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Sierra Club removes leadership of its Florida chapter

The following is a guest essay from Peter Montague1, executive director of the Environmental Research Foundation. ----- The Sierra Club's national board voted on March 25 to remove the leaders of the Club's 35,000-member Florida chapter, and to suspend the chapter for four years. It was the first time in the Club's 116-year history that such action has been taken against a state chapter. The leadership of the Florida chapter had been highly critical of the national board's decision in mid-December 2007 to allow The Clorox Company to use the Sierra Club's name and logo to market a new line …

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Two NYT pieces exploring green jobs

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Kari Manlove, fellows assistant at the Center for American Progress. ----- If you're interested in the media's version of Green Jobs 101, a good place to start is Wednesday's New York Times article, "Millions of Jobs of a Different Collar." But it's not a perfect start, because the article fails to demonstrate an understanding of the scale of this movement, and the author could have taken heed to one of his co-worker's pieces on green education and job-training. Here's how the article describes green jobs (emphasis added): Presidential candidates talk about the promise …

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Carbon taxes vs. carbon trading

This is the third post in a series about details we are still getting wrong in the climate policy discussion. See also part one and part two. There is no shortage of economic analysis and policy discourse that shows that carbon tax and cap-and-trade methodologies can deliver economically equivalent outcomes. The general consensus -- at least today -- seems to be that since they're equivalent, it really comes down to politics, and it's politically difficult to do anything with the word "tax" in it, so we'll do cap-and-trade. I like the conclusion, but the rationale is pure bunkum. To understand …

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Casten gospel reaches NYT

Congrats to our own Sean Casten for getting the following letter to the editor in The New York Times: Re "States' Battles Over Energy Grow Fiercer With U.S. in a Policy Gridlock" ("The Energy Challenge" series, March 20): Proponents of coal-fired power argue falsely that coal is cheap. Coal is a cheap fuel. But who cares? Coal can't run an iPod. And electricity from coal -- which also includes fuel, maintenance and capital recovery costs -- is expensive. Indeed, no one is building coal plants without first securing regulatory guarantees of equity recovery. But when we guarantee that equity, we …

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Why consumer protection means selling carbon permits

One of the thorniest problems in cap-and-trade programs is deciding how to distribute the carbon permits. Should the public sell pollution privileges or give them away for free? Some folks worry that if we make polluters pay for carbon permits, they'll just raise prices for consumers. That's a perfectly legitimate concern. Unfortunately it turns out to be true, whether we sell the permits or give them away for free. Prices rise by the same amount in either scenario. (The only difference is whether polluters reap windfall profits or whether the public earns revenue from selling the permits.) It may be …

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New report on massive growth of renewables last year

Climate Progress is the title of my blog posts' main home, as much as the "progress" part strains credulity at times. I only see two major quantitative areas of sustained progress: clean energy deployment (especially in Europe) and private sector clean-tech funding. Those folk at Clean Edge, who wrote the best 2007 book on clean tech, The Clean Tech Revolution, have quantified these gains -- and made predictions about the future -- in a new report you can read here. Some interesting factoids: Clean-energy markets -- revenue for solar photovoltaics (PV), wind, biofuels, and fuel cells -- grew by 40 …

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Should emissions from employee commutes be included in company GHG inventories?

When businesses dip a toe in the rising sea of corporate action on climate change, the first box they check before diving in involves tabulating their own greenhouse-gas inventory. In getting your corporate house in order, the first step is defining where your yard ends and your neighbor's begins. The good news: There is a clearly accepted international standard providing guidance to companies sorting "what's in" and "what's out" for their GHG inventory. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard is the playbook everyone is working from. The bad news: Some issues are more clearly defined in …

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Mood in the hood

John Hofmeister, President of Shell Oil Company, was on Charlie Rose Tuesday night. About 22 minutes into the segment, he says the following [my own transcription]: If we don't drill more in this country, I am quite concerned about civil disturbances in our urban areas because of the price of fuel. ... I was meeting in Los Angeles with mayor Villaraigosa and I asked him a specific question because I lived there during the Rodney King civil disturbances. [I] said, "How is the mood in the hood based upon the price of gasoline compared to the mood in the hood …

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Carbon taxes work when there’s substitutability and revenue is locked down for environmental goals

This is a guest post by Monica Prasad, who wrote an op-ed in Tuesday's New York Times called "On Carbon: Tax, Don't Spend." It elicited responses from David Roberts and Charles Komanoff. ----- Thanks to David and Charlie for picking up on and responding to my carbon tax op-ed. I've learned a lot from Grist, so I was happy to see this. Some responses to their criticisms. David's beef is with the word "spend" in the headline. I agree the headline is stupid, and it was not my idea. It implies that I'm advocating hoarding the revenue. Instead, I was …

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A call to action: Street Speakout Seders

  Photo: iStockphoto The traditional Passover Haggadah teaches that in every generation, some Pharaoh will arise in destruction, and that in every generation, every human being -- not just every Jew -- must look upon herself or himself as if it is we -- not our ancestors only -- who must go forth to freedom. In this generation, what Pharaoh do we face, and what freedom must we seek? Pesach intertwines human freedom with the renewal of the earth: in the moment of spring when new grain, new lambs, and new flowers rise up against winter, the earth itself rises …