Posts Tagged ‘global warming’


September 21st, 2009 No comments

Tabloid Tells Truth About Climate Change and How It Will Affect City, World

The Yesmen hit New York City today with a major stunt – here’s their press release, links at bottom:

Early this morning, nearly a million New Yorkers were stunned by the appearance of
a “special edition” New York Post blaring headlines that their city could face
deadly heat waves, extreme flooding, and other lethal effects of global warming
within the next few decades. The most alarming thing about it: the news came from
an official City report.

Distributed by over 2000 volunteers throughout New York City, the paper has been
created by The Yes Men and a coalition of activists as a wake-up call to action on
climate change. It appears one day before a UN summit where Secretary-General Ban
Ki-Moon will push 100 world leaders to make serious commitments to reduce carbon
emissions in the lead-up to the Copenhagen climate conference in December. Ban has
said that the world has “less than 10 years to halt (the) global rise in
greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid catastrophic consequences for people
and the planet,” adding that Copenhagen is a “once-in-a-generation opportunity.”

Although the 32-page New York Post is a fake, everything in it is 100% true, with
all facts carefully checked by a team of editors and climate change experts.Â

“This could be, and should be, a real New York Post,” said Andy Bichlbaum of the
Yes Men. “Climate change is the biggest threat civilization has ever faced, and it
should be in the headlines of every paper, every day until we solve the problem.”

The fake Post’s cover story (“We’re Screwed”) reports the frightening conclusions
of a blue-ribbon panel of scientists commissioned by the mayor’s office to
determine the potential effects of climate change on the City. That report was
released in February of this year, but received very little press at the time.
Other lead articles describe the Pentagon’s alarmed response to global warming
(“Clear & Present Disaster”), the U.S. government’s sadly minuscule response to
the crisis (“Congress Cops Out on Climate”), China’s alternative energy program
(“China�s Green Leap Forward Overtakes U.S.”), and how if the US doesn’t quickly
pass a strong climate bill, the crucial Copenhagen climate talks this December
could be a “Flopenhagen.”

The paper includes original investigative reporting as well. One article (“Carbon
counter counts New Yorkers as fools”) reveals that Deutsche Bank – which erected a
seven-story “carbon counter” in central Manhattan – not only invests heavily in
coal-mining companies worldwide, but has recently entered the business of coal
trading itself.

The paper has the world’s gloomiest weather page, covering the next 70 years
rather than just 7 days. The “Around the World” section describes the
disproportionate effects of climate change on poorer parts of the world, including
extreme droughts, floods, famines, water shortages, mass migrations and conflicts.
Developing countries will bear the brunt of climate change effects even though
they have done very little to cause the problem.

But the paper isn’t all doom and gloom. An article called “New York Fights Back”
notes that the carbon emissions of Big Apple residents are only one third the
national average, and that the city is building 1800 miles of bike paths, planting
one million trees, and replacing its fleet of police cars with hybrids. There’s
also a page of black-humor cartoons (in one, Charlie Brown finds Snoopy drowned),
a gossip section that takes no prisoners, and a number of truly cheerful ads – for
sex (“Awesome. No carbon emissions.”), tote bags, bicycles, and tap water
(“Literally comes right out of your faucet!”).

Another ad promotes civil disobedience, encouraging readers to visit and pledge to risk arrest in a planned global action
November 30, just before the conference in Copenhagen.

“We need strong action on climate change,” said David Solnit of Mobilization for
Climate Justice West, one of the partners in “But history shows
that leaders act only when people take to the streets to demand it. That’s what
needs to happen now.”

This paper is one of 2500 initiatives taking place in more than 130 countries as a
response to the “Global Wake-up Call” on climate change. For more information,

 Contact: The Yes Men <>, 347-254-7054, 646-220-4137
Fake New York Post:
Video News Release:
City report on climate change:
Wake-up call:

Corzine applauds New Carbon Control Corporation – Cash for Clunkers at Home. Major Benefits for NJ

September 14th, 2009 1 comment

[Update: Intro warning: If it is not obvious, this is snark! That’s why the original piece closed with reference to Yesmen!)

Washington – Harkening back to President Roosevelt’s New Deal, the Obama administration today announced a new federal agency, the CCC – Carbon Control Corporation.

The new CCC was modeled on FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps and the Tennessee Valley Authority, depression era agencies that spurred employment, conservation of the nation’s natural resources, and brought affordable electric power to millions of homes.

Obama, joined by Treasury Secretary Geithner and Energy Czar Carol Browner, said the CCC would manage and finance energy and global warming policy goals, while spurring employment.

