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Sigmetnow

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Re: The 2014 US elections and climate policy
« Reply #50 on: November 07, 2014, 12:28:31 AM »
A bit of good climate news out of the election involves Pennsylvania, a big coal/oil/gas state -- a result, I think, of the people becoming more aware of the negative aspects of fracking.
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Pennsylvania Gov.-elect Tom Wolf, the sole bright spot for Democrats on the state level, has promised to move Pennsylvania to join RGGI, setting emission caps for the state and using revenue gained to invest in renewable energy.
http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy/climate-quietly-wins-midterm-victory-20141105
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Sigmetnow

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Re: The 2014 US elections and climate policy
« Reply #51 on: November 07, 2014, 01:34:10 AM »
Fracking started in the U.S. in Denton, Texas.  This week, they voted to stop it.

http://ecowatch.com/2014/11/05/fracking-ban-passes/
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Bob Wallace

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Re: The 2014 US elections and climate policy
« Reply #52 on: November 07, 2014, 05:54:40 AM »
I've seen several reports that there now sufficient votes to pass both Keystone XL and TPP/TTIP, not to mention putting the EPA in a climate denier's hands. I'd post links, but it's late and depressing.

The Republicans can pass those sorts of laws but without the ability to override PBO's veto their actions are meaningless. 

Expect a lot of political theater over the next several months as Republican pass a lot of legislation doing things like repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  Legislation destined to go nowhere because they don't have 67 votes in the Senate.

Expect them to create some real strife when it comes budget time.  They'll attempt to kill a lot of things they don't like by not funding them.  I suspect PBO will refuse to accept a budget with cuts that are too extreme.  We may see another government shutdown which is unlikely to help Republicans.

Then, as 2016 comes into view look to Republicans to start acting more "responsible" and passing some legislation that is acceptable to PBO.  They'll make some almost meaningless progress on things like immigration just so that they can tell minorities that they did something.

In the meantime expect PBO to pull out the stops and use his executive powers to make some changes.  I expect to see the EPA stomp on carbon and methane emissions.  That can be done based on existing laws that have already passed Supreme Court review.  And expect the DOE to do some things to help renewables.

PBO may trade away the Keystone pipeline for something important.  The pipeline, as long as it doesn't run through very delicate landscape, is really pretty much not important.  We'll continue burning oil until we have affordable, longer range EVs.  One more pipeline won't make or break our oil use.  Only moving away from oil will stop the use of oil.

At this point the federal government's role in renewables and electric vehicles is largely done.  Federal subsidizes have helped lower prices and build the industries to the point at which market forces are taking over. 

We'll need federal assistance for things like high speed rail, but not until after California builds some so that people understand the value.  That's something for post-2016.

Most of the heavy lifting that remains can be done at the state level.  California and New York are supporting storage.  Hawaii will be in that game soon.  Those three states along with Germany, Japan and a few other countries will be enough to build a storage industry.  Tidal generation will get built up by other countries.  Private money have taken over solar and wind technology development. 

I think all will be fine.  Not saying that things couldn't be a lot better, but overall I don't see any appreciable backsliding and I see wind and solar continuing to grow based on their affordability.


Bruce Steele

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Re: The 2014 US elections and climate policy
« Reply #53 on: November 07, 2014, 04:45:37 PM »
Bob, We liberals just got handed our ass and with so many Dems willing to shove Obama under the bus I don't expect he will hold the line on the environment like you expect him to. So keystone will happen and whatever trades the executive branch can extract in exchange will be be less than those a united party might be able to finagle. Let's face it the Midwest is Red, mean, and looking to do Obama as much damage as possible. I don't think the republicans threw Bush under the bus even though he was a total idiot and the fact the right wing marches lockstep while we Dems cower and run with  the least of provocation doesn't bode well for 2016. Even if the price break in renewables looks better the flaming right wing will stick with fossil fuel. Spite will drive what happens more than economics. My opinion.
   

Xulonn

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Re: The 2014 US elections and climate policy
« Reply #54 on: November 07, 2014, 06:21:22 PM »
There are massive U.S. subsidies for the FF industry, so I don't really think lower carbon emitting alternatives have much chance without massive matching government support. 

And alternatives won't get subsidies with the FF mega-corporations controlling the Republicans who control the budget. 

