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Anna Fahey's Posts


On climate, Hu's leading whom?

Snappy comebacks for the climate do-nothing set who’s using China as an excuse

On a hot day this summer, Chinese President Hu Jintao and a group of state leaders appeared at a public function wearing short-sleeved shirts, rather than their normal business suits. According to the state press, the casual attire wasn't just a new fashion statement: China's top brass were leading by example, encouraging Chinese workers to dress in light clothing in order to reduce the use of air conditioners in office buildings. Fashions do change. Outright denial of global warming is out of vogue. Instead, the climate change do-nothing set is sporting this season's new line: "Why should we bother trying …


Is greenwashing good for you?

Not always, but green branding has potential to connect consumers to their ‘inner green’

In an undeniable rush, corporate giants are jumping on the "green" bandwagon: Wal-mart, Ford, Dow, General Electric, British Petroleum, Chevron, DuPont, to name only a few. "There's a tendency to put a green smiley face on everything," says Joel Makower, author of The Green Consumer. And smiley faces are rearing their heads all over the place. "We use our waste CO2 to grow flowers," claims a Shell Oil ad. Right ... But the concept isn't new. In 1999, "greenwash" was added to the Oxford English Dictionary, where it is defined as: "Disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present …


Who said it?

A belated Earth Day quiz

Can you guess? 1. "In 1971, I participated in the second Earth Day and became the coordinator of an interdisciplinary Environmental Studies program at West Georgia College." Find out here. 2. On the occasion of the first Earth Day: "[there is an] absolute necessity of waging all-out war against the debauching of the environment." Find out here. 3. "Our nation has both an obligation and self-interest in facing, head-on, the serious environmental, economic and national security threat posed by global warming." Find out here. 4. "We simply must do everything we can in our power to slow down global warming …


Flogging the horse race

Will campaign coverage drown out or draw out competing stories?

Can you believe we're already several galloping laps into horse race reporting on the 2008 presidential campaign? Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi describes this phenomenon more eloquently than I can (and with more profanity than I would probably dare) here. For anyone already snorting in disgust and tuning out the constant stream of chatter about who's raised more money, who's realigning their image this way or that (with what hunting photo-op or change of hairdo), and who's notched up a point and a half in Iowa polls, Taibbi is spot on: The election, after all, is nearly a full Martian year …

Read more: Politics


Kicking emissions to the curb

Political parties may be divided on the issue of climate, but Americans agree on solutions

On the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency has authority to regulate greenhouse gases as a pollutant (some called it a strong rebuke of the Bush administration's policies), George W. Bush saw fit to ramp up his language on the issue of global warming (hint: the new key word is "serious"): The decision (of) the Supreme Court we take very seriously. It's the new law of the land. I've taken this issue very seriously. I have said that it is a serious problem. I recognize that man is contributing to greenhouse gases. But, despite …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living


Party hopping

Global warming is a hot potato

Last week I reported on the wide and growing partisan divide in U.S. public opinion over global warming: self-identified Democrats are 39 percentage points more likely than their Republican counterparts to rate climate change a serious problem. But what puzzled me most was the 13-point drop in concern among Republicans since 1999. Call me naïve, but with all the scientific evidence that's been piling up on the issue -- accompanied by increasing media attention -- I guess I expected slow (though perhaps reluctant) increases in concern all across the political spectrum. Years of rising global temperatures, melting sea ice, and …


Post-Gore: Still two Americas

On climate, U.S. attitudes are split along partisan lines

Since it came out about a year ago, An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore's climate change documentary, seems to have pushed the issue into mainstream consciousness. Millions saw the movie itself -- but they were largely true believers anyway. Perhaps more importantly, Gore's Academy Award has earned him a wider audience among the potentially undecided: 39.9 million TV viewers tuned in for the Academy Awards themselves, plus 49 million saw Gore on Oprah. Heck, combined, that's more than the total number of people who voted for George W. Bush in 2006! It's almost as good as being on American Idol. But, …


Rethinking the bottom line

Bill McKibben questions thinking as usual when it comes to climate.

The old thinking, as author and thinker Bill McKibben explains in today's LA Times, goes like this: bigger is always better, growth is good no matter what, and a booming stock market is the ultimate measure of our success. McKibben illustrates the kind of lopsided priorities that naturally flow when we're ruled by the bottom line, pointing to a scarcely-reported White House report that said the U.S. would be pumping out almost 20 percent more greenhouse gases in 2020 than we did in 2000, our contribution to climate change going steadily up -- against all warnings to the contrary. That's …

Read more: Food, Living


Global opinion warming

An international poll points to a window of opportunity for U.S. leadership.

A new international poll finds worldwide agreement that climate change is a threat. Opinions are split, however on the nuts and bolts -- in particular, whether to act immediately and whether countermeasures are worth the investment. Even so, a window of opportunity seems to have opened that would allow leaders with bold solutions to spark international cooperation and make real strides. The poll included 17 countries, representing more than 55 percent of the world population (though not all the questions were asked in each of the countries). Western European countries and Canada* were not included. While global opinion trends are …

Read more: Uncategorized


Pictures worth a bazillion words

Chris Jordan makes staggering statistics visually real

Our minds have a limited capacity to comprehend really, really big numbers. At least mine does. A million tons of C02 might as well be a zillion. Twelve and a half million dollars spent every hour on the Iraq war might as well be bazillions. Sometimes we try to fathom the enormities of raw numbers by visualizing them. How often have you heard that something stacked on end would extend to the moon and back? But that never helps me. I can't actually comprehend just how many pop cans, or human DNA particles, or safety pins, or Chevy engines or …

Read more: Uncategorized