Headed jointly by internationally recognized Princeton Professors Cornel West, and Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman, the $250 billion per year CCC program will make massive federal infrastructure investments and be funded by three major sources:

1) a surcharge on carbon intensive fuels – domestic coal and oil imports;

2) full refund of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout money; and

3) savings from phase out of the AfPak and Iraq wars and redeployment of 250,000 US troops stationed at over 725 foreign military bases in 120 countries, including Germany, Japan, and North Korea.

“Today, we take the first large step on the sustainable energy path, and call an end to US military empire” said Obama. “The CCC will restore US manufacturing sector jobs and jump-start a socially just and equitable jobs based economic recovery. The era of deindustrialization, deregulation, privatization, and finance based taxpayer subsidized speculative global trade schemes is over.”

“I have directed CCC head Cornel West to begin immediately with an expanded “cash for clunkers” program for refrigerators, hot water heaters, and furnaces and energy efficiency in America’s homes.

We will channel $30 billion to US consumers in the next 30 days. We will have 10,000 wind, solar, and mass transportation projects underway before the snow falls.

At the upcoming Copenhagen global warming conference, I will present a detailed plan to phase out the nation’s coal power plants over the next 10 years and construct a world class national inter-city rail and urban mass transit system.” he said.

Governor Corzine applauded the CCC, saying “Obama’s leadership will assure that NJ meets my global warming and energy efficiency and conservation goals, as well as avoid the need to finance implementation via a securitized gas tax revenue stream and expanded privatization initiatives,”the NJ Governor said, referring to his prior controversial proposals to increase tolls, privatize the NJ Turnpike, and failed plan to fully fund the Transportation Trust Fund .

“These are crucial positive developments in light of the upcoming election – I am so glad that we finally we can deploy NJ’s National Guard to serve our communities here at home, instead of killing innocent civilians in foreign lands” he concluded.

IMG_6106Corzine was joined by a PSEG spokesman, who announced that PSEG would immediately develop plans to close all 4 NJ coal plants; cancel midwestern coal power energy importation contracts; end export of power to the NY City market; abandon controversial new power lines through the NJ Highlands, and south jersey; increase commercial rates and decrease shareholder profits; and provide rebates to low and moderate income families.

“However, because of the ongoing environmental impacts of our power line operations and the way we corrupted and undermined trust in government, PSEG will continue the $18.6 million payment to the Highlands Council.” PSEG spokesman concluded.

In a statement, other major NJ energy providers echoed PSEG, and pledged to shutdown the aging Oyster Creek plant, and cancel a controversial Linden coal plant and offshore LNG. “We will redouble our wind, solar, and conservation efforts” the energy industry said.

Conservative Republican challenger Christie blasted the Obama CCC as a government takeover, and opposed the thousands of new jobs that would be created as “more bureaucracy“.

Independent challenger Daggettt urged Corzine to be “realistic” and repeated his claim that renewable energy is more expensive than coal.

The Obama move was applauded by NJ Environmental Czar Bill Wolfe, recently named to revitalize NJ’s hapless ENGO community. “Health, Beauty , Permanence, Jobs, Peace, and Social Justice are now guiding our government policies and programs, as well as our personal aspirations” said Wolfe.”Like we’ve been saying for 40 years: “Small is Beautiful” and there really are “Limits to Growth“.

This post was brought to you in the spirit of The Yesmen

Gubernatorial candidates discuss energy and environmental issues

September 9th, 2009 No comments
Westfield, NJ Library - Environment NJ sponsored forum

Westfield, NJ Library - Environment NJ sponsored forum

[Update: 9/11/09 – here’s how the Asbury Park Press and Atlantic City Press reported these issues, 2 days later, from the Statehouse:

Daggett: No gas terminals off the coast [link] 

Daggett opposes liquified natural gas posts off coast [link]

Public presses N.J. Gov. candidates on clean energy plans [link] – end update]

About 80 citizens, a handful of local officials, and two state legislators came out to discuss environmental issues with Gubernatorial candidates (or their representatives) last night in Westfield, in a forum sponsored by Environment NJ, the Highlands Coalition, and Clean Ocean Action.

There were no corporate flacks or lobbyists in sight. No one shouted or called anyone a Nazi. Citizens passionately but rationally asked informed and important questions. The candidates didn’t attack each other, pander or appeal to hate or fear, but instead discussed their ideas about public policy.

Given the political context and the in the gutter conduct of the Gubernatorial campaign thus far, the event was a huge success. Thank you Environment NJ for taking the high road, not doing the traditional shallow endorsement rag, and  instead forcing the candidates to discuss issues and to be accountable to voters.

Let’s see if the press can follow your lead, rise to the occasion, and focus on the issues instead of the horse race.

Who knows, maybe this event can catalyze a shift in the entire campaign, and the candidates will start to focus on issues, citizens will be civil, the press responsible, and the corporate special interests neutered – and we can have functional democracy instead of the spin, personal attacks, and propaganda that passes for a political campaign these days….   

