When a pair of snowstorms pounded Washington DC, climate-change skeptics were quick to call for an end to any discussion of global warming or climate-related legislation. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) tweeted, "It's going to keep snowing until Al Gore cries uncle," and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin called global warming "snake oil science." It's left the climate movement pulling out the shovel and trying to take back control of the debate. Indeed, a lot has happened since we last spoke during Copenhagen.
* To kick start a conversation within the music community, HeadCount is conducting a nationwide poll, both online and at concerts, asking, "What's the best way to fight climate change?"
o Personal responsibility
o Taxing carbon and greenhouse-gas emissions
o Strict limits and regulations
o Climate change is a bunch of hooey!
Take the poll now!
* Around the world, 92 countries have submitted their targeted emissions reductions to the UN in compliance with the nonbinding Copenhagen Accord. The US has pledged a 17% cut in 2005 emissions levels by 2020. That still leaves us 100 countriesshort of the number required to pass a legally binding international climate change agreement.
* President Obama has indicated we might see a bill come out of the Senate this year that combines energy legislation with climate-change measures, though it might not include emissions caps. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, working on a compromise bill with senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), has called this backward. "If the approach is to try to pass some half-assed energy bill, and say that moves the ball down the road, forget it with me."
* It took fake anchorman Jon Stewart and fake commentator Stephen Colbert to lampoon and debunk climate-change skeptics who claim that snowstorms indicate global warming isn't happening, by explaining how global warming can actually lead to extreme weather such as blizzards. The Winter Olympics' organizers may now be even bigger believers in global warming; they've had to truck in snow for several events postponed due to warm weather. Despite their problems with Mother Nature, the Vancouver Olympics has done its best to be ethical and environmentally friendly this year.
* The nonprofit group Reverb has formed the Green Music Group, uniting artists, promoters, and nonprofits "to bring about widespread environmental change within the music industry and around the globe." It kicked off with an all-star party and jam featuring members of Maroon 5, the Roots, the Dave Matthews Band, and Guster. Sound fun? Visit their website to get a free download of the performance. There's a lot happening on the grassroots-activism front. Operation Free, a group of young US military veterans, is touring the country by bus to urge climate-change action. Also watch for the Hip Hop Caucus's Clean Energy Now! Bus Tour. Starting February in New Orleans, it will roll through five states for events including community rallies, campus roundtables, clean-energy jobsite tours, and musical events.
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