Climate & Energy

Kill King Corn

Nature on ethanol

The editors at Nature discover that corn ethanol sucks: Biofuels are unlikely ever to be more than bit-players in the great task of weaning civilization from Earth’s coal-mine and oil-well teats. But they may yet have valuable niches — including some that allow them to serve some of the world’s poor, both as fuels for their own use and as exports. Provided, that is, that someone kills king corn.

An interview with Ron Paul about his presidential platform on energy and the environment

This is part of a series of interviews with presidential candidates produced jointly by Grist and Outside. Update: Ron Paul dropped out of the presidential race on June 12, 2008. Ron Paul. Photo: MyTwistedLens Enviros may roll their eyes at a candidate who dismisses the U.S. EPA as feckless and disposable, who believes all public lands should be privately owned, and whose remedy for an ailing planet is “a free-market system and a lot less government.” But Ron Paul, the quixotic libertarian U.S. rep from Texas, has a bigger cult following online than any other presidential candidate*, and has won …

Think you very much

Smart commentary on Gore’s Nobel

“Do I derange you?” Photo: Eric Neitzel/WireImage. Gore’s Nobel certainly brought out the mouthbreathers, but it also inspired some insightful commentary, some of it, mercifully, not about its effects on the presidential race. Most commentators did, however, find it difficult to avoid the Bush/Gore comparison. Here’s a sample of some of the better stuff I’ve found around the tubes. Paul Krugman on Gore Derangement Syndrome: What is it about Mr. Gore that drives right-wingers insane? Partly it’s a reaction to what happened in 2000, when the American people chose Mr. Gore but his opponent somehow ended up in the White …

A few opinion leaders do get global warming: Part II

E.O. Wilson, John Updike, and others on climate change

So we've seen much of the so-called intelligentsia ignore the global warming issue when asked by the Atlantic Monthly to consider the greatest challenges to the American idea. But not all of those asked were so short-sighted. You would expect the one environmentalist they asked, Edward O. Wilson (essay below) to get it right. But what about a Harvard constitutional law professor and his policy analyst/linguist wife? Lawrence H. Tribe and Carolyn K. Tribe: "Our greatest national challenge is to reverse the profoundly misguided course the last two presidential elections have set, while doing three things ... Third, cooperating with the international community before it is too late to restore the degraded health of our fragile planet and to protect the well-being of all its inhabitants." Who else got it right, or partially right? John Updike, Anna Deavere Smith, and even Stephen Breyer: John Updike: "The American idea, as I understand it, is to trust people to know their own minds and to act in their own enlightened self-interest, with a necessary respect for others ... The challenges ahead? A fury against liberal civilization by the world's poor, who have nothing to lose; a ruinous further depletion of the world's natural assets; a global warming that will change world climate and with it world geopolitics. The American idea, promulgated in a land of plenty, must prepare to sustain itself in a world of scarcity." My point exactly!

Free e-book on biofuels and water

I know -- let's use all our food and drinking water to make SUV fuel!

Climate equity: Danielle Deane

A foundation officer on the need for coordination and funding for equity efforts

This is a guest essay by Danielle Deane. Deane is a Program Officer at the Hewlett Foundation, where she runs the New Constituencies for the Environment initiative. She is also a 2007-2008 Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) Connecting Leaders Fellow. The essay is part of a series on climate equity. —– 1. What would climate equity look like? What’s the end state we’re aiming for? Climate change is going to hurt the poor the most, but there are ways to make a difference. Legislators and policy makers who promote reforms to reduce climate change should include in their considerations …

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