Thursday, March 22, 2007
IF LANL CAN'T ANSWER THIS CHALLENGE, IT DESERVES TO WITHER
Notice that this is from BUSINESS WEEK, not The Rolling Stone, or the Berkeley Barb, or High Desert News; this is from the Power Elite (Old Line Republicans, not Neoconservatives). So, deal with it! Where are the bright young people at LANL? We haven't heard from them in months ... Time to follow a REAL leader, one who will listen to scientists, for a change. (Just for your information: DOE stands for Department of Energy. Thought you would be interested in that little factoid. Check it out at Fox.News.com, if you don't trust your canine pal.)
Top News March 21, 2007, 5:46PM EST
Gore Rings a Green Alarm
Former Vice-President Al Gore's return to Congress to urge immediate action on global warming drew a mix of applause and strong criticism
Former Vice-President Al Gore received as close to a red-carpet welcome as its gets on Capitol Hill on Mar. 21, as he pressed Congress to pass legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. Gore, who organized the first congressional hearings on climate change 30 years ago, stressed before a joint hearing of the House of Representative's Science & Technology committee that there is no time to waste in addressing what he called a "planetary emergency."
"Global warming is real and human activity is the main cause," he said in written testimony. "The consequences are mainly negative and headed toward catastrophic, unless we act."
Urging Aggressive Steps
Gore, who won an Oscar last month for his film about global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, appeared calm and confident as he laid out an urgent call-to-arms to address the "scientific consensus" of the climate crisis. Though there has been speculation he'll run for President in 2008, he outlined 10 proposals that promise to be wildly unpopular politically. First, he called for an immediate "freeze" on the level of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, followed by mandatory reductions.
He went on to list a series of aggressive steps, including taxing pollution while lifting employment and production taxes, raising even further the fuel-economy standards for cars, having the U.S. craft a new international global-warming agreement, requiring companies to disclose carbon emissions in SEC filings, and banning the construction of new coal-fired power plants unless they capture and store carbon pollution. Gore assured Congress that he understood these policies will face opposition, especially in "tough districts." But he said he's calling on lawmakers to be courageous and "walk through that fire."
On what he said was an "emotional occasion," Gore stressed the need for bipartisan cooperation to address a threat he likened to Fascism during the last century. He also called for long-term thinking that he said flies in the face of the short-term mentality that has taken hold in the markets. "These are not normal times," he said, and lawmakers need to look beyond special interests and have the "moral imagination" to take political risks.
An "Assault" on Fossil Fuels?
"We do not have time to play around with this, and we don't have time to make a political football of it as we play politics as usual," said Gore, pointing to reports that radical action must be taken within 10 years before climate change becomes irreversible.
In the question-and-answer period that followed, Gore encountered words of admiration from both skeptics and supporters, but was not spared from the critical fire he acknowledged others would face.Representative Ralph Hall (R-Tex.) was one of the harshest critics. He said Gore's proposals mark an "all-out assault on all forms of fossil fuels," and emphasized their potential cost to the economy. "If we allow this attack on energy to go unanswered, and have it result in lessening our domestic reliance on fossil fuels, we will force a reliance on OPEC from a dangerous 60% to a recklessly dangerous and likely 80% of our total energy supply," Hall said. Other critics voiced concern that if the U.S. curbs emissions without the cooperation of India and China—which is starting up the equivalent of one coal-burning plant every four days—U.S. business will be at a competitive disadvantage.
Representative Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) said the U.S. needs to make more use of nuclear energy and asked for Gore's thoughts on the controversial issue. The former Vice-President said he is "not reflexively against" nuclear power and "not an absolutist." However, he said that the tremendous cost and lengthy construction times for nuclear plants can be a hindrance. "They only come in extra large," Gore said.
President George W. Bush and other Republicans remain opposed to a mandatory cap on carbon dioxide emitted from cars, power plants, and other human activities, arguing that it will harm the economy. The Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers are among groups that oppose mandatory limits on carbon emissions, citing competitive reasons.
Industry Support Builds
But major players in the business community are coalescing around calls for a federal cap in greenhouse emissions, stressing the need for both a uniform regulatory environment, as well as a reduction in the risks global warming poses to their businesses. In January, the heads of 10 large U.S. corporations, including Alcoa (AA) and General Electric (GE), said they supported mandatory caps. Last week, General Motors (GM), Ford (F), Chrysler (DCX), and Toyota North America (TM) endorsed a mandatory economy-wide emissions cap.
