Read today’s news from around the state and country. Each day in the Roundup we cover politics, always with a side of bold humor. We think politics should be fun, informative and encourage us all to take action.
Thursday, November 7th:
Obama won re-election, Dems still have a majority in the Senate, and the GOP kept the House. The last two years has given us a Congress in gridlock, winning the lowest approval rating in history from the American people–this has got to change, even though the overall balance of power did not. When conceding the Presidency to Obama, Romney called for those in Congress to work across the aisle. And then we have interest groups like Heritage Action calling on Americans to fight bipartisanship at every turn and going so far as to film a video stating that “we are in a war,” because Obama got re-elected. First, if the concern is the decline of the nation, maybe it’s not such a good idea to film a call to arms. Second, this is not going to help our Congressmen and women move our nation forward and work across the aisle. This is not a time for even more hyper-partisanship to take over, and as the LJS states, “centrists must step forward. Compromise no longer can be a dirty word.” Read here
Simulations used to predict climate change vary in the degree of warming estimated for the future–most predict drastic warming somewhere between 3 and 8 degrees Celsius. One of the uncertainties that has existed when creating these simulations is the amount of cloud cover that will exist around the equator; the fewer clouds there are, the less sunlight that gets bounced away from the earth’s surface and the higher the temperatures rise. A new study looks at humidity as a way to estimate future cloud cover, and put atmospheric humidity data from the past decade against “two dozen of the world’s most sophisticated climate simulations” to find which simulations most accurately reflected the real humidity data. They found that the simulations that most closely matched the data were the ones that predicted the worst case scenarios. This is clearly bad news, but we can choose a better path by investing in energy that does not contribute to climate change–that means we need more wind, and we need the KXL to be denied. Read here
We weren’t the only ones calling on voters to elect New Energy candidates this election cycle. Across the country, candidates that have shown a history of climate change denial and support for policies that would hinder the fight against climate change were beat, while champions of our cause were elected. We didn’t do too bad here in Nebraska either, with many of our New Energy candidates getting elected. These results will hopefully spell good news for those of us working to protect the environment and our planet. Read here
Wednesday, November 6th:
We are working on getting the results of the elections from all races we have on our Voter Guide up and running on the New Energy Voter Website. Many of our New Energy Candidates won, and we are looking forward to working with them to bring New Energy to Nebraska in the coming years. We’ll have all those results for you as soon as possible, but for now check out our assessments so far. Here’s your Roundup:
Join Us Today: Last night we re-elected President Obama, a President who already rejected the Keystone XL pipeline permit once. Today we are sending him a message that we want him to deny TransCanada’s permit application (again). Join us in either O’Neill or Lincoln to take a picture sending Obama the message that we are still here, and we still say #NOKXL. We’ll have signs waiting for you when you gather with us at 3:30 this afternoon (check out full event details here). While we have re-elected the man who stood by us once, we need to keep the pressure up and let him know we are still fighting this risky export pipeline.
D.C. Action: In a week and a half, Americans from all over the country will go to D.C. for another demonstration calling on Obama to reject the KXL. As a re-cap, our last two demonstrations in D.C. resulted in over 1,000 arrests, and 17,000 people circling the White House. The photo we take today will be broadcast during this next demonstration, so that the BOLD Nebraskans who cannot physically make it to D.C. will still be there. After a campaign defined by three debates with no mention of climate change, President Obama talked openly in his acceptance speech about the need leave an America for “our children….that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet”—we need to remind him of KXL’s implications for that statement every day. Read here
Challenges Abound: Another challenge President Obama will be facing immediately is the “fiscal cliff,” the combination of massive spending cuts and the expiration of Bush’s tax cuts on all Americans that will occur at the first of the year if a deal isn’t made. Obama has said he won’t settle for a deal that includes the continuation of tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans, while Republicans are eyeing major changes to Social Security and Medicare as a possible take if they give Dems a tax increase on those highest-income earners. Dems won’t want to see too much taken from these two programs that benefit millions of Americans. There is naturally the desire for a compromise to be reached as painlessly as possible, and a bipartisan deal on this major issue could restore some confidence in our Congress that didn’t see a huge shift in the balance of power after the election. Read here
Monday, November 5th:
Tomorrow is election day–the time has finally come to put our New Energy Candidates into office. New Energy means voting for the environment–our land, water, and air. New Energy means no KXL. New Energy means more wind and solar. New Energy means local food in our schools, grocery stores, and restaurant. New Energy means small businesses started by entrepreneurs are valued and celebrated. New Energy means different faces and different ideals representing our families. In case you haven’t yet, check out our New Energy Voter Guide here. Bring it with you when you go to vote. After you have voted for New Energy, change your facebook cover photo to this image and your profile picture to this image. We hope to see lots of New Energy Voters out at the polls tomorrow!
Wind is and “Untapped Goldmine”: It’s been said over and over again that Nebraska is not utilizing our full wind potential. But what does that mean, exactly? Nebraska is ranked 4th in terms of wind energy potential, but only 25th in installed capacity. Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) has instituted a goal to get 10% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, but that doesn’t necessarily mean just wind power. Nebraska has enough wind to power our state “120 times over” according to a recent study by the NREL. To put our wind development in perspective to the wind development of the states around us, Iowa has 4,536 installed megawatts, Colorado has 1,800, and Wyoming has 1,410. Nebraska has 337. It’s time for us to harness our power. Get out and vote for New Energy tomorrow–check out the candidates who support development of renewable resources here
Coal is in Trouble: You wouldn’t know that the U.S. coal industry is in trouble by the way some key members of Nebraska utilities are talking (like Pat Pope, the head of NPPD), who would have you believe coal is the fuel of the future here in Nebraska. But the market might have something else to say about that. In fact, the cost of coal has been going up steadily the past 10 years, and is in many places losing its competitive edge. A major reason for this is that coal is becoming harder and harder to reach while competition from natural gas and renewable resources, which complement each other on the grid, is increasing. In many places, the cost of coal production is higher than the price it is being sold for, meaning that it is drastically losing profitability–this is certainly the case on the East coast, where many unprofitable coal fired power plants are going bankrupt. Coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming (where Nebraska gets its coal), is not in quite as bad of shape, but the chances are that it will follow the same grim trajectory. Coal is not the fuel of our future–especially not here in Nebraska where we have our own natural resources to develop–like wind. Read here