Novick tackles global warming head-on

Leslie Carlson

There was a point in An Inconvenient Truth where Al Gore intimated that perhaps there was an issue facing the U.S. that might be as important as terrorism. The issue, of course, is global warming. I agree with Gore that the implications for our future national security could be serious.

Global warming could disrupt our ability to produce food. There will be conflict over water supplies, something we are already seeing in the Western and Southeastern U.S. New diseases and disease vectors could emerge as cold winters become increasingly mild. And then there’s the possibility that large numbers of people will have to move due to flooding or a lack of drinking water.

At the national level, there’s been a vacuum in terms of national policy to prevent the worst effects of global warming. It took the Democratic takeover of Congress to get some proposals and goals crafted. Yet still nothing substantive has been passed at the national level, leaving states and cities to fill the void with their own patchwork of legislation.

While a few Democratic Presidential candidates (most notably John Edwards) have well-developed ideas about fighting global warming, the issue has not been hotly debated in Congressional races…until now. Since the beginning, U.S. Senate candidate Steve Novick has impressed me with his attention to the issue of global warming and with his early support of the Sanders-Boxer bill, which would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Sanders-Boxer is the most comprehensive piece of legislation on global warming currently being considered by Congress. (Full disclosure: I worked for Steve’s campaign earlier in the year and am currently volunteering for him.)

Novick lists global warming as one of his top priorities in speeches, on his website and in his campaign literature. This says to me that he recognizes the gravity of the threat we are facing.

What’s more, Novick understands the benefits that fighting global warming could bring, including a substantial federal investment in renewable energy technology. Many people believe there is an opportunity for Oregon to be a leader in renewable energy. We have large amounts of energy in our ocean waves, we have room to tap into the wind, and we have growing interest in solar power and solar technology. With the right person in Washington, these new industries could take off, bringing jobs—and wealth—to our state.

Tackling global warming won’t be easy and it won’t be cheap, but it will bring benefits to our state, our country and to the planet. Steve Novick understands we've got to act now and act fast.

  • Hayes Ingraham (unverified)

    I am glad to see that Steve Novick has acknowledged that global warming is a bad thing.

    At Blue Oregon I think we're pretty much all in agreement that continuing to release greenhouse gases that heat our planet is a bad thing which needs to be stopped.

    The questions I keep asking myself as I read this are, "Is Steve's position new? Has he done anything at all about Global Warming, that we on Blue Oregon would possibly need to be informed of?"

    Looking over your post, and taking a quick trip to Steve's website, I can't find anything like that.

    But thanks for sharing his position. I was able to verify that it indeed is his position, as his website says exactly the same things as your post.

  • SilenceSpeaksVolumes (unverified)

    BlueOregon Topics: Global warming Wyden twins MSNBC channel switch USC football game

    And not a peep on Kulongowski and his memory problems.

    Now that he finally signed his statement refuting Fred's claim of what Kulo knew and when did he know it, can we remove the Kulo Blackout?

    It is ALL OVER the other news media, why the boycot?

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    SSV -- Please stay on topic. This one is about Steve Novick and global warming.

    (FYI, the Kulongoski post you're looking for is right here. Plus, I'm actually reading the 318-page report before commenting on it. Have you?)

  • LT (unverified)

    Anyone who cannot spell Kulongoski correctly doesn't deserve to be taken seriously.

    Not to mention the topics here which do address the subject.

    But since you asked, where is the 2nd witness to confirm Leonhardt's allegations?

    Polygraphs and affadavits are not infallible.

    I'd rather talk about federal legislation than whether the State Senator who was serving from Lane County when Neil G. was guilty of statutory rape should comment on allegations that he heard about a rumor at a party decades after the crime happened.

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    SilenceSpeaksVolumes obviously missed a BlueOregon feature article titled Kulongoski "knew"? I call bullshit by Kari Chisholm. It's available by clicking on the history link on the front page.

    So let's see what we know about Silence so far. He's:

    A] Wrong. B] Stupid. C] So Stupid he doesn't know he's wrong. D] Unable to use a simple website, much less google. E] Hurls childish insults on things he's wrong about. F] Too chickens**t to even use his own name.

    Yup. Sounds like a typical Republican to me.

  • SSV (unverified)

    Sorry for the OT, thanks for the link, and I am also reading the is rather long, so looking forward to your summary.

  • SSV (unverified)

    Whoa, did I hit a nerve? Chillax, my friend.

    Kari's link of a post over two weeks stale, was actually very beneficial, since the comments are still very fresh, and just what I wuz lukin for. (wrong speller, stupid, etc).