And on Mar. 19, a coalition of more than 50 institutional investors, including the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and Merrill Lynch (MER), called on Congress to take a leadership role in cutting emissions and setting federal standards on the issue (see BusinessWeek.com, 3/19/07, "Investors Call on Congress to Go Green"). A day later, some of the U.S.'s top utility chiefs told a House hearing that they don't oppose one .
After his morning appearance in the House, Gore testified before the Senate Environment & Public Works committee during the afternoon. Democratic leaders in Congress, including Presidential candidates (and Senators) Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, have said that passing legislation to address the threat of global warming is a top priority. Five bills in Congress currently call for a national cap on greenhouse gas emissions, which is now mandated in a handful of states and U.S. cities. On Mar. 20, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) used his moment at the mike to introduce the Safe Climate Act, which calls for 80% cuts from 1990 emissions levels by 2050.
Meanwhile, Gore's time in the spotlight isn't likely to end soon. He's now helping plan a number of worldwide rock concerts to be held on July 7 to raise public awareness of climate change. The question remains as to how effectively he can exploit his status as a politician-turned-celebrity to convince more American consumers, business leaders, and politicians that sacrifices today will mean great benefits in the future.
Herbst is a reporter for BusinessWeek.com in New York.
Message in hand, Gore returns in triumph to Congress
Oscar-winner back on Capitol Hill with well-honed warning on climate change
Ewen MacAskill in Washington
Thursday March 22, 2007
Al Gore testifies about global warming during a hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee
It was a bittersweet homecoming.
The last time Al Gore was in Congress was in January 2001, to see George Bush confirmed as president after a vitriolic election campaign and count. One of the reasons he lost was his lack of passion, having listened to advice from campaign managers to focus on the economy and avoid the one issue that animates him: the environment.
He returned yesterday in triumph, the man who could have stopped Mr Bush now transformed into an Oscar winner and one of the world's leading campaigners on the dangers of global warming. He is bulkier, greyer and wrinkled. But he is also less buttoned-up, more emotional. He spoke fluently and knowledgeably, mostly without notes, showing the kind of president he might have been and, possibly, might yet be.
His new star status as green champion and Academy award-winner for An Inconvenient Truth had members of the public queueing outside House of Representatives committee room 2123 for 24 hours. Even journalists who had reserved places arrived an hour early.
Mr Gore did not disappoint, offering a moving speech and lively exchanges seemingly enjoyed both by Democratic congressmen who agree with him and Republicans who remain sceptical about climate change.
Referred to formally as Mr Vice-president, he said he had returned only because Congress was now run by Democrats. "There is a sense of hope in this country that this United States Congress will rise to the occasion and present meaningful solutions to this crisis," he said. "Our world faces a true planetary emergency. I know the phrase sounds shrill, and I know it's a challenge to the moral imagination."
He appealed directly to congressmen, saying even a small number of people could change the course of history. Evoking the movie 300 showing in local cinemas, he recalled how a small band of Spartans had saved civilisation.
"This is our Thermopylae," he said, at the end of the kind of speech that would sound high-blown and risible from a British politician but that the best American speakers can get away with.
He set out steps that could be taken, ranging from tax measures to a new international treaty. He said, as he has so often on the lecture circuit, that this generation should consider what their grandchildren would say of them: either that they ignored the clear evidence or that they took up the challenge.
About 30 teenagers, part of a school trip watching in a nearby overspill room, were typically restless and bored-looking before Mr Gore began speaking, but then listened to him intently.
There was a half-hour delay before his appearance - the kind of procedural wrangling between Democrats and Republicans that exasperates him, given his stress on time running out and the need to put political differences aside.
Mr Gore said he had recently returned from the UK, where there was a consensus among Labour and the Conservatives on the need to tackle global warming and the debate was on how best to do this. He contrasted this with the US, and the questions from the committee confirmed this: Democrats in agreement with him while Republicans questioned the science, the need for more regulations and the costs.
Mr Gore's positive reception will encourage fans to press him to stand for the presidency. He has repeatedly said he does not intend to enter the race but has failed to convince Washington that he really means it. He would face a crowded and talented field but polls suggest he would tuck into third place, behind Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama but ahead of John Edwards.
