner, make no mistake that this change, the first change in fuel efficiency standards in nearly 20 years, is little short of revolutionary legislation.  There is also the fact that no one expected this thing to pass (yes, it needed 60 votes to circumvent a Republican filibuster), with many gloomy articles appearing, lamenting the undue influence the auto industry has on Congress.  So what happened?  Well, it is my belief that an often overlooked, but very important committee in the Senate -- the Small Business and Entrepeneurship Committee -- set the stage to make the first step in combatting global climate change a reality.

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Bill Richardson Roundup: News of the Week in Review

This was a significant week in Bill Richardson's campaign for President, with a major address in Washington D.C. at the Take Back America Conference on climate change and how to end the bloodshed in Iraq.  

It was also a significant week for peace and stability in Korea and Asia - which highlights Richardson's expertise in foreign affairs and his diplomatic skills. With Richardson as President we get two for the price of one - a can-do leader on domestic issues and an experienced diplomat that knows how to bring people and nations together.

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Obama's Auto Plan Neither New Nor Bold

Cross-posted at Democratic Courage blog.

Barack Obama got huge coverageyesterday for "standing up" to the auto industry by calling on them to accept tighter fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks - and doing it in their own backyard in Detroit. Although it's encouraging anytime a candidate calls for increasing fuel economy, we have to ask:  is Obama's proposal really anything to coo about?

The core of Obama's plan is raising fuel efficiency standards to 40 miles per gallon by 2022 - and paying off American auto companies for doing this by funneling $3 billion in taxpayer subsidies to the big auto companies in exchange, primarily to alleviate their high health care costs.

Two problems: first, Obama's plan doesn't move anywhere near fast enough to address the twin challenges of global climate deterioration and reliance on oil. His plan is about the same as that proposed by the Bush administration (although the administration's plan includes huge loopholes that Obama's doesn't). The 2022 deadline is at least ten years behind what is technically feasible and at least that many years behind what is climatologically essential. The latest international climate report concludes that urgent action is needed to avoid mass extinction, melting ice caps, famine and disease. "We don't have the luxury of time," said Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  What's more, research by the Union of Concerned Scientists shows that currently available technology could raise fuel efficiency standards to 40 miles per gallon by 2012, while still producing net savings for consumers.

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Two State Strategy for Environmental Success

Cross posted at Strategically Yours,

So I bought Jerome and Markos's new book, and I'm starting to delve through it.  As I make my way through I'm going to dissect certain points in it.  Very early on, they go into a significant diatribe against the enviro groups, and a lot of it is warranted.

When one talks about the advocacy organizations on our side, you only need to to think about one figure - $100 million.  The intake of the Sierra Club in 2004.  No other C3 on our side comes even close.  According to Crashing the Gate, the largest enviro groups took in approximately $415 million.  In one year.  And nothing to show for it.  CAFE stardards? nope.  Global Warming initiatives? ha.  Solar Energy?  Wind Energy? not even close. zip. zero. nada.

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