Glenn Hurowitz

Glenn Hurowitz is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy.

Politics

Environmentalists stand up to Obama, win big

Under intense pressure from green groups and their members, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) announced Friday that Republican proposals to gut the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act were off the table in budget negotiations. “Neither the White House nor Senate Leaders is going to accept any EPA riders,” Reid said. Reid’s pledge follows 48 hours of intense pressure on the White House from major green groups, marking the first time many large environmental organizations have so openly and loudly targeted Obama and Reid — and it produced extraordinarily rapid results. Indeed, as recently as Wednesday, the Associated …

Politics

AP reports White House insisting on Clean Air, Clean Water rollbacks to pass budget [UPDATED]

The Associated Press is reporting that the White House is insisting to congressional Democrats that they endorse Republicans' proposed environmental rollbacks.

The change King Coal has been waiting for

Obama administration announces massive coal mining expansion

The future’s looking sooty.Photo: Tami Heilemann, DOIInterior Secretary Ken Salazar announced yesterday an enormous expansion in coal mining that threatens to increase U.S. climate pollution by an amount equivalent to more than half of what the United States currently emits in a year. A statement from Wild Earth Guardians, Sierra Club, and Defenders of Wildlife put the announcement in perspective: When burned, the coal threatens to release more than 3.9 billion tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, equal to the annual emissions from 300 coal-fired power plants, further cementing the United States as a leading contributor to climate disruption … Salazar’s …

Frosted Flakes are (sort of) Grr-r-een!

How two 15-year-old Girl Scouts (and Grist readers) changed Kellogg’s

It’ll take some willpower, but don’t have “samoa” until they stop harming the planet.Photo: Laura TaylorWhen Kellogg’s announced this week that it is moving to limit the deforestation caused by the palm oil it uses to make Frosted Flakes, Keebler cookies, Rice Krispies, and Girl Scout cookies, it represented an enormous achievement for two 15-year-old girls from Michigan. You may remember Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen from my article two weeks ago, “Are Girl Scout cookies killing orangutans?” They’ve been working for several years to get Girl Scouts USA to switch from palm oil to more planet-friendly and healthier alternatives …

C is for Cruelty, and it's not good enough for me

Are Girl Scout cookies killing orangutans?

Yet another reason to feel bad about waking up in a pile of crumbs.Photo: Josh KenzerIt’s Girl Scout cookie season, but Michigan scouts Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva are finding other ways to support the organization’s mission of “building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place” than selling those famous Thin Mints and Tagalongs. Many varieties of Girl Scout cookies include palm oil, the No. 1 culprit behind deforestation in Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia and Malaysia. When Madison and Rhiannon found out that Girl Scout cookies were destroying the forest homes of endangered wildlife …

Budget for rainforests puts Obama’s $1 billion pledge at risk

Photo: Rhett A. Butler, MongaBayBoth President Obama’s proposed budget and especially House Republican proposals fall significantly short of the administration’s $1 billion pledge for short-term forest finance made at the Copenhagen climate summit – putting the United States’ climate credibility at even further risk. However modest, the $1 billion pledge was one of the few concrete, deliverable commitments on international climate finance that the United States has made.  Without these funds, the United States will be doing very little indeed to address climate change internationally. Here’s the breakdown: According to the administration’s revised numbers, the United States is currently spending …

The World According to GAR

Possible breakthrough: Indonesian palm oil giant pledges zero deforestation

Oil palm concession in Indonesia. Photo: Hayden Potential good news for orangutans, tigers, and the climate: Indonesian palm oil giant Golden Agri-Resources (GAR), a subsidiary of all-round planet pulper Sinar Mas (palm oil, illegal logging, coal) is promising not to destroy forests and ultra carbon-rich peatlands for palm oil. Photo: Rhett A. Butler, MongaBayHere’s the skinny from Rolf Skar of Greenpeace, whose multi-year campaign targeting Sinar Mas seems to paying dividends: This move by GAR would have been almost unimaginable just a year ago, and — if properly implemented — could be an historic step towards full forest and peatland …

Why America’s Sputnik moment should include trees

Last week the President unveiled his “Strategy for American Innovation” which details his approach to jumpstarting the American economy by investing in important areas such as clean energy, health care technology, and education.  This week he hits to road in an effort to get folks excited about   modernizing our infrastructure. As a climate champ, this all sounds great to us. More mass transit, more science, more education, healthier people, more clean energy—bring it on!  Yet, the President’s approach misses an opportunity to highlight a critical aspect to our economic and social wellbeing. To my surprise, the word “ecosystem” appears at …

How to prevent your airplane from hitting a goose

I recently wrote a big-think piece for The Atlantic about how the federal government’s and New York City’s gassing of Canada geese in a misguided attempt to reduce the risk of bird-plane collisions actually represents the beginning of a new and disturbing era in Man’s relationship to the creatures of the sky. Particularly if you’re a bird lover, I think you’ll enjoy it. But in the course of researching the article, I came across some fascinating, simple advice from bird experts about the best way to reduce the risk of birds striking airplanes: grow the grass on runways higher. Probably …