Only a large number of expensive and destructive weather and climate-related disasters that are clearly AGW/CC enhanced will change the opinions of the denialist and "climate's not important" segments of the American people.  Then they will panic, and the country will likely respond emotionally - and not logically - as the right wing "blame game" hucksters play them like fiddles. 

I fear what might happen if things get crazy now that the local, county and state police forces of the U.S. are essentially paramilitary organizations with powerful weaponry, and they are trained to use hard-core, heavy-handed tactics.  (Much of that is due to corporate military equipment manufacturers looking for new markets, and persuading the U.S. federal government to finance the militarization of local and regional police forces.

I grew up in the 1950's in the U.S. Midwest - the "Eisenhower era."   In spite of the cold war and its nuclear war threat in those days, I never thought I would live to see the U.S. move in the current direction it is taking, which is more typical of military dictatorships.  Much of the militaristic enhancement of American police forces was facilitated by politicians and right-wing fear-mongers playing up to and enhancing an irrational fear of "terrorism."

As the American Founding Father Ben Franklin said:  "Those who give up their liberty for more security neither deserve liberty nor security."  The much celebrated wisdom and insight of those founding fathers has been lost as materialism and the "me, me, me" complex dominate the American peoples' motivations.

As an 72 y/o retired expat living in high in the beautiful cool mountains of western Panama, I watch with dismay as I see the U.S. falling behind Europe and the developed nations of the far east in many areas.  The world doesn't "respect" the U.S. military as many right-wingers like to say - they fear it - and for good reason.  The U.S. has historically vacillated between being a bully and being a leader, but it's leadership as a nation at the moment is non-existent. 

It pains me to write these words - but that is an honest description of what I see. 

Sigmetnow

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Re: The 2014 US elections and climate policy
« Reply #55 on: November 07, 2014, 08:26:17 PM »
Comedian Stephen Colbert explains the Republicans' climate message.  It's funny -- but the audience's reactions are what make my day.

http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/sc6mpp/the-republicans--inspiring-message-on-climate-change
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Sigmetnow

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Re: The 2014 US elections and climate policy
« Reply #56 on: November 07, 2014, 09:26:36 PM »
Steyer: "I am not regretting a dime."

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/6104858
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viddaloo

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Re: The 2014 US elections and climate policy
« Reply #57 on: November 07, 2014, 09:31:08 PM »
Somehow, I don't see the next sea ice crash being reported by eg Piomas and IJIS. The info is too sensitive, and sooner or later will fall into the category of 'national security', with relevant restrictions to public information.
[]

Bob Wallace

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Re: The 2014 US elections and climate policy
« Reply #58 on: November 08, 2014, 08:25:16 AM »
Bruce, I expect PBO to do everything in his power to fight climate change.  That is what he has said he will do. He's not running for election again so he can laugh off the objections of the Republicans. 

That means him using the EPA to clamp down on coal and methane emissions.  And to go after other sources of greenhouse gases.

He can't do anything about renewable subsidies but don't forget that wind creates revenue in some of the reddest states.  We've already seen Republican governors from those red states lobbying for continued support for wind.  I'm not saying that new wind subsidies are really likely but the probability is certainly greater than zero.  Solar is set for another couple of years.

Again, I think Keystone irrelevant.  That oil is going to get shipped and burned with or without the pipeline as long as the price of oil is high enough.  I'd be fine with PBO trading away the Keystone for something important.  It's up to Tesla, China, Nissan and GM to kill oil at this point.  (That's where it looks like our affordable longer range EVs are likely to come from.)

Even if Democrats had held the Senate there's no way any meaningful environmental legislation would come out of Congress.  The House would have blocked it.

Our best route now is that PBO does as much as he can via administrative action and the next president is also a Democrat who continues those administrative moves.  We stand a decent chance of getting back the Senate in 2016 but it's unlikely we can regain the House.  We're likely many years away from Congress doing anything to combat climate change.

It's a long road between now and 2050.  Things are likely to move in spurts and stalls.  If, over the next two years, we can close a significant number of coal plants that will help increase wind and solar installations.  It's looking like storage is starting to take over the role of spinning reserve based on economics which will mean a significant cut in NG use.  If one of the emerging storage technologies works out then we should see storage start replacing gas peakers.    EV prices will drop on their own.  We'll make progress, just not as fast as many of us would like.

