Archive for June, 2009

I Need A Break From Climate Change So Here Is Some Recent Bits and Pieces About Life’s Courses According To Me

June 29, 2009

I am really stressed out about global climate change.

Weaver, another great author on global climate change, will be read and picked to pieces, when I get his book (soon enough), but what a comprehensive and exhausting topic global climate change is, so I am calling for my own break.

Michael Jackson died. I really felt bad towards him when he was going through the child abuse case, afterall he did hang his child over a balcony so the press could see his child..talk about bad judgement on his part.

I tried to be fair in my judgements of him but that was hard on him as the landslide of public sentiment threantened to crush him. My finger did wag because of many reasons. I was no fan of his music but marvelled at his dancing and some of the songs he is known for.

I saw the documentary when he went into a store and spent a ton of money on stuff he had no need for and remeber thinking how far out of touch he seemed and how he seemed like a sad person.

The thing about Michael Jackson passing was that with him passed an interesting  era for me  in which some of life’s big lesson’s for me came home to roost and while he was out shopping I was busy rolling in nature, big time, and have no regrets coyote about that.

Michael Jackson was actually in his prime and a phenomina before my kids, the two oldest now young adults, grew up. For Farrah and Ed, also icons from a period of life I was fond of, but not like Jackson, may they rest in peace!!!!

Yesterday was hot, mosquito filled and we recorded 103 birds and afterwards we were exhausted.

Some of the hilights for me include:

 -an early Lasuli Bunting. Seeing the blue, royally so, on the bird stick out on the bird’s back as he sang from the top of the spruce snag along Kirk Hill Trail was royal.

-Seeing Long- billed Curlews, a grassland shorebird, chase long winged Ferruginous Hawks (State of Montana along with other persons, including me, are concerned about this bird.) and Mcowens Longspurs and antelope grazing placidly in the nearby grasslands.

-Watching Golden Eagles fly over the parking lot in the rugged countryside and very cliffy Lewis and Clark Caverns of sothwest Montana.

-Trying to locate a Green-tailed Towhee singing in juniper and sage on a hillside (think rattlesnakes) for about an hour.

-The last hour of birding can only be called power-birding when we were six birds away from 100 birds for the day. Power birding is more for the crowd-under 30.

I was drinking coffee and talking to another birder and I was telling him how I hated competitive birding, I am glad that birder was not in our car for that last hour of birding…I broke many of my own rules about birding competitively.

Matt

Next Step On Climate Change Legislation

June 27, 2009

US climate change legislation did pass the US House of represenatives yesterday (June 26, 2009). Now the US legislation is in the US senate where it will be taken up after the US healthcare reform passes in some form-probably this fall. My legislators, Senator’s Max Baucus and Jon Tester in the US Senate will play a key role in this pivotol legislation and they, especially Baucus, are now heavily focused on health care reform. This climate change legislation is a hage step forward on  complicated issues. I see climate change and health care reform as the most important legislative issues in the US and plan on weighing in to both Baucus and Tester.

Matt

The US Climatee Bill Barely Passes the house…I Will Take It

June 26, 2009

A groundbreaking US climate bill/also called the US energy bill passed the US House of Represenitives 219 to 212. This is a good start, but there will be a battle over the bill in the US senate.Tentatively the bill is scheduled to be taken up this fall after the US Healthcare bill in the US Senate.

Matt

Bill Vote As I Write This Post

June 26, 2009

I was going to ruminate about things because for many reasons I feel reflective today…but talk about egotiscal…now that is egotiscal.

I checked where the US climate change bill vote is. Very soon from what I can see. I hope it passes  and will write a post either way when I know.

Matt

Climate Bill and the Media

June 25, 2009

This is my second post today.We have a critical climate bill vote coming tomorrow and the president saw it as important enough to give a speech about the vote and importance of climate legislation to the public. The president called this bill transformational (I so agree). He said the bill was a green jobs bill.

I see the bill as something we have to do. Problem, in part is the fickle press. The press did not seem to know what to do with this issue, so the press changed the subject to report on things they seemed to know about but had little, or no, consequance to us like energy does. I can see talking about healthcare reform but the press was more inclined to talk about non-things in the news instead of things. I was beyond frustrated at the media for not talking about energy or climate change. Are we as a society that dumbed down? This media consisted of some smart persons (at least I think so) but the media seems to just mirror America on complicted issues they used to take on.

Matt

Climate Change Bill and Cap and Trade Primer

June 25, 2009

Perhaps the most important climate change bill, to this date, is to be debated on the floor of the US House tommorow. I hope the debate does not get watered down as health care, another big domestic debate, gets debated in Congress on the US Senate side of the capital.

My problem with this bill is that the bill may be to little to late. We may already be at an ecological tipping point. I believe that on some things we already are…!!!

Lets assume my arguments on global climate change are the hard line that results from doing nothing and that this bill, also called the Waxman-Markey bill , is a good first step and that the bill goes far enough to mitigate some aspects of global climate change. The first question that arises is, “just what is cap and trade?”

