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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 19th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Today the media is full of analysis of last nights results of political Super-Tuesday and the consensus is that America wants Jobs not new policies. What that implies is that all the great ideas that President Obama brought to the White House are immaterial – all what counts is jobs. But what kind of jobs – is this just a return to pre-economy-downturn? To jobs in the industries of the past in a world of make believe that cannot anymore support US consumption? There must be a better way we say and we call it Sustainable Development. Are there listeners out there?

Luckily I just saw on CNN – “Energizing a state’s job market is challenging during tough economic times. See how New Mexico’s governor leads the charge to create thousands of new jobs from the brightest natural resource. CNN’s Tom Foreman reports.”

This was about New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, a former US Secretary of Energy and the former Chairman of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico – he rode in to save the day that was described by all as the day America stood up to take on those rascals in Washington.

from  the “Great piece on CNN about recruiting clean energy companies to NM” www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2010/building.up.america/  about 1 hour ago via web

also “Promoting two Northern New Mexico clean energy projects today in Questa & Taos” 9:11 AM May 13th – web

What we saw was from Santa Fe how “Schott Solar” talks Sun = More $ + More Jobs.

Solar is a buffer against stagnation.

It occurred to me if President Obama will now decide to take on Washington by pushing stronger for an Energy and Climate outcome in order to answer the JOB ISSUE in a positive way?

I moved then to look up the following from Bill Scher’s daily reports and decided to share it with our readers.

His report on Clean Energy dates back to last week – that is pre-history to some of those loses last night – but our belief is that after the Bank Reform, still before November 2010, Washington must tackle the Climate Bill so that when the folks go home to ask to be reelected they have something in their hand. They just cannot ask for sympathy after stretching out an empty hand. Washington is them – the only fight they have ahead of them is the fight against themselves!

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Progressive Breakfast: Will Clean Energy Follow Bank Reform?

Bill Scher's picture

By Bill Scher

May 13, 2010


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Each morning, Bill Scher and Terrance Heath serve up what progressives need to affect change on the kitchen-table issues families face: jobs, health care, green energy, financial reform, affordable education and retirement security.

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This issue starts with the topic – “Weakening Wall St. Reform Amendments Loom” – and includes also – “Time For Wealth To Be Taxed Like Work” – we deleted both as our interest was in the Energy and Climate issue!

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Kerry-Lieberman Climate Bill Released

Sen. Kerry explains details at Grist: “this bill creates a major — mandatory — pollution-reduction program that sends the needed price signal on carbon, with carbon allowances auctioned in a heavily regulated market that doesn’t allow any speculators access … imports from countries that aren’t doing what we’re doing will need to pay a fee at the border or we will give our producers the resources they would need to keep from having their production shifted overseas to avoid the cost of polluting … inspired in part by the great work of Sens. Maria Cantwell [D-Wash.] and Susan Collins [R-Maine] [the bill] sends the bulk of the proceeds from the sale of the pollution allowances back to the American people directly in the form of rebates … This bill does not take the EPA out of the mix on regulating carbon. In fact, it strengthens the Clean Air Act by expanding the authority of the EPA and making that authority permanent …”

President praises: “I look forward to engaging with Senators from both sides of the aisle and ultimately passing a bill this year.”

TNR’s Brad Plumer on how the bill differs from the House version: “The Senate bill refunds a greater share of the proceeds from selling carbon permits back to consumers—75 percent versus 45 percent in the House bill … The Senate bill exempts manufacturers from cap-and-trade until 2016, so in this sense it’s a little weaker on pollution targets … more support for nuclear power, natural gas vehicles, and offshore drilling … a lot weaker on renewable energy mandates and efficiency standards … stricter provisions for overseeing the carbon markets…”

Earth2Tech gets reaction from green power advocates: “…significant provisions for electric vehicle development, manufacturing and infrastructure … a renewable electricity standard … is not included … Not everyone shares the utilities’ perspective that Kerry and Lieberman’s proposal will protect consumers. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEE) criticized the legislators for ‘gutting the energy efficiency provisions in their bill,’ …

Tenuous enviro-business coalition behind bill: “While the green lobby is already firing up grass-roots support and running ads to advance the bill, getting the 60 Senate votes needed to pass it will require help from corporate lobbying shops … While most business groups were poring over the proposal before taking a firm stand on it, the nuclear industry wholeheartedly embraced it.”

