Lisa Hymas

Lisa Hymas is senior editor at Grist. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Angela in America

Germany’s Merkel praises U.S. House climate bill as a ‘sea change’

Angela MerkelPhoto: Bertelsmann StiftungThe climate bill being debated today in the U.S. House represents a “sea change” and “points to the fact that the United States [is] very serious on climate,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a visit to the White House this morning. “I wish you every success. … I would not have thought [it] possible a year ago,” she continued. Speaking at a joint press conference after private talks with Obama, Merkel said the president’s work on climate change is laying the groundwork for successful climate-treaty negotiations later this year in Denmark: “I’m very gratified to note …

Green service

Obama’s green team to kick off summer of community service

President Obama wants you — yes, you — to participate in a summer service campaign that he’s calling United We Serve. “From June 22 to September 11, United We Serve will begin to engage Americans from coast to coast in addressing community needs in education, health, energy and the environment, and community renewal,” reads the website. Cabinet members and admin officials will kick the program off on Monday with service-related events around the country, many of which have a green tinge: Department of LaborSecretary Solis will work with the Los Angeles Communities Advocating for Unity Social Justice and Action …

Heavyweight championship

Gore vs. Hansen: Enviros take sides in debate over House climate bill

Photo illustration by Tom Twigg / Grist[Updated: June 1, 2009] The Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill, now moving through the House, is polarizing the environmental community. Longtime climate crusader Al Gore says we should do all we can to get the legislation passed; top climate scientist James Hansen says we should demand a different, better bill. Activists and environmental groups are picking sides or staking out positions in the middle.   In this corner, Al Gore! “I think they’ve maintained the integrity of the bill. In its current form as I understand it, I have no doubt that it will …

Your Crist is on my list

Crist, a green-leaning moderate Republican, is running for U.S. Senate

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist declared his candidacy for U.S. Senate on Tuesday, aiming to help recover an increasingly endangered species — the moderate Republican — in increasingly hostile habitat — Washington, D.C. Crist is running for the seat now held by fellow Republican Mel Martinez, who intends to leave the Senate when his first term ends in 2010. Crist has been proactive on climate change, in the mold of Arnold Schwarzenegger. In October 2008, his administration unveiled an ambitious climate plan. Grist’s Amanda Griscom Little interviewed Crist last year and asked about his commitment to the climate cause: Q: Was …

Notable quotable

Olympia Snowe on GOP losing enviros, everyone else

“We’re excluding the young, minorities, environmentalists, pro-choice — the list goes on. … To the average American who’s struggling, we’re in some other stratosphere. We’re the party of Big Business and Big Oil and the rich.” – Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, on the Republican Party

So Long, Farewell

Justice Souter has been a dependable green vote

What might the retirement of Supreme Court Justice David Souter mean for the environment? Probably not a lot. Though he was appointed by President George H. W. Bush, Souter has proven a reliable member of the court’s liberal wing, so if Obama appoints another liberal, don’t expect much change. Souter voted with the majority in the landmark 2007 climate-change case Massachusetts v. EPA, in which the court found that greenhouse gases are “air pollutants” under the Clean Air Act and therefore the EPA has the authority to regulate them. That decision laid the groundwork for the EPA’s finding in April …

The green issue

The New York Times Magazine’s take on environmentalism is more interesting than most

It’s Earth Week, so the MSM is trotting out its obligatory parade of environmental coverage. The New York Times Magazine‘s green issue is better than most. Check it out: The cover story by Jon Gerter asks, Why isn’t the brain green? “Scientists are trying to figure out why it’s so hard for us to get into a green mind-set. Their answers may be more crucial than any technological advance in combating environmental challenges.” Deborah Solomon interviews Energy Secretary Steven Chu (and she’s less abrasive and irritating than usual). Jon Mooallem profiles Sandpoint, Idaho, which is trying to see the bright …

Scared off the rails?

L.A. train collision dismays new riders

Speaking of trains, the horrific train wreck in L.A. last Friday came as ridership on the region’s rail network was on the rise, The New York Times reports. Los Angeles has long been known for its car-choked freeways. But after gas prices in California rose to more than $4.50 a gallon over the last several months, more people here have begun to use public transportation. People who commute between Los Angeles and the suburbs of Ventura, Long Beach and three inland counties have traded $60 or more in monthly gas bills for $17 monthly Metrolink passes and climbed aboard. In …

The secret life of Sarah Palin

Palin’s record of secrecy and cronyism affects environment among other issues

A passion for oil drilling isn’t the only thing Sarah Palin has in common with Dick Cheney. “Interviews show that Ms. Palin runs an administration that puts a premium on loyalty and secrecy,” The New York Times reports in a front page article on Sunday. “While Ms. Palin took office promising a more open government, her administration has battled to keep information secret,” the Times reports. “The governor and her top officials sometimes use personal e-mail accounts for state business; dozens of e-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that her staff members studied whether that could allow …

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