This might be the most important point in any climate legislation for the short term. May and Caron, in their book, Global Warming For Dummies, describe cap and trade as: …”a contrversial approach to reducing greenhouse gase’s” that  involves emmisions trading.

The US government decides just how much carbon we can have in the US by what year. The allowable level of carbon is called a cap. The trade comes in when a company comes in lower than its projected carbon cap and trades that surplus, for a predetermined amount, to another company that has gone over its predetermined cap of carbon. The company that goes over it’s predetermined carbon cap must pay the company that has a surplus of cleanness so that the company can pollute to its payment, or trade level, to the surplus company.

My thinking is that industry will not “buy” into the climate change legislation unless it has a business model like “cap and Trade” to back industry up.

This cap and trade has been tried before with a successful model of  air cleanup in LA. Industry.that is large will buy into such a plan.

In today’sBozeman, Montana paper is an article entitled: “Climate Bill Backers Agree to Some Concessions”.  I want to know if these “concessions” water down this bill so a climate change mitigation advocate cannot support the bill?

This bill is neccasary and was given a huge thumbs up by congree after the US Congressional Budget Office gave the bill a good review and democrats took the oppositions from rural folks, especiallyfarmers an ranchers, out of the bill.

Republicans are lined up to oppose this bill no matter what common sense it makes and view this in the cadry of issues they oppose for partisan reasons. One can only hope these folks come to their senses on this win-win for us as a species, but I dont see that as happening. Write your congressional rep. supporting this bill.

If I hear otherwize, and I decide this bill is not worth your support-I will let you know why on this blog. For now I say support this bill. Call your rep. by the end of business, east coast time.

Matt

Climate Change and More On Glacier National Park, Like a Travelouge

June 24, 2009

I do want to see the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill pass in the US congress, but nothing really matters unless China is close behind the US in mending their ways to account for a changing climate. They build the eqivelant of one coalfired plant per week and will pass the US as the number one coal user in the world in this century.

I like those ads that the Gore global warming group WE put out with the old man in green baseball cap waxing on about the changing climate. My thinking is that those ads will play out well in states like Montana. What also happened to that very fine ad about the man who looks out the backend of his workplace for clean coal technology and all he hears is wind and he overlooks a sagebrush flats and he says, “there is clean Coal technology”?

That is the kind of ad that also plays well in conservative bastions like Montana…which suffers from a healthy skepticzm of climate change. They (the average Montanan) are not going to read about rising shorelines in Science magazine.

I just cant shake my recent trip to Glacier National Park out of my mind. One of the most beautiful places I remember is along an overlook along the road from Two Medicine Valley to Kiowa Junction.

I have observed bears there in my past but saw a bull moose this time. There are now wolves in that area and they were not transplanted there but got there on there own through Glacier National Park.

The other thing I think of is Blacfeet  Indian frybread at the Thimbleberry Cafe in East Glacier.

If you like birds check out the Potholes between East Glacier and Browning on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Thes potholes are hopping with cool waterfowl.

East Glacier is also a great place now for Mexican Cuizine.

St. Mary’s is good for eat stops also.I especially like the Park Cafe.

 I am quite enamored by the scenery at Many Glacier. This can be taken in from the  at Swiftcurrent Lake that can be seen from the Many Glacier Hotel (Historic).

On the west side of Glacier I eapecially like what was done to the old Belton Chalet. Neat flower plantings, good food and a great hangout for non concession locals.

Matt

House Dems Release A Draft Of Climate Bill, Eye Friday For Floor Debate On Bill

June 23, 2009

For the climate change wonks, please read.

Matt

By DARREN SAMUELSOHN,

Published: June 23, 2009

House Democratic leaders late last night released a revamped, 1,201-page energy and global warming bill(pdf), clearing the way for floor debate Friday even though it remains uncertain if they will have the votes to pass it.

A blog about energy, the environment and the bottom line.
The House bill posted on the Rules Committee Web site has grown from the 946-page version adopted last month in the Energy and Commerce Committee. Sources on and off Capitol Hill said the bulk of the changes largely reflect requests from the eight other committees that also had jurisdiction over the bill, including the Ways and Means Committee and Science and Technology Committee.

Sponsors expect to draft a manager’s amendment later this week that reflects additional deals reached among lawmakers, according to several House Democratic aides.

Perhaps the biggest modification in the new version involves language sought by the nation’s rural electric cooperatives that gives the country’s smallest power utilities a free 0.5 percent slice of the cap-and-trade program’s valuable emission allowances.

Democrats are still not done wheeling and dealing as they gear up for a floor debate, with critical issues still unresolved on everything from biofuels to which federal agency — U.S. EPA or the Agriculture Department — will have lead oversight of the offset program that would pay for environmentally friendly land management practices.

Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) has pressed for weeks to make the climate bill more farm-friendly on those issues, and his aides yesterday said there was still work to do. Peterson’s reluctance has added to the pressure on Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who wants to see the House adopt the climate bill before the start of the Fourth of July recess so that he can turn his full attention after the break to President Obama’s health care reform plans.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said last night in a statement that negotiations are expected to continue on the climate bill this week.

