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Keith Harrington's Posts

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Why BP is a textbook psychopath

It’s good to know that a full six-plus weeks after the BP rig explosion killed 11 workers and initiated the slow painful murder of the Gulf Coast economy and ecology, our ever-watchful federal government has decided to launch an investigation into whether BP actually did something criminal. Thanks for jumping on this, Uncle Sam. Of course, regardless of how the investigation pans out, it seems that “criminal” may not end up being the right word to describe BP. That term doesn’t fully or accurately encapsulate the truly frightening nature of this corporation and its behavior. Turning to criminology for a …

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Tea Party helps pass carbon tax

Maryland's Montgomery County Council passed the nation's first county-level carbon tax on Wednesday thanks in part to a little heckling from a group of rowdy Tea Party protesters. It would be hard to dream up a more delightful twist to cap off a campaign that was about as dramatic as they come in the world of county politics. Desperate to prevent what they rightly saw as a precedent that could unleash an avalanche of similar laws across the country, the Mirant Corporation -- owners of the big coal plant that was facing the $15 million tax -- spared no expense …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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How environmental groups are protesting the oil spill

Since the scale of the BP catastrophe began to register, there have been a lot of questions swirling around the political implications of the spill. Will it help or hinder efforts to pass a climate bill? Should environmentalists seize upon the opportunity to galvanize public support like never before behind an aggressive shift towards clean energy, or should they avoid calls for a drilling moratorium? For their part, more than a few environmental groups have understandably chosen the former option, and have sprung into action mobilizing supporters behind a flurry of new campaigns. Here’s a sampling of some of the …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Against a torrent of oil, a trickle of responsibility

Of the many things lacking in the response to the BP spill, responsibility ranks pretty high on the list. From President Obama’s reluctance to reverse his decision to expand offshore drilling, to BP’s shameless attempts to play the innocent victim card, and the far right’s attempts to pin the blame on environmentalists, responsible words and actions have been in short supply. So it’s been refreshing to see at least some high-profile public figures attempting to reverse that trend. In what could be the first inklings of a mounting wave of political push back against the reckless drill-baby-drill mentality, several political …

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Tragic oil spill = smarter climate bill?

Several weeks before President Obama made the tragic decision to approve expanded offshore drilling, ten costal-state senators wrote a letter [PDF] to their colleagues John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) pressing the trio to keep expanded offshore drilling out of their now floundering climate and energy package. In the letter, the senators warned about the serious threats such drilling posed to their states' coastlines: While technological advances have attempted to lower the environmental and economic risks of drilling, experience has shown that no technology is foolproof. Since 1964 offshore operators have had 40 spills of greater than …

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State of the Climate Movement: Can fasting and asceticism save the world?

Despite all the doubts surrounding Copenhagen’s political outcomes, global climate activists can take heart in the fact that the conference may result in the next best thing to a binding climate treaty: a smarter, more galvanized, and re-energized global grassroots climate movement. More than a mere geographical convergence point for our movement, Copenhagen has already proved itself an important philosophical and sociological convergence point as well, inspiring climate activists around the globe to come together like never before behind powerful new ideas and campaigns. And I’m not just talking about 350. Here’s a look at few of the more notable …

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Why the climate movement needs more Ethiopian-style activists

Of all the amazing stories that emerged from last month’s historic International Day of Climate Action, the one that really caught my eye (and made my jaw drop in disbelief and admiration) was that of 15,000 Ethiopian students swarming though the streets of Addis Ababa brandishing 350 signs and whooping it up big time in support of bold global climate solutions.     If you haven't seen the video yet, check it out. It’s definitely something to behold. Less jaw-dropping was the turnout at our action in D.C. which topped out at less than a thousand. Considering the massive outreach …

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Oct 24, 2009 – Not just a global day of action; a historic turning point

Sarah Rifaat via 350.org Flickr Creative CommonsIf you’re still looking for a good reason to venture out and take part in an International Day of Climate Action event on Saturday, try this on for size: the day of action won't simply be a landmark moment for the global climate movement; it could very well turn out to be a landmark moment in human history. And that's not an exaggeration. The truth is, nothing like the International Day of Climate Action has ever happened before. As Bill McKibben just said, with over 4000 events taking place in almost every country in …

Read more: Climate & Energy