Will We Legislate Climate Change Action? Follow the Money.

Yesterday, the Center for Public Integrity released a report on a new lobbying industry springing up in Washington: The climate change lobby. Not...

Yesterday, the Center for Public Integrity released a report on a new lobbying industry springing up in Washington: The climate change lobby. Not surprisingly, it's getting bigger. There are now 2,340 men and women attempting to influence our government on their response to climate change. Since 2003, the number of lobbyists working on the issue has increased 300 percent.That's great, in the sense that Washington is clearly now focused on the issue. The CPI estimates that $90 million has been spent on climate change lobbying in the last year (you know where we could better direct that money? To fixing climate change, you idiots. But that's beside the point). What's not great is who is paying for the lobbying. The sectors employing the most lobbyists are manufacturing, power companies, oil and gas companies, and transportation companies (see the chart for more details).

So, they're not lobbying for the legislation to be really comprehensive and have a lot of teeth. Just a guess.I strongly urge you to read the full article here. They also have a great widget that allows you to search the climate change lobby by company name or by expenditures-a really helpful tool in seeing who will be influencing this debate. It gives a pretty scary sense of what might happen if we put the fate of our planet through the usual Washington ringer. Image via.
via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

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For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

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The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

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