Bush and His Billionaires Caused It. Let Them Pay ©

All the talk of Catastrophe Funds seems silly to me; the reasoning is apt.  I think there are better sources for these subsidies than the government. In my mind, our efforts are misplaced.  

It is true; we as a nation and as a world have seen an increase in the number and intensity of cataclysmic storms. Tornados, droughts, hurricanes and other recent disasters have caused great calamity.  We are mired in misfortune. However, we are working to pay for what we caused.  We are closing the barn door behind us; our prides and joys are all long gone.  We now, belatedly, prepare for what was our own ignorance.  We elected George W. Bush, twice.

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Clean Power: Lead or Get Out of the Way

I've long been irked by the moves taken by supposedly progressive lawmakers to block the installation of wind turbines for aesthetic reasons. It really does not get any more hypocritical than people claiming to want to fight global warming fighting even harder against wind power that might obstruct the scenic views of their constituents. It's perfectly reasonable for an elected representative of the people to stand up for the wishes of the people. However, the potential benefits of sustainable energy far outweigh the personal interests of a relatively small group of constituents.

It should be obvious to many readers that I am referring pretty specifically to Senator Ted Kennedy. As far back as 2003, Kennedy has publicly opposed a plan to install wind turbines off of Cape Cod in Nantucket Sound. The plan's opponents, like legendary journalist Walter Cronkite, talk a lot about making "natural treasures" like Nantucket Sound "off limits to industrialization." But personally, I think it's pretty crass to call a project like this "industrialization." After all, wind power is more about reversing the impact of twentieth century industrialization than furthering it.

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire blog has the details on a move by Kennedy to scuttle the plans for this proposed wind farm.

Sen. Ted Kennedy and other rich land owners on Cape Cod continue their attacks on a proposed wind turbine power plant on Nantucket Sound. Aides to Sen. Ted Stevens (R., Alaska), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, say Kennedy suggested an amendment, now tucked in the Coast Guard's annual authorization bill, that gives Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican foe of the project, a veto even though it would be located on a federally owned part of the Sound. Two Democrats on the panel, Senators Maria Cantwell and Frank R. Lautenberg, objected. A third Democrat, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, has issued a statement complaining that the move makes a "mockery" of efforts by Congress to increase clean domestic energy supplies.

I'd like to say that we should take this story with a grain of salt as it comes from aides to a Republican Senator. After all, when news of the Romney veto came to light, it was Stevens and fellow Alaska Republican Don Young who took the heat. But unfortunately, given Kennedy's opposition to this plan, it seems to me that news of his involvement is most likely accurate. After all, why should Stevens take a hit for Kennedy?

The right loves this story. And love it they should. It's a clear cut case of liberal hypocrisy. Here's a leading member of the party that claims to be pro-environment trying to shut down an environmentally responsible project because it would take away from his scenic views. It's classic NIMBYism. John Stossel couldn't make up a better narrative if he tried.

There have been some attempts by Cape Cod environmentalists to downplay the potential benefits from the project. Senator Kennedy's nephew, Robert Kennedy Jr, has been one of the project's most outspoken critics. Initially, that gave me some pause as to the true environmental responsibility of the project. But at best, it seems that his judgement is likely clouded on this particular subject. Here's how the Natural Resources Defense Council characterizes the project:

As the first offshore wind energy undertaking in the nation, Cape Wind would set a precedent for similar facilities that could improve air quality, public health and global warming emissions. The Cape Wind project would provide 420 megawatts of electricity from 130 emissions-free turbines. That is enough to supply 75 percent of power needed on Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.

By using clean energy instead of fossil fuel electricity generation, the Cape Wind project will eliminate approximately 360 tons of particulate matter, 2,400 tons of sulfur oxides, 800 tons of nitrogen oxides, and 1,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide for every year of operation. That will reduce respiratory problems and other pollution-related health effects, as well as reducing the carbon pollution that causes global warming.

I have a great deal of respect for Senator Kennedy. But on this issue, he needs to either lead or get out of the way. This isn't about the views from Cape Cod. This is about the future of our planet.

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Promoting An Inconvenient Truth

With just a little over a month to go before is released, I think it is only fitting that those of us who truly care for this issue and for Mr. Gore do all we can to make sure that as many see this movie as we can possibly get out to the theatres. However, we have to face the reality that so many people neither know enough about this issue to care, think it is all BS, or believe it to be too overwhelming to even try to understand it. That is the biggest obstacle we face, and if we can get beyond that to get people in to see it, we may surely change hearts and minds on this issue and really begin to face it on a united front. And that is the challenge that lies before us.

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My Liberal Fantasy: Russ Feingold's 2008 Nomination Acceptance Speech

Good evening, I love New York! Applause. Smiles broadly and waits for silence. And I proudly accept your nomination for President of the United States. Crowd erupts with sustained applause and cheers.

My friends, the time has come for an American renaissance of community, values, and justice. Almost seven years ago in this great city Osama Bin Laden unleashed his terror and the Republican Party unleashed a reign of indecency. Tonight we begin anew in the very city where it all went wrong. We bring hope.

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Wind Energy Demand Blowing Past Supply

Interesting post on the coming electrical economy. Matt

Tomorrow, Austin Energy, a publicly owned utility in Austin, Texas will hold our nation's first green energy raffle. The raffle is a seminal moment in the transition to the 21st century or Plan B energy economy, highlighting the economic feasibility - and long term dominance - of renewable energy sources, most notably wind energy.

In 2000, when Austin Energy unveiled their GreenChoice program, customers paid a premium for the renewable energy based program. Over the last 5 years however, climbing prices for natural gas coupled with the dropping prices of wind, pulled conventional electricity costs above those of wind-generated electricity. This reality had an immediate impact in markets across the country. In Austin this meant a dramatic increase in demand for their GreenChoice program, actually outgrowing their current supply of wind energy and ultimately forcing the company to hold tomorrow's raffle.

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