Cities

Mass. religious, environmental leaders beseech Obama to take action

WWLD: What Would Lincoln Do?

Dear President Obama, cc: Sen. Kerry, Rep. Markey Our nation faces the gravest threat to our security and well being and the most profound moral challenge since the great struggle to end slavery. We were blessed, then, to be led by another tall, slim politician from Illinois. However, the terrible prospect of climate cataclysm, though just as grave, is more encompassing and final and calls for Presidential leadership of a higher order then even President Lincoln displayed. Lincoln triumphed over partisan politics and a ghastly civil war, but he did so by hewing to a moderate course, never straying beyond …

Listen to the coal guy!

Why it’s better to invest in efficiency than to hold electricity rates down

Joe Romm draws attention to some extremely interesting thoughts from Glenn English, head of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. NRECA represents 900-plus small, not-for-profit, typically coal-based utilities in the Midwest. We tend to think all coal utilities are after more free allowance allocations under a cap-and-trade system, but as Climate Wire (sub req) reports, last week English said that … … “the basis for a deal” on climate would not revolve so much around allowances, but around whether people in coal-dependent regions would get enough help with efficiency retrofits on homes so they can manage potential electricity spikes. These …

the rhymes they are a-changin'

Eve of Destruction (New Millennium)

Ken rewrote this song — one of our favorites in the “music for the apocalypse” category — as a rallying cry for the Day of Climate Action this Saturday, October 24, everywhere. He had to smoke a whole pack of cigarettes beforehand to get his voice that gritty. We’ll be at the Boston Under Water Festival in downtown Boston.  Please join us in the spirit of 350, wherever you are. (Find an action near you at 350.org.) Eve of Destruction (New Millennium) music, Barry McGuirenew lyrics, Ken Ward The Arctic ice, it is a’meltin’The polar bears, they are swelteringYou’ve heard …

Interns saving the world

Climate Corps interns save Fortune 500 firms $54 million

Climate Corps. Photo: Environmental Defense FundBack in May I wrote about the Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) Climate Corps, a cadre of 26 MBA students who were then prepping for summer internships at Fortune 500 companies. Their mission was to green up corporate operations to save money and cut carbon emissions. With winter on the way and school back in session, I checked in to see how successful the Climate Corps was at combining the students’ financial smarts, technological know-how — half are engineers by training — and environmental ethic. Pretty successful, it turns out. According to EDF, the interns identified …

Yeah, we said billion

A $4 billion push to make affordable housing green

Norton hit Congress to testify about the value of green building in 2008.globalwarming.house.govA major investment in making affordable housing greener — a $4 billion investment, to be precise — was announced Wednesday. The injection comes courtesy of Enterprise Community Partners, a 25-year-old non-profit dedicated to community development and affordable housing. With heavyweight partners including NRDC, HUD, and the Home Depot Foundation, Enterprise — which was founded by the grandparents of actor Edward Norton, who sits on its board — has set its sights on overhauling the entire affordable housing stock in this country. Well, in that pebble-in-a-pond sort of way. …

Bumper to Bonkers

For public transportation to survive, we all need to … drive more?

Traffic is the answer!richardmasoner via flickrMeant to mention these two pieces last week, but things fell apart, as they say. (Do “they” say that, or is it just me?) Both relate to the connection between cars and public transportation, and both are a bit counterintuitive. The first, an op-ed by David Owen in the Wall Street Journal, posits that traffic jams are a boon to public transportation because they piss drivers off and “turn [them] into subway riders or pedestrians” — and that congestion pricing is counterproductive because it makes driving a more pleasant (albeit expensive) experience: Advocates of congestion-fighting …

Stripping for a cause

Weatherization will save us all

Doug Letterman via flickrPop quiz: What saves money, saves energy, creates green jobs, fights climate change, can fix the economy, will make America great again, and is both a floor wax and a dessert topping? Answer: It’s weatherization! And both the U.S. government and the European Union are embracing its potential. In a report released today, Joe Biden’s Middle Class Task Force (which, hello: still a terrible name) recommends steps toward a national retrofit program, citing a potential $21 billion in annual energy savings and 40 percent cut in energy use. Specific proposals include: an Energy Star-style labeling program for …

Infrared, Schminfrared

4.5 things I learned at my energy audit

As my family and co-workers will readily attest, I looked forward to my energy audit with disturbing anticipation after I made the appointment about a month ago. I was nearly giddy at the thought of having all my energy-efficiency questions answered: Should I replace my windows? Insulate? Wrap my water heater? Were there huge drafts in my basement that I didn’t know about? It was a bit like waiting for a first date with someone who came highly recommended. Only with the promise of lower utility bills instead of … well. Other things. I was sure this guy would have …

Knock Me Over With a Paradigm Shift

The best part about climate change

On a recent work day at the JP Green House, volunteers came out of the woodwork.Leise JonesOne of the early effects of climate change was the demise of my marriage. I was living a comfortable, middle-class life that was all wrong for my politics, and my essential devotion to simplicity. At some point in my mid-twenties I had gotten nervous, and opted for the safety of a life much like my parents’. It worked until I encountered the work of James Hansen and Bill McKibben in the late 1990s, and the part of me that longed to live and work …