Gore Takes Global Warming Message to Congress
by Andrea Seabrook
Former Vice President Al Gore greets members of a joint congressional hearing on climate change.
March 21, 2007
Gore Has Steadily Regained National Footing
All Things Considered, March 21, 2007
·Al Gore took his climate-change crusade to Congress on Wednesday, telling lawmakers that they need to adopt an immediate freeze on greenhouse gases in order to fight global warming.
The former vice president — and star of the film An Inconvenient Truth — spoke about global warming with the House Energy committee and the Senate Environment committee.
"The planet has a fever," Gore said. "If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor. If the doctor says you need to intervene here, you don't say, 'Well, I read a science-fiction novel that tells me it's not a problem.'"
Even once-skeptical Republicans are coming over to Gore's side — and it seems the debate has shifted from arguing whether there is a climate crisis to disagreement over how to fix it.
The science is settled, Gore told the lawmakers. Carbon-dioxide emissions — from cars, power plants, buildings and other sources — are heating the Earth's atmosphere.
Gore said that if left unchecked, global warming could lead to a drastic change in the weather, sea levels and other aspects of the environment. And he pointed out that these conclusions are not his, but those of a vast majority of scientists who study the issue.
Members of the committee, Democrats and Republicans alike, listened very carefully to Gore, as they seemed to take to heart his final message: that in a few years this whole debate will look very different.
"This is not a partisan issue, this is a moral issue," Gore said. "And our children are going to be demanding this."
Does that include voters in Los Alamos County?
Does that include Pete Domenici?
Does that include LANS management?
Does that include LANL employees?
Second, how can the US possibly change things when India and China account for 75% of all "greenhouse gas" emmisions, even if the first point is conceded?
Why should the US self-cripple its own economy in the face of the growing Chinese world juggernaut economy??
Third, what the hell does this have to do with LANL???? Can't you dumbocrats find any other venue?
Of course, none of those matter to the US haters. All that matters is that we're bad, and need to destroy our economy for the "good of the world."
What a bunch of globalist BS.
It will matter to LANL. It will atter to all of us very soon. Do not count on the second comming because it aint going to happen.
Look in the future we will need every intellectual resource we have to solve global warming. LANL could a part of that.
By the way I am conservative however the Christain right has totally
destroyed the Republican party.
"When fascism comes to America, it
will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross" Sinclair Lewis
"The moment anyone diverges from official church doctrine on global warming, he is threatened with destruction. Heretics would be burnt at the stake if liberals could figure out how to do it in a "carbon neutral" way."
"Climatologist Dr. Timothy Ball is featured in the new documentary debunking global warming, titled "The Great Global Warming Swindle." For this heresy, Ball has received hate mail with such messages as, "If you continue to speak out, you won't live to see further global warming."
"Global warming is supposed to be "science." It's hard to imagine Niels Bohr responding to Albert Einstein's letter questioning quantum mechanics with a statement like: "If you continue to speak out, you won't live to see further quantum mechanics."
"Come to think of it, one can't imagine the pope writing a letter to Jerry Falwell saying, "If you continue to speak out, you won't live to see further infallibility.""
"If this is how global warming devotees defend their scientific theory, it may be a few tweaks short of a scientific theory. Scientific facts are not subject to liberal bullying -- which, by the way, is precisely why liberals hate science."
"A few years ago, The New York Times ran an article about the continuing furious debates among physicists about quantum mechanics, which differs from global warming in the sense that it is supported by physical evidence and it doesn't make you feel good inside to "do something" about quantum mechanics. It is, in short, science."
"Though he helped develop the theory of quantum mechanics, Einstein immediately set to work attacking it. MIT cosmologist Max Tegmark called the constant testing and arguing about quantum mechanics "a 75-year war.""
"That's how a real scientific theory operates. That's even how a real religion operates. Only a false religion needs hate mail, threats, courts of inquisition and Hollywood movies to sustain it."
She knows nothing about science. Read her lastest book. She does not believe in evolution and wants ID to be taught in school. By the way she completely misinterpits what Prof Tegmark is really saying.
6:03 AM. I take it you are not a Ph.d scientist at LANL.