Chris Daggett, Independent candidate for Governor

Chris Daggett, Independent candidate for Governor

Independent Chris Daggett

Daggett was the only candidate who showed up. At the outset, he made a biting remark that he’s been the only candidate showing up lately at lots of events. Give him credit for this. While I don’t agree with several things he said, he clearly was knowledgeable on the issues and willing to honestly engage. Daggett has received the Sierra Club’s endorsement)

Democratic Governor Corzine

Corzine sent Assemblyman John McKeon (D-Essex), Chairman of the Assembly Environment Committee.  Shame on the Governor for not showing up to defend his record and implicitly disrespecting the forum, its sponsors, and thousands of highly concerned and motivated NJ environmental voters. This is especially shameful, given that Corzine touts his energy and global warming accomplishments as the key strength of his environmental record.

It was awkward to listen to McKeon repeatedly claim that Jon Corzine is a national leader for passage of the Global Warming Response Act; that the Regional Green House Gas Initiative (RGGI) cap and  trade program is the model for the bill now before Congress, and that the NJ Energy Master Plan’s 30% renewable energy goal is the nation’s most aggressive. If these are national level accomplishments, why can’t the Governor show up to discuss them at the only forum dedicated to energy and environment during the entire campaign? Politically, I’m dumfounded why the Governor would choose to alienate a traditionally democratic leaning environmental base constituency. Polls show he trails republican Chris Christie by around 10 points, while Independent Chris Daggett is polling at about 10%. In such a tight race with a perceived pro-environment third party candidate , why would Corzine want to bleed more environmental voters to Daggett?

Republican Chris Christie

Christie sent Richard Dovey , head of the Atlantic County Utility Authority. ACUA has done great work on wind. Rich is a technocrat with 30 years of experience in environmental management, mostly at the county and regional level. He did a great job, given how very little guidance he was given by the Christie campaign on the issues that were discussed. He was really in a tough spot.

Here’s what went down

The event began with brief overviews by each candidate. They were asked to focus on energy and global warming. They all wandered and didn’t break any real substantive new ground.

McKeon touted Corzine’s record on Global Warming Response Act goals,, RGGI, and BPU Energy Master Plan 30% renewable energy goal by 2020. He called the Governor’s leadership to get a $400 million Open Space question on this fall’s ballot a “profile in courage” and alluded to unspecified accomplishments on clean water (I assume he was NOT  referring to this or this Jeff Tittel warning letter to Commissioner Lisa Jackson, a letter Jackson ignored when rolling back stream buffer protections).

Dovey spoke about how me met Christie’s during a press event tour of the ACUA wind farm. He emphasized Christie recognition of the need for more leadership and said Christie is committed to building on and making decisions to implement the consensus goals of the Corzine  GWRA and EMP. He stressed Christie’s sense of immediacy – that the time is now to make decisions on specific projects. However, Dovey only had one brief conversation with a Christie campaign staffer on the issues and was working off of Christie’s website for the candidate’s position on energy industry issues and protecting the environment. 

Dovey didn’t mention controversial statements Christie has made attacking DEP and promising to clean house there. Shame too on Christie for not showing up to defend his views.

Daggett opened by touting his leadership as Chairman of the DEP Permit Efficiency Task Force. He outlined his collaborative approach to public policy as building consensus, working with diverse interests, and relying on the best available science. He stressed the need to be realistic (does this mean DEP should “do less with less”?), especially given NJ’s State budget crisis, and felt that the Corzine GWRA and EMP goals are unrealistically aggressive, but that he agreed with those goals as something to aim for. He claimed that renewable energy was “more expensive than fossil fuel energy”  and that we needed to consider two basic policy options: a) pointing to the fluctuations in gasoline prices, whether to impose an energy tax to address maarket price fluctuations that destabilize the investment climate for renewables and efficiency; or b) let the market continue to govern policy decisions. He said we could do a lot more on efficiency and conservation. He stressed the need for NJ to do a lot more on R&D.

He  savagely criticized NJ’s higher education policy – called it “embarrassing”,  ranked #50 in the nation, and active “disinvestment” – and talked about how lack of education investment was driving the brain drain and undermining private sector investment, innovation, and economic growth in strategic  sectors, such as high technology, pharmaceuticals, and renewable energy, especially things like electric cars.  Dagget said NJ has high population density which provides a natural comparative advantage in developing technologies like electric cars and energy storage technologies. He closed by saying “it’s time to stop the nonsense and focus on what’s best for NJ”. He was very good here.

The floor was then opened to questions from the public:

1. John Weber of Surfrider Foundation asked each candidate’s position on the planned offshore Liquified Natural Gas project, dubbed “Insanity Island”

Corzine – sees natural gas and LNG as a key fuel needed to meet energy demand and avoid disruption (at leat 5 times, McKeon used the scare tactic phrase, “in order to keep the lights on“. I call BS on this.

