Gloria Ogletree is a Texas Tech student who is "destined for great achievements." What follows is her recap of a session she recorded for SEJ.
Money as a Sustainable Fuel: Driving Politics and Environmental Policy, a Friday session at the Society of Environmental Journalists conference heated up when the topic of climate control was introduced. The subject was a debate over how to characterize California’s political outlook as far as climate change goes.
Panel speaker Frank Maisano, senior principal at Bracewell & Guiliani, said he believes the reason for why people can not get the climate control issue moving can be broken into three parts: people do not care about it, it is too complex to understand and because it is hard to guess how it will play out in the future.
Session participant and associate professor at Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Larry Pryor, said he completely disagrees with Maisano’s viewpoint on climate change. “I think you’re really not appreciating, see you had this questions, ‘Do constituents matter?’ and from my perspective on California, looking at Washington and the answer is ‘no,’” Pryor said.
Pryor said he does not feel as though Congress is not taking the concerns of Californians seriously. He pointed out California is implementing a cap and trade bill next month, when AB 32’s first auction takes place.
Timothy Nokken, assistant professor in the department of political science at Texas Tech University, said that one of the reasons why climate control has not been a bigger issue is because it has not made it onto Congress’ agenda, he said people compete to make their concerns onto Congress’ agenda.
While the American Clean Energy and Security Act sought to impose a specific amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted nationally, it didn’t win enough support to actually begin to reduce carbon emissions.
Maisano said California has had some major environmental and energy disasters. He said that California is an island, and when they had a refinery go down, there was no way for anyone to help them because they produce their own fuel.
Pryor interrupted Maisano by telling him that his thoughts on California were wrong, and that the same points were printed in the editorial of the Wall Street Journal.
Maisano replied by saying, “I don’t even pay attention to what the Wall Street Journal says.” Pryor responded by telling Maisano,” They just said the same thing you just said.”
Maisano commented to Pryor that Californians are complaining that solar projects are priced very high. These same constituents wanted to hold utilities to a 33% renewable portfolio standard.
“You have to lay in the bed that the policymakers in your state, in your country, or your UN make,” Maisano said.