Stabenow joins Republicans in fighting against global climate change legislation

stabenow2011Remember how, several years ago, when John Dingell chaired the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, us local folks organized and fought to have him take global climate change seriously? Well, it looks as though we’ve got another legislator that needs some convincing. According to Salon, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow is planning to join with Republicans to stop California from enacting more stringent auto emissions standards. Here’s how the article begins.

Brad Johnson has a useful update on the various EPA-crippling Senate amendments under consideration this week. Environmentalists have a right to be nervous — more than a handful of Senate Democrats are already on record supporting efforts to stop the EPA from enforcing limits on greenhouse gas emissions, which strongly suggests that it won’t be too hard for Republicans to get 60 votes in favor of gutting the EPA. (The Senate was supposed to vote on the amendments on Thursday, but a squabble with Sen. Coburn, R-Okla. has gummed up the works.)

One of the Democrats in question is Michigan’s Debbie Stabenow, who proposed an amendment on Thursday with four parts.

• A two-year suspension of stationary source greenhouse gas regulations

• Preventing any future California waiver for tailpipe greenhouse emissions

• Excluding regulation of biofuel greenhouse emissions related to land-use changes, or of any greenhouse emissions from other agricultural activities

• Allocating $5 billion to the Advanced Energy Project tax credit

Oddly, Johnson’s post, hosted at Grist, received the title “Sen. Debbie Stabenow jumps on the climate-denial train” but when cross-posted at Climate Progess got changed to”Sen. Stabenow joins the climate action delayers.” I think the latter description is likely more accurate — Stabenow is on record as declaring that climate change is real, and I haven’t seen her renege on that.

What she is doing, plain and simple, is representing the economic interests of her state, Michigan. The attempt to deny California the right to any future waivers for tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions tells us all we need to know on that front…

Clearly she’s doing what she thinks is best for the Big 3. I’d argue, however, that by allowing them to further avoid regulation, she’s not doing anyone any favors. Here, as I think it’s appropriate, is something that I wrote four years ago about Dingell’s global warming denial in service of the Big 3.

…And (Dingell’s) spin is working, at least in the very Dingell-friendly local press. Here’s a clip from the Ann Arbor News:

“…Dingell, who has been involved in recent legislation to increase fuel-economy standards, has been targeted recently by local environmental activists for his strong support of the automotive industry…”

I love how these “environmental activists” are angry with Dingell because of his “strong support of the automotive industry.” I’m sure that’s exactly what it is. They’re pissed because he wants to see the big three succeed. Clearly that’s what it is. It doesn’t have anything at all to do with the fact that the earth is literally cooking and that Dingell is dragging his feet on reform that could save life as we know it… For the record, I talked with a number of people at the event today, and none of them — not one — said they hated the American automotive industry. In fact, what I heard several times, was that people wanted American companies to embrace the reality of the situation, lead the world, and be successful in the process. No one here, regardless of what the Ann Arbor News might imply, wants to see Michiganders lose their jobs. The truth is, the auto indsutry is going down the tubes in America, thanks in part to the leadership of Dingell and others, and we want to see it saved…

If you have a moment, I’d encourage you to call or write Senator Stabenow and let her know how you feel about her joining with Republicans to gut the EPA and derail meaningful climate change legislation in California. Her contact information can be found here.

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  1. Knox
    Posted April 4, 2011 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Let’s not forget that Stabenow also voted for the Military Commissions Act.

  2. Edward
    Posted April 4, 2011 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    I wish that Rebekah Warren was established enough to take on Stabenow. I’d love to vote for someone I like for a change.

    Why is it again that we don’t have an army of young progressives chomping at the bit to take on these people like Stabenow? I find it hard to accept that she and Virg Bernero are the best that we can do.

    Here’s an idea. Fire Brewer and get someone in charge of the Michigan Democratic party that knows how to cultivate talent starting on college campuses, and at the Mayoral and City Council level.

  3. Kim
    Posted April 4, 2011 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    The Truth, Still Inconvenient

    So the joke begins like this: An economist, a lawyer and a professor of marketing walk into a room. What’s the punch line? They were three of the five “expert witnesses” Republicans called for last week’s Congressional hearing on climate science.

    But the joke actually ended up being on the Republicans, when one of the two actual scientists they invited to testify went off script.

