Keith Schneider

Keith Schneider, a former national correspondent and a contributor to the New York Times, began his environmental reporting career in 1979 when he covered the hazards of radioactive releases from the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania. He is the senior editor and producer at Circle of Blue, which covers the global freshwater crisis from its newsroom in Traverse City, Mich. He also contributes to Yale Environment 360 and The Energy Collective.

Africa returns to Barcelona talks, while U.S. resists giving up the numbers

The African nations that walked out of the climate negotiations on Monday, just hours after the Barcelona meeting started, returned late yesterday. The point of the day-long demonstration was made. Delegates of the 192 nations gathered here to make significant progress on a new climate treaty next month in Copenhagen are frustrated, terribly frustrated with the United States for not taking two momentous steps. One is defining the quantity of carbon it is ready to remove from the atmosphere. And the second is putting on the table a definite dollar amount the U.S. is prepared to invest to help developing …

An interview with Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm

Jennifer Granholm. If John Kerry becomes president, he’ll owe an awful lot to Jennifer M. Granholm, Michigan’s environmentally minded first-term Democratic governor. For all but a few shaky days in early September when some polls indicated that Michigan may have been leaning President Bush’s way, the state and its 17 critical electoral votes have stayed all year as alpine blue as a northern Lake Michigan bay. Granholm has actively accompanied the senator on swings through Michigan, and her husband, Daniel Mulhern, is co-chair of the Kerry-Edwards state campaign. Apart from the war and terrorism, the issues motivating voters in the …

Lessons from the Great Lakes on how enviros can win votes and influence people

Bush chats up Michiganders in Monroe. Photo: White House. President Bush swooped into Monroe, Mich., in mid-September for an appearance at one of the largest and most polluting coal-fired power plants in the world. As an exploration of his ideas about environmental policy, the visit was completely baffling. (Why go to such a filthy facility? Why sing the praises of a piece of legislation — the Clean Air Act — that his administration has made every effort to weaken?) But as a campaign stop, the Monroe visit made perfect sense. Michigan is an important swing state at the political and …

Green groups work together to counter the Bush attack on the environment

It’s been nine weeks since voters turned the national government over to Republican lawmakers, many of whom explicitly vowed to help President Bush and his industrial allies complete what former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) failed to do in 1995: dismantle the nation’s basic protections for water, air, wild lands, forests, and public health. An uphill battleground. Since the first hours after the election, senior staff members from the most prominent U.S. green groups have been preparing an action plan to foil the Republican assault on the environment — and today, when Congress reconvenes, that plan will be launched. …

Michigan residents fight for control of the state’s water

Until two years ago, the 40,550 generally well-behaved Midwesterners of Mecosta County, Mich., regularly attended church, sent their children off to school on yellow buses, and never for a moment worried that their clean, freshwater supply would ever run dry. Mecosta County, after all, sits near the center of Michigan’s lower peninsula, which itself sits at the center of the largest supply of freshwater on Earth. A Mecosta County battleground. Photo: Jeff Sapp, MCWC. Then came the water war. On Dec. 6, 2000, the Perrier Group of America, a subsidiary of Swiss-based Nestle, the world’s largest food company, applied to …

The blue-green relationship hits the skids

The Washington, D.C., headquarters of the AFL-CIO, which represents 13 million workers in the United States, is on 16th Street just a couple of blocks north of the White House. On the morning of Sept. 11, some of the U.S. environmental movement’s most influential leaders — John Adams and Robert Kennedy, Jr., of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Carl Pope and Dan Becker of the Sierra Club, and John Podesta, a former White House chief of staff during the Clinton administration — were assembled in the federation’s executive conference room awaiting the arrival of its president, John Sweeney. Their purpose: …

Redefining the "American way of life"Nonsense and Sensibility

It takes only the first raw scent of the smoldering piles of debris at Ground Zero and a quick glance at the guts of the blasted, black-charred remains of the World Trade Center to immediately agree with President Bush that the Sept. 11 attacks were a direct strike at what he called “the American way of life.” America, the solar-powered? Bush’s assessment, meant to stir public passion and lay the political foundation for a sustained military campaign to eradicate global terrorism, has also had another, quite different effect. Spurred by the president’s regular reference, the American way of life is …

The political reshuffling in the U.S. could help the environment

It is impossible to conceive of human acts as wholly devoid of humanity as last month’s terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. The nation is reeling, emotionally stranded by confusion, shared suffering, and a stunningly new sense of danger. But if something good has come out of this paroxysm of grief and alarm it is this: Americans are reconsidering what’s really relevant and what is less so in our national life. Professional sports stadiums, for instance, were empty for a week. Vapid advertising disappeared from television news programs. The Emmy Awards were cancelled. In this unusual moment of national …

Has Bush done the environment a favor with his extreme agenda?

Oh, it’s getting fun. As Congress prepares to reconvene next week, the question is not whether the White House will adjust its strategy on the environment, but how. When President Bush and his congressional allies went home for vacations this month, the message they heard away from the Beltway was consistent: The administration’s approach on energy, global warming, public health, and natural resources has left a lot to be desired. Act One on the environment was a policy and political disappointment for the president. The prez at the shovel: 15 minutes of trail maintenance in Colorado.Photo: White House. It was …

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