The Hill summed up enviro reaction: “Even though several left-leaning environmental groups, such as Greenpeace and Public Citizen, issued sharply critical statements, a broad swath of green groups backed the measure moving forward while calling for changes to it.”

Neutrality from many corporate interests seen as victory. CQ: “Two industry groups that led opposition to the House bill — the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute (API) — praised efforts to write a Senate bill that is friendlier to business. While neither group endorsed the Senate bill, their neutrality was taken as a victory by Senate aides who worked on the legislation.”

Senate leaders taking cautious approach. W. Post: “Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) has made it clear that the climate bill needs to be within striking distance of 60 votes before he will bring it to the floor.”

Evangelical leader Joel Hunter, at climate bill announcement, urges Senate to put aside politics and protect God’s creation: “I don’t want to be standing before God on Judgment Day and be saying, ‘Gee the votes just weren’t there,”

Kerry insists Republicans are in play. The Hill quotes: “I have heard even several Republicans in these last days tell me in private that they are encouraged by what is in this bill, and they are anxious to review it and to work on it.”

Mother Jones’ Kate Sheppard gets positive reacts from key Senators: “[Graham] kept the door to a yes-vote slightly open … Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), an opponent of offshore drilling … appears to be satisfied by the actual draft … Bingaman (D-NM) … has been agitating for the Senate to vote on his energy-only bill rather than pushing through a bill with a cap on carbon this year. Although this draft includes a cap, he at least appears open to it … Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) … seems upbeat though he said he still wants more protections for manufacturing…”

And ClimateWire picks up some negative reacts: “Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, a moderate Republican whom Kerry has been seeking as a co-sponsor, said she remains concerned about ‘taxes’ … Cantwell, when asked by a reporter yesterday if it seemed like Kerry and Lieberman were bending to her concerns, said, ‘I doubt it.'”

GOP Sen. Voinovich opens the door a crack: “Voinovich, who is viewed as a possible swing vote, said the bill was put forward ‘in good faith and with much thought.’ But he also indicated he is leaning against it.”

Lieberman reminds obstructionists that the EPA won’t wait, on CNN: “There’s another clock ticking here besides the election. And it’s the clock that goes off on January 1 next year, when the Environmental Protection Agency has the power and has promised to begin to regulate greenhouse gas emissions – carbon pollution – by executive order.”

$6B in revenue from motor fuel pollution permit marked for transportation. Some say that’s not enough. CQ: “It is unclear how much money the motor fuels portion of the measure would raise in total, but transportation lobbyists said that in talks with Senate aides, the total has ranged from $20 billion to $60 billion. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) said all revenue raised from motor fuels should go into the [highway] trust fund…” Whereas Streetsblog finds transportation reformers pleased: “‘The authors deserve high praise for ensuring that revenues generated from the transportation sector go in part toward meeting the growing demand for more, better and cleaner travel options,’ Geoff Anderson, co-chairman of the advocacy group Transportation for America, said…”

TNR’s Brad Plumer says smart-growth proponents like the “holistic” transit approach: “… the climate bill also requires the Department of Transportation to develop a national plan for reducing emissions from the transport sector—everything from coordinating electric-car infrastructure, for instance, to setting standards so that, say, electric utilities and automakers are working together.”

“350” standard not met says Citizens Climate Lobby’s Steve Valk: “Any legislation to address climate change needs to have the overarching goal of getting us back to 350 ppm of CO2 and keeping us there. But you’ll find no mention of this in the Kerry-Lieberman bill for one simple reason: There’s no way in hell their bill can achieve this goal. What’s really scary, however, is that most of the politicians in Washington are operating under the assumption that we don’t need to get to 350. The real eye-opener for me came last fall when a Senate aide I met with said we just need to keep CO2 under 450 ppm.”

