Back-to-back killer news. The EPA is triangulating on greenhouse gas with the Obama Administration, leaving business-as-usual, ‘what-me-worry?’ petro-industry vassals convulsing in their untenable position AND I get shimmery gems from the Society of Professional Journalists up in Fort Worth, the former habitue of my former n’er-do-well teenagehood.
Let’s start with me, shall we?
Yep. It was a delicious night having the opportunity to step up for my paper, the San Antonio Current, and retrieve three First Amendment Awards from SPJ’s Forth Worth chapter (Since I was here an’ all, I felt duty-bound to collect my boss’s teardrop gem, too).
The competition open to Texas and Okie journos focuses on stories that fight to keep your government open and — even if unwillingly — more-or-less honest with you. I received the top honors (under 50,000 circ) in the “Defending the Disadvantaged” category for a few observations I had made about Bexar County’s pee testing [“Test-tube maybes”] and in “Investigative” for grueling expose on CPS Energy’s employee- and grid-management problems [“Hot Wired“].
Absolutely busted a button to see the Current do so well it’s first time out with SPJ’s First Amendment Awards. Even our newest newshound vaulted into a nomination. Everyone with the chapter was super kind and threw a great little shindig.
Icing on the cake, though, had to be arriving home to open an email letting me know I’d been accepted to the Scripps Howard Institute on the Environment. It’s been at least five years since I got to hang with a group of top-o’-the-crop environmental writers, teachers, and researchers. It’s just good air to be breathin’.
Overshadowing my humble news, is the crunch of carbon regulation on the march.
The message from Washington to industry is, “We can do this the easy way through legislation, or the hard way.” Of course the former would be via a more business-friendly tool first used by Ronald Reagan to bring down sulfur dioxide levels linked to acid rain: Cap-and-trade. That’s where Waxman and company are at today, but the promise of “cap-and-dividend” is more appealing.
The later, “hard” way is straight-up regulation via the EPA, which has concluded — again! Bush wouldn’t read their first verdict — that greenhouse gases are definitively linked to global warming and therefore pose a risk to the public health.
A couple Dallas Morning News writers attempted to put some local color in the cheeks of the EPA’s announcement.
DMN‘s Randy Lee Loftis and Elizabeth Souder observe:
Whether the EPA or Congress writes a climate plan, Texas would find itself in the spotlight. The same factors that make the state first in CO2 emissions in the U.S. and seventh worldwide – coal power, oil and chemical operations, and cars and trucks for a heavily urban population of 25 million – also are among the state’s economic engines.
Meanwhile, geography puts Texas at special risk from climate change, research scientists have warned. Projected effects include changes in gulf fisheries and coastline losses, near-perpetual drought over much of the state and, a new EPA study says, more smog.
Texas is among a minority of states not involved in any regional climate plan, but it is taking some first steps on CO2. A bill approved by the Texas Senate and before the House would mandate a state registry, or inventory, of CO2 emissions and boost efforts to capture and store industrial emissions.
Now I have to appreciate this report for being one of the few that point out Texas has done jack to prepare for the inevitable conclusion of carbon pollution.
Yeah, there is movement in the Lege now, but otherwise we’ve been left with a governor who dismisses and mocks the reality of climate change (when he isn’t condoning thoughts of secession); a state that has failed to join the Western Climate Initiative to work with neighbor states north and south of the border to start cleaning up our act; and a state climatologist that doesn’t have the conviction or the balls to make a stink about the cost of our unsteady and unsustainable course.
Of course, you know who we’ll blame when the transition to pollution-free power gets rough, as it will likely in the near future. I guarantee, it won’t be the ones that fought the obviousness of contemporary science, delayed policy shifts as long as possible, and misled the public about the common challenge before us.
Still, had I the funds, I’d be gobbling up those clean-energy stocks. Just a word to your inner wisdom. Should we survive global warming, it’d be nice to be able to actually afford the food prices of the future.