If reducing CO2 40% to 70% by 2050 is adequate to stave off 2C temperature rises and we can average a 2% transition from fossil fuels to renewables over the next ten years we should be OK.  That would put us down 20% from 2005 and half way to the minimum with 15 years left to go.  If we did no better than 2% we'd hit 50% by 2050 and I suspect ten years from now the world will be a much different place.  Wind, solar, storage, and EVs will push away fossil fuels based on nothing but cost.

Bob Wallace

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Re: The 2014 US elections and climate policy
« Reply #59 on: November 08, 2014, 08:32:00 AM »
"There are massive U.S. subsidies for the FF industry, so I don't really think lower carbon emitting alternatives have much chance without massive matching government support."

David, wind is now cheaper than new coal and NG CCNG.  Our coal plants are aging out and most likely  25% of them are going to be forced out by the EPA.  We will not replace those coal plants with new coal plants.

Solar will soon be cheaper than NG CCNG.  Wind and solar, when generating, will cause NG plants to cease operation.  Storage is starting to eat into NG's role of grid regulation.

EVs are going to come down in price over the next few years.  EVs cost far less to drive per mile.  They will force petroleum out.

Governmental support has helped wind, solar and EVs to become competitive.  Economics should take over from here.

I agree that the US's role as a leader is likely to fade away.  That's not necessarily a bad thing.  Let someone else take that role for a while. 

Bruce Steele

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Re: The 2014 US elections and climate policy
« Reply #60 on: November 08, 2014, 04:09:57 PM »
Bob, I do enjoy reading your view on things as they offer some counterpoint to where my mind goes.
I most certainly hope PBO is dodgy enough to keep swinging while he continues to take a beating over the EPA regs. Those EPA rules explain a big part of  why the coal state dems wouldn't support him or ask his help in their campaigns , most of them lost anyhow . Our little household dumped about a grand on the Obama campaign four years ago so at least I can say I got some skin in the game.
 On a personal note we got the farm switched over to PV and the local installers have a couple months of work backlogged. I plan on restarting my bio-fuel project for the tractor with oil ( lard ) produced from my pig herd. Solar installations are getting fairly common around here but they are liberal farmers putting them up for the most part. 
 Not really looking forward to another two years of campaigning but I suppose it is important to save the Whitehouse, that is I will keep swinging and PBO better keep swinging also. I am watching the next ten years also but we may only have two left with any help at all on the environment in the good'ol US.   
 

jai mitchell

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Re: The 2014 US elections and climate policy
« Reply #61 on: November 08, 2014, 07:38:06 PM »
Bob, We liberals just got handed our ass and with so many Dems willing to shove Obama under the bus I don't expect he will hold the line on the environment like you expect him to. So keystone will happen and whatever trades the executive branch can extract in exchange will be be less than those a united party might be able to finagle. Let's face it the Midwest is Red, mean, and looking to do Obama as much damage as possible. I don't think the republicans threw Bush under the bus even though he was a total idiot and the fact the right wing marches lockstep while we Dems cower and run with  the least of provocation doesn't bode well for 2016. Even if the price break in renewables looks better the flaming right wing will stick with fossil fuel. Spite will drive what happens more than economics. My opinion.
   

the ALEC lobby is looking to change the way electricity is sold in America.  Under this new scenario, the "hookup" price will be a set value and the majority of the cost of electricity, the "per Kwh" will be only a small portion of the monthly charge.  Under this scenario, home solar will never pay for itself.

So then a home would have to become a "defector" and purchase a large battery system to be able to disconnect from the grid entirely.

so then the ALEC lobby will pass municipal zoning laws that require all residences and business to have utility connections.

This is what unlimited corporate money influence on domestic politics looks like.
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Bruce Steele

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Re: The 2014 US elections and climate policy
« Reply #62 on: November 08, 2014, 10:54:06 PM »
Jai, Can't really say what I'm thinking but the left wing can bite back and I suppose someday the right wing will put a bounty on us. For now I will enjoy the incredible freedoms we still have. Hard to get ornery with 90 degree mid-November sunshine, a margarita, and bacon in the larder.

JackTaylor

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Re: The 2014 US elections and climate policy
« Reply #63 on: November 09, 2014, 10:17:56 AM »
Being as most of my neighbors refer to me as a "dim lib" (polite term)
I find a lot of opinions on 'politics' leaving me wondering "where did they come from?"

