op-ed in today’s “ann arbor news”

The “Ann Arbor News” today published an op-ed that I wrote with my friend Kerri Pepperman. The subject of the piece, as many of you probably could have guessed, is global warming. Specifically, Kerri and I, through the article, are trying to encourage others to join us in our campaign to encourage John Dingell to lead on global warming. So far, it seems to be working. Already, about 20 new people have signed the petition, and I suspect more will sign on Monday.

Here’s a clip from the op-ed:

To our fellow citizens in the 15th Congressional District, we have one question: Do you know that you, perhaps more than anyone else in the country, have the power to really do something about global warming?

Our congressman, Rep. John Dingell, is the chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. He is most likely the individual who will write our nation’s legislative response to global warming. That’s an incredible responsibility. As his constituents, we must share that responsibility. It is for this reason that we started an online petition at www.actdingell.com to show our congressman that he has our support in taking stronger action to fight the causes of global warming.

The two goals of our petition are reasonable and modest: One is to mandate a fuel efficiency standard of 35 miles per gallon by 2020; the other is to fund programs that make it possible for the United States to reach 20 percent renewable energy by 2020…

Thirty-five miles per gallon by 2020 isn’t a silver bullet. We know that. It is, however, a step in the right direction. It’s a step Michigan needs to take. Rather than fight a higher fuel efficiency standard, we – and Congressman Dingell – should embrace it and focus our energies on bringing federal dollars into the region to help us make the transition. The money is there for biofuels research, fuel cell work and job retraining. John Dingell should demand the federal resources that will help turn our auto industry around…

And, while we’re on the subject of Dingell, did anyone catch the new article by Eleanor Clift in “Newsweek”? Her take on “Big John” seems consistent with what’s been expressed here over the past few months. Here’s a clip:

…”Big John,” as he’s known in the Michigan district he’s represented in Congress for 52 years, has agreed to brief a group of women from the International Women’s Forum about global warming. He chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is charged with writing legislation to curb greenhouse gases. His wife, Debbie Dingell, is a member of the IWF, and she arranged the session, although she’s not present, because she’s an executive with General Motors. Her husband explains that there’s a wall between what he does and what she does.

That wall has always seemed more symbolic than real; Dingell has long been the undisputed protector of the auto industry in Congress, blocking higher-mileage standards and decrying environmental standards as the work of extremists. His nickname in Washington was “Tailpipe John.” He’s a frequent target of groups like Greenpeace and says MoveOn.org “got on me before they got on General Petraeus.” After the Democrats regained control of the House and installed Nancy Pelosi, a strong environmentalist, as House speaker, Dingell underwent a conversion. He now accepts the scientific consensus that the planet is warming and is even talking about introducing a tax on carbon emissions to grapple with the problem. With the exception of Al Gore, who’s not running for anything, and Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd, who’s running but not getting anywhere, elected politicians are wary of any tax, especially one that hits working people the hardest. Dingell has been accused of reaching for the most radical solution because he knows it won’t pass.

If you watch what he does and not what he says, there’s reason to be skeptical about the sincerity of his conversion. Dingell made sure a provision passed by the Senate in June to increase the automobile fuel-efficiency standard to 35 miles per gallon by 2020 (up from 27.5) was not included in the energy bill passed by the House in August…

Dingell is now 81, and he likes to say he’s been working on energy issues “since I was a puppy.” He managed the landmark Clean Air legislation in 1990 that was signed by the first President Bush, winning plaudits for bringing the bill to passage after only 13 hours of floor debate. What Pelosi and his other critics don’t understand, he says, is that “it took 13 years to get it ready.” And for much of that time Dingell worked against the legislation he ultimately brought to fruition, a pattern he may be on the verge of repeating…

If you haven’t signed the petition yet, please do. And tell your friends. (It only takes a minute.) The scientific community agrees, we don’t have 13 years this time. We need global warming legislation now, and it’s up to us, the constituents of John Dingell, to see to it that it happens.

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  1. Robert
    Posted September 23, 2007 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Any particular reason your head-shot was taken with a fish-eye lens?

  2. mark
    Posted September 23, 2007 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    I sent them another photo. It was of me with Clementine on my shoulders. I thought that it would have worked well with the piece. The editor, however, wrote back and asked me whether or not I’d ever seen their editorial page. She told me they needed a tight close-up. So, I found a shot and cropped off everything but the flabby center. I gave them what they wanted.

  3. edweird
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    An article on Arstechnica this morning caught my eye that’s right up this alley.


  4. UBU
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    When I saw that picture I thought it was another manifesto from the unabomber…

  5. Mathias
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Global warming is an opportunity – a good thing – for those who are swift, courageous and intelligent. Put your money into the gas and oil companies buying up drilling rights to areas once thought unreachable? And stop crying about MPG. Americans know what they want and they don’t want little cars.

    Are you sitting on the photographer’s chest?

  6. Ol' E Cross
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Mark’s being modest again. He actually had his picture in the paper twice on Sunday.

    If you’ve got a copy, look closely at the growing hope garden tour shot in the local section.

    (The only reason I get the A2 News anymore is to play the MM version of “Where’s Waldo.”)

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