The Vote on the Clean Energy Bill

Tonight’s vote on the American Clean Energy and Security Act was the closest so far on a final bill in the House this year. The legislation passed by just seven votes (219-212), with eight Republican “yeas” providing the margin. Forty-four Democrats voted no. The Republicans in favor were you usual handful of threatened “moderates,” with Chris Smith of New Jersey being the closest thing to an outlier:

District Representative PVI
NJ-04 Smith, Chris R+6
CA-45 Bono Mack R+3
NJ-07 Lance R+3
NY-23 McHugh R+1
WA-08 Reichert D+3
NJ-02 LoBiondo D+1
IL-10 Kirk D+6
DE-AL Castle D+7

Meanwhile, the Democrats opposed were almost entirely from conservative districts, with a few liberal purity votes and a classic Artur Davis defection thrown in:

District Representative PVI District Representative PVI
CA-13 Stark D+22 PA-17 Holden R+6
AL-07 Davis, Artur D+18 AZ-01 Kirkpatrick R+6
OH-10 Kucinich D+8 WV-03 Rahall R+6
IN-01 Visclosky D+8 TN-08 Tanner R+6
CA-20 Costa D+5 AR-04 Ross R+7
IL-12 Costello D+3 AR-01 Berry R+8
OR-04 DeFazio D+2 PA-10 Carney R+8
GA-12 Barrow D+1 IN-08 Ellsworth R+8
IL14 Foster R+1 SD-AL Herseth Sandlin R+9
NY-24 Arcuri R+2 WV-01 Mollohan R+9
IN-02 Donnelly R+2 GA-08 Marshall R+10
NC-08 Kissell R+2 ND-AL Pomeroy R+10
TX-27 Ortiz R+2 AL-05 Griffith R+12
OH-06 Wilson, Charlie R+2 LA-03 Melancon R+12
PA-03 Dahlkemper R+3 OK-02 Boren R+14
TX-23 Rodriguez R+4 MS-01 Childers R+14
NY-29 Massa R+5 TN-04 Davis, Lincoln R+14
NC-07 McIntyre R+5 UT-02 Matheson R+15
AZ-05 Mitchell R+5 AL-02 Bright R+16
VA-02 Nye R+5 ID-01 Minnick R+18
CO-03 Salazar R+5 TX-17 Edwards, Chet R+20
PA-04 Altmire R+6 MS-04 Taylor R+20

Among Dems in D+ seats that we don’t typically see on lists like this, Pete Stark called the bill “watered-down,” Visclosky said it would cost jobs in the Northern Indiana steel industry, Jim Costa’s objection is inscrutable, and Jerry Costello has nothing on his website, though a tradmed story paraphrased him as believing the legislation would “result in higher electric bills.”

86 thoughts on “The Vote on the Clean Energy Bill”

  1. Larry Kissell – ?? WTF?

    Mike McIntire – Not the next Senator from N.C.

    Not on the list: Heath Shuler. One Blue Dog who got the vote right. It’s good to be able to count on Shuler when it comes to the environment.

  2. Although you correctly list Mitchell as from a Republican district (and his record has proven fairly blue-dog), his “no” vote was because the bill had been too weakened.  He was elected in 2006 with strong environmental credentials and progressive punch gives him a 100% on the environment.  (I wonder how they will score this vote?)  

    In an e-mail (and thus, no link), Mitchell states:  

    “I approached this bill asking myself two questions: First, would this bill fight global climate change by reducing carbon emissions and make the investments we need in renewable energy? Second, would this bill provide the opportunity for states like Arizona, to become the center of a new, sustainable green economy?

    Unfortunately, the answer is no – not in its current form.

    To say that I’m disappointed is an understatement. Instead of working towards truly meaningful reform, this debate has turned into a political game with concession after concession, from the coal industry to wealthy farmers, all with the intention of running up the vote tally rather than strengthening the bill.”

    I suspect that if the Dems really needed a vote for passage, they had several pro-environmental reps who voted “no” but would have fallen into line if they had to.  

  3. -Thank god Arthur Davis is off to get humiliated in the gubernatorial race… good riddance.

    -I don’t even want to image how weak this bill will be if it somehow gets through the senate.

    -It’s very sad that a bill this watered down still got around 40 no votes from dems.  On the great netroots debate between the open left style purity and the ssp practicality, I generally side with ssp… but there a several democrats in congress, namely Collin Peterson, who I think we would be better off without.

