This week in climate change news, republicEn.org rolled out the long-awaited, newly expanded ClimateEye. Beyond covering the news created by GOP presidential candidates, we now report on climate news made at local, state and federal levels, with an eye toward uncovering pro-climate conservative action.
Each alert will be assigned an icon that gives you a clue of the tenor of the action. Let me explain the key:
The vertical axis describes level of support for climate change science.
The horizontal axis describes level of proposed action.
To highlight a few interesting icons, the unicorn in the bottom row represents courageous action from an individual or group of individuals who reject climate change science. (As I type that, it occurs to me I do in fact have a better shot at seeing a real unicorn than ever reporting on such news.) The baby feet represent support for incremental action, the wool-in-sheep’s clothing represents double talk, and the red star obviously represents scream-it-from-the-rooftop news. The other images fall somewhere in between.
While we have expanded our coverage, by mere coincidence our first ClimateEye 2.0 alert focused on the news that in 2009, Donald Trump joined dozens of business leaders as signatories to a letter to President Obama and the U.S. Congress asking for climate leadership in advance of the U.N. climate change conference in Copenhagen.
“As business leaders we are optimistic that President Obama is attending Copenhagen with emissions targets,” the 2009 letter states. It ran as a full-page ad in the New York Times.
“We support your effort to ensure meaningful and effective measures to control climate change, an immediate challenge facing the United States and the world today,” the letter reads. “Please allow us, the United States of America, to serve in modeling the change necessary to protect humanity and our planet.”
In a position starkly contrasted from the tone Trump struck in his energy speech in Bismark, ND last month, the letter highlights “the key role that American innovation and leadership play in stimulating the worldwide economy.”
Trump’s climate position came under scrutiny a few weeks ago when an Ireland-based golf course owned by the real estate mogul filed an application for a seawall, needed to protect against “rising sea levels and increased storm frequency and wave energy associated with global warming.”
In other news, Republican San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer won a second term in office this week, securing enough votes to avoid a runoff in November. Faulconer ran on a record of being “fiscally responsible and environmentally conscious.” In May, he unveiled the details of a $127 million Climate Action Plan for the city.
“This over $100 million is just the down payment,” Faulconer said. “It’s going to help us create the foundation we need as we build a better and cleaner future for all of San Diego.”
The plan includes several projects aimed at reducing the impacts of climate change such as tree planting, striping of bike lanes, solar panel installations, sidewalk and road repairs, and stormwater and sewer upgrades. The plan encourages residents to use alternative means of transportation and looks to incorporate more solar and wind energy into the power portfolio. Faulconer noted that “cities are leading the federal government” on climate and clean energy policy. “The technology is advancing incredibly quickly. We need to have our eyes wide open on this.”
“I believe that we have the opportunity to make San Diego one of the green energy and solar capitals of the world,” the mayor said. “We want a plan that is ambitious and leads the way for the rest of the country.”
Last, but not least, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a non-binding resolution against a carbon tax, approved by a mostly party line vote of 237 to 163 with one member from each party voting present. The resolution, which stated that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the U.S. economy, was broad in scope and did not specify any parameters such as revenue neutrality and boarder adjustability, as supported by free enterprise-minded ecoRight and libertarian groups.
As ever, if we miss climate news worthy of reporting, please bring it to our attention.