Thursday, June 14, 2007

Paul Klee, 1940.
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The Dreaming Up Daily Quote

"The great redeeming and reassuring element in this whole Nixon business is that the majority of ordinary people is still capable of recognizing an abuse of power not as the norm. If it becomes the norm and nobody recognizes it as an abuse, then you're in real trouble."

Tom Stoppard
1974 interview with Mel Gussow of the New York Times
"Disgrace Disguised as Achievement"

That's what Al Gore called the Gee, Ate climate crisis statement. He also is criticizing 2008 presidential candidates for not leading on the climate crisis. What Gore has been saying is the subject of a diary at Daily Kos by jekyllnhyde. What I said is further down this page, or here at Daily Kos.

The National Climate Data Center said today that so far 2007 is tied for the hottest first six months of the year on record.

Hey, it's flag day!
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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hotspot Video Contest

An email from Mike Palamuso, of the League of Conservation Voter's Global Warming Project:

I saw your recent diary on global warming on kos...good stuff. And thanks for the Heat Is On plug!

I wanted to let you know about a new video contest we've launched -- "The Hotspot Contest: 30 seconds to convince the next president to COOL IT DOWN." The basic idea is that we are asking people to give us their best 30 second message to get the next president to be a leader on the issue of global warming. The winner will get 2 tickets and airfare to the NY Live Earth Concert on July 7. You can check out the contest page at We just launched it yesterday and will be accepting submissions for 2 weeks.

Thanks again,

Mike Palamuso
Deputy Director, Global Warming Project
League of Conservation Voters

Monday, June 11, 2007

Helix Nebula.
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After the "Gee, Ate!"-- Time For State Based Heroism

Update: A version of this has been Rescued at Daily Kos.

The G8 meeting of powerful western nations was not a pretty sight, especially when it came to confronting the Climate Crisis. After evidence surfaced that the U.S. was going to scuttle the European plan to cut carbon emissions, a compromise was announced at the conference, which may have saved face but little else. The agreement was to "consider" efforts to cut emissions in half by 2050, in concert with the U.S. plan to convene yet another conference.

Some gullibles hailed it as a step forward for Bush in admitting reality, but the difference may well have been only in semantics. Check this statement from Bush: "And the fundamental question is how best to send proper signals to create the technologies necessary to deal with this issue." That's been the Bush mantra: the problems will be solved by new soon as his buds can figure out how to make money from them. And even the 50% goal is short of what's necessary, according to most experts.

As evidence continues to mount of just how serious and imminent a crisis this is, and awareness around the world has grown fast, the most effective responses have so far been from individuals, communities and (within the U.S.) a few states, cities and regional arrangements. These efforts can make a big difference, but until huge energy producers and huge corporate and government energy users are effectively regulated, and until other efforts are encouraged by national policies and programs (such as tax credits and even changes in the tax system itself, as Al Gore suggests), the Climate Crisis will not be seriously addressed.

So far the record of nations has been dismal. India refuses to regulate emissions, and China's goals are modest at best. But even many of those nations that have committed to reducing CO2 aren't meeting their goals, including the UK and Japan. Al Gore calls Canada's announced program "a complete and total fraud."

The nations that are rich now and have been for years--like the "gee, ate!"--are precisely the ones who need to be leading and acting, for as Desmond Tutu wrote last week, the three billion poor in the rest of the world "are not responsible for global warming, but they will pay the highest price if wealthy countries refuse to do their fair share."

We need these nations to step up. It's clear that even the initial attempts to confront this crisis aren't easy. But this is the time for some state-based heroism.

New leadership in the U.S. could help a lot, provided there is a real commitment and it is articulated to the electorate. There are some hopeful signs: two Democratic candidates, Senator Chris Dodd and Governor Bill Richardson, have aired the first political ads focused on the Climate Crisis. In fact, all of the major Democratic candidates and several of the Republican candidates have spoken in their respective debates in favor of efforts to address the Climate Crisis, and of an Apollo-size effort (as advocated by the Apollo Alliance) in alternative energy.

So candidates are beginning to recognize new levels of concern in the electorate. As the opening paragraph of a story on a new Neilson poll says: Global concern about climate change has risen dramatically over the last six months and consumers increasingly expect their governments to act..." There are new grassroots effort to apply political pressure on candidates to pay attention, such as the Climate Summer project in New Hampshire. There is a new web site--Heat Is by the League of Conservation Voters to monitor and encourage candidates' confronting the Climate Crisis directly.

The questions now must be: how committed are they really? What are they committed to, and how deep is their committment? How much do they understand, and how much do they care? Lip services to a suddenly popular issue is not enough. They must know and communicate the importance of a shared commitment, and be ready and willing to lead the nation and the world.

Who is ready to lead the U.S. in state-based heroism on behalf of the planet's future? The stakes are high. As Bill McKibben writes, "By now, most observers think that the fate of the U.S. climate effort may be decided in the first few months of 2009, when we find out whether the new president will take it on as an incremental issue or a transforming one."