Pollutocrat nonpareil Lee Raymond, CEO and chair of ExxonMobil, today announced his resignation, effective at the end of the year. As chair and CEO of the world's largest publicly traded oil company -- and the most recalcitrant on climate issues -- he consistently appalled green observers with his steadfast denial of any need to curb greenhouse-gas emissions or work toward the goal of U.S. energy independence. From a 2002 interview with Raymond: Q: Isn't it time to join the scientific mainstream in countering the greenhouse effect? A: The mainstream of some so-called environmentalists or politically correct Europeans isn't the mainstream of all scientists or the White House. The world has been a lot warmer than it is now and it didn't have anything to do with carbon dioxide. We'll have a hard time replacing this most iconic of eco-villains. Even Bush admits that climate change is happening.
The Wall Street Journal astounded many in the green community last week when it launched a series on toxic chemicals with an in-depth page A1 story on endocrine disruptors, which, even in teeny-tiny amounts, muck up the functioning of human bodies, according to an ever-growing body of scientific studies. Now USA Today is getting in on the game with "Are our products our enemy?" Here, reporter Elizabeth Weise's delightfully melodramatic lead: Like the glint of a knife in the dark, a laboratory accident in 1998 helped scientists realize that some chemicals commonly used to make life more convenient can be health hazards. Since what they still call "the disaster" in geneticist Pat Hunt's lab, more scientists have come to suspect that, even in tiny amounts, some of the chemicals that keep our food fresh, our hair stylish, our floors shiny and our fabrics stain-free might be confusing our hormone systems and derailing fetal development. From what I can discern, there's not much real, breaking news in these stories; rather, the real, breaking news is these stories. Which news outlet will jump on board next?
Even though, really, he's not sexy. So scrawny and white-bread. PETA adherents are even nuttier than I thought. They voted Coldplay singer/guitarist Chris Martin and American Idol country crooner Carrie Underwood as the hottest herbivores. I'm taking that as an insult to us foxy veggies everywhere. My picks from the list of celebs offered up as meat-eschewing hotties: Radha Mitchell, Angela Bassett, Fiona Apple, Esai Morales, and Samuel L. Jackson. Oh, and John Cleese. (Weirdest candidates: G. Gordon Liddy and Mary Tyler Moore.)
Imagine my delight at seeing this on the side of my bus: "Choose your wood responsibly," beckons the ad for Seattle's Environmental Home Center, a mecca for green home improvement. (See the full ad in PDF form here.)
Speaking of Americans never, ever, ever giving up their cars: 88 percent, if forced to ditch either their vehicle or their email/instant messaging, would forgo internet communications in favor of wheels, according to a recent survey. And 86 percent would rather abandon their cell phone than their car. Yet more evidence of how out of touch I am with the masses of real red-blooded Americans. You can have my Honda, but keep your damn paws off the iBook.
Pete Domenici -- Republican senator from New Mexico and chair of the powerful Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee -- met with Cheney on Friday to talk climate. As Alex Flint, the senator's top energy staffer, said, "Sen. Domenici is now convinced that climate change is occurring and that we need to do something about it."
More signs that the tipping point on climate has arrived: In a Christian Science Monitor article today: "The ground is shifting on the politics of climate change faster than I would have thought," said Alex Flint, GOP staff director of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, at a press breakfast sponsored by The Energy Daily and BP America on Friday. And as The Boston Globe reports: "The chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, Pete V. Domenici, is considering whether to team up with a fellow New Mexican, Senator Jeff Bingaman, a Democrat, on [a] proposal that would cap [greenhouse-gas] emissions but allow companies to buy their way out if the cost of reducing emissions proves to be prohibitively high." (More on Bingaman's plan here.) "We're thrilled at the interest being shown by Republicans at doing something that's achievable and doable," said Bill Wicker, a Bingaman spokesman.
The nation's mayors have thrown their weight behind Kyoto (and thereby thumbed their noses at Dubyah). At the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Chicago yesterday, municipal leaders unanimously endorsed a resolution calling on U.S. cities to meet or beat the protocol's emissions-reduction targets. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels spearheaded the resolution, as well as a more specific campaign that's gotten 164 cities (so far) to commit to taking steps to protect the climate. Grist's Amanda Griscom Little tracked Nickels down amidst all the hubbub this morning for an interview, which we'll publish later this week. Stay tuned. As Eric pointed out yesterday, we're at a tipping point on climate change (finally, jeez). Can Bush possibly hold out for another 3.5 years doing nothing on this issue? I'm betting he cannot. Update [2005-6-20 10:34:49 by Lisa Hymas]: Check out Amanda's interview with Nickels.
After making kissy-face in front of the press corps at the White House today, Bush and Blair took a couple of questions. One reporter asked Bush whether he believes global warming is an anthropogenic problem (without using any big words, of course): And, Mr. President, if I may, as well, on climate change -- you didn't talk about climate change -- do you believe that climate change is manmade and that you, personally, as the leader of the richest country in the world, have a responsibility to reverse that change? Naturally, Bush dodged the causation issue: In terms of climate change, I've always said it's a serious long-term issue that needs to be dealt with. And my administration isn't waiting around to deal with the issue, we're acting. I don't know if you're aware of this, but we lead the world when it comes to dollars spent, millions of dollars spent on research about climate change. We want to know more about it. It's easier to solve a problem when you know a lot about it. And if you look at the statistics, you'll find the United States has taken the lead on this research. [More blather ensued; check it out in the transcript, if you're the masochistic sort.] As it turns out, even as Bush was bragging about the millions the feds are spending on climate-change research, The New York Times was posting an article by Andy Revkin alleging that the administration is doctoring that very same research to jive with the oil industry's preferred version of the "science": A White House official who once led the oil industry's fight against limits on greenhouse gases has repeatedly edited government climate reports in ways that play down links between such emissions and global warming, according to internal documents. Wouldn't want those millions of taxpayer dollars to result in any too firm conclusions, now would we?
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