Lisa Hymas

Lisa Hymas is senior editor at Grist. She tweets sometimes.

Update on Blair & Schwarzenegger's climate kissypoo

Leaders agree to share technology; carbon-trading system a possibility, not a done deal

The AP overstated the extent of the climate agreement announced today between British PM Tony Blair and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (and thus Daily Grist overstated it too). Now that the deal's been officially unveiled, a few clarifications: The two didn't agree to launch a new trans-Atlantic carbon-trading market, though they will look into the possibility. Rather, they said the U.K. and California would cooperate on research into cleaner fuels and technologies. Writes the San Francisco Chronicle, "aspects of the agreement include jointly studying the economic impacts of global climate change, collaborating on technology research -- including studying the effects of California's effort to create a 'hydrogen highway' touted by Schwarzenegger -- and establishing regular exchanges between scientists in both places." Not so bold, but a nice symbolic gesture at least.

Democratic caucuses and Yucca Mountain

If Nevada hosts early caucus, presidential candidates are sure to oppose nuke-waste dump

If the Dems go ahead with their plan to hold an early presidential caucus in Nevada, it'll be another big strike against the already beleaguered plan to open a nuclear-waste dump at Yucca Mountain. Yucca Mountain has looked like a long shot for years anyway, beset by technical problems, timeline delays, and court challenges, and held at bay by Nevada's two senators, who -- like the vast majority of their constituents -- are virulently opposed to their state serving as the nation's nuke-waste dumping ground. If Nevada's caucus becomes a key early contest, candidates will stumble over each other to swear on their mothers' graves that Yucca Mountain won't happen under their watch -- just as they now pledge undying fealty to ethanol subsidies in Iowa. (If only they'd just rotate the early caucuses and primaries every four years, so each state's pet issues could get their 15 minutes of candidate pandering.)

Brad Pitt talks NOLA green building on Today show

See Brad Pitt on the Today show talking about a competition he's underwriting with Global Green to judge eco-friendly apartment designs for New Orleans. And watch out for a Gristmill post coming soon from Global Green head Matt Petersen about the sustainable design competition and efforts to rebuild and green a still-devastated New Orleans.

Happy World Population Day

World population as of this post: 6,527,742,659. And rising quickly.

How now organic cow?

USDA will soon decide how much pasture time organic dairy cows should get

With demand for organic milk soaring, the stakes are high in the debate over what exactly "organic milk" is -- and that debate will soon be settled, at least from a legal standpoint, by the USDA's National Organic Program.

Happy Earth Week

Find events in your community in the lead-up to Earth Day on April 22

Earth Day is this coming Saturday, April 22, and green goings-on will be plentiful all this week. Looking for a rally or beach cleanup or edifying lecture or "Lorax" screening in your 'hood? Check out Earth Day Network's searchable database of activities across the U.S. and around the globe.

Whither Canadian environmentalism?

Conservative PM Stephen Harper could shake enviros into action, Matt Price argues

While American environmentalists have been pondering their alleged demise and/or plotting their resurrection, Canadian activists are confronting a whole 'nother set of challenges. Matt Price of Conservation Voters of B.C. tackles many of them in a new paper, "Greening the Beaver: Power, Profit, and the Canadian Dream" [PDF]. He starts off by arguing that Canada's new conservative PM Stephen Harper could be just what the nation's green movement needs to shake it into action. He also says eco-activists need to get over their ambivalence about power, learn to make markets work for the betterment of the environment, and ensure that environmental values are a key component of Canadian values. Lots more good stuff too. Check out the full PDF, Canadians. (Hat tip to ONE/Northwest's Jon Stahl.)

Enviros call on RFK Jr. to support Cape Wind project

Over 150 activists send letter asking Kennedy to reconsider position

Cape Wind Associates' plan to build a big wind-power farm off the coast of Cape Cod has been dividing enviros for years, but the disagreement got a lot more heated last month when Robert F. Kennedy Jr. ran a high-profile op-ed railing against the project in The New York Times. An excerpt: These turbines are less than six miles from shore and would be seen from Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Hundreds of flashing lights to warn airplanes away from the turbines will steal the stars and nighttime views. The noise of the turbines will be audible onshore. A transformer substation rising 100 feet above the sound would house giant helicopter pads and 40,000 gallons of potentially hazardous oil. According to the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the project will damage the views from 16 historic sites and lighthouses on the cape and nearby islands. The Humane Society estimates the whirling turbines could every year kill thousands of migrating songbirds and sea ducks. That didn't sit so well with many enviros who see climate change as the big environmental issue and therefore think renewable-energy projects should be welcomed in all our backyards. More than 150 green leaders and activists this week sent a letter to Kennedy asking him to reconsider. Word is Kennedy said he'll meet with them to discuss. We'll keep you posted. Meantime, here's the letter:

Budget bill with mining-land giveaway passes House

But House version doesn’t call for drilling in Arctic Refuge or offshore areas

Early this morning, the House passed a highly contentious budget reconciliation bill; it remained stripped of provisions that would allow drilling in the Arctic Refuge and new oil exploration in offshore areas, but it still contained the much-fretted-over "mining reform" provision that would sell off millions of acres of public land at fire-sale prices, as described in detail by Amanda Griscom Little yesterday. The Senate passed its version of the bill earlier this month -- it does call for drilling the refuge and offshore areas, but doesn't call for a sell-off of mining lands. Now we'll have to wait and see how a compromise version shakes out during negotiations in House-Senate conference committee. Bets, anyone?