GRIDVINE

By Published On: September 28, 2007

To ensure ongoing top quality care for her clients, Dr. Snarky Sparks devotes considerable time to tracking and investigating the latest on global warming impacts to human and environmental health. Quite honestly, it is a struggle for the optimist not to get burned out by it all. Higher temperatures mean more disease, pestilence… in short, not a pretty picture. To counteract her depression, Snarky recently went to visit Dr. Shrinky, her officemate. Low and behold, the remedy she sought was on Shrinky’s coffee table: a copy of Mad Magazine. Global warming has made Britney Spear’s shaved head and lack of skivvies prescient on climate change, according to Mad’s in-depth analysis. Its probe also revealed that Al Gore plans to produce a sequel, An Inconvenient Truthy (patterned after The Colbert Report’s “truthiness”). In addition, the hot issue apparently motivated Donald Trump to repackage his Trump Towers in the Big Apple as the most SPECTACULAR, LAVISH underwater condos. And, it might be mad, but it’s not satire–the Energy Information Administration’s assumption that the U.S. can curb global warming partly by building 145 new nuclear power plants. At say $5 billion each, including subsidies and capital investments, that’s $725 billion. Heck, we could wage war in the Middle East for several more years on that kind of money. But then, perhaps we’d need it to find, mine, and process the ever-decreasing amount of uranium on the planet to fuel the suckers. Or, instead of actually building the nukes, we could outsource them to other countries. A September 24 letter from Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) on the House Energy & Commerce Committee to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission noted that federal regulators did just that. They “outsourced” a $34 million contract to Information Systems Labs to review applications for new nukes because the NRC, apparently, couldn’t handle them. “I am alarmed,” Markey wrote, that the review “may violate both the statutory and regulatory restrictions upon outsourcing inherently governmental functions and could, as a consequence, result in a danger to public health and safety.” Dr. Snarky does strive to reduce dangers to public health and values. Like many of her clients, she also loves a good 50 percent off sale but never resorts to shoplifting. She discovered, however, during a recent alcohol-enriched conference that some of her clients had no qualms about doing basically the latter and giving their buddies access to her subscriber-only hotline. In fact, one of the guilty parties, a consultant who used to work for Constellation Energy, bragged that he routinely taps into her fine publication and website illegally. Snarky was not plastered enough to be amused. If she had imbibed more, she would have slipped his wallet out of his pocket, emptied it of its contents, and watched how hard he laughed when discovering he’d been robbed. Please, please dear clients, I entreat you to help your beloved gossipmonger Dr. Snarky stay in business. That means enabling her to pay her staff, researchers and rent, which becomes extremely challenging if you abet your friends and colleagues in accessing the member-only information service. After all, unlike her competition, she doesn’t get private or public subsidies. On to equally unamusing topics: during the 4th annual California Climate Change Conference in Sacramento earlier this month, John Wilson, consultant to energy efficiency guru Energy Commissioner Art Rosenfeld, pointed out that lighting at the event emanated from incandescent bulbs. In fact, Wilson noted that most climate change conferences he attends are lit by those inefficient bulbs. Snarky wondered how many attending the conference use those lights at home and how many practice what they preach on the efficiency front. She knows Rosenfeld does. Not only has she sat in his dimly lit office, which included a digital thermometer on his desk, but she’s also seen him commute by bike and rail. At any rate, what is or isn’t going on at the federal level makes us here in California seem positively Britney Spears-like. Did you know that the sole agreement to come out of the Asian Pacific Economic Conference had zilch to do with climate change. OK, no surprise there. President Bush did, however, make one agreement and that was to go the Olympics in Beijing next summer after being invited by the Chinese prime minister. The upcoming Olympics has been renamed the “genocidal Olympics” in some circles because of China’s support for the repressive Sudanese government. Wonder what kind of climate change policy will come out from the feds? You get an idea if you follow the money. Pacific Gas & Electric spent $2.3 million on lobbying the federal government the first half of this year, according to the Associated Press. Calpine, which remains mired in bankruptcy court, spent $140,000 the first half of this year. Apparently it’s not money well spent. Congress was supposed to have an energy bill in early July. Nada. According to the doctor’s sources, politicians are mired in inertia like so many mud puppies in a D.C. swamp. No leadership whatsoever despite all the rhetoric early this year. OK, then let Dr. Snarky’s home state continue to lead the way. And, our lawmakers did more of that this week. “California is mobilizing technologically, financially and politically to fight global warming change,” Governor Arnie told the United Nations delegates September 24. “ And we’re not doing this alone,” he noted. Our president didn’t even both to attend the conference seeking to set international climate change goals. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Harry Reid, head of the US Senate, were so peeved they wrote Bush a letter chastising him for being such a stick in the mud. “Your administration has been pursuing an alternative energy approach based on purely aspirations targets and non-binding pledges of national action,” they stated in a September 24 letter. The two futilely urged him to commit to the UN process, adding that the U.S. and the other biggest emitters of carbon need to consider their impact on vulnerable nations, which will be hardest hit by global warming. While on the topic of inexcusable conduct, our wonderful SoCal correspondent Bill Kelly’s original research into the investments of the Air Resources Board chair and other members of state commissions charged with carrying out the new global warming law was aped by the Mercury News this week. Neither Bill, nor Circuit, got a mention by reporter Paul Rogers. Just a reminder to our readers–we do original reporting, and when we use others who break the ground for us, we give them the credit they deserve.

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