  4. One of these days the likes of Kucinich (seemingly he has formed his own party of no) are going to embarrass the leadership and the president.

  5. well..this helps make up my mind.  Unless someone tells me that Defazio voted no out of purity…I’ll donate to Khitzaber.  

  6. Visclosky is mired in ethical issues and represents about a 65% Obama-voting district yet is a blue dog. And Kuicinich, who belongs with Republicans in a party all of his own; he’s one of the few Democrats in congress who seems to think like a Republican, demanding complete purity.

    Gotta say kudos to Heath Shuler on this vote, though it was disappointing to see every rural, slash conservative  Democratic Congressman vote against cleaner environmental standards, siding with big business over the long term health and general welfare of their constitiuents, disgraceful really.

    Also gotta say big kudos Frank Kratovil, of course the Eastern Shore is conservative and Republican, but still very pro-environment, this is the sort of bill Gilchrest would have backed as well. Thank you Vic Synder for once again showing why you are the best Arkansas Democrat.

    What I found most hilarious about this list is Ciro Rodriguez’s placement on it, while Cuellar was not. Hmmm….wasn’t Cuellar the guy Dkos attacked visciously and raised what? 500,000 dollars to defeat in 2006 after he ousted Rodriguez in 2004, for hte reason that he was an intolerable conservative Republican acting like a Democrat? I never got that one. Rodriguez has been more conservative than him lately and there never appeared to be that big an ideological gap between them except when Ciro needed one to raise money.

    That said I don’t think it was neccessary for Arcuri to vote against, Boehlert likely wouldn’t have and upstate New York Republicans even tend to be fairly pro-environment. The same for the Jersey Republicans, Smith is a leader in theparty on the environment, and seems to be a genuine moderate on issues other than abortion.

    Those are my thoughts on the whole thing.

  7. Redstate is flipping out over Mark Kirk voting for the bill.

    One of their directors (Neil) it seems lives in Bono-Mack’s district and seems ready for her hide as well. Decent talk on Chris Smith as well.

    Bills can always be improved in the future, but as someone who became politically aware because of the environment, I am happy this thing passed.

  8. I’m going to steal this directly from Burnt Orange Report.


    Rodriguez had told leadership that he was a likely yes — but then cast a quick “no” vote and practically sprinted from the chamber, frustrating floor managers whose shouts of “Rodriguez!” rang through the House as the final anxious votes were cast.

    At one point, New York Rep. Anthony Weiner bounced from a huddle of leadership members and began calling the rep’s name, like a wayward toddler, as he scanned the Speaker’s lobby and the adjacent balcony.

    “He cast his no and then ran the hell out of there,” said a member of the whipping team, still steaming after the vote. “We tried him at his office and they said he was gone.”

    Should be a fun explanation come Monday. Also, I’ve noticed Ortiz has an exceptionally low score on LCV, meaning poor environmental record. Ortiz is getting up there and hopefully will retire soon, I just hope his replacement is not State Rep. Solomon Ortiz Jr.

  9. FL-24 Kosmas (R+4)

    OH-16 Boccieri (R+4)

    VA-05 Perriello (R+5)

    CO-04 Markey (R+6)

    NM-02 Teague (R+6)

    MD-01 Kratovil (R+13)

    Teague has been a very pleasant surprise given his background.  All 6 in this group deserve support in 2010, unlike some of their less courageous colleagues.

    Among Republicans, the two freshmen in the most Democratic districts voted No:

    LA-02 Cao (D+25)

    MN-03 Paulsen (R+0)

    Paulsen has cast almost no progressive votes so far this year according to Progressive Punch:

    0% on crucial votes

    9% overall

    Those who voted for Paulsen thinking he would be like Jim Ramstad made a big mistake.  Paulsen should get a top tier opponenent in 2010.

  10. should be ashamed of himself.  For almost a quarter century, his predecessor, Sherwood Boehlert, was the Republican voice of sanity on the environment.  He opposed his party on issues such as CAFE standards, acid rain, and Superfund.

    Despite the R+2 PVI, a yes vote on cap and trade would not have harmed Arcuri in this district.

  11. Note the two “no” votes from Ohio. as noted above, Dennis is nuts and charlie is a bit of a slob. Definitely too cozy with coal.  sigh…

  12. actually praises Maj. Whip Clyburn for extremely accurate political calculations.