    Now, let's please obey Kari, and get back on topic.

  • Frank Carper (unverified)

    Um, yeah, I have to agree with Hayes, what has Mr. Novick done in this regard? I know he has been a champion of many issues and has some quantifiables on some but what about this one?

    I guess it's not as easy to look at his leadership on the issue because he doesn't have votes on environmental issues such as biofuels and e-waste disposal and such like his opponent, Speaker Merkley.

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    Posted by: SilenceSpeaksVolumes...


  • Liz Kimmerly (unverified)

    Steve joined the Environmental Division of the United States Justice Department in 1987 where he lead successful lawsuits against polluters for violations of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. He was also lead counsel for the historic Love Canal case which brought back $129 million back to the taxpayers of that community. His career has always focused on environmental issues. This record gives voters confidence that he will continue to fight against global warming. If elected, he has promised to cosponsor the Sanders-Boxer Global Warming bill.

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    I think the question posed by Hayes Ingraham, that is, quantifying the impact that any one person has on Global Warming is a difficult one for anyone to answer.

    What impact has Al Gore had? As VP and as an individual (Gore), has raised awareness about the issue and advocated for policies that move us in the right direction. Trying to break it down to something measurable is probably asking the wrong type of question.

    The Boxer-Sanders bill in the Congress is the toughest bill that's ever been introduced (to my knowledge) and Steve's making it a cornerstone of his campaign. I don't know too many Congressional candidates who make environmental issues an important part of their campaigns, and Steve is there, front and center, providing leadership as a candidate.

    As Liz mentioned, Steve has had a long career as an advocate for protection of the environment and that's telling of the kind of Senator he will be.

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    ditto to what Liz said.

    In addition Steve is also a member of The Oregon Environmental Council which has been around for quite some time.

    You can find out more about them here:

  • Blaine Palmer (unverified)

    I'm glad Steve Novick has been making this issue a centerpiece of his campaign. I have heard him mention it repeatedly in personal appearances and he has pushed people to sign on as co-sponsors. Disclosure: I'm delighted to be working for Steve.

    Chances are Gordon Smith won't sign on since he only recently stopped denying global warming existed, but we can hope Ron Wyden will.

    And you.

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    Following up Colin's remarks, I would concur that there is very little any one person who is not a government official or the CEO of a major corporation can personally "do" about the problem of global climate change. The rest of us can discipline our lifestyles to control our personal carbon footprints, but as individuals we will have little effect. Because Steve is a candidate for public office, though, there are a few things he can do that the rest of us can't: He can make it a recurrent issue in his public appearances and public statements. He can support and pledge his future vote to legislation which CAN make a difference. And he can keep reminding all of us how important an issue it is.

    Steve is DOING all of those things. That's one more reason I am proud to support him.

  • Ginny Baynes (unverified)

    One more point about Steve. He clearly understands the implication of not taking care of our planet. As the lead counsel in the infamous Love Canal case, he won a settlement of $129 million from toxic chemical polluters for the people of the US. As our Senator, he will continue to fight for our planet.

    My disclosure -- I am delighted to be a volunteer for Steve's campaign!

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    Liz, please be sure to disclose that you're on staff with Novick. Thanks!

  • David (unverified)

    Sanders-Boxer bill, which would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

    The Sanders-Boxer bill is a wish, only. It has no idea how to cut GHGs, and especially not by 80%. It merely postulates a goal -- it does absolutely nothing to see that we will get there. It is next to useless, and doesn't accomplish a damn thing.

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    Following up Colin's remarks, I would concur that there is very little any one person who is not a government official or the CEO of a major corporation can personally "do" about the problem of global climate change.

    I think the sentiment expressed Stephanie V is a huge reason why we have global warming. There is no magic to significantly reducing your greenhouse emissions. Exercise your power as a consumer, vote with your dollar. Buy local and support industries that focus on placing the health of our planet first. Further, if you have a car, don't drive it. Everyone can make a huge difference by not being lazy.

    Second, Stephanie V so you would agree that since Jeff Merkley is an elected official that passed the 2025 renewable energy standard and the biofuels incentive package, he has done more to fight global warming than Steve Novick who is neither an elected official nor a CEO? Its a logical extension.

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    Ah, the old "my candidate's sustainable environment penis is bigger than YOUR candidate's sustainable environment penis" gambit. Well played, well played.

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    Everyone can make a very small difference by not being lazy. Individual consumer-based social reform efforts don't work very well, at least not in isolation. We need to act collectively as well, with organization, coordination and division of labor.

