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Policy update 11/2/10: Election Day

2
Nov
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Today's elections will have major implications for our work on federal climate and energy policy. Elections are being held for all 435 House seats, 37 Senate seats, and 37 governorships. With many races polling at slim margins, voter turnout is expected to make or break the election for many candidates.

Election Day: Tuesday, November 2nd

Overall Election Outlook:

Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight model projects the following election day outcomes based on recent polling:

  • A 91% chance that the Senate will remain in Democratic control. Polls suggest the most likely outcome is a seven-seat swing, resulting in a 52-48 Democratic Senate;
  • An 84% chance that the House will flip toward Republican control. Polls suggest the most likely outcome is a 52-seat swing (Republicans need 38 for a majority) resulting in a 232-203 Republican House (the House is currently 255-178).

Stressing uncertainty in the models, and the competitiveness of this year's races, Nate Silver notes a number of caveats in his forecasts, stressing uncertainty on both sides of the equation:

  • If polls are off by just a couple of percentage points, the Democrats may keep the House and a substantial Senate majority;
  • However, for a number of reasons Republicans could possibly make larger gains than predicted, also due to uncertainty in polling.
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How big polluters bought the election

3
Nov
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The dust from yesterday's election is settling and it's already clear that we're about to have the most pro-dirty energy Congress we've seen in a long time. As you'd expect, dirty energy companies and their allies are already spinning this election in the press as a rejection of climate and clean energy legislation.

This spin is outrageous, and it's our job to push back.

From where I stand it's very simple: Big Oil and Dirty Coal spent a fortune to swing this election, and last night they got exactly what they paid for.

If you remember nothing else about Election 2010, remember this: Big Oil and Dirty Coal have spent $70 million on energy-related attack ads this election cycle and put $20 million directly into the pockets of their allies running for Congress. That's on top of the $500 million they've already spent on lobbying in the past two years.

Now that they've bought themselves a new Congress more to their liking, big polluters will try to spin this election as an endorsement of dirty energy. But they can't change the fact that the American people overwhelmingly support policies that cut climate pollution and create new jobs in a clean energy economy. They can't spin away the strength of the climate movement, either. The 10/10/10 Global Work Parties showed just how big and vibrant the climate movement really is, while the defeat of Prop 23 in California showed how this movement can lead voters to vote their hopes, not their fears.

The battle for what will become the "conventional wisdom" in the press about yesterday's election is on-- and we can't allow Big Oil and Dirty Coal to spin this election as a legitimate victory for them. That's why we're asking all our supporters to write their local newspapers and tell them how big polluters bought this election -- and that it can't happen again.

Now that the election is behind us, many of us in the climate movement will focus much of our energy on pushing the Obama Administration and Congress to use the Clean Air Act to cut global warming pollution and jump start investments in clean energy. We will also push the Administration to support strong climate financing at the upcoming United Nations climate talks in Cancún.

I know that a Congress with so many more climate deniers and tools of dirty polluters is discouraging, but now is not the time for anyone in the climate movement to give up. I personally remember the dark days after the 1994 election, and how we banded together to defend the health of our environment and communities from dirty polluters and their friends in Congress. If we could do it then, we can certainly do it again by joining forces and fighting as hard as we possibly can.

Climate change is escalating even as we keep falling behind much of the world in the race to build clean energy economies. As a movement, we have no choice but to keep fighting. And that's exactly what we're going to do.

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Young voters in California lead decisive victory against Prop 23

3
Nov
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Young voters celebrated a decisive victory against Big Oil by defeating a deceptive ballot measure, Prop 23. The initiative, funded with millions of dollars from oil corporations, sought to wreck California's clean energy economy and effectively repeal the state’s landmark clean air and clean energy laws.

Gabriel Elsner is currently the Campaign Director for the California Student Sustainability Coalition's Power Vote Campaign to mobilize the youth vote and stop the dirty energy proposition, Prop 23. He previously served as Global Warming Solutions coordinator for the Student PIRGs and is a former 1Sky Policy Fellow.
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Early weekly roundup: Mixed messages from Election Day

4
Nov
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Election day 2010 is over, but the fight to address climate change is not -- so say many of the bloggers posting since Tuesday's election. We survived the Senate's inability to pass climate change legislation before the election recess. We survived attacks against the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gases (so far). And we can and will survive the loss of a pro-climate majority in the House of Representatives.
Janelle Corn, Ph.D., is an ecologist and wildlife biologist living in western Montana. She has lived and worked in the western U.S. for 30 years, and is currently an activist for addressing climate change before it's too late. Her new blog is Natural History Now. The author's opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the 1Sky campaign.
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Murkowski's donors already trying to collect

5
Nov
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We probably won't know for a while who won the U.S. Senate race up in Alaska (somebody named "Write-in Votes" is ahead right now...is it me or are names getting weirder?), but apparently Lisa Murkowski's loan sharks campaign contributors are sure enough of her eventual victory that they've already called in her debt.

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Speak out on toxic coal ash crackdown by Nov. 19

10
Nov
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The Environmental Protection Agency will soon close its public comment period on regulating coal ash as a hazardous waste (submit your comments before Friday, November 19). It may seem a bit wonky or out of place to discuss the detrimental effects of coal ash in an every day conversation, but to the people who live near coal plants, it's a topic that concerns their health and welfare.

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Policy Update 11/10/2010: Election aftermath

10
Nov
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Last week's election will have major consequences for U.S. climate and energy policy. Republicans won a net victory of 60 seats in the House, 6 seats in the Senate, and at least 6 governorships. A number of climate champions lost tight races to candidates who deny climate science, but in California's Prop 23, the only race with global warming on the ballot, climate won by a decisive margin.

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Weekly roundup 11/12/10: Coal, mad scientists and a moon bounce (VIDEO)

12
Nov
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This week we're looking across the board from scientists to politicians to the EPA and how we spent our Veterans Day. But first, let's look at some developments in coal.

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Obama must keep his climate promises to world's poor

15
Nov
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The world's poorest nations are on the front lines of catastrophic climate change. The recent floods in Pakistan and droughts in Africa are just the most recent examples of how the world's poor are suffering because of our leaders' indifference to the climate crisis. Now that we face a Congress full of climate deniers and shills for big polluters, President Obama must become a true global climate leader to help the world's poorest nations cope with climate chaos.

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Policy Update 11/16/2010: Congress reconvenes for lame duck session

16
Nov
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The midterm elections have resulted in a less ambitious than anticipated lame duck session of Congress. Members of the House and Senate will return this week to debate the Bush tax cuts, an appropriations bill, and possibly some smaller energy provisions involving natural gas vehicles. New members are in town for orientation as parties sort out new leadership positions and strategy for the coming year.

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