Amanda Little

Amanda Little, Grist's former Muckraker columnist, is author of Power Trip: The Story of America's Love Affair with Energy. She teaches investigative journalism at Vanderbilt University and her articles on energy and the environment have appeared in publications including Vanity Fair and The New York Times Magazine. You can follow her on Twitter: @littletrip.

Inhofe and Running

James Inhofe, Senate’s top skeptic, explains his climate-hoax theory

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) tells reporters in Copenhagen that a climate bill will never pass the U.S. Senate.Photo: Andy RevkinSen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), one of the world’s most vociferous climate skeptics, is practically giddy these days. He’s argued since 2003 that global warming is a massive “hoax” being played on the American people, and now he believes he’s got more backing than ever before for his claim, from “Climategate” emails to errors in the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to the recent blizzards in Washington, D.C. (He gleefully hyped an igloo built by his grandkids as …

A Stern talking-to

Copenhagen Accord is the priority, says U.S. climate envoy. But what about a binding treaty?

U.S. Climate Envoy Todd Stern.A month after he rode herd at Copenhagen’s COP15 climate talks, Todd Stern is exhorting participants to make the outcome of the conference meaningful. “Life needs to be breathed into the Copenhagen Accord,” the State Department’s special envoy for climate change tells Grist. He insists that the three-page document represents a “very, very important step forward,” and he’s now pushing major developed and developing countries to make clear public pledges for reductions in emissions or energy intensity by a Jan. 31 deadline, to substantiate the Accord. But even as he touts the successes of the Copenhagen …

Thomas Friedman talks COP15, Mother Nature, and Father Greed

Thomas FriedmanHours before the outcome of the Copenhagen conference was revealed, I sat down with New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman to discuss the implications of the historic summit. No matter what happens in Copenhagen, said Friedman, what matters most is what happens at home: Where the U.S. goes, so goes the world. But we can’t lead the world without charting a path for ourselves. [UPDATE: See video highlights from the interview at the bottom of the page.] Q. Did you have high expectations for Cop15? A. I really question this whole process — and to some extent, its premise. …

Anger Management

Why is everyone so pissed at Obama?

An insufficient deal has been struck at Copenhagen, leaving many participants dismayed by the outcome and miffed at President Obama. Resentment toward Obama had been building throughout the day, and it spilled over as I went looking for food. After buying a plate of lentils at a cafeteria inside the Bella Center, I sat down at a round plastic table occupied by three European journalists — a German, a Brit, and a Dane. “What do you have to say for your president?” the German demanded, nursing his third beer. Come again? “Why would he fly all the way here for …

Happy (Face) Hour

Chatting with Gore and Markey over canapes

As negotiations reached a rapid boil at the Bella Center last night, and expectations for a positive outcome at COP15 simultaneously soared and sank, some U.S. leaders took a brief reprieve in the neighborhood of Rydhave — a wealthy enclave of Copenhagen about 25 minutes outside of the city center. Gathered at the personal residence of U.S. Ambassador Laurie Fulton were the members of the congressional delegation led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (including climate advocates like Henry Waxman and Edward Markey, and foes such as Marsha Blackburn. Also present was surprise guest climate megastar — Al Gore. Here, amid warm …

Tim Wirth says imperfect deal at Copenhagen better than no deal

Timothy Wirth, head of the United Nations Foundation, has a long-term perspective on climate negotiations — and he says people who contend that no deal is better than an imperfect deal are “flat wrong.” While serving as undersecretary of state for global affairs during the Clinton administration, Wirth led the U.S. delegation to Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, where the Kyoto Protocol was signed. Wirth previously served as a U.S. representative and senator from Colorado. I spoke with him on Wednesday, and here are highlights in video and text: Q. What makes this climate conference different from previous ones? A. It’s …

John Kerry on whether a weak climate deal is better than no deal at all

COPENHAGEN — As climate negotiators hash out the eleventh-hour details of an operational accord, one question looms over the discussions: Is a weak deal better than no deal at all? I put that question and others to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in a sit-down interview yesterday. The chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee admitted that all bets are off on a getting climate bill out of the U.S. Senate if we can’t reach some kind of agreement in Copenhagen. “No deal at all would kill an effort in the Senate,” said Kerry. Here’s a video excerpt from the interview. …

Chatting with Brazil's climate ambassador

‘Transparency’ is a hot issue in Copenhagen — but what does it mean?

Sergio Barbosa Serra. Photo courtesy Brazilian governmentCOPENHAGEN — I just had a cappuccino with Sergio Barbosa Serra, Brazil’s ambassador of climate change and one of the country’s top delegates at the Copenhagen talks. We discussed what’s going to get hashed out over the next 36 hours of the U.N. climate conference. He boiled the challenge down to this: World leaders will be trying to define and make sense of the “transparency” that the U.S. is demanding of China and other developing nations. This talk of “transparency” is a departure from the language of “measurable, reportable, and verifiable” (MRV), which has …

Power Shift

For Wisconsin’s Doyle, it’s all about green jobs

When you think of renewable energy, the image that comes to mind is often a solar array in California, a windmill in Texas, or a cornfield in Iowa. Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle (D) wants you to think of Wisconsin first, which explains why he’s one of several governors attending the Copenhagen climate talks. I sat down with him for a brief interview. An edited transcript follows: Q. Where are the opportunities for job development in the larger effort to achieve climate solutions? Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle (center) at the Climate Leaders Summit in Copenhagen.The Climate Group via Flickr A. Well, …