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Jonathan Hiskes' Posts

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Wake up and cool the planet!

Worldwatch Institute's 2009 report is one long call to climate action

President-elect Obama wants to work toward reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, but a new study from a D.C. research group says even that rate won't be enough to avoid potentially catastrophic disruptions to the world's climate. The Worldwatch Institute, which sounds a little like a group with an underground lair in a James Bond film, released its 2009 State of the World report this week, claiming the world will have to reach near-zero emissions by mid-century if it wants to avoid the worst consequences of a changing climate. As you might guess from the title "State of …

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EPA’s first administrator is bullish on Obama, but not cap-and-trade

Bill Ruckelshaus has been advising President-elect Obama's transition team on environmental policy, and it's no wonder: He knows a fair bit about how to organize the Environmental Protection Agency. William D. Ruckelshaus. Photo: University of Washington Not only did he preside over the agency's founding under President Nixon, but he also returned to do salvage work after the disastrous tenure of Anne Gorsuch, Ronald Reagan's first EPA administrator, who more or less openly tried to dismantle the agency she was charged with leading. In 1983 Reagan persuaded the well-regarded Ruckelshaus to return to Washington for a second stint atop the …

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A look at EPA administrators since the agency’s founding

As government titles go, "administrator" doesn't have the same ring as "secretary," "czar," or "ambassador." But it's an accurate moniker for the top job at the Environmental Protection Agency, where the president's appointee is charged with running an agency of 17,000 employees organized around 10 regional offices, with an overall annual budget of more than $7 billion. As former administrator Christine Todd Whitman learned, the president's environmental agenda severely shapes what an EPA administrator can accomplish. Still, each EPA leader has left a particular mark on the agency, and by extension on the air, water, and land it is charged …

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Christine Todd Whitman talks about greening the GOP and running the EPA

If Christine Todd Whitman had waited four years to publish her political memoir, she might have had this winter's timeliest bestseller. The former Environmental Protection Agency administrator and New Jersey governor wrote It's My Party Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America to urge moderate Republicans, environmentalists included, to reclaim the party from social ideologues and "extremists." She warned that focusing on hot-button social issues might bring short-term political payoffs but would end up marginalizing the Republican Party in the long run. The message sounds like simple common sense in the wake of …

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Meet the people who might fill top environmental jobs in an Obama administration

    How green would Obama's cabinet be? A few names to file away.   So what exactly does change look like? Barack Obama has ambitious energy and environmental plans. If he wins on Nov. 4, who will he recruit to carry them out? Will he rely more heavily on Washington newcomers or on Clinton administration veterans who know their way around the White House? Obama's choice for a transition team leader -- John Podesta, former Clinton chief of staff -- suggests he's willing to look back to the Clinton years for top staff. But Obama has also surrounded himself …