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September, 2015
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 Washington Watch

Obama Announces Clean Power Plan
 
Well, Not Exactly “Clean”…But “Less Dirty”
 
Now a Carbon Tax Would Be “Clean”
 
And a National Permanent Fund Would Be Spotless


It’s taken over 6 years—and perhaps the hottest temperatures in history--but on August 2nd, President Barack Obama announced plans to cut carbon emissions with his Clean Power Plan.
 
Immediately, environmentalists stood up in unison and… started debating.  Even though this is the climate recognition that environmentalists have long been waiting for—and even though the plan would begin a shift away from coal-fired plants—and even though Obama’s Republican opponents aren't even debating the details of the plan because they're still debating climate change itself— even then, many environmental leaders were disappointed.

James Hansen, a climate researcher who headed NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies for over 30 years and first warned Congress of global warming in 1988, said of the new plan: “The actions are practically worthless....They do nothing to attack the fundamental problem.”

A recent study published by Hansen and 16 of his colleagues concludes that glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica will melt 10 times faster than the IPCC estimates, resulting in sea level rise of at least 10 feet in as little as 50 years. If true, coastal cities like New York and New Orleans have but a few decades of habitability left.

Climate Action Tracker emphasized the positive aspects of the plan, noting that it “makes a difference,” and will likely reduce America’s economy-wide emissions by “roughly 10%” beyond the current pace. However, even they rated the U.S. plan in particular as about halfway to what’s needed, and hoped “urgent revisions” would arrive in the months ahead. 

While many Republicans have pounced on Obama’s plan, calling it “lawless” and comparing it to a “crusade,” many mainstream journalists and commentators on the Left are in agreement with Hansen's criticisms. Vox’s Brad Palmer pointed out that U.S. emission declines have little to do with policy and, in any case, have recently begun to creep upward again. Slate’s Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist, recently estimated that Obama’s plan cuts emissions only about a third of what researchers like Hansen say is necessary. 
 
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 Washington Watch

Size Matters!

And So Does Sleep...And Insurance...And...

Stop the Senate from Adopting Regulations Endangering Drivers, Roads, and Bridges


Recent news reports reveal that the Walmart truck driver involved in the accident that critically injured actor and comedian Tracy Morgan, had not slept for 28 hours and had driven over 800 miles prior to starting his shift. Federal  regulators are now citing "fatigue" as the chief cause of the crash. 

On July 30th, the Senate passed the DRIVE Act (H.R. 22), the multi-year, multi-billion dollar surface transportation reauthorization bill --and, what has become typical of the Senate-- they use projects that need to move forward in order to pass legislation that moves social good backwards.

The legislation contains dangerous provisions that TruckSafety.org says: "pander to auto and trucking industries at the cost of more deaths and injuries on our streets and highways in the next six years.

Fortunately, the Department of Transportation and President Obama oppose increasing truck hazards on and to the highways. Now we need to get congress on board!

Ralph Nader, former head of the National Highway Traffic Association, Joan Claybrook, and numerous national public health and safety organizations, as well as families of victims of motor vehicle and motor carrier crashes are urging Congress to remedy the indefensible anti-safety provisions in the DRIVE Act. Over the next three months, Congress needs to make essential changes and improvements to the bill.

Here's Nader's July 2nd Column, Enough! Stop More Giant Truck-Trailers on Your Highways. Also be sure to check out Claybrook's Op-Ed in the USA Today titled The road to hell is paved with congressional legislation

Jackie Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety says: “Over the past five years alone (2009-2013), fatalities from large truck crashes have increased by 17% and injuries have increased by 28%. Every year, on average, there are 4,000 people killed and 100,000 more injured in large truck crashes which is equivalent to a major airplane crash every week of the year.”
 




 
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
 
350.org tells us about why money matters when it comes to climate change in this video on the global divestment movement.

The global divestment of fossil fuels is gaining traction.

Hundreds of universities, religious institutions, cities and states have announced divestment plans.

After the release of Pope Francis' recent encyclical, maybe the Vatican is next?

 
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