The truth about global warming (WaPO editorial)

Two brand new government reports show overwhelming scientific case for global warming — and go out of the way to repudiate skeptics-

The truth about global warming. Monday, August 2, 2010. Washington Post editorial.

Meanwhile Rolling Stone has a great article on the sorry death of the Climate Bill (or better stated the death of the sorry Climate Bill).  It is premium content.

Once again Obama was gutless and clueless.*

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*Note: I feel bad writing all these negative things about Obama because the Republican office-holders are so much worse. Nevertheless, he should not be allowed to continue in his failures.






  1. timz Avatar

    “*Note: I feel bad writing all these negative things about Obama because the Republican office-holders are so much worse. Nevertheless, he should not be allowed to continue in his failures.”

    Ralph I agree with your last sentence but not the first. How are they worse when they are all the same, corrupted by greed and power? I say there’s not a nickels worth of difference between any of them. The two headliners for corruption now are Democrats, Rangel and Waters.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Let me clarify.

    In the last decade both parties have produced a huge number of crooks, and yes, Rangel and Walters are the latest (both Democrats).

    However, my complaint above was intended to be about policy, not ethics (of course, they are related).

  3. timz Avatar

    I’ll agree but the Democrats talk alot about policy, especially when it comes to the environment but seem to do very little.

  4. dcooke Avatar

    todays new’s:

    A new process that simultaneously combines the light and heat of solar radiation to generate electricity could offer more than double the efficiency of existing solar cell technology, say the Stanford engineers who discovered it and proved that it works. The process, called “photon enhanced thermionic emission,” or PETE, could reduce the costs of solar energy production enough for it to compete with oil as an energy source.
    Stanford engineers have figured out how to simultaneously use the light and heat of the sun to generate electricity in a way that could make solar power production more than twice as efficient as existing methods and potentially cheap enough to compete with oil…..

    yesterday’s news:

    Hydrogen would command a key role in future renewable energy technologies, experts agree, if a relatively cheap, efficient and carbon-neutral means of producing it can be developed. An important step towards this elusive goal has been taken by a team of researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California, Berkeley. The team has discovered an inexpensive metal catalyst that can effectively generate hydrogen gas from water…..

    the waiting is the hardest part

    1. pointswest Avatar

      That is exciting about the PETE solar cells. They really need to develop a high efficiency solar panel for homes, though, and not one for a solar field. Solar is best when it can be collected, stored, and used at the home. On the typical roof top, there is 93 watts of solar power per square foot for six hours per day. If they are getting 50% or 60% efficiencies, that is around 50 watts per square foot. A 30’X30’ solar panel on the house or shed or patio would generate 45,000 watts for six hours. That is 270 kWh (kilowatt hours) per day. That is pretty good since the average US home only uses 32 kWh per day. If they can come up with a reliable storage battery (and think they are about to with ultracapacitors) most homes could go off the grid. Imagine a world with almost no powerlines. If cell phones replace land lines, we could be rid of phone lines too.

    2. Ken Cole Avatar

      Pointswest, that would be good but that model isn’t centralized enough for those in power who want to keep control over our power sources. Translation, there will be a lot of misinformation in an attempt to keep that model from becoming popular and feasible.

      Too cynical? I think not when considering today’s politics. Somebody has to think of a way to keep it under the control of some big corporation like Monsanto has done with seeds.

    3. pointswest Avatar

      Microsoft and Compaq wrested control of the IBM PC away from IBM. It happens. Now IBM is a second tier company while Microsoft (who started in a hooker hotel in Albuquerque) is the largest company in the world.

      BTW, I knew some guys who were friends with Bill Gates and Paul Allen when they started Microsoft in Albuquerque. I lived in Albuquerque for several years.

  5. pointswest Avatar

    The technology that has got me watching is the new EEstor battery called the EESU that is not really a chemical battery but an array of ultracapacitors. If this EESU lives up to EEstor’s claims, it has the energy density of gasoline meaning an EESU about the size of a car’s gas tank will store about the same amount of energy. The other claim is that an EESU can be charged in under five minutes. So charging a car for five minutes will give you a 400 to 600 mile range. A charge should only cost a few dollars depending on electrical rates in your area.

    I have posted about this before.

    There is a lot written about EEstor including that the only thing EEstor will ever produce is the EEscam. I do not believe it is a scam. EEstor has entered into agreements with Zenn Motors and with Lockheed Martin and it sounds like they are in negotiations with Tata, an Indian company that owns Daewoo, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Daimler.

    I think the ultracapacitor they developed is working as promised. What they are having trouble with is the control system that will deliver controlled current at rates required to power a car.

    Lockheed Martin contracted with EEstor to power some military device. It is probably a low power device application already designed and developed for an ultracapacitor but Lockheed Martin contracted with EEstor because their’s is by far the best ultracapacitor out there. So the system was designed, tested, and ready to go.

    Developing a sytem for Zenn Motors to power cars may be a little more tricky due to the heat disipation problems of high currents. You can’t use circuit boards and tansistors to control high currents. Zenn is a small company and they may have decided the task is too big for them so EEstor might be turing to Tata, which is a much larger car company with deeper pockets.

    It sounds real to me.

  6. Cody Coyote Avatar
    Cody Coyote

    There is a huge irony about how the environmental movement got to where it is today. Back in the late 60’s , it was Republicans in high places who supported more wilderness, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act , and that great environmentalist of our time Richard Nixon signed into law the Endangered Species Act, among others. Where were the Democrats during the debates for these landmark enviro laws?—they were in opposition! The Dems were so heavily dependent on labor unions and blue collar workers as constituents that they viewed sweeping national environmental laws as being bad for extractive industries and jobs. It was the GOP that defended and promoted the environment. Republicans were the great conservationists back then , the trails leading all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt et al

    Today we have done a full 180 degree ideological reversal between the two major parties, environmentally speaking. The number of ” green” Republicans in Congress can be counted in very low digits. My three Wyoming reps are among the worst enviro haters, for instance, right alongside most Western State representatives.