    I’m still surprised the following people voted for it:

    * Besty Markey (though she’s in a rapidly blueing district)

    * Gabby Giffords

    * Frank Kratovil (who’s probably in the most brutal district outside of Texas, the south, and the mountain west)

    * Tom Perriello (seems quite brave for a frosh who won by a hair’s-width margin)

    * Vic Snyder (when the rest of his delegation didn’t)

  13. This is basically why I don’t trust when the Netroots brands a candidate as populist when they’re in red districts. Tester is such a great example of this; he’s voted against quite a few of economically left-wing traditionally populist bills. I think it’s basically a way for conservative candidates to appeal to liberal fundraisers. It’s just too bad that we buy it.

  14. IIRC, the environment was one of Schuler’s biggest campaign issues in 2006, and he hammered Charles Taylor hard on opposing climate change legislation and for pillaging NC’s public lands.

    While I disagree with him on some issues, Schuler’s been one of the good guys when it comes to the environment.

  15. he’s going to enjoy it and think he’s struck some kind of blow for progressive values.

  16. I heard a MSM story this morning about how tight the margin was on this bill. Do you think they bothered to point out that ~1/4 of the Democratic no votes were because the bill didn’t go far enough? Don’t hold your breathe.

    Divided Democrats! The jury is still out of climate change! As long as the MSM loves those two memes, purity votes on such issues are going to look embarrassing.

  17. He has a statement here.

    Climate change is real. Our actions must be swift but comprehensive, and efficient but effective. A system that relies on an unregulated, market-based approach is too risky and unproven. That’s why I believe we must begin to discuss viable alternatives to a cap-and-trade.

  18. I would not be shocked if he just chose not to run for re-election and instead tried his hand at Menendez in 2012 or Lautenberg (or his successor) in 2014. He would obviously be the underdog but i think hed be even more of an underdog against Holt.

  19. I would think his district (which features Eugene, one of the most liberal places in America) is very pro-environment.  

  20. Its not as super-liberal as places make it, I mean it is quit liberal, but Independant/republican affiliated Jim Torrey was, until recently, the mayor their, a man who donated to GWB in 2004.

  21. Peterson represents a conservative area, fairly. I redrew a map that made his district about 56% McCain in 2008, in exchange I secured Jim Oberstar’s district and shifted it a way from the growing, hard-right north end Minneapolis burbs it was coming to push into. Also took out Eric Paulson and got rid of Kline by creating a southern-anoka-Washington-northern Dakota-and Ramsey based district with about a ten point Democratic lean and areas trending furtehr that way.

  22. after he singlehandedly killed the bill last week.  He voted for it after Waxman caved in and gave him most of what he wanted.  But it’s not even just this bill, Peterson has prevented any remotely progressive agriculture changes for years (and this is desperately needed) and is generally a shill for big agribusiness.  I’d much rather have another Bachmann in his seat than him.

  23. Kucinich.  He’s pretty much a jerk, and hasn’t accomplished much for his district on Cleveland’s west side.  He’s been off running for president and doing other stuff on the side and voting against good bills for purity reasons.  Enough already.  He’s become Jean Schmidt, without the mouth maybe.  There’s talk that since Ohio is set to lose at least 1 house seat in 2010, maybe 2, Kucinich’s district (OH-10) is going to be combined with Betty Sutton’s (OH-13, my home).  If that happens, the primary election would be a war but I would hope that voters of Cleveland’s west side would use it as their chance to dump Dennis’s sorry behind.  He hasn’t had to fight a real campaign in decades, so hopefully he’d be rusty and say some stupid things when Sutton goes after him and his new “party of no”  

  24. Kagro X (okay, David Waldman) speculated that members from red districts would hold back their votes until late, and then, if there were enough yeas, cast a nay. I don’t know if that’s how things actually turned out, but from this description, it sure seems like it may have.

    I agree with those who have suggested the closeness of the vote is a bit misleading. The bill probably was not ever truly in jeopardy. Rather, I highlighted the closeness to show how much arm-twisting surely had to be done – and how Steny Hoyer was undoubtedly prepared to do some more.

  25. His name isn’t on that list. A lot of the Midwestern Dems who voted against it are in safer districts than Zack Space.

  26. It’s funny that Massa and Arcuri both voted against, while McHugh voted for… (although McHugh is on his way out).

    It’s also weird that Bill Foster the physicist voted against, but Kirk voted for.

