Mary Bruno

Unauthorized leak

Gulf oil spill worse than expected, and getting worser

Like the oil, there’s more news spilling out of (or is it into?) the Gulf of Mexico. And none of it is good. Where to begin? The 5,000-foot-long pipe that links the oil well to Transocean’s now submerged rig has sprung a third leak, which could explain why scientists at NOAA just upped their estimate for the amount of oil gushing into the Gulf from 1,000 to 5,000 barrels a day. (British Petroleum officials dispute the new figures.) The slick is about 16 miles off the Louisiana coast and closing in. Forecasters expect a landfall sometime on Friday, but strong …

Grist talks

Can an SEC ruling reverse climate change?

Mary: Hello and welcome to Grist Talks, our regular series of conversations with really smart people about really interesting topics. I’m Mary Bruno your really smart and interesting host. And I’m joined today by really smart and really interesting panelists. But before I bring them into the conversation, let me first introduce today’s topic. On January 27th, commissioners at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission decided in a close 3-2 vote that publicly traded companies really ought to disclose any climate change-related risks and opportunities that might affect their bottom line. So for example, do ski resorts have a plan …

Let’s tawk!

Will an SEC ruling convert short-term greed into long-term sustainability? [UPDATED WITH TRANSCRIPT]

I know. I know. Securities and Exchange Commission: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. But the SEC did something sort of landmark last January: in a 3-2 vote, commissioners approved guidelines that urge companies to regularly disclose climate change-related risks (and opportunities) to investors. If you’re a big box store importing underwear from China, or an insurance company indemnifying coastal businesses, you’ll have to start accounting for the carbon cost of all that transportation, or the projected rise in global sea levels. We’re not talking laws here, just guidelines. But the SEC’s decision should make corporate America take climate change more seriously, and it may …

talking up a reform

Why aren’t climate scientists talking about healthcare reform?

Health care reform dominates the news as Dems struggle to push their reform package through Congress. I applaud the effort, but can’t help wondering why climate change is being left out of the debate. Research shows that climate change is harmful to our health, raising rates of cancer and of respiratory and neurological diseases. So why aren’t climate scientists taking advantage of healthcare reform to spotlight these very real and worrisome connections? What better platform from which to advocate for their own favorite cause: comprehensive climate legislation that sets a strict limit on greenhouse gases. Puzzled by the silence, I …

These boots were made for cutting carbon

Timberland CEO Jeff Swartz on the new corporate push for climate action

Timberland CEO Jeff SwartzPhoto: TimberlandCould corporate America finally be stirring from its climate change slumber? Timberland CEO Jeff Swartz believes the answer is a qualified yes. If recent events are any indication, we’re inclined to agree with him. In the last few weeks companies from Apple and Nike to Pacific Gas and Electric have been deserting the 97-year-old Chamber of Commerce over its “climate-change-what-climate-change?” stance on climate change. This week, as part of an advocacy effort called We Can Lead, CEOs from more than 150 corporations are swarming the Capitol to try and strong arm the Obama administration and congressional …

Our parks in peril

Tonya Ricks for Grist Mount Rainier National Park (Wash.) – The home of the Cascade Mountain range’s highest peak (and its glaciers) is in danger from heavy rain and floods, overcrowding, and loss of snow/ice, water, plants, and animals. Glacier National Park (Mont.) – This once glacier-packed park is in danger of melting due to heavy rain and floods, and loss of snow and ice. Yosemite National Park (Calif.) – This park’s giant sequoias and high concentration of waterfalls are at risk from heavy rain and floods, air pollution, overcrowding, and loss of snow/ice, water, plants, and animals. Joshua Tree …

No shit

Puget Sound saviors wage war on pet poop

Runoff and dog poop are killing Puget Sound. On Sept. 17, a diverse coalition of 57 cities, counties, businesses, universities, and advocacy groups launched a campaign called Puget Sound Starts Here to try and deep six these and other threats to Washington State’s vast inland waterway. (Funding for the effort is coming from state and private sources.)  Puget Sound is home to orcas and octopi, salmon, and sea lions and four million people. The people — and their pets — are the problem. On an average day, stormwater runoff fouled by lawn fertilizers, household cleaning products, and oil from roadways …

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