    Of course, this is a gross generalization. It was , in fact, a Democrat , Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin , who was a prime shaker and mover and the godfather of Earth Day, for instance. The support of many blue-chip Dems was necessary to enable the sea change to environmental awareness that began in the early 70’s. Still, it’s worth pondering how different the two party’s conservation philosophies are today compared to 40 years ago.

    I agree with Ralph’s basic premise…Obama is a huge disappointment, but the alternative is far worse…McCain-Palin puppets setting environmental policy these days ? And you thought Gale Norton and James Watt were bad news….

    1. matt bullard Avatar
      matt bullard

      Cody, you did say that you were making a gross generalization in your post, so I’ll cut you some slack. But remember that Presidents only sign bills into law, they don’t actually legislate. Considering that the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress during Nixon’s entire presidency, I’d say there must have been more than a few Democrats that were backing the environmental issues that became law under Nixon.

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      The original environmental movement in the late 60s did get bipartisan support.

      Although the term “green” wasn’t used then, there were a fair number of green Republicans.

      Having said that, the “environmental legislation support” scores I have read (in textbooks because this is well established thinking) show that the Democrats have been the greener party overall, from the beginning.

      Nixon in part took the initiative on a number of environmental measures because he was afraid of potential Democratic presidential candidate Ed Muskie of Maine who was using his position on a key Senate committee to advance environmental legislation.

    3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      One more thing about Republicans, Democrats and environmental issues, Western Republicans and Southern Republicans have been the segment of the Party that pulled the GOP away from environmental protection.

      In the West (I mean the interior West) it wasn’t based on traditional conservative opposition to excessive government. Instead, in my view, brown thinking came to dominate Republican environmental policy precisely because the federal government stopped subsidizing otherwise uneconomic timbering. It stopped subsidizing the construction of uneconomic Bureau of Reclamation programs (irrigation dams), and conservation activists insisted on the congressional setting aside of roadless areas of the public lands as Wilderness areas.

      Most of the development of roadless areas in the interior West was actually done by means of government subsidized road-building, timbering, juniper chaining, range development and the like.

      The resentment of government regulations regarding the environment came, in the interior West, after the subsidies came under attack and/or were eliminated.

      Think of it even today. What kind of ranching comes under attack by current day conservationists? It is public land ranching where the grazing permit holders pay a mere token while those with their own private land to graze receive no such subsidy.

  7. Rob Sisson Avatar

    For the facts on where the GOP has been, where it is, and where it needs to go on environmental issues, please visit or

  8. pointswest Avatar

    It was the railroads who originally supported and promoted the National Parks. They began courting the leisure classes to develop travel and tourism to the West by stealing into the European cruise ship market so prevalent on the east coast before the turn of the century. The railroads, through Republican congressmen, managed to get several “parks” set aside and then built grand lodges and fine hotels in the wilderness at the end of railroad lines. Railroads built the Old Faithfull Inn, Banff Springs Hotel, Glacier Park Lodge, Ahwahnee Lodge, and the Roosevelt Lodge inside of the new National Parks. They heavily promoted the scenic wonders of the West and conducted the “See America First” advertisement campaign to divert the leisure classes from vacations to Europe and to vacations to the West. It was mixed, a little, with the preoccupation Americans already had for the Wild West. Dime novels, about the Wild West, were popular and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show had been touring the east coast for years and was also popular in Europe.

    National Parks were created and developed until the late1930’s when motor travel began to displace the railroads for personal transportation. Visiting a National Park, that had been largely a privilege of the leisure classes, began to democratize as more people could afford trips to Yellowstone, Yosemite or Glacier Parks in their motor cars on the developing National Highway System. Boosters promoted the Yellowstone Highway and the Park to Park Highway for example. The lower American classes began to take an interest in the scenic wonders of the West too. By the 50’s, the family campout became an American tradition.

    The Clean Water Act was a necessity and a response to large scale industry. It needed to be done and everyone knew it. The catalyst came when the Cuyahoga River caught fire in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1969 drawing national attention to environmental degradation. At this time, everyone was interested in the environment.

    The true environmental movement or ecology movement came along with the general anti-establishment upheaval of the late 60’s and 70’s as the mass of baby boomers began entering adulthood. They were childish and were rebellious towards father symbols such as the police, the military, and big business and sympathetic to mother symbols such as long hair, musicians, and mother nature and their sheer numbers gave them political power. The upheaval of the baby boomers practically pitted feminine against masculine. Much of this movement was grounded, at least partially, in science and in reality, however.

    American society responded in the 80’s with the Great Father Figure of Ronald Regan and the conservative movement. This is when the Republican Party became identified as being anti-environment (against mother nature). The problem with the conservative movement was that it was a response to the anti-establishment movement of the baby boomers and was less grounded in reality and it finally crashed with the faith based administration of George W. Bush.

  9. monty Avatar

    Miami Hearld Columnist & author, Carl Hiaasen, believes that in parts of US “Human Evolution may even reverse itself”. Increasing numbers of people reject science while believing in bibical “talking snakes”. Problems are only solved by rational people with rational thoughts. As the weirdness curve increases and we move away from a more civilized state the political discourse will get nastier. Contemporary politics are stranger than fiction!


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan