Year 3, Month 1, Day 16: The Winnah!

The San Antonio Chronicle notes the recent release of EPA data on GHG emissions. Texas, of course, is number one:

As the nation’s light switch and gas pump, Texas releases far more greenhouse gases into the air than any other state, according to federal data released Wednesday.

Texas’ coal-fired power plants and oil refineries generated 294 million tons of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in 2010, more than the next two states — Pennsylvania and Florida — combined, the data shows.

The Environmental Protection Agency released the data by industrial facility for the first time as part of a broader effort to reduce emissions linked to global warming.


The American Petroleum Institute, a leading industry trade group, said the federal data proves that there is no reason to include oil refineries in any new rules because they generate a small fraction of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, compared to coal-fired power plants.

“Air quality continues to improve, and we’re doing our part,” said Howard Feldman, API’s director of regulatory and scientific affairs. “The last thing we need now are more burdensome or unnecessary regulations that will create a drag on business efforts to invest, expand and put people back to work.”

The American Petroleum Institute should go f**k itself. Sent January 12:

In a macro-scale version of the “My carbon footprint is bigger than your carbon footprint” bumper sticker, Texan exceptionalists will surely savor the news that their state ranks highest in the country in greenhouse emissions. American exceptionalists, meanwhile, must comfort themselves over our country’s loss of first place in global CO2 output with the knowledge that we are still number one in per capita releases of greenhouse gases.

Obviously, this is a foolish straw-man argument. But the American Petroleum Institute’s response to the EPA is pretty silly, too; they’re basically saying, “Since we’re not as bad as coal, let’s end all those burdensome regulations!” Once freed from regulation, of course, they’ll be free to pollute more comprehensively.

Ultimately, however, the ultimate absurdity is that in order to maintain our growth-driven economy, we’re prepared to trigger a greenhouse effect of a magnitude unprecedented in human history. That’s not silly. That’s suicidal.

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 1, Day 30: I’ve Got To Learn To Dance If It Takes Me All Night And Day

USA Today ran an article on Carol Browner’s departure, and the diminished hopes for meaningful climate legislation from the WH. The comments, predictably, are dumb, dumb, dumb.

The departure of Carol Browner from the Obama administration is an unfortunate testimonial to the power of moneyed interests in our nation’s governance. Because changes in energy policy would be bad for the balance sheets of the world’s most profitable industry, politicians bankrolled by big oil and big coal made sure that even the 111th Congress’ relatively weak climate change legislation had no chance of passing. Lost in the fiscal and political maneuvering are the simple facts that our current petroleum dependence is unsustainable, and our planet’s atmosphere is warming faster than even the most pessimistic climate scientists predicted; catastrophic changes are on the horizon if we fail to act. Carol Browner’s mandate was to help us bring that action to pass; her failure is our failure, and the administration’s loss is a loss for all of us — and a victory for mendacity and cupidity in America’s politics.

Warren Senders