Posts tagged with 'New Mexico'
By Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium Blogger
President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao touched on energy issues in the bilateral summit between the two countries this week.
“I believe that as the two largest energy consumers and emitters of greenhouses gases, the United States and China have a responsibility to combat climate change by building on the progress at Copenhagen and Cancun, and showing the way to a clean energy future. And President Hu indicated that he agrees with me on this issue,” President Obama said during a Wednesday press conference.
But can the United States step up as a leader on clean energy? The proliferation of politicians whom The Nation‘s Mark Hertsgaard calls “climate cranks” suggests otherwise.
The biggest consumers
In international climate negotiations, the United State and China are the two key players, and if the world as a whole is to move forward on combating climate change, agreement between Presidents Obama and Hu would be a huge breakthrough. Mother Jones‘ Kate Sheppard notes that Hu also said the United States and China would work together on climate changes, but, she writes, “I can imagine, though, that the conversation on this subject wasn’t entirely as chummy as the remarks would imply, however. The US last month lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization about China’s subsidies for clean energy, arguing that the country is unfairly stacking the deck in favor of their products.”
At AlterNet, Tina Gerhardt and Lucia Green-Weiskel explain the background to those tensions and to the U.S.’s protectionist bent on clean energy projects. They write, “Energy Secretary Chu recently framed the new relationship between the U.S. and China as a ‘Sputnik Moment.’ Referencing the first satellite launched by the Soviet Union in 1957, which demonstrated its technological advantage and led to the Cold War-era space race, Chu warned that the U.S. risks falling behind China in the clean technology race.”
China’s motivations for growing its clean energy sector may not be leafy green; new energy sources feed the country’s rapidly growing economy. But at least the country is committed to green energy sources, unlike our climate change-denying Congress. As Mark Hertsgaard argues at The Nation, this brand of American has become so pernicious, it’s time to stop adhering to the protocol that dubs them “climate deniers” and start calling them “climate cranks.” He explains:
True skepticism is invaluable to the scientific method, but an honest skeptic can be persuaded by facts, if they are sound. The cranks are impervious to facts, at least facts that contradict their wacky worldview. When virtually every national science academy in the developed world, including our own, and every major scientific organization (e.g., the American Geophysical Union, the American Physics Society) has affirmed that climate change is real and extremely dangerous, only a crank continues to insist that it’s all a left-wing plot.
Climate cranks attack
Unfortunately, climate cranks continue to interfere with both climate scientists and forward-thinking energy policy. At Change.org, Nikki Gloudeman writes about the ongoing saga of climate scientist Michael Mann, one of the climatologists embroiled in the Climategate brouhaha, who is still being attacked by climate-denying groups for his work. Gloudeman reports that although Mann has been investigated and found innocent of any misdeeds several times over, a group with a bias against climate change, the American Tradition Institute, is trying to obtain access to his work.
And in New Mexico, the state’s new conservative governor, Susana Martinez, “has attempted to subvert her own state constitution in order to stop [a] plan to begin reducing her state’s carbon emissions,” reports Dahr Jamail for Truthout. The plan, executed through state rules, would have reduced the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 3%, from 2010 levels, each year. The rules should have been made public, but Gov. Martinez kept them from being published, according to Truthout’s report. A local group, New Energy Economy, is fighting to implement them.
In some states, however, the clean energy economy is moving forward. As Care2′s Beth Buczynski reports, Clean Edge, a clean-tech advisory group, has identified the top ten states for clean energy leadership. They include California, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois.
“Rankings were derived from over 80 metrics including total electricity produced by clean-energy sources, hybrid vehicles on the road, and clean-energy venture and patent activity,” Buczynski reports.
And, as David Roberts writes at Grist, there is important work to be done at the local and regional level to both prepare for and prevent climate change. His preferred term for this challenge is “ruggedizing”—strengthening a community’s ability to respond to challenges brought on by climate change, such as flooding, droughts, or food shortages. The solutions to these problem, Roberts writes, often have the welcome side effect of decreasing carbon emissions, as well:
For instance, the residents of Brisbane are discovering that when disaster strikes, it’s not very handy to have everyone spread out all over the place and utterly dependent on cars to get anywhere. It’s more resilient to have people closer together, more able to walk or take shared transportation. It just so happens that also reduces vehicle emissions.