    Shuler’s always been pro-environment, so props to him for sticking with that.

  27. I agree that this is the type of vote we should use in helping determine which Democrats get limited resources in 2010.

    And yes, Paulsen should be gone after as hard as any Republican incumbent.  He was really able to fool the electorate into thinking “I’m another centrist that just won’t raise your taxes.”  He’s looked nothing like Jim Ramstad, and we need a candidate who can effectively point that out.  I wonder if former Edina Mayor (and former Republican) Jim Hovland is interested.  He sort-of took a run for it last time.  I think he’d be a good fit for this affluent, centrist district — and in some respects, who better to point out how looney the GOP has become than a former Republican.

  28. seeing as his district stands to be literally wiped off the map if climate change continues to progress at the speed in which it is moving.

  29. Kagro’s theory was the gameplan until they almost lost the procedural vote Friday morning: hand out the free passes to less established folks facing tight races in 2010.

    The leadership figured they had 230-235 locked down and were trying to figure out which 15 would get passes.

    On Thursday, as the phone lines melted down, more established folks started getting nervous and demanding the free passes for themselves. Pelosi and Clyburn’s vote counts were off. Hoyer saved their bacon.

    Jeez, had to delay final vote for a few hours and stick in placeholders. Placeholders! What does that tell you? If the GOP hadn’t bought them more time with the amendments, this might have gone the other way… or at least forced Dem leaders to turn off the clock while twisting arms.

    The way this vote was handled has damaged Dem prospects in a good dozen districts.

  30. The way this vote was handled has damaged Dem prospects in a good dozen districts.

    Since when do voters pay attention to procedural inside baseball?

  31. Voters pay almost no attention to procedural maneuvers like this. They only become a problem if someone flip-flopped or shady tactics were used (bribery, blackmail, etc).

  32. His antics have really grown tiresome. It’s clear he hasn’t learned lessons from Paul Wellstone and others on how to be progressive AND pragmatic.

    I’m trying to design an OH map that eliminates his district, but I’m having a lot of trouble getting rid of it w/o diluting Fudge’s district.

  33. Their votes are probably a function of the districts they represent. Kirk’s is probably more pro-environment, so he benefits electorally from voting yes, while Foster benefits electorally by voting no.

  34. I was actually surprised when I found out in 06 how green he was, especially given his district. IIRC, he said that “An Inconvenient Truth” had an enormous impact on him and really opened his eyes. I believe he even held a number of screenings for it either during or right after his campaign.

    I’m not surprised that Chris Smith supported it because, despite being pretty far to the right on some social issues (mainly abortion), he’s always been pretty green.

  35. Think the yes vote helps Teague in NM? Think the yes votes help the Indiana seats? Hell, the GOP can sell this as declaring war on the Midwest. And this is going to be a problem in PA as well.

    Of the freshmen yeses, the only one for whom it is not a net instant negative is Kosmas. And, hell, toss up a few wind farms blocking the views of the coastal condo commanders to get FPL or Progress in under the alternative percentage requirement and she might have some blowback as well.

    It isn’t the inside baseball stuff; it’s putting freshly minted incumbents in marginal districts who have not had time to dig in in a position in which they are forced to defend a vote and ongoing policy which will become increasingly unpopular as the costs become more evident while the benefits remain intangible.

  36. for him, but the problem is once one person jumps in, they all do and you can only beat him one on one.

    And his district isnt even that blue to warrant this kind of crap.  How can you be happy about almost killing a bill for the purpose of wanting another bill that would have even harder time getting passed.

  37. that gets rid of Kucinich and keeps Fudge’s district majority minority. I’ll try and post it soon.

  38. is not going to be defensible in coal-reliant generating regions or energy-intensive manufacturing areas. Costs are immediate and benefits intangible in a slow economy where pocketbook issues and anxieties are top-of-mind concerns.

    The freshmen should have got the free passes.

  39. Most of our vulnerable PA Dems voted against it. The ones who voted for it come from the Philly suburbs, which are more like the northeast when it comes to environmental politics. As for Teague, I’m betting his district may see some wind farms or other operations, so this could be a boon for him.

    I also strongly disagree with you on the merits of the policy as well, but that is a conversation for another blog

  40. If we don’t get something done now, it may never get done at all and then EVERYONE will be paying the price.

    The coal areas are moving away from us. Frankly, I could care less.  