Back in the days of old the area where I live was a Democratic Stronghold.
Now it is one of the most right-wing Republican areas of the country. 
Influenced tremendously by southern religions.
( Greenville, South Carolina - Home of Bob Jones University; check college history )

Having never missed voting in an election for more Fifty (50) Years, discussing with
a fellow DEM popped the question of
"Name the last Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives prior to Newt Gingrich?"

Then he asked me about the "Political Pendulum" ( cyclical theory ) which he had previously heard me talking about.

So let me sum it for you.

Republicans do not have staying power. 
We DEM's will be back soon to clean up their mess.

Unless they create another "Great Depression" their damage will be temporary and easily survivable.

Will their Greed get busted like the Trusts by Teddy Roosevelt?

What makes this forum valuable to me is my belief Global Warming along with opposition to GMO's will within twenty (20) to fifty (50) years will be the downfall of republicans.

Lead in gasoline lost.
Acid rain lost, will it be revived?
DDT lost.
perfluorocarbons (PFCs) lost, argue about winner.

There is a long list of things "We Democratic Liberals" have accomplished.
how many items can you add to the list?

Not to worry we'll be back ( after racial hatred is put on the back burner ).

JayW

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Re: The 2014 US elections and climate policy
« Reply #64 on: November 10, 2014, 11:36:44 AM »
Bob, We liberals just got handed our ass and with so many Dems willing to shove Obama under the bus I don't expect he will hold the line on the environment like you expect him to. So keystone will happen and whatever trades the executive branch can extract in exchange will be be less than those a united party might be able to finagle. Let's face it the Midwest is Red, mean, and looking to do Obama as much damage as possible. I don't think the republicans threw Bush under the bus even though he was a total idiot and the fact the right wing marches lockstep while we Dems cower and run with  the least of provocation doesn't bode well for 2016. Even if the price break in renewables looks better the flaming right wing will stick with fossil fuel. Spite will drive what happens more than economics. My opinion.
   

I agree on all points.

We Mainers are open to independents, we put Angus King into the Senate.  Unfortunately in our governor's race, the inpendent Elliott Cutler, siphoned votes, despite not having a real shot.  Now we are stuck with the Chris Christy wannabe Paul LePage, he's truly a waste of oxygen.  His big plan for energy?  Subsidize a huge natural gas infrastructure, in my opinion, a freebie to the ff industry. I think his plan to finance it is through  cutting welfare to the "takers" as he affectionately calls them. Then abolishing the income tax and shift the tax burden to a sales tax, wonder who that favors?

Yet, all he is doing is ramming another fossil fuel iv into the veins of our energy structure.  Creating addicts that will be forced to pay inevitably higher prices on the future.  Corporate welfare, gotta love it.

On a side note, our shrimping season has been cancelled for the second consecutive year.  Thought you might find that interesting Bruce.
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Sigmetnow

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Re: The 2014 US elections and climate policy
« Reply #65 on: November 11, 2014, 03:09:16 AM »
Obama only needs to hold onto 146 Democrats in the House to sustain a veto on a Keystone XL fast-track bill.

http://insideclimatenews.org/carbon-copy/20141107/house-can-gop-override-obama-keystone
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Bob Wallace

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Re: The 2014 US elections and climate policy
« Reply #66 on: November 11, 2014, 05:04:06 AM »
The House has nothing to do with overriding a presidential veto.  Only the Senate can do that.  And it takes 67 votes, which the Republicans don't have.

The probability that any of PBO's vetoes will be overridden approaches zero.

Sigmetnow

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Re: The 2014 US elections and climate policy
« Reply #67 on: November 13, 2014, 12:28:35 AM »
The House has nothing to do with overriding a presidential veto.  Only the Senate can do that.  And it takes 67 votes, which the Republicans don't have.

The probability that any of PBO's vetoes will be overridden approaches zero.
FYI: according to this, it does require both houses -- making it that much more difficult to override:
Quote
Action by both the House and the Senate is required to override a presidential veto. A two-thirds majority vote of the Members present is required to override a presidential veto.
http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/thepresidentandcabinet/a/presveto.htm
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Bob Wallace

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Re: The 2014 US elections and climate policy
« Reply #68 on: November 13, 2014, 07:37:57 AM »
Sorry, you're right.  It takes both houses. 

Republicans will have 54 seats out of 100 if Mary Landrieu loses her seat in the December runoff.    That will leave them significantly short of the ability to override a veto.