I couldn't possibly say it any better than this...
"We are on the cusp of a fantastic revolution that is going to make a lot of things better, but there is ferocious resistance because, as is often the case, the legacy industries that have built up wealth and power in a previous age don't see their sun setting yet," Gore said. "They're using that power to try to slow things down, the same way the tobacco companies did when the linkage between cigarettes and lung disease was established."As most of us know, the sun always sets. I say most of us because apparently, the Republican party doesn't know about the everyday occurence. They don't want to know... but they will eventually. Resistance is futile.
Former Vice President Al Gore returned to Washington on Tuesday. Even though part of the reason he made the trip was to voice his displeasure at the lack of leadership coming out of the Oval office, his destination wasn't the White House itself; it was to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. He went looking for a passionate advocate to carry on his legacy; the issue he's worked on for most of his adult life. Mr. Gore visited the man he considers the next champion of climate change legislation. The next advocate for the future of Earth. That new face belongs to none other than the junior U.S. senator from Rhode Island, Sheldon Whitehouse.
"Sheldon Whitehouse has become the leading United States Senate advocate for solving the climate crisis, and you ought to be very proud," he told an audience of Rhode Island environmental leaders.Hell, I'm proud of him and I'm not even from the Ocean State.
Senator Whitehouse's weekly "Time to Wake Up" speeches on the Senate floor, regarding climate change, should prove to anyone listening that he is passionate about the issue. And, the good senator never misses an opportunity to shine a light on Washington's deficiencies in implementing the changes sorely needed to at least mitigate some of the inevitable environmental disasters to come in following years. Senator Whitehouse has given these speeches on the senate floor for a long time now. And in doing so, he's vociferously pushing his colleagues inch by inch towards enacting meaningful climate change legislation.
Can ya hear me now?
"I don't come to Washington that much anymore. I'm a recovering politician, on about Step 9," he joked, "but when Sheldon called me and asked me to do this event, I readily agreed."The event at which he spoke was an annual energy and environment function hosted by Whitehouse. He holds the event to give Rhode Island environmentalists the opportunity to hear directly from federal officials, featured speeches from Gore, Whitehouse and National Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke, among others. (a worthy organization of which I've been a member for about 8 years)
Policy talk was broad at the event, ranging from ocean acidification to the finer points of fracking. But the former vice president's keynote address was acutely political.
"We are on the cusp of a fantastic revolution that is going to make a lot of things better, but there is ferocious resistance because, as is often the case, the legacy industries that have built up wealth and power in a previous age don't see their sun setting yet," Gore said. "They're using that power to try to slow things down, the same way the tobacco companies did when the linkage between cigarettes and lung disease was established."Though he never talked directly about President Obama's leadership on climate change in the speech itself, the lack of it in general was certainly on his mind. "One crucial element that we need to really focus on is leadership," he said, praising Whitehouse for his weekly speeches in the Senate on climate. But after the event, Mr. Gore did speak directly about what he and many environmentalists consider the lack of initiative on a clear, substantive path toward green energy and carbon control.
"He does not yet have a team in the White House to help him implement solutions to the climate crisis," Gore said in a Google+ video chat on Tuesday afternoon. "He hasn't staffed up for it."Both during and after the event, Senator Whitehouse placed the majority of the blame for inaction on Republicans. He reportedly referred to GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill as, "one step short of insane." (and rightly, I might add)
"There's a lot of foment happening," Whitehouse said of the politics surrounding climate, "and the other side's strategy is just to make the topic go away. You have to understand that they're not in a tenable position."At this point, I'd be remiss not to mention what President Obama has done recently on the climate change issue that -- considering the NSA controversy and all the scandal mania gripping D.C. right now -- you might have missed. And it was a significant move on Obama's part.
Last week, the White House put up a blog post touting new energy-efficiency standards for microwave ovens. Thrilling, right? Halfway down, it mentions that “the underlying analysis of these standards includes an update to the social cost of carbon values.”And what are the results of that update?
Sure enough, over on OMB’s website we find a “Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis” [PDF], dated May 2013. It doesn’t change the basic mechanics of the earlier analysis — same discount rates, same emission scenarios, same climate sensitivity. All it does is update the climate impact models (the “Integrated Assessment Models”) to reflect the most recent versions used in the peer-reviewed literature.
The [social cost of carbon] estimates using the updated versions of the models are higher than those reported in the 2010 [report]. By way of comparison, the four 2020 SCC estimates reported in the 2010 [report] were $7, $26, $42 and $81 (2007$). The corresponding four updated SCC estimates for 2020 are $12, $43, $65, and $129 (2007$).This was a smart, productive move. And the fact that POTUS slipped it by rabid Republicans makes it even more so.
The federal government just bumped up the cost of carbon by 60 percent. This will, all things being equal, increase by 60 percent the amount of carbon mitigation that can be economically justified. That’s a big deal, especially in light of the fact that EPA regulations are going to make (or break) Obama’s second-term climate legacy. (original emphasis)
More of this please!