    One thing I continue to appreciate about Leslie's columns is that she is doing something as an individual with her writing that I think goes to those collective ends. She reaches out to other people and helps to create a kind of collective purpose and process of constructive deliberation that goes beyond individual consumer choices or policy preferences. She leads by example in her thinking and what she reports others doing and what she tries to do herself & with family & friends -- including thinking -- in a way that for me at least is a bit of an antidote to the lethargy and hopelessness about shifting big structures that often weigh me down.

    I'm not quite sure how Hayes Ingraham thinks we will ever get beyond just agreeing that yup, yup global warming's a bad thing (not to be confused with a good king, 1066 & all that) if we don't talk about it. For better or for worse, that's how human beings manage to do things cooperatively, insofar as we do at all.

    Cynicism is cheap, but just now it's also got the potential to be costly. Leslie's approach works against the deadly, dulling sense of isolation. Hayes' reinforces that sense, at least for me.

    I'd be both more impressed and more interested if Hayes & those who agree with him would say what they think candidates and senators should be doing, rather than opining emptily that they aren't doing some unspecified thing that would be "more real" than current actions. Better still would be if they said things about what they are doing or going to do, and others of us might do, to help move the legislators and policy makers where they might usefully go.


    My take:

    We need to think not only about what we can do individually but what we can do collectively. Working together to support candidates who will pursue changing climate change aggressively is one such thing.

    I believe there's every evidence that Steve Novick would do so, based on what he says and also on his record and affiliations, which to me speak most strongly to the fact that he would have resources to call on in recruiting staff to do the necessary policy development work. Likewise I believe there's every evidence that Jeff Merkley would pursue the issue aggressively since he has done so at the state level.

    Above all, there's every evidence that Gordon Smith is unlikely to do very much. So another collective action we need to take is not to snipe at one another so much around the primary that we can't pull together to work effectively for whoever wins it.

    What I'm not sure I see from either Steve or Jeff, though, is discussion of policies that will facilitate and give incentives for the individual level changes that bdunn cites. Our friend Jim Karlock for instance understands the link between car culture and his aesthetic preferences for lifestyles. Consequently he tailors his scientific views on global warming to support his preference to expand extant car culture, and works hard to advocate for both.

    What are we doing on the obverse side? It's all very well for bdunn to say don't drive, but there are lots of folks who don't realistically have that option given the present configurations of residence, work, commercial locations for buying basic necessities, etc.

    And there are things missing from that picture like say level of electricity usage (including running electronic media) that drives some large commercial production of greenhouse gases. Or take what an NPR show reported today, that the Pentagon consumes as much petroleum based fuel annually as Greece does, approximately.

    Or take the fact that it is not really possible for everyone to buy locally sourced food. At best, "buy local" is really "buy regional" for many key foodstuffs, and even then what the is produced in say a 300 mile radius of Portland wouldn't really feed us all. That call that reminds me of hearing Gary Snyder speak at Reed College many years ago. He recommended that everyone go and live in a nice house in the woods like he had. Except he couldn't see, apparently, that if we all did, there wouldn't be any woods and his house would lose most of the virtues he saw in it.

    Consumer demand for low prices, and political exaltation of our roles as consumers above our roles as producers or as thinkers, players, laughers & criers, walkers, friends and family members, drives production further and further from where we buy and use stuff. All of which has to be not only produced but moved. It is not just consumer choice we need to exercise. We need to choose not to consume.

    To really get the mass-scale individual and corporate (including government) behavior change needed, we will need to address not only direct "energy" and "emissions" issues, but physical infrastructures, social structures, and cultural values. We will have to decide to live with less stuff, to give ourselves more time in which not to be lazy but also to be slower & more rooted in place. We will need to derive our pleasures from our humanity and from other people and less from having and using things.

    The Karlocks of the world will see this as calling for a declining standard of living. It really is calling for redefining what we see as a good life and good ways to live. Only if we demand those changes will our elected representatives, however well-intentioned, be able to do what needs doing by various governmental levels and entities.

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)

    Novick's detractors like to question his experience, but the fact that he devoted many years of his professional life to working for the environment is a great example of why he does have the right experience for this job. When Novick talks about this issue, his background as a DOJ prosecutor gives him a lot more gravitas.