  41. OH, PA, MI, CO, NM, NV et al turn in federals the way WV and KY have.

    Hell, we might just tip WS and MN.

    And, hell, the models we are basing our policies on are falling apart. We can keep the PR illusion that we have the science intact for a while longer but not indefinitely.

    And everyone is going to paying the price. I’m with Lomborg on this. Need the resources to afford a cleaner environment. In the end it is a luxury good. Unless folks can pay their bills and keep the lights on, the aesthetic considerations are goping to be subordinated.

  42. West Virginia used to be solidly Democratic on both the local and presidential levels. Now it’s turning into another Arkansas where Democrats are favored in everything but the presidential level. I also agree, this was better than nothing.

    Now it goes to the senate, where it either will be gutted or will die because Harry Reid is spineless to stand up to the Republicans.

  43. Apologies to fellow SSPers for the upcoming rant:

    The post you wrote sounds too much like that of a coal industry spokesman to be taken seriously. Lomborg is nothing more than a pretty-boy shill propped up by extractive industries.

    Sorry, but I do not buy that the models are falling apart. If anything, some of them may be too optimistic. Any so-called “scientific” criticism has come from industry-backed hacks.

    I, and many others here, dispute your labeling of environmental concerns as “aesthetic considerations”. It may not mean a lot to someone from VA, but it will mean a lot to someone living on the coast when sea levels rise, and to fishermen when the fish die off. That kind of derision is unhealthy to say the least.

    Paying the bills won’t mean a lot if there isn’t a planet.

    And I will leave it at that.

    Again, apologies to my fellow posters

  44. unless we crater as a party nationally.

    And I’d almost put Nevada in there, but I don’t know it well enough to say.

  45. that Space voted for this bill.  His SE Ohio counterpart, Charlie Wilson of OH-6, did vote against it, and you’d figure that with all the coal and natural gas industries within southeastern ohio, that Space would vote no.  But then again, he’s very progressive for his district, so much that I almost consider him a straight-ticket dem.  OH-18 has a PVI of R+7, so to have somebody that progressive there is pretty nice.  And he’s fairly well liked by his constituency as well, netting 60% of the vote in 2008.

  46. Reid has trouble keeping his own party in line.

    Now, I do not believe that Harry should be primaried. That wouldn’t do anyone any good. I do believe that he needs to go as majority leader. It is abundantly clear that he cannot keep his house in order (so to speak). The post of majority leader requires someone who can be both a negotiator and an arm-twister. Reid has failed at both capacities.

    I wish Schumer were majority leader. Given that he was the main architect of the current majority (helping elect roughly a quarter of the Democratic caucus) and that he has proven his toughness on several (though not all) occasions, he’d be perfect for the job. Plus, he comes from a solidly blue state.

  47. The odds that the caucus would demote Reid must be something like a thousand to one.

    Really, it’s only by him losing his seat in a primary or general election.

    (Even if the NV Gov. is won by a Dem next year, I doubt Obama and/or Emanuel have any job sufficiently high enough to offer Reid).

  48. I can recall no instance of a Senate caucus demoting its own leader. All have either stepped down volutarily (Byrd in ’88), lost re-election, retired, or resigned to run for other office (Dole). The closest instance I can think of is Trent Lott in 2002.

    I was just expressing an unrealistic wish for Majority Leader Schumer.

  49. Why should you apologize for debating? One can certainly argue the merits of the respective cases are part and parcel of the politics and hence suitable topics for SSP. It ain’t all just about breaking down census and poll data. Messengers and messages matter.

    OK, it’s not actually a debate since you can’t take anything I say seriously because as a West Virginian (not Virginia, dammit! shook off our Tidewater masters during the Civil War) I support the coal industry’s continued existence.

    Still, the automatic deign-saying of skeptics like Lomborg (who, by the way, isn’t particularly pretty) I find far more unhealthy. The beauty of the scientific method is nothing stands unchallenged. The most offensive tack in the public debate on this issue is the insistence the debate is over.

    The debate is never over under the scientific method. Theories, assumptions, models… all must constantly stand up to challenge to retain validity. And, once an approach is invalidated, one must move on to an alternative hypothesis. Tossing out the solar cycle theories, contradictory atmospheric and surface temperature data, or rejecting empirical data outright on the grounds of its sourcing because they do not support policy preferences is a decision based on faith, not reason.

