Climate Change

Climate legislation: a scary sequel

If you thought the energy and climate legislation just passed by the House made a lot of concessions to coal and other polluting industries, just wait to you get a look at what the Senate’s coming up with.

So says the LA Times’ Jim Tankersley today in a dispatch from D.C. In order to get the votes necessary to overcome near-unanimous Republican opposition in the Senate, the Democratic leadership will need to cut deals to ease certain industries’ transition to a lighter carbon footprint. In particular look for bones to be thrown to Dems representing industrial states like Ohio and Michigan, coal-dependent Indiana and oil-rich Louisiana, Tankersley reports.

Sure to cause consternation is the idea that in order to ram through the Cap’n Trade bill, the Obama administration will have to agree to more offshore oil drilling. There’s also talk of giving great sway to those who would build major transmission lines to, say, move wind energy from where it’s abundant in the Midwest to Eastern population centers. Local objections would go out the window.

If you’d like a look at the early handicapping, see this item from the brave folks at Grist.org, taking a look at which senators are likely yeas, which are likely nays, and a looong list of senators who are hard to call at this point.

Saving Energy: No Place Like Hohm

 Seattle’s KPLU has an interesting tidbit about a new service being offered by local utilities: Free Microsoft software that allows residents to customize their power use, saving money and reducing their carbon footprint. http://bit.ly/UHLke It’s in beta mode for now: http://mshohm.orcsweb.com/, and called Hohm (that's home + ohm). Google recently launched a similar application called PowerMeter:  http://www.google.org/powermeter/  . Could these be the first baby steps toward the vaunted “smart grid?”