12:00 AM, Sep 28, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Last week was good for environmentalists, and perhaps even for the environment. President Obama doubled down on his effort to increase the likelihood of the success of the 2015 UN climate change conference in Paris, claiming the U.S. has “a special responsibility to lead. That’s what great nations do.” He took the occasion of the UN meetings in New York to put the heat on China, the world’s largest polluter, to match the steps the U.S. is taking to reduce its CO2 emissions. The president is relying on executive orders to by-pass Congress and put in place stricter control of power plant emissions. He must believe that if he has the power to order such reductions without consulting Congress, surely the leaders of the somewhat less democratic Chinese regime can rely on similar fiats. He also believes that if the world’s two largest emitters agree on a program to reduce these greenhouse gasses, the third, fourth, and fifth largest polluters will sign on to that program.
· China’s president Xi Jinping (#1) did not come to New York.
· Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India (#3), although in New York, gave the climate meeting a miss, and his environment minister asked, “What cuts? That’s for more developed countries. The moral principle of historic responsibility cannot be washed away.”
· Russian president Vladimir Putin (#4) is more interested in developing a plan to step up his challenge to NATO than to scale down his nation’s emission.
· Japan (#5), wants to keep open its options to burn more fossil fuels since the nuclear disaster at Fukushima.
Equally unfortunate is the difficulty of agreeing on a common set of facts as the background for a policy debate. There are studies showing that the climate is warming, and others that show it hasn’t done so for a couple of decades. There are studies showing that solar and wind power are now competitive with fossil fuels even in the absence of subsidies, and others showing that replacing fossil fuels with greater reliance on renewables that are not available when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine can drive up energy costs and reduce a nation’s competitiveness, as has happened in Germany, in the end forcing greater reliance on coal than at any time since 2007.
To make matters even more difficult for policymakers, poorer developing countries say climate change has been created by the rich, industrialized countries, and are demanding that the costs of solving the problem be borne by those beneficiaries of the age of fossil fuels. (See statement above by Prakash Javadekar of India.) They want a rather substantial income transfer to developing from developed countries, a long-standing goal only recently tied to the desire to reduce carbon emissions. And they want developed countries to reduce their emissions so that emerging economies can increase theirs without driving the global total to threatening levels. They like to note that the EU has managed to reduce its emissions sharply, ignoring the facts that it did so by presiding over a recession and by importing more and more goods produced in China’s heavily emitting manufacturing plants.
The president’s renewed drive for a Paris deal was not the only good news for those who believe the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is imperative if a climate disaster is to be avoided. An estimated 300,000 activists, including former vice president Al Gore and marchers calling for the end of capitalism, the latter tussling with New York’s finest for the control of Wall Street, turned out in New York City to support a reduction in emissions. So did the city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio. He announced he would reduce New York’s emissions by 80 percent by 2050, presumably by putting pressure on real estate developers who need his approval of their construction permits.
The frosting on environmentalists’ cake came when the Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced it would divest shares in companies producing fossil fuels. It could not be determined whether John D. Rockefeller, the fund’s founder who also founded the modern petroleum industry, is spinning in his grave or, as his heirs contend, would be a leader in the switch to renewables. But it is certain he would have noticed that the family’s $2 million investment in renewables was wiped out.
9:17 PM, Feb 12, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
In his State of the Union Address this evening, President Barack Obama will encourage Congress to adapt a cap and trade plan to deal with climate change. Energy, climate, and taxes are a sizable portion of Obama's speech.
3:00 PM, May 11, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Now that President Obama's reelection team wants to include coal on the agenda, it's worth remembering that Obama himself warned in 2008 that his policies would bankrupt anyone who started a coal power plant. Here he is in 2008, speaking with the San Francisco Chronicle:
8:08 AM, Sep 1, 2011 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
An op-ed in one of President Obama’s hometown papers, the Chicago Sun-Times, highlights the 4,257 new regulations that his administration currently has in the works (219 of which will cost at least $100 million apiece, annually). The op-ed draws particular attention to one specific regulatory effort: the Environmental Protection Agency’s backdoor attempt to impose cap and trade.
1:11 PM, May 23, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
At a breakfast with reporters this morning, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who's currently vying for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, said his comments on Meet the Press last week, where he said he opposed “right-wing social engineering,” were not an attack on Paul Ryan or Ryan’s budget. “Look, I think it was probably the wrong use of words because it triggered all sorts of folks suddenly thinking I was attacking somebody,” Gingrich said. “I wasn’t attacking somebody."
7:00 PM, May 11, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
"Want to guess which potential Republican candidate looks ready to pass the pH test on [cap and trade]? Mitch Daniels. In early 2009, when the issue was ill-defined, he was already arguing against it. That's a nice arrow in the quiver the next time he's asked about the 'social truce.'"
1:12 PM, Mar 14, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
The Charlotte Observer notes that the DNC have struck quite a deal to host their convention next year:
An important article in 'Policy Review' has an answer.10:41 AM, Feb 8, 2011 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
There's a longstanding debate over the reasons for the Republican victory in last year's midterm elections. On one side are those who say the great shellacking was inevitable because of America's high unemployment rate. On the other are those who say that the Democratic policy agenda shouldn't be dismissed as an important factor.
The wheels come off the liberal juggernaut, but it’s still dangerous.Jun 28, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 39 • By FRED BARNES
The Obama presidency is nearly out of gas. So are the Democratic majorities in the Senate and House. Yet the White House and congressional Democrats aren’t surrendering. They’re still intoxicated with their “historic majorities” and bent on enacting more landmark liberal legislation this year, including cap and trade, a value-added tax (VAT), and who knows what else.
The president’s aversion to compromise.May 17, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 33 • By FRED BARNES
"I go for honorable compromise whenever it can be made. Life itself is but a compromise between death and life, the struggle continuing throughout our whole existence. . . . All legislation, all government, all society, is formed upon the principle of mutual concession, politeness, comity, courtesy; upon these, everything is based.”
A domestic politics reset.10:12 AM, Mar 25, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
President Obama's narrow and partisan victory on health care reform caused a time warp. Suddenly, it is early 2009 all over again, with liberals trumpeting Obama as the herald of a new liberal era, with the media and some conservatives cautioning Republicans against opposing the president, and above all the perception that Obama is a strong leader.
Last year the GOP made a bet that these panegyrics were overblown. No House Republican supported the stimulus, just eight voted for cap-and-trade, and none supported the health care bill.
An Air National Guardsman takes on a vulnerable incumbent.12:48 PM, Feb 19, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
Democrats won congressional campaigns in 2006 and 2008 campaigning as moderates. The party fielded candidates with attractive personal stories who did not stray far from the center. One of those candidates was former Mary Kay cosmetics saleswoman Debbie Halvorson, a freshman elected in 2008 in Illinois's Eleventh Congressional District.
This was no ordinary victory. Illinois 11 is a Republican place. Bush won it in 2000 and 2004. Halvorson's predecessor, Republican Jerry Weller, held the seat since 1994 before retiring in 2008. But the GOP trend did not hold in a Democratic year, with Illinois's own Barack Obama at the top of the ticket. Obama defeated McCain 53 percent to 45 percent. Halvorson defeated her Republican opponent, businessman Marty Ozinga, 58 percent to 34 percent.