Chip Giller

Chip Giller is founder and CEO of that crazy organization Grist.

Brains of Steele

Titular head of GOP says we’re in period of global cooling

OMG. RNC Chair Michael Steele (i.e., the titular head of the GOP) says that global warming is really “global cooling.” Sam Stein at HuffPost excavates Steele’s thoughts on global warming from his little-noticed stint as …

The Architect speaks

Karl Rove says history to view Bush as ‘far-sighted leader’

Here is how The Architect describes President Bush's environmental legacy: On energy, the environment, and climate change, [Bush] is developing a new paradigm. Emphasizing technology, increased energy-efficiency partnerships, and resource diversification, his policies are improving energy security and slowing the growth of greenhouse gases without economy-breaking mandates and regulation. The president who won criticism by rejecting the failed approach of Kyoto has implemented policies that enabled the United States to grow its economy by 3.1 percent and reduce the absolute amount of CO2 emissions (by 1.3 percent).

Motor City audacity

Obama speech indicates new day is here

Dave gives Obama's speech short shrift. I would argue that this speech -- taking it to the automakers on their home turf, apparently to some applause -- is a big-time deal. The same could be said of the speech what Dave wrote in starry-eyed fashion when the outlines of the TXU deal became public: "The 'tipping point' concept is cheap from overuse these days, but to me this is the clearest sign yet that we have entered a fundamentally new stage in the fight against global warming." Sure, the policy recommendations behind the speech may not be the boldest out there, but can you imagine a presidential candidate giving this speech even a year ago, let alone at this point in 2003? In 1999, Gore was running as hard as he could from Earth-in-the-Balance-like proclamations like this one by Obama today: "The auto industry's refusal to act for so long has left it mired in a predicament for which there is no easy way out." I'm interested in others' thoughts. And keep your eyes on Grist -- as the race heats up, we will be conducting the definitive green interviews with presidential contenders.

Bad day for organics?

E. Coli news is bad news, any way you cut it

Grim headlines for organics, as the feds are linking Natural Selection Foods (Earthbound Farm) and its prepackaged fresh organic spinach to an outbreak of E. coli in many states. If the linkage is confirmed, I bet we'll be hearing a lot from organics skeptics (including chief skeptic Dennis Avery), who'll do their darnedest to say that organic food on the whole is a scary thing (inputs like cow manure may contain contaminants and dirt is, you know, dirty!). And we'll probably be hearing too from smaller farmers, local-is-best-ers, and back-to-the-landers, who'll say, see!: organics doesn't work well on an industrial, Earthbound-size level. And what's up with packaged spinach in the first place? Stay tuned.

Highway to heaven, or to hell?

What’s up with Bush’s nominee for Transportation Secretary?

OK, that headline is horrible. But does anyone have the green goods on Mary Peters, the administration's nominee for Transportation secretary?

New-age energy

Continuing on his energy kick, Tom Friedman devotes his Wednesday column in full to a perhaps shocking speech (pdf) given last week by Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Hey, check out this enviro ...

Check a real person out from a Swedish library

Did anyone else spot this amazing (and amazingly to-the-point) article?STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AFP) -- If you're one of those people who thinks all lesbians are sexually frustrated or all animal rights activists aggressive, then a Swedish library project that allows you to "borrow" a real live human being rather than a book may provide some useful insight.Wow. My mind quickly jumps to bridge-building applications in the U.S.: Borrow A Conservative for a Day, Borrow a Tree Hugger, Borrow a Logger, Borrow a Freakin' Yankees Fan.

"Hybrid Veterans for Truth"?

Are there problems with the Prius?

Tucked into the business sections of newspapers today is this story: The feds are investigating claims that Toyoto Prius engines may unexpectedly stall out at highway speeds. The development may be but a hiccup interruption for Toyota, as the automaker continues to press its green advantage on American consumers while American automakers stand pat (or worse) on fuel efficiency. After all, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received only 33 complaints about stalled engines -- a small number given the something like 75,000 Priuses on the road for the model years 2004 and 2005. On the other hand, if there is any credence to the claims, one can envision the concerns spiralling into a whirl of negative publicity for Toyota -- something that opponents of California's clean-car standards (e.g., GM) would certainly take quick advantage of. Here's hoping that there's no opening for a "Hybrid Veterans for Truth" campaign to get off the ground.


Could there be an environmental version of the new food pyramid?

The new USDA food pyramid has arrived. In a very ownership-society type of way, the pyramid has been transformed into ... MyPyramid. The website is super-slow thus far -- I haven't been able to really dig around yet -- but the arrival of this new-fangled pyramid has made me wonder if some genius, marketing-savvy environmentalist might be able to fashion a clear graphical illustration of environmental do's and don'ts for individuals. Relatively insignificant no-nos (say, acquiring yet one more nasty plastic bag) would be weighted appropriately against much more significant evildoings (say, purchasing a clothes dryer or embarking on yet one more cross-continental flight). I'm not talking about exercises like the Ecological Footprint, which I find utterly demoralizing and disempowering. (Yes, if everyone lived like me, humanity would need 9 gazillion planets to make do, rather than our single orb.) I'm looking instead for a clear representation of what can be done about the problems facing us and how I (we do live in a me, me, me world) can take part. Of course, continuing in the me-me vein, the American public may latch onto MyPyramid because it ostensibly provides guidance for individual improvement (lose those pounds), while the benefits that came from following the wise advice of the as-of-yet undiscovered green graphic would accrue more to society. But, hey, I'm just trying to riff on something topical! In closing, let me repeat this exceptionally moving (contain yourself) "Tip of the Week" from the USDA site:MyPyramid: Do it for you. Make one small change each day for a healthier you.OK, maybe these folks (on loan, by the way, for a steep price from the food-industry world) aren't such smarties after all.

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