SmartPower’s Brian Keane says “we can’t wait for perfect”: “The bill seems to strike the right balance – focusing on climate change, but understanding that fundamentally this also needs to be about job creation.”

Blog for Clean Air’s Frank O’Donnell worried about scaling back of EPA authority: “The ‘Task Force’ (which includes EPA, but also some historic enemies of clean-air controls) is told to explore ‘existing programs’ and regulations for coal-fired power plants and the ‘effect’ those programs could have on the transition to lower-carbon plants … the attacks on the Clean Air Act’s smog, soot and toxics safeguards for power plants are officially underway.”

BP’s “fail safe” was a leaky test version with a dead battery. W. Post:: “In a devastating review of the blowout preventer that BP said was supposed to be ‘fail-safe,’ …Stupak said that the committee investigators had also uncovered a document prepared in 2001 by the drilling rig operator Transocean that said there were 260 ‘failure modes’ that could require removal of the blowout preventer. ‘How can a device that has 260 failure modes be considered fail-safe?’ Stupak said.”

Criminal charges in Gulf spill likely. McClatchy: “Federal investigators are likely to file criminal charges against at least one of the companies … raising the prospects of significantly higher penalties than a current $75 million cap on civil liability … under the Clean Water and Air Acts and other federal laws aimed at protecting migratory birds, an accidental oil spill of this magnitude could at least result in misdemeanor negligence charges.”

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The Black Caucus Has A Jobs Plan

Black Caucus stepping up pressure for summer jobs funding. CQ: “… it is insisting quite publicly that Democratic leaders not allow Congress to start the one-week Memorial Day recess before spending $1.5 billion on a youth summer jobs program … noting that the unemployment rate for African-American teens is around 40 percent. The need to help them get work is so urgent, these lawmakers say, that the money should be exempt from pay-as-you-go requirements…”

House considering $85B research bill. CQ: “The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act (HR 5116) is aimed at boosting U.S. economic competitiveness through federal support of various science and technology education and research programs. It would authorize the spending from fiscal 2011 through 2015 for programs at the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and certain Energy Department research programs … Democrats said that the bill would create jobs … Republicans, however, criticized the cost…”

Congressional TARP oversight panel questions small biz strategy. Bloomberg: “TARP programs so far have shown ‘poor performance’ in helping small businesses because of low participation from community banks and other factors including weak loan demand, the report released today showed. Also, the Treasury Department’s small-business assistance has focused on providing capital to banks that supply loans, rather than assistance to companies with the potential to create jobs.”

UAW concerned auto workers won’t rebound along with auto executives. NYT: “As one automaker, the Ford Motor Company, restores some perks for salaried workers, [incoming UAW President Bob] King is putting the companies on notice that he expects hourly workers to be given back some of the benefits they surrendered as the bottom lines of all three car companies improve … The union is expected to ask that some of its givebacks be reversed during contract talks with the carmakers in 2011…”

Is the economy going through a major restructuring, risking leaving millions of experienced workers behind? NYT: “Millions of workers who have already been unemployed for months, if not years, will most likely remain that way even as the overall job market continues to improve, economists say. The occupations they worked in, and the skills they currently possess, are never coming back in style. And the demand for new types of skills moves a lot more quickly than workers — especially older and less mobile workers — are able to retrain and gain those skills.”

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Breakfast Sides

Our government is back on the job protecting the public interest, and the corporate interests don’t like it. NYT: “The surge in rule-making has resulted from an unusual confluence of factors, from repeated outbreaks of food-borne illnesses to workplace disasters … Manufacturers, home builders, toymakers and others say that Washington has been overzealous about imposing new requirements … Obama administration officials reject the criticism, saying that the benefits associated with the dozens of major rules adopted between President Obama’s inauguration and the end of 2009 outweigh the costs by an estimated $3.1 billion…”

The immigrant crime wave used to justify Arizona’s anti-immigration law is a myth: “The main argument behind Arizona’s new law, SB 1070, is that the state’s presumed crime wave is linked to undocumented immigrants. But … crime across the state has consistently declined over the years despite an increase in the population.”

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