Climate & Energy

Icky disease afflicting Alaskan salmon

Alaska’s prized wild salmon are suffering from a disease that scientists suspect of being boosted by — you guessed it — global warming. The emergence …

Drill if you want to

McCain emphasizes drilling and states rights in advance of big energy speech

John McCain is slated to give a major policy address on energy tomorrow in Houston, Texas. In a press conference today, he tipped his hand …

No justice, no cap

National environmental justice coalition blasts cap-and-trade, backs carbon tax

Condemning carbon trading as "fraught with uncertainties, lack[ing] transparency and creat[ing] large opportunities for emitting facilities to engage in fraud," a national coalition of environmental justice organizations has called for a federal carbon tax to address "the most critical issue of our time" -- the climate crisis. Photo: Brooke Anderson. The June 2 statement from the Climate Justice Leadership Forum is the latest sign of mounting disaffection with the top-down push for carbon cap-and-trade. It is particularly significant because the 28 signatory organizations, which span the country from Anchorage to New Orleans and from Oakland to New York City, have been the spearhead of a rising movement by communities of color to crack open the historically affluent and white U.S. environmental lobby, much of which has backed the cap-and-trade approach to pricing carbon emissions. Moreover, CJLF's endorsement of "an equitable carbon tax" serves notice that lower-income and "minority" constituencies are concluding that the disproportionate impacts of carbon taxes and other user fees can (and must) be reversed through progressive use of the carbon tax revenues.

Who you callin' a carbon tax, buddy?

The political chances of carbon taxes

There's an ecumenical rift in the carbon policy world. Some favor taxes, while others prefer cap-and-trade. I'm in the latter camp, though I'm sort of a carbon Unitarian: I like carbon taxes too. From a policy perspective, they fit together nicely. Among the reasons I'm on the c&t side is that taxes can be radioactive, at least in U.S. politics. Now, this isn't really a substantive objection to carbon taxes as a policy instrument, but the worry seems warranted. Consider how the opponents of climate policy have recently attacked cap-and-trade: They call it a carbon tax. Take a look at some headlines:

The Brownstein diagnosis

What went wrong on Lieberman-Warner?

Ron Brownstein — for my money the best political reporter out there — examines the implosion of the Lieberman-Warner bill in National Journal. Here’s his …

RPS distribution

Check out this map (click for a larger version). It shows states with renewable portfolio standards in orange. A swath of white goes from the …

A climate hero: The early years

A look back at James Hansen’s seminal testimony on climate, part one

Worldwatch Institute is partnering with Grist to bring you this three-part series commemorating the 20-year anniversary of NASA scientist James Hansen’s groundbreaking testimony on global climate change next week. It is written by Worldwatch staff writer Ben Block. Here follows part one. Part two is here; part three is here. ----- The speakers at a Washington, D.C., climate rally this past Earth Day, April 22, showcased the range of the modern environmental movement. They included an activist who engaged in a hunger strike, an outspoken preacher from the Hip Hop Caucus, and a folk duo that performed, "Unsustainable," a parody of Frank Sinatra's "Unforgettable." Yet it was a comparatively dry, 20-minute scientific presentation that brought the crowd to its feet. The speaker, introduced as a "climate hero," was James Hansen, a long-time scientist with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Hansen is not a revolutionary by character. He is a mild-natured man who speaks with a soft, Midwestern tone. Raised in southwest Iowa, the fifth child of tenant farmers, Hansen would later commit his life to studying computerized climate models. With human-induced climate change now widely regarded as the greatest challenge of this generation, Hansen is considered a visionary pioneer. Theories of climate change first surfaced more than a century ago. But it was Hansen who forever altered the debate on climate change 20 years ago this month.

Huge Calif. solar plant would run transmission lines through state park

A proposed solar power plant in Southern California is facing heavy opposition from some environmentalists as the plan also calls for high-voltage transmission lines to …

In China, we'll win or lose

China’s emissions are an argument for, not against, America taking action

The fight against global warming: China has clearly overtaken the United States as the world’s leading emitter of carbon dioxide, the main heat-trapping gas, a …