  • Becky (unverified)

    Great eCard on Global Warming

  • trishka (unverified)

    chris, that was a great post.

    and i echo others in expressing gratitude and support for steve novick making this issue a cornerstone of his campaign. individual lifestyle choices are valuable, where practicable, but we forget that we all operate within a larger socio-economic context, which drives most choices for most people. shifting the larger context is going to take the work of people in positions of power, with the cooperation of the rest of us concerned little people.

    and, i think it's great that jeff merkley has done the work he has done at the state level, and offer kudos there as well.

    my concern is that i'm not convinced merkley can beat gordon smith, based on the campaign i've seen him run in the primary. if that turns out to be true, it would be a shame but the only impact merkley will end up having would be at the state level. i have higher hopes that steve can get to the place where he can work to make change at the national level.

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    I suggest you do a more thorough read-through of the Sanders-Boxer Bill, as it has been introduced in the Senate:

    "(A) to ensure that the average global temperature does not increase more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius); and

    `(B) to stabilize average global warming pollution concentrations globally at or below 450 parts per million in carbon dioxide equivalent."

    "(2) EMISSION STANDARDS- The average global warming pollution emissions of a vehicle fleet described in paragraph (1) shall not exceed--

    `(A) 205 carbon dioxide equivalent grams per mile for automobiles with--

    `(i) a gross vehicle weight of not more than 8,500 pounds; and

    (ii) a loaded vehicle weight of not more than 3,750 pounds;(B) 332 carbon dioxide equivalent grams per mile for-- (i) automobiles with--(I) a gross vehicle weight of not more than 8,500 pounds; and (II) a loaded vehicle weight of more than 3,750 pounds; and(ii) medium-duty passenger vehicles; and (C) 405 carbon dioxide equivalent grams per mile for vehicles--(i) with a gross vehicle weight of between 8,501 pounds and 10,000 pounds; and `(ii) that are not medium-duty passenger vehicles.

    There are enough specific requirements in this legislation to make your head spin. The bill is the most comprehensive GHG reduction legislation in Congress.

    Steve, like all Democratic Senators who are running for president (they are all cosponsors), obviously understands that this is the bill to get this country on-track to fight climate change. And if Speaker Merkley's campaign staff thinks Senators Clinton, Biden, Obama, and Dodd are all wrong on this, then I have to wonder if they're actually ready to fight for environmental issues in the general election.

    Now that Senator Smith is taking over for Senator Craig as the natural resources (logging, mining, drilling, etc) lobby's go-to, a strong environmental stance will be necessary to defeat him.

    Kari Chisholm disclaimer: I volunteer with the Novick campaign. I speak only for myself.

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    Regardless of which candidate you support, it's really silly to argue something like "Candidate X who is an elected legislator voted for bills A, B, and C, and therefore has done more to fight a problem than Candidate Y, who is not an elected official and cannot point to any bills that he/she have voted for."

    <h2>This is a really shallow analysis.</h2>

    But to respond to Stephanie's point: a mild dissent. The chairman of WalMart can make a measurable difference in fighting global warming, by choosing to stock flourescents (and price them at a loss), building their stores with skylights, and implementing other cost effective energy efficiency devices.

    I know we like to run down big corporations in this forum, but if we can convince corporate leaders that going green=more green (that is, dollars) we can have a big impact.

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    Hey Andrew, you don't need to disclose that you're a volunteer. If we all did that, we'd be overwhelmed with nothing but. We just ask that people disclose if they're being PAID by a campaign.

  • jim karlock (unverified)

    Leslie Carlson Global warming could disrupt our ability to produce food. JK This is pure Al Gore scare - more foods grows in warmth, not less. Longer growing season and all that.

    Leslie Carlson There will be conflict over water supplies, something we are already seeing in the Western and Southeastern U.S. JK That is drought not warming. Note that much of the tropics have lots of rain. The term rain forest comes to mind.

    Leslie Carlson New diseases and disease vectors could emerge as cold winters become increasingly mild. JK Ant it could be too warm for others.

    Leslie Carlson And then there’s the possibility that large numbers of people will have to move due to flooding or a lack of drinking water. JK Too much water (flooding) and too little at the same time. Where is the logic here? Where is the global warming connection? (Other that in Al’s bank account from selling carbon credits and his mutual fund?)

    You are watching Professor Herald Hill in action.

    BTW: How much harm will solving the CO2 “problem” do to low income people?

    Thanks JK

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    (note to paul g: you seem to be agreeing with me, not dissenting)

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    steph, Sorry, thought I was dissenting.

    Dammit. I am dissenting.

    Put up your dukes! :-)

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    <h2>It was done relatively tongue-in-cheek, but thanks for the reprieve.</h2>

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