“There are some issues still under discussion, but we are confident we can resolve them by the time the bill goes to the floor on Friday,” Hammill said. “The speaker, Leader [Steny] Hoyer and Chairmen Waxman and Peterson have all agreed on this approach for moving this historic climate change and clean energy jobs bill.”

Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) has given members until Thursday morning to submit possible floor amendments to the climate bill.

Earlier this month, Slaughter said she was leaning toward limiting Republicans to up-or-down votes only on outright alternatives, rather than the dozens of point-by-point amendments that GOP lawmakers pressed for votes on during the Energy and Commerce Committee markup (E&ENews PM, June 4)

Rural electric co-ops, EPA biofuels rule

As for the Agriculture Committee, Democrats appear to have satisfied one of Peterson’s top concerns dealing with the free allowances to rural electric cooperatives.

Waxman has agreed to the 0.5 percent of allocations for small electric utilities that have under 4 million megawatts of capacity, as well as a cap on free allowances going to merchant coal generators and other power companies to ensure they do not make any windfall profits.

Glenn English, a former Oklahoma Democratic congressman who now runs the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, praised Peterson for his work on the House negotiations, adding: “We’re not going to stand in the way of the passage of the bill.”

Pelosi’s aide did not say specifically which issues remains to be worked out. However, the bill text released last night does not appear to include further changes to the definitions of “renewable biomass” that applies to either the current national biofuels mandate, or the bill’s proposed renewable electricity standard.

Waxman, as part of his effort to reach a deal in his committee, had eased certain limits on sources of biomass that can be harvested to make fuels or electricity under these programs. But Peterson and other farm state members have been seeking further changes.

Also, the bill as posted does not restrict EPA’s authority to weigh “indirect” emissions from land-use changes when calculating the carbon footprint of biofuels. The issue is important because under a 2007 expansion of the renewable fuels standard, biofuels must have, to varying degrees, lower lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels.
There is more and it can be found on Yahoo global warming news.
Also the CBO says this much needed legislation has few costs no matter what some are saying.
Matt

A Letter From Me To The Bozeman, Montana Newspaper That Was Accepted

June 23, 2009

Bozeman Chronicle Letter:

 Montana State Senator Jim Peterson, in his June 22 Bozeman Chronicle guest column in the back of the front section of the newspaper, is in large agreement with me on the recognition of what a greenhouse gas is.

 I to do not want to see trial lawyers tie up the definitions of greenhouse gases in court as they try to get damages for their clients.

 I  know coal, oil and natural gas are huge energy forms in Montana and they are not going away anytime soon. I firmly believe in alternative forms of energy like wind and solar and believe these forms of energy will provide new jobs for Montana.

 Carbon sequestration (if it can happen and huge at Montana State University), Cap and Trade ( I see as a transformational necessity), fuel efficiency (something that is happening now), stimulus for doing clean forms of energy, must be a part of any global climate change legislation. Water conservation is a must that I see in any climate package and timing is everything.

 Like Peterson I do not want to see progress on this package delayed in courts and I see that as a very resolvable issue. I see political will to do these necessary climate change mitigations as the largest issue in a changing world now.

 As I write this US Senator Max Baucus is on the television in the background up to his elbows in fighting health care skirmishes with citizens like me and insurance lobbyists on K Street. US Senator Jon Tester is involved in this “reform” so their deliberations on cap and trade are down the line. Cost of this will be a huge issue in Montana.

 Matt

What Is American Prosperity?

June 21, 2009

Persons at The American Prosperity Foundation will fight our policy solution on US Cap and Trade legislation. These are the tea party people, a group  based out of where? and founded by David Koch of Koch Industries, a former oil and gas industry consultant.

Well I am for American prosperity and I think it can be had garage by garage in the way Thomas Friedman described it in his book (a good book), Hot, Flat and Crowded. I do not believe we, globally, can achieve prosperity without dealing with the fossil fuels that we are letting go as we support our lifestyle in the atmosphere in large volumes and contribute in a major way to an already warming earth. By dealing with greenhouse gases I mean eventually stop our voluminous use of technology that spews tonnage of greenhouse gases across the board and that contribute greatly to climate change globally.

My first thought is that we have to do this because we are near an environmental tipping point that will negate our survival. I also hear the security argument which has to be agreed about in the Montana version of the American Prosperity Foundation. What is frustrating to me is that we have most of the ability to change now and greatly reduce our emmisions of greenhouse gases, but we are not changing.

 As a species I too want to see us prosper. I am even willing to compromise some of the things that matter to me to see us survive as a species.

So what is prosperity? I think Koch knows a lot about what his billions can by, how he got the billions and what it means to his prosperity. Well I have never had billions and my priorities are very different than the Kochs of the word, but all I’ve ever known is the prosperity offered by being a middle class US citizen. That is the prosperity I know and I am going to guess I have way more in common with the members of the American Prosperity Foundation than the Kochs of the world do…I only see that the changes in American lifestyle that will rid nature of the huge tonnage of greenhouse gas that we contribute to nature will lead to prosperity.

Matt