Christie – although familiar with a proposed Delaware Bay LNG project killed by Delaware officials (he misspoke and said NJ opposed), no position.

Daggett – claimed glut of natural gas and lots of natural gas supply in US not used to capacity, more capacity being discovered, global warming impacts of fossil fuels, national security threat to rely on foreign energy sources, could not support.

2. Sierra Club member and professor of economics at Raritan Valley CC challenged Daggett’s intro remarks about the costs of renewables.  He suggested that Daggett read the literature and analyses of the Rocky Mountain Institute that show if government subsidies  and pollution impacts of fossil fuels were considered, as well as peak pricing benefits of renewables, then the opposite is true. He also asked if candidates support the proposed 750 MW Linden coal plant that will capture and store CO2.70 miles out under the ocean.

No candidates really responded to the economic questions. McKeon relied on talking points. To his credit, Dovey showed an understanding of the history of technology scale issues and cost structures (costs decline over time), and pollution subsidies. But I think he spun by claiming that the ACUA wind farm had displaced demand for local jet fuel peak power plant. Daggett dug into a flawed position by focusing on the up front  capital costs and costs on an installed basis comparison to support his claim that renewables are higher costs than fossil fuels. This was a major gaffe.

Christie – no position on Linden

Corzine – no comment – CCS and Linden project under study

Daggett – oppose Linden – CCS is untested technology

3. Julia Sommers of the Highlands Coalition asked the candidates position on the extremely controversial Susquehanna/PSEG Roseland power line

Christie – no position

Daggett – he dodged the issue, claimed it was before the BPU and would be decided this fall by the current Governor.

Corzine – McKeon dodged the issue, but  repeated the “keep the lights on” scare and defended the indefensible $18.6 million PSEG bribe to secure Highlands Council approval.

4. Rick Ege of Trout Unlimited asked about shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania and toxic impacts on the Delaware River, and whether each candidate would use NJ’s Governor’s authority at the Delaware River Basin Commission to block these projects.

Daggett – need to solve problems regionally. Not familiar with details, can’t take a position.

Christie – no position

Corzine – no position, but McKeon said maybe Corzine can work with Pa Governor as he did on Delaware dredge issue. Curiously, Corzine agreed to support the project.

5. A citizen and mother of a child with asthma asked about smart energy grid and the relationship between energy and public health.

Corzine – McKeon talked about importing midwest wind power. Seems like he was referring to Al Gore’s approach. EMP recognizes need to upgrade and integrate current grid. But he was basically clueless about what a smart grid or distributed energy mean.

Christie – Dovey made an historical analogy to the development of a unified railroad infrastructure by standardizing tracks, eliminating private control of technology decisions (track widths), government investment, et al.

Daggett – provided a strong argument for infrastructure policy and savagely criticized NJ’s policy on Transportation Trust borrowing and longstanding failure to comply with long term pay go finance. He said great need to expand wastewater and drinking water infrastructure programs.

6. A citizen (also professor of sustainability at a NJ university) asked about a stealth campaign to restore nuclear power as clean energy and build new plants. Also asked whether BPU could separate their regulatory role and renewable energy role – where BPU is not up to the task of meeting energy goals and managing that program. Could a new entity created to implement?

Daggett – monster budget deficit makes any new program impossible. He dodged the new nuke plant question with a straw man argument that it is not sound public policy to eliminate nuclear power out of hand.

Christie – no position

Corzine – McKeon repeated the keep the light on scare. Said nuke plants are safe and professional – perhaps he is unaware of the case of Dennis Zannoni, DEP’s Chief nuclear engineer that was canned for criticizing NRC ? Or this?  In the only new revelation of the evening, McKeon disclosed that he spent the weekend touring Barnegat Bay with DEP Commissioner Mauriello to consider constructing a new inlet around Brick to address massive pollution problems. McKeon really dodged the Corzine administration and DEP’s failure to require cooling towers at Oyster Creek to protect the Bay.

7. The Mayor of Maplewood asked the candidates to specifically identify what they would do too implement the EMP goals of 30% renewables by 202. Currently, NJ is only 3-4% so how can we get 26% more in next 11 years? Would candidtes support European approach, which provides financial incentives that set prices at long term fixed rates above current market prices ( NJ doesn’t come close Germany performance or financial incentives).

Corzine – McKeon talking points response.

Daggett – admitted we are not on track to meet these goals and probably won’t be in next 11 years.  Blamed “the bureaucracy” at BPU and DEP. Cheap shot. Pointed to “streamlining” recommendations of DEP Permit Efficiency Task Force.

Christie – no position.