2006/11/11

'Good for GM' No Longer Good For America

The evidence that the earth has already passed the "tipping point" on global warming is accumulating, and the situation is looking increasingly dire. In fact, rather than stabilizing or--in a more perfect world--starting to retreat, global carbon emmissions are accelerating. Recent reports from the Global Carbon Project, reported in The Independent, show that the growth rate leapt from an annualized .08% per year (1990 - 1999) to .6% per year (2000 - 2005), a factor 7!

But in the United States, where the Democrats have just won control of Congress, one would expect some new, some reinvigorated thinking on how to curb emissions, right? Wrong! The presumptive head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, John Dingell of Michigan, has already announced that raising the fuel-efficiency standards of American cars is not on the table. Unfortunately for us, Dingell, whose been a lawmaker since 1955, seems to have his head stuck in an era when fuel-efficiency didn't matter. But this is 2006, and what's good for GM is no longer good for America or for the world. In fact, it might be down-right deadly.

We don't need this kind of leadership. Dingell should step aside.

Updated 2006/11/12, 7:30 AM PST -

The Washington Post is running an interesting article today about how the Democrats plan to bring to the 110th Congress the same energy that Republicans brought in 1994. Fine words, but I'd point out that ossified attitudes toward profound issues like global climate change are exactly what the Democrats don't need, especially before they've even swapped offices with their GOP counterparts.

12 Comments:

I'd vote for it if they'd let me...and he needs to careful when the door closes on his way out.
Man that is bad news. That's the kind of thing that makes me want to pitch a tent on Al Gore's lawn and beg him each morning to run.
I don't know if Dingal is stuck in the 60's so much as his hand is stuck in corporate pockets right now. He used to be my Congressman - and he's not stupid - just self serving, as all are. If you and I can figure out the earth is self destructing, it can't be too hard to discern, can it?:)
I'd like to send Dingell and the Congressional Dems a pix of my 4 yr old kiddo and an ultrasound of my kiddo who is in utero with this written on the back of each pix: "My children require clean air, clean drinking water, and habitable temperatures. Why do you want to kill my children, Congressman Dingell? Should I instead fund, vote for and ask the Republicans-- who claim to be the only ones who are pro-life-- to do something for the lives of my children?

They care just as much about votes and money as the Repukes... we have to scare them into seeing our point of view by threatening them with the purse strings and votes.
Let me see, the Dems refuse to discuss impeachment, ending the war in Iraq, and now have taken global warming off the table too? Time to dump these clowns before 2008, as it's obvious that we have no choice between the major parties anymore.
Well, not wanting to be too hasty on indicting all the Democrats just yet, this seems like an easy fix, simply get the presumptive speaker, the majority leader, and the majority whip to ask Dingell to step aside in favor of another congressperson. Give him the leadership of another powerful committee, Ways and Means or something like that.

Easy...listening Rep. Pelosi? Excellent.
This is HUGE news! I mean, we've had a Congressman named Dingell all this time and I've not ONCE made fun of his name?!?

Truly, I have let my Dingell-dangle dangle in the dirt.
That's what the media is reporting now, but you have to remember that the voters want these CAFE standards raised, and that's gaining traction even here in Michigan. I think the U.S. car companies are savvy enough to realize that they need to change with the times or become extinct. Our papers reported this week that GM is bringing out a new version of their electric car (sometime next year I believe) and when they meet with Bush next week one of their priorities will be alternative fuel development.

Anyway, consumers have to lead in this area and not depend on politicians. E85 gasoline is an example. GM now produces 25% of their trucks to run on E85. As consumers purchase more of these vehicles and actually buy the alternative fuels, businesses will produce more, but there has to be a demand.
Dingell needs to be less concerned about getting re-elected and more concerned about being helpful to the long-range interests of Americans and the rest of the world, not just short-range stuff the keeps money in the pockets of rich folks.
Anyway, consumers have to lead in this area and not depend on politicians.

Kathy, I think that citizens pushing for Dingell to be dumped as chairman of Energy and Commerce is leading in this area.

Snave, Dingell been around quite a while, I doubt he's too concerned about relection anymore. But you're not wrong his, and everyone's, taking up a long-term view. We're in deep yogurt environmentally, and I don't see us getting out of this mess without drastic action.
Kvatch, I agree that citizens pushing for Dingell to be dumped is leading, but even beyond that consumers have to start making purchases with the environment in mind. Penske plans on marketing the Smart car in the US in 2008 in conjunction with Chysler who manufactures them. The Smart cars are very popular in Europe, but until recently I'm not sure Americans would have bought them even if we could. They're two-seaters and run on 3 cylinders. Not exactly the macho machines most Americans want. Most of the small cars we see are turbo charged gas guzzlers.

Consumers have to change their attitudes too. If upping CAFE standards only results in people buying larger vehicles and driving more (which studies show happened) then what's the point? Maybe we need a massive consumer campaign similar to that along the lines of drunk driving and cigarette smoking to get the message across that we're killing ourselves and the environment.

I'm not letting Dingell and other politicians off the hook, but consumers need to be held accountable too.
Maybe we need a massive consumer campaign similar to that along the lines of drunk driving and cigarette smoking to get the message across that we're killing ourselves and the environment.

I agree with every one of your takes here, Kathy. It is up to consumer demand when it comes to what producers will supply.

The problem with the quoted bit is, as I bet you know, "jobs are what's on the line" is how the pols, with some accuracy, will respond. Since there are far more high paying Auto Industry jobs than ever were there tobacco pprocessing or brewery/distillery positions, well, there's also far more dollars AND votes to be lost by promoting alternatives.

None the less, promoting and providing incentives for alternatives are the only way the majority of people are gonna get it thru their short-sighted and ignorant skulls that Global Warming will, not might, WILL utterly alter their ways of life. Hell! It's already "too late" to prevent it from destroying and displacing at least hundreds of thousands of folks over the next 40 or so years.

Despite the fact that some large corps have made substantial changes to their plans re: their Climate affecting activities, Legislative Action now, and Better Education! of our youth going forward are the best we can do to offset environmental changes which have building up steam for decades.

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