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Terry Tamminen's Posts

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Climate Change Deniers Will Go Hungry Too

Trying to get investors and policymakers to focus on things we can all agree on, such as saving energy and money or creating domestic renewable energy jobs, I have refused to engage the climate change skeptics. After all, it’s somewhat irrelevant whether global warming is caused by humans if the measures to change that trajectory are good for the economy anyway, right? But recent news and forecasts of trends make it even clearer that we are all in this fragile, sinking vessel together and it’s no longer enough to avoid the fundamental cause. It’s official - - 2010 was one …

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Beware of drug pushers in Cancun

Some delegates to the Cancun climate talks are pushing drugs with a capital D and that rhymes with C and that stands for coal.Imagine a weight loss convention, with no more ambitious goal than agreeing that 16 ounces equals a pound, and where those who say "diet" the loudest were actually selling candy and donuts in the parking lot. As world carbon regulators meet in Cancun in early December in hopes of making progress toward an eventual successor to the Kyoto Protocol, there will be similar predators lurking among the delegates. Not a single delegate to the Cancun meeting, COP …

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R20 – A Carbon Rebel Alliance

A long, long time ago…in a galaxy far, far away…a group of states and provinces banded together in frustration that their national governments were held hostage by Big Oil & Coal and had been unable to break free to harness the economic development opportunities presented by renewable energy, alternative fuels, energy efficiency, and carbon markets. Led by a cyborg sent from the future, this can-do group of policymakers, smart businesses, non-profits, and investors created a new paradigm for achieving energy independence, saving vast sums of money, and putting their citizenry to work again. Because someone had already used “Rebel Alliance”, …

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Advice for a carbon-powered Congress

Inside the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.Photo: O PalssonThe crystal balls of carbon policy are working overtime to interpret the results of the midterm elections. Fossil fuel providers have been gleeful as most soothsayers suggest a cloudy future for clean energy, energy independence, and any progress on reducing carbon pollution. Oil and coal companies helped elect a Congress more hostile to those sustainable energy solutions, but at least three oracles offer a different vision for our carbon-powered Congress to follow that may result in more jobs and a faster economic recovery. First, there are the 10 northeastern …

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Energy lessons from Manhattan to Marrakech

At the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Marrakech last week, I expected to hear the sustainability challenges of the Middle East and North Africa (the so-called "MENA" region) described in some detail -- from education to health care, from women in the workplace to replacing oil. I was not disappointed, but what I did not expect to hear in that setting was a lesson on energy economics from Manhattan. Delegates from the MENA region and beyond have long concluded that a growing economy -- even in one of the most oil-rich parts of the globe -- cannot be sustained by …

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The politics of palm oil

Revlon's eyeliners. Nabisco's Oreo cookies. Caress' Tahitian Renewal Silkening Exfoliating Pomegranate Seeds & Tahitian Palm Oil Body Wash. These are a few of the hundreds of everyday products containing palm oil -- products that Walmart announced last week it would soon require to prove used only sustainably sourced palm oil. Meanwhile, the World Bank stopped lending to palm oil plantations in developing countries until it is satisfied that the industry is doing more good than harm to natural resources and local communities. So who could be against leaving our kids and grandkids food ingredients more sustainable and nutritious than Lady …

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Green fraud is even more harmful than greenwashing

Beyond petroleum, BP harnesses greenwashing and green fraud. Click for a larger version.Image: London Rising TideLast week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed guidelines to address the practice of inflating eco-friendly claims for a growing list of products, commonly known as greenwashing. Experts are debating if manufacturers should consider minimum standards for sustainable content and recycling practices, among many other factors, in an effort to help consumers understand just what shade of green they get for any given purchase. It's a worthy effort and long overdue, but the FTC should go beyond greenwashing and tackle green fraud. Let's take the …

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Want Dinner with Leonardo DiCaprio and George Soros?

In New York last week for the Clinton Global Initiative and United Nations Week, I attended a small dinner party late one night that featured film star Leonardo DiCaprio, billionaire philanthropist/investor George Soros, the President of the central African nation of Gabon and the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea (PNG), among others. What brought this eclectic group together? The economics of climate change. In sharp contrast to Valero, Tesoro, and the Koch brothers (of Koch Industries), who are spending millions to stop California from reducing carbon emissions across the state, these leaders see opportunity in modernizing a host of …

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America’s secret economic weapon: the EPA

In the race to compete in a global economic recovery, the U.S. may have a secret weapon against rivals like China and even economies closer to ours, such as Canada. China may be graduating more engineers and scientists; Canada may have a better health care system; but the U.S. has an unlikely secret weapon that has put American companies and workers in a position to race ahead of the pack for years to come -- the Environmental Protection Agency. While some in Congress, and any number of business leaders, have moaned about environmental regulations, especially the EPA's nascent efforts to …

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Water for a Wife

In parts of the West African nation of Ghana, water has become so scarce that young women ask suitors about the distance to sources of clean water in their communities before accepting marriage proposals. Where water is hard to find, food is also often scarce, so girls are interrogating potential husbands about their ability to farm and feed a family. Should the rest of the world be taking these kinds of practical inventories of disappearing natural resources too? Earlier this year, Britain’s Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs commissioned a study of global resources that may soon be in …

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