    Seems to me the rational approach is to know for sure with what one is dealing before acting. Encouraging CCS, alternatives, conservation, and the rest is all fine and good, but let’s not pretend we are saving the planet. One mid-sized volcanic eruption will crank out more CO2 into the atmosphere in a few months than all human activity since we developed thumbs. And we are focusing on CO2 when water vapor is a greater heat trap (but I reckon we would have a hard time selling folks on their tea and coffee pots and hot showers being the planet-destroying villain).

    It just seems to me sensible to actually know what we are dealing with before turning the economy upside down. And there are going to be electoral ramifications one should consider in formulating an approach.

    We are raising energy costs. There will be economic impacts and those will translate into political impacts. The transitional jobs created are largely temporary; the energy-intensive jobs lost are permanent. If we push this too far too fast, we will have recreated 1994 all over again…except this time we will be lingering in rather than coming out of a recession.

  50. I’m not sure Durbin would be interested in being majority leader. Firstly, I don’t know how it would look if the President and the Senate Majority leader came from the same state. Secondly, Durbin just doesn’t strike me as the ambitious type.

  51. That would certainly come into it. But I reckon he would be interested. He was ambitious enough to be Whip.

  52. Volcanoes actually do not produce more CO2 than humans do, and the CO2 sampling stations around the globe show it. If one eruption did produce more CO2 than we do, then there would be CO2 spikes all over the graph, one for each eruption. But the spikes are just not there. The trend is smooth and regular. And in fact, the sum total of all CO2 out-gassed by active volcanoes amounts to just 1/150th of anthropogenic emissions. That’s right, volcanoes produce less than 1% of greenhouse gas emissions.

    And (forgive me for going to far into an issues debate), back before industry came into being, the CO2 emitted from volcanoes and animal/plant exhalation was easily sequestered. Now we are destroying nature’s ability to sequester CO2, as well as producing more CO2 than can be sequestered.

  53. Coal I see as a sort of “necessary evil”.  I’d hope that it did not exist, but it does, and lots of current infrastructure uses it, and lots of people’s jobs and lots of places’ economies depend on it.

  54. That he’s a defender of the environment but said he couldn’t bring himself to vote for it because it would supposedly raise everyone’s energy bills and taxes.  

  55. I’m sorry, but this is just too true.

    From giving up lots of free press and thanks from his constituency by (not) being the lone Republican to vote for the stimulus, and then this.

    What an idiot.  Joe, can you PLEASE stop being an idiot so there’s at least a semi-competitive race in store?  For my sake at least, since I love to watch competitive races?

  56. how many of the purity “no” votes would have grudgingly cast aye votes if they were needed.

  57. 1. To avoid the worst effects of climate change, we need carbon emission reductions of at least 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020, this bill shoots for 4%

    2. There is a lot of crap in hear like “clean coal” subsidies, and 85% of the pollution credits are given away for free.

    3. There should have been a carbon tax on everything with 75% going to a middle class tax cut, and the other 25% going to renewable energy.

    4. The biggest problem I have with this bill is that it takes away the EPA’s right to regulate greenhouse gases which the supreme court ordered it to do in 2007 (of course bush disregarded it). I trust Lisa Jackson a hell of a lot more when it comes to reducing global warming then I do coal state democrats in congress who watered this bill down.

    I support this bill because something needs to be done now, before the Copenhagen Climate Conference in December, if we want to get China and India on board which is necessary to save the planet. But voting against it isn’t irrational from an environmental standpoint. Friends of Earth, and Greenpeace both oppose this legislation, and the environmental movement is split.

  58. since after sailing to election in 2006, he only won by 52-48 in 2008. I’m willing to be he’s voting more conservatively than he did in his first term.

  59. He’s a behind-the-scenes guy. Schumer, on the other hand, seems tailor-made for the job.

    While I do think Durbin would be interested in seeking the post of majority leader, I’d think he’d have serious reservations if Schumer jumped in.

  60. solar actually has great potential in many parts of the country we don’t think of as being sunny, such as Iowa and Minnesota. A techie told me that PVC panels lose efficiency when the temperature gets above some level that it rarely does in Iowa but often does in Arizona.

    When I visit my brother in Phoenix it makes me sick to think of how much better off we’d be if even 10 percent of the buildings constructed since 1980 had solar panels.

