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?
CNN founder and legendary loudmouth Ted Turner marked the 25th birthday of the pioneering cable news network this week by patting its back, but also telling staff, "I would like to see us return to a little more international coverage on the domestic feed and a little more environmental coverage, and maybe a little less pervert of the day. I mean, there's a lot of perversion around, I know that, but is it really news? I mean, some of it is. I guess you've got to cover Michael Jackson, but not three stories about perversion at the lead of every half-hour." A "little more" environmental coverage? Does that imply that there's some already? Did I blink and miss it?
GM -- stung by declining sales of SUVs and subsequently shamed by having its credit ratings lowered to junk status -- is trying a new marketing approach: touting its more fuel-efficient models (such as they are). A new full-page newspaper ad cries "Meet the 30 and Up Crowd" and showcases "19 cars that have EPA highway estimates of at least 30 miles per gallon." Too bad it doesn't have a single consumer hybrid model that it can tout on the page. (Its two hybrid trucks top out at 22 mpg.) Sucks to be GM.
Well, for one issue. Kinda. From a Playboy press release dated today: Playboy magazine is searching for the sexiest environmentalists in America, women willing to take it all off for their favorite cause. The magazine is planning a pictorial for an upcoming issue featuring women involved in environmental causes or with groups dedicated to saving the planet or protecting wildlife. In addition to a modeling fee for each of the participants, Playboy will make a donation to the favorite causes of the women chosen to appear in the pictorial. But will they be as hot as Leona Johansson? Much as I'd love to help Grist get more exposure (ahem), I won't be entering myself. But the rest of you "enthusiastic and uninhibited environmentalists," as Playboy puts it, have at it. Call 312.373.2717 for details. (And you thought gastroporn was racy.)
The hottest thang in veggie circles these days? Gastroporn. It comes (ahem) courtesy of Britain's venerable Vegetarian Society, as part of its "Can you keep it up for a week?" campaign. A must-watch. (Check out The Independent for the backstory.)
The neutralizers carried the day in the Sierra Club's contentious board election, which wrapped up today. Sierra Club members turned out in historic numbers this year ... to reject a ballot initiative that would have forced the group to support restrictions on immigration. Over fifteen percent of the Club's membership returned 122,308 ballots -- the second highest in the Club's recent history -- and defeated the anti-immigration measure by more than a 5 to 1 margin. In addition to calling for club policy to remain neutral on immigration, members also elected five establishment-backed board members, while board candidates who advocated immigration restrictions, backed by Sierrans for U.S. Population Stabilization, were soundly squashed. So immigration's off the table, until next year's election ...
Looky here: Grist editor Chip Giller has an op-ed in today's Boston Globe. The piece approaches the "Death of Environmentalism" debate from a new, hopeful angle. It argues that environmentalism as a narrowly focused D.C. lobby might be struggling, but across the country, a conviction that sustainability is integral to our quality of life and our economic competitiveness is very much on the rise. OK, that sounds kinda dense, but the piece is actually quite snappy. Really!