    Prof. Richard Muller of Berkeley, a physicist who has gotten into the climate skeptic game, has been leading the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, an effort partially financed by none other than the Koch foundation. And climate deniers — who claim that researchers at NASA and other groups analyzing climate trends have massaged and distorted the data — had been hoping that the Berkeley project would conclude that global warming is a myth.

    Instead, however, Professor Muller reported that his group’s preliminary results find a global warming trend “very similar to that reported by the prior groups.”

    The deniers’ response was both predictable and revealing; more on that shortly. But first, let’s talk a bit more about that list of witnesses, which raised the same question I and others have had about a number of committee hearings held since the G.O.P. retook control of the House — namely, where do they find these people?

    My favorite, still, was Ron Paul’s first hearing on monetary policy, in which the lead witness was someone best known for writing a book denouncing Abraham Lincoln as a “horrific tyrant” — and for advocating a new secessionist movement as the appropriate response to the “new American fascialistic state.”

    The ringers (i.e., nonscientists) at last week’s hearing weren’t of quite the same caliber, but their prepared testimony still had some memorable moments. One was the lawyer’s declaration that the E.P.A. can’t declare that greenhouse gas emissions are a health threat, because these emissions have been rising for a century, but public health has improved over the same period. I am not making this up.

    Oh, and the marketing professor, in providing a list of past cases of “analogies to the alarm over dangerous manmade global warming” — presumably intended to show why we should ignore the worriers — included problems such as acid rain and the ozone hole that have been contained precisely thanks to environmental regulation.

    But back to Professor Muller. His climate-skeptic credentials are pretty strong: he has denounced both Al Gore and my colleague Tom Friedman as “exaggerators,” and he has participated in a number of attacks on climate research, including the witch hunt over innocuous e-mails from British climate researchers. Not surprisingly, then, climate deniers had high hopes that his new project would support their case.

    You can guess what happened when those hopes were dashed.

    Just a few weeks ago Anthony Watts, who runs a prominent climate denialist Web site, praised the Berkeley project and piously declared himself “prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong.” But never mind: once he knew that Professor Muller was going to present those preliminary results, Mr. Watts dismissed the hearing as “post normal science political theater.” And one of the regular contributors on his site dismissed Professor Muller as “a man driven by a very serious agenda.”

    Of course, it’s actually the climate deniers who have the agenda, and nobody who’s been following this discussion believed for a moment that they would accept a result confirming global warming. But it’s worth stepping back for a moment and thinking not just about the science here, but about the morality.

    For years now, large numbers of prominent scientists have been warning, with increasing urgency, that if we continue with business as usual, the results will be very bad, perhaps catastrophic. They could be wrong. But if you’re going to assert that they are in fact wrong, you have a moral responsibility to approach the topic with high seriousness and an open mind. After all, if the scientists are right, you’ll be doing a great deal of damage.

    But what we had, instead of high seriousness, was a farce: a supposedly crucial hearing stacked with people who had no business being there and instant ostracism for a climate skeptic who was actually willing to change his mind in the face of evidence. As I said, no surprise: as Upton Sinclair pointed out long ago, it’s difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.

    But it’s terrifying to realize that this kind of cynical careerism — for that’s what it is — has probably ensured that we won’t do anything about climate change until catastrophe is already upon us.

    So on second thought, I was wrong when I said that the joke was on the G.O.P.; actually, the joke is on the human race. 

  4. TaterSalad
    Posted April 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    The biggest “Scam” ever trying to be placed on the American taxpayers:

  5. K2
    Posted April 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    And when gas hits $4 a gallon, and everyone wants more efficient vehicles, they’ll buy Japanese imports. You cannot hide from reality. Global warming is real. Peak oil is real. You may be able to hide from the facts temporarily by skirting the laws, as Stabenow it trying to help the American automakers do, but it won’t last forever. Sooner or later, reality will catch up to us, and we’ll be stuck with lots full of unsellable SUVs.

  6. Elise Snozen
    Posted April 5, 2011 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    I’m disgusted.

  7. TaterSalad
    Posted April 5, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    ………..and now we have this!

    Good news for the Democrats! There is an alternative plan to the Paul Ryan Budget/Debt Plan. It is called a tax increase of 88%. Your pick!

  8. Mr. X
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I received the following from Stabenow, in a fundraising letter this morning.

    News broke yesterday that billionaire Richard DeVos is throwing his support behind one of Senator Stabenow’s opponents. Needless to say, the money that DeVos can spend on this race is shocking

    Does anyone know who the candidate is?

    If only the Dems had a candidate to run against her.

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