  61. I think that it’s ironic that he replaced a Republican that probably would have voted for this, but is now too afraid to vote for it. Look at Kratovil. He replaced a Republican that probably would have voted for it. Kratovil’s strong environmental stance was a contributing factor to why Gilchrest endorsed him. I’m proud that Kratvoil continued the pro-environment traditions of his Republican predecessor. Too bad Arcuri isn’t.  

  62. and the Year Without a Summer would argue contra this position. Cherry-picking small and medium-sized eruptions kind of minimizes what happens when we have another big one.

    Volcanoes are constantly active, though we have been in a relatively placid period in terms of major eruptions the last century or so. While small compared with other natural sources like photosynthesis, tectonic release and ocean exchange, one big volcanic event trumps all we do to reduce anthropogenic release.

    And, since the planet is one huge solar-powered mechanism, variations in solar output can trump anything we do, as the post-98 temperature drop would hint as we are certainly not cranking out less anthropogenic CO2.

    The climate changes. This we know. What we do not know from the skewed perspective of a single human lifetime and acting with incomplete data is how it is changing. Acting on the limited data we have now is like calling the results of a race by stopping a poll 10 interviews into a field of 800. We do not have accurate temperature readings dating back very far, only extrapolations based on challengeable assumptions in the models.

    Both sides make credible claims which contradict each other. Until we have irrefutable proof one way or another, drastic action which limits economic growth and hinders quality of life is premature. Climatologists were breaking in favor of anthropogenic global warming; now they are moving the other way in light of the mounting data on the solar cycle side. Hell, now we have a growing minority in the sun specialist field moving back to the 70s ice-age-is-coming Clash lyric stance.

    I do not know what is happening. And frankly neither does anyone else yet. We have a bunch of competing theories and explanations but nothing irrefutable. And making a political determination on what hypotheses are acceptable for consideration reminds me of the Pope suppressing heliocentric theories.

    Let folks argue this out, then act accordingly. And in this debate all sides need to be heard.

    Efficiency, cleanliness and conservation are worth doing on their own merits distinct from impact on global climate. And the pretension and arrogance inherent in claiming to be saving the planet based on a limited data set and the demonization implicitly attributed to folks on the other side of the issue are unhelpful to advancing these policy goals.

  63. Lots of regular people and some scientists agree with you. But you also know it is a minority position (and not 51/49) right? Doing little or nothing is not an option. We can’t afford to take the risk. If the majority are wrong then no serious harm done. If the minority are wrong everyone and everything is royally screwed and it will be too late to turn things around.

  64. And those eruptions may have produced more CO2 than the more recent ones, but along with those eruptions came tons and tons of ash and other particulates and also sulfur dioxide, which helped reflect away some solar radiation and resulted in a net cooling, hence the “year without a summer”. The small amount of global warming caused by eruption-generated greenhouse gases is offset by the far greater amount of global cooling caused by these particles. (Some scientists were joyful that Pinatubo erupted, because it helped slow the increase in temperature, thanks to the SO2 and particulates.)

    And of course, extremely big eruptions are extremely rare, as the major blasts from Tambora and Krakatoa were in the early and late 19th century respectively, so even those volcanoes’s contributions to global warming are minimal at most in the long run.

    I also found an analogy in that we are facing dangerous climate change in much the way “that passengers in car with bad brakes might be heading toward a cliff in a fog. The sensible passengers will certainly say, ‘Let’s put on the brakes even if we don’t know it will save us. It may be too late. We don’t know exactly where the cliff is…Let’s get on with it.”

  65. I saw this Mike Allen piece in Politico and it drove me crazy:  

    But the all-hands-on-deck effort to protect politically vulnerable Democrats by corralling the minimum number of votes to pass the bill, 219-212, proves that there are limits to President Barack Obama’s ability to use his popularity to push through his legislative agenda.


    Tom Perriello and Frank Kravotil made courageous votes to get a bill passed. But the “politically vulnerable” people the Leadership is protecting includes Gene Taylor, John Tanner, and Marion Berry, who have ZERO problem getting reelected. The freshman are going to get (unfairly) hammered back home because of votes like this.

  66. I do not at all advocate stopping all coal use right here, right now. I do advocate slowly transitioning from coal, oil and other very polluting energy sources to cleaner sources.

  67. No one can legitimately dispute Shuler’s green credentials. Kissell, on the other hand, has some explaining to do to many people in the Triangle area who supported him financially thru 2 races, and are now having second thoughts.

Comments are closed.