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Climate is Hot on the Hill

The Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday that Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has decided to rule out a carbon tax or an increase in gas taxes to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. To explain his decision, the Congressman said

“I simply cannot support these policies at a time when families in my district are dealing with record gas prices, high levels of unemployment, a home foreclosure crisis and rising food costs.”

The proposal would have charged $50 per ton of CO2 emissions and raised prices for gas and jet fuel by 50 cents, while also introducing measures to quell suburban sprawl.

It’s too bad to see these measures “off the table for now” as Dingell put it, but the fact is, this kind of proposal is a long-shot anyway, and Bush himself has recently referred to new taxes as “the wrong way” to take on the climate crisis. Dingell is not licked, however, as he is still working on “cap and trade” legislation that he will introduce sometime this year.

Climate is becoming a prominent topic on Capitol Hill these days. In fact, the “Climate Security Act” sponsored by Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John Warner (R-VA) is pending in the Senate and could come up on the Senate floor in June. This proposal aims to cut emissions from key sectors like transport and the power industry by 19 percent in 12 years and 71 percent by 2050. Additionally, as we’ve reported here, Bush himself has even come out in favor of keeping the planet from heating up.

With Democrats, Republicans, and even Independents backing action, the fight against the climate crisis has attained a rare status as a “tri-partisan” issue. Even if proposals differ, at least there’s consensus that something must be done, and that is a huge step in the right direction. So keep at it, Congressman Dingell, and don’t feel too discouraged. While gloom and doom can often dominate the climate issue, I certainly see a bit of light peeking through the carbon dioxide.

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Pope at the UN

The Pope Makes his way to the United Nations today to address the General Assembly. The AP has a preview of what to expect in his remarks.

When Benedict addresses diplomats from around the world, he’ll likely touch on several broad themes, said Jo Renee Formicola, a Seton Hall University political science professor who has studied the papacy and international affairs.

Among them: a call for bedrock ethical and moral principles as a guiding force even in pluralistic societies, a human rights agenda that encompasses religious freedom and the sacredness of human life, and the responsibility of first-world nations to aid developing ones.
[snip]
The forum also gives Benedict license to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iraq, subjects he avoided at the White House as he stood next to the architect of the five-year-old war.

Read more.

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Pope at the UN

The Pope Makes his way to the United Nations today to address the General Assembly. The AP has a preview of what to expect in his remarks.

When Benedict addresses diplomats from around the world, he’ll likely touch on several broad themes, said Jo Renee Formicola, a Seton Hall University political science professor who has studied the papacy and international affairs.

Among them: a call for bedrock ethical and moral principles as a guiding force even in pluralistic societies, a human rights agenda that encompasses religious freedom and the sacredness of human life, and the responsibility of first-world nations to aid developing ones.
[snip]
The forum also gives Benedict license to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iraq, subjects he avoided at the White House as he stood next to the architect of the five-year-old war.

Read more.

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Friday Morning Coffee

Top Stories

>>South Africa – Thousands of South Africans took to the streets of Johannesburg to protest the rise in food prices, which have increased by around 14 percent. This protest follows similar demonstrations in Haiti and Indonesia. Wheat prices worldwide have risen 140 percent, while rice prices have increased by 75 percent, mainly due to the skyrocketing cost of oil and the dramatic increase in the global middle class.

>>Russia – Russia has agreed to cancel $4.5 billion of Libya’s debt, accrued during the cold war when it was importing Soviet weaponry, in exchange for deals on energy cooperation and military assistance. Russia also agreed to help Libya construct a 310-mile rail line. Russia’s state-owned Gazprom will now undertake large-scale production and exploration projects in Libya.

>>Burundi – Bujumbura was shelled by the rebel National Liberation Front overnight, causing the government to launch a counter-offensive. The nation is still recovering from a 13-year civil war, sparked by the assassination of the first democratically elected president. All rebel groups have signed a peace agreement except the FNL.

The Rest of the Story


Africa

Americas

Asia

Europe

Middle East


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Friday Morning Coffee

Top Stories

>>South Africa – Thousands of South Africans took to the streets of Johannesburg to protest the rise in food prices, which have increased by around 14 percent. This protest follows similar demonstrations in Haiti and Indonesia. Wheat prices worldwide have risen 140 percent, while rice prices have increased by 75 percent, mainly due to the skyrocketing cost of oil and the dramatic increase in the global middle class.

>>Russia – Russia has agreed to cancel $4.5 billion of Libya’s debt, accrued during the cold war when it was importing Soviet weaponry, in exchange for deals on energy cooperation and military assistance. Russia also agreed to help Libya construct a 310-mile rail line. Russia’s state-owned Gazprom will now undertake large-scale production and exploration projects in Libya.

>>Burundi – Bujumbura was shelled by the rebel National Liberation Front overnight, causing the government to launch a counter-offensive. The nation is still recovering from a 13-year civil war, sparked by the assassination of the first democratically elected president. All rebel groups have signed a peace agreement except the FNL.

The Rest of the Story


Africa

Americas

Asia

Europe

Middle East


Leave a comment

The Olympic Flame Gives and Takes Heat

In the Green Room over on Slate, they’ve come up with another interesting thing to think about when following the dramatic rollout of the Olympic torch–its carbon footprint. I won’t give away the ending for you, but here’s a hint: it’s really high.

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