Climate & Energy

Reich for auctioned permits

Robert Reich — former Clinton Secretary of Labor, current economics public policy prof at Harvard — was on public radio’s Marketplace yesterday, stumping for 100 percent permit auctions and even, toward the end, something that …

What do we tell the voters?

Behavioral quirks make taxes a tough sell

Tom Friedman is in full-on green mode these days, which is a welcome change from his writing on Iraq. And his proposal yesterday — that the U.S. should declare a $4 price floor for a …

Ahead of the curve: States lead on climate change

Great new video on state efforts to tackle global warming

Sea Studios has put together a fantastic new video called "Ahead of the Curve: States Lead on Climate Change." Check it out: You might also remember their previous video, “Ahead of the Curve: Business Leads …

Removing mountaintop removal

North Carolina bill would ban burning of coal from mountaintop-removal mining

On Tuesday, North Carolina State Rep. Pricey Harrison introduced legislation in the state House that would ban the burning of coal obtained through mountaintop-removal mining. If it passes, North Carolina would become the first state …

Link dump

Nobel prize-winning economist Amartya Sen has an article in The NYT, "The Rich Get Hungrier," which is a good short summary of various causes of higher food prices and increased world hunger, and why they are related even though not the same thing.

Stonewall Johnson

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Bush Era:

The road not traveled

U.S. driving down 11 billion miles in March, the sharpest drop in history

Price does matter. So does public perception of likely future prices. As it becomes increasingly clear that high gasoline prices are not a fluke, Americans are adjusting their driving habits. March 2008 saw "the sharpest yearly drop for any month in FHWA history" of total vehicle miles traveled (aka VMT) according to the Federal Highway Administration's monthly report on "Traffic Volume Trends" [PDF]. In March 2008, Americans drove 246 billion milles, compared to 257 billion in March 2007. Indeed, the March 2008 figure is lower than the March 2004 figure. To see just how remarkable that is, look at the annual vehicle-distance traveled data (in billions of miles) since 1983 (this is a moving 12-month total):

Heating heaven

Early appearances of climate change in popular literature

Last week, I picked up a copy of the newly reissued 1971 Ursula Le Guin classic The Lathe of Heaven, which takes place in dystopic, post-collapse Portland, Ore., circa 2002 or so. It's typical brilliance from Le Guin, of whom I can't read enough, but I was interested to see that the novel begins by describing Mt. Hood devoid of snow due to the greenhouse effect. The climate is entirely different from that of the 1960s, with blue skies a thing of the past and rainfall patterns completely shifted. It's the earliest "popular literature" mention of global warming I've come across. Le Guin is often way ahead of her time (she invented Harry Potter and Hogwarts in 1968's A Wizard of Earthsea, for example), though perhaps there are earlier instances of authors adding climate change to the collective body of literature.

On your Markey

Rep. Ed Markey unveils ambitious new climate legislation

Rep. Ed Markey, chair of the Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming, unveiled new climate legislation on Wednesday morning, which he says will take “the innovative actions needed to ensure a greener, healthier, …

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