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Climate Watch in Copenhagen

Earthshine_NASAClimate Watch begins it’s coverage of the UN’s COP 15 climate talks in Copenhagen this evening, when KQED’s This Week in Northern California airs my recently taped interview with former Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore. The original 20-minute interview has been “edited for TV,” down to about nine minutes. The full interview is to be posted on This Week’s website.

The interview begins with Gore’s assessment of the upcoming climate conference and then moves on to California’s role, the hype surrounding “green jobs,” controversy over climate science, his new book, and other topics. Regrettably, the interview was recorded before the eruption of the email scandal now known as “Climategate,” so I wasn’t able to get his take on that.

It’s pretty hard to spring anything on Gore. He’s heard every question there is to be asked about a thousand times and has carefully crafted, well-rehearsed answers to all of them. He did seem slightly off-balance when I asked him about FactCheck.org’s conclusions about some of the green job creation hype.

On Monday, our radio and online coverage begins in earnest when the first of Rob Schmitz’ reports from Copenhagen airs on The California Report. Schmitz, KQED’s Los Angeles Bureau Chief, arrives there on Saturday and will be there for the entire two weeks of events and negotiations. He’ll provide radio reports and frequent blog posts, covering–among other things–the appearance of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on “Subnational Day.” In a climate-related media event on Treasure Island this week, Schwarzenegger said his mission in Copenhagen would be to rally governors, mayors, provincial leaders and other subnational players, to continue their own progress toward greenhouse gas emissions and not wait for national governments and international bodies to take action.

Also on Monday, Rob and I will join host Michael Krasny and NASA climatologist James Hansen on KQED’s Forum program. Hansen was the original climate whistle-blower, complaining that the Bush administration was muzzling climate scientists. Hansen has since taken a hard line against the upcoming efforts in Copenhagen, saying that cap & trade is the wrong path to climate intervention (both Gore and Hansen are promoting new books of theirs).

Congressman: Delta Fish a “Worthless Little Worm”

Peter Johnsen, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Photo: Peter Johnsen, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

In hearings by the House Energy & Commerce Subcommitee today, Rep. George Radanovich (R-Fresno) called the Delta smelt “a worthless little worm that needs to go the way of the dinosaur.” He made the remark as part of a five-minute attack on “environmental alarmism,” in response to testimony from former vice-president Al Gore, founder of the Alliance for Climate Protection.

The tiny fish, recently listed by the state Fish & Game Commission as “endangered,” came up in remarks by Radanovich about the current drought conditions in the Central Valley. He blamed the lack of water on lawsuits that have restricted water supplies to farms, “for a Delta smelt–a worthless little worm that needs to go the way of the dinosaur. They’ve shut pumps down and restricted water deliveries to California over that thing, when what’s eating it is a striped bass, a non-native species in the Delta.”

Radanovich rejected the possibility that climate change might be a player in the current drought. Instead he took aim at what he described as “collaboration between environmentalists and sport fishermen,” blaming that for slashed water allocations to farms, as many as 60,000 job losses and “a $6 billion-dollar hit to our economy.”

“That is not global warming,” he said. ” “It’s the result of bad policy caused by environmental alarmism.”

Joining Gore among the 21 witnesses before the subcommittee on Day 4 of the climate bill hearings was UC Davis professor Dan Sperling (.pdf link), who had just come from a marathon hearing before the California Air Resources Board. Last evening the Air Board approved the first-ever Low-Carbon Fuel Standard, as part of it’s plan to reduce greenhouse gases.