The advantage of this type of work—building the clean energy economy, ruggedizing communities—is that leaders don’t necessarily have to agree on the reality of climate change to move forward. But these are only partial solutions, and to address climate change on an international scale, the cranks will need to be quieted.
This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Mulch for a complete list of articles on environmental issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Pulse, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.
Media Consortium Blogger
All over the nation, communities are clamoring to be heard. In this worsening economic landscape, migrant communities are being terrorized by violent raids, families are destabilized, wage earners are jailed or detained, and xenophobic pundits continue to fuel a rising wave of hate crimes against Latinos. The stakes could not be any higher: Now is the time to make our voices heard, especially after being ignored for so long by those with the power to make a difference.
And so we are gathering in numbers in San Francisco and throughout California:
A coalition of groups that has been working with San Francisco’s supervisors, community leaders, social service providers, and faith groups is gathering at City Hall to call for a halt to the raids and for support of fair and humane immigration reform. We will be joining our voices with thousands of others across California and across our country who found hope in the words of our new President Barack Obama during his inauguration speech [...]
—Choosing Hope Over Fear in Immigration Policy Reform, New America Media, Jan. 21, 2009
And on the same day, marching on Washington, DC (with photos):
Over a thousand people are gathered in DC, a day after inaugurating our new president, to demand A New Day for Immigration.
—Immigrants March for Reform in DC, RaceWire, Jan. 21, 2009
Sending letters from Albequerque, New Mexico:
[C]oncerned New Mexico groups are among thousands of people signed on to a letter to President Obama asking for drastic alterations [in U.S. immigration enforcement policy]. Jo Ann Gutierrez Bejar with the Southwest Organizing Project says even families in Albuquerque neighborhoods feel intimidated by the presence of the Border Patrol.
—NM Groups Push Obama for Immigration Change: “End Worker Raids Now“, Public News Service, January 28, 2009
Immigrant rights groups are organizing across the nation:
On January 27, the National Network of Immigrant and Refugee Rights will be releasing an “Open Letter to President Barack Obama” to establish a new framework for addressing immigration policy. You can help by circulating it to your friends and by signing the petition[.]
Suing President Obama for relief in Miami, Florida:
The lawyers for over 600 American born children filed a lawsuit against President Obama to suspend the deportation of their undocumented parents until there is immigration law reform.
—U.S. Born Children of Undocumented Parents Sue Obama, New America Media, January 28, 2009
And starting a 100-day Countdown Clock in Arizona:
Arizona activists rallied in Tucson yesterday urging President Obama to keep his campaign promise to address immigration reform in his first 100 days on the job. Immigration rights organization Border Action Network wants a plan that respects human rights and preserves families[...]
—100-Day Countdown Clock Started for Obama Border Reform, Public News Service, January 22, 2009
The American people want real solutions, not divisive rhetoric. The new administration and new Congress hold great promise for progress on immigration reform. Now it is up to people of conscience to hold our elected representatives accountable and demand immigration reform that benefits the American people, America’s economic and homeland security, and moves us towards a new era of recognizing that immigration is not a source of weakness for America, it is a sign of our strength.
—Immigration Reform: Yes We Can?, New America Media, January 27, 2009
In the absence of national leadership, we end up with law enforcement so devoid of ethical guidance that it declares racial profiling an “important tool” and propaganda television that omits the horrors of the standing system. The fact is, fearful rhetoric has taken over what could be a sane dialogue and we are all suffering for it. Higher walls are not the solution. Letting our fellow humans move into caves is not the answer. And politicians who think only in terms of punishment and speak divisively will get us nowhere.
The People have spoken. And are speaking. And we will continue speak. Until we are heard.
This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration. Visit Immigration.NewsLadder.net for a complete list of articles on immigration, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy and health issues, check out Economy.NewsLadder.net and Healthcare.NewsLadder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and was created by NewsLadder.