Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Contributors

Comments

Crying Over Colorado

Reading the piece below by Julia Olson made me cry. One of the big memories of my childhood is a one-month vacation trip my family took when I was 14 years old, driving from Lancaster, Pa. to Colorado and staying in Manitou Springs, just outside of Colorado Springs, for two weeks. Now, Manitou Springs is burning. And there's no clear end in sight to these spreading fires. No clear end over the coming days and weeks (months?), and no clear end for years and decades, given the certainty that the earth's atmosphere will continue to heat up and regions of …

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

Climate change deniers, you should get together with Beatles deniers

Yes, along with those who deny that human action is the primary cause of this century's global warming, there are people who deny that the Beatles ever existed.  Their basic argument: There was never just one group of 4 individuals calling themselves “The Beatles” who rose to world stardom.There were multiples of each character performing as “John”, “Paul”, “George” and “Ringo”. Each part of the world appears to have had its own Beatles group, And even then, there were sometimes multiple characters within. They all looked identical to each other except for a few features here and there.But what was most …

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

Two Views of Our Future

No previous civilization has survived the ongoing destruction of its natural supports. Nor will ours. Yet economists look at the future through a different lens. Relying heavily on economic data to measure progress, they see the near 10-fold growth in the world economy since 1950 and the associated gains in living standards as the crowning achievement of our modern civilization. During this period, income per person worldwide climbed nearly fourfold, boosting living standards to previously unimaginable levels. A century ago, annual growth in the world economy was measured in the billions of dollars. Today, it is measured in the trillions. …

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

All oil is foreign

...originally posted at GRIP... When the political class focuses on the perils of fossil fuel dependence, they almost always use the word “foreign” before “oil”.  This is redundant.  Oil is inherently foreign.  All of it. Oil is foreign to democracy.  In an election cycle flooded by unrestricted political money, oil money stands out as the biggest gusher.  The Supreme Court struck down Montana's law limiting corporate spending on campaigns yesterday, so the blowout of oil's influence will remain uncapped for the foreseeable future.   In America and around the world, oil and freedom do not mix.  Because it concentrates wealth, facilitates …

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

We Need a Green New Deal Now

All indications are that Dr. Jill Stein will be the U.S. Green Party’s candidate for President when it has a national convention in Baltimore in a few weeks. She has gathered a healthy majority of delegates pledged to vote for her as a result of Green Party state primaries and conventions.

It is a good thing for the planet that the Green Party is about to launch this campaign.

Four years ago John McCain was running against Obama on an “all of the above” platform on energy. This year, the “all of the above” candidate on energy is Barack Obama. In his State of the Union address, he talked approvingly about fracking and the government’s role in the development of the means to get at natural gas in shale rock. He rarely mentions the words “global warming” or “climate change.” He is proud that there is more domestic oil exploration during his administration than during George Bush’s. He held a press conference in Oklahoma endorsing the Oklahoma to Texas section of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. He is opening up the Arctic for oil exploration. And on an international level, since Copenhagen in December 2009, he and his representatives have worked to weaken, not strengthen, international action on climate change, including last week at the Rio Earth Summit in Brazil.

He has also done positive things. He has supported the EPA’s work to regulate carbon pollution and tighten up regulation of other pollutants. His stimulus package in 2009 allocated tens of billions for renewable energy and efficiency programs. He negotiated a deal with US automakers for an increase in fuel efficiency standards for cars. He is taking steps to get an offshore wind industry going. Under severe political pressure from our movement, he did the right thing, kind-of, temporarily, on the Canada to Oklahoma section of the Keystone XL pipeline.

This very mixed record is not the kind of leadership that the planet or its people need. What we need is what Jill Stein has called for and will talk about consistently from now until election day, and beyond: A Green New Deal, and all that goes with it..

“A Green New Deal for America”—that’s the official campaign slogan. And it’s not just words. Jill has a history of giving leadership and taking action on the climate and environmental issues, as can be seen by checking out her bio at http://www.jillstein.org/bio.

Jill’s voice in the next four months will make it more likely that we can force the climate issue into the mass media and the campaigns of Obama and Romney. In the 30 or more states where it is already certain who’s going to win based on past Presidential election results and current polling, Jill will offer a genuinely progressive option with very little risk of affecting the outcome, since it’s not the national popular vote that wins it but the results of 50 separate state votes for the Electoral College.

As far as the “swing states,” I appreciate the concern that many progressives have about a Green Party Presidential campaign hurting Obama and helping Romney. These are concerns that many progressives always have every four years because of the undemocratic, big money-dominated, winner-take-all nature of our political system. That reality, not progressives exercising their right to run a consistently progressive campaign, is the issue we should be concerned about, that we should all be working together on, and not just during a Presidential election year.

Right now, this week, there is something you can do to help strengthen the advancement of the progressive cause within the very difficult arena of our electoral system. You can donate, and urge others to donate, to help Jill Stein meet her federal matching funds objective. If she makes it, every dollar she raises will be matched by another public financing dollar.

Please go to http://www.jillstein.org/donate and support this genuine national leader in our struggle, as she likes to say, to “turn this breaking point into a tipping point.”

P.S. While all donations are valuable, Jill especially needs donations from the following key states to help her reach the required $5,000 per state threshold: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. You can learn more at http://www.jillstein.org/funding.

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

Who Has the Most Cost-Effective Solar CLEAN (feed-in tariff) Program?

In a new report on U.S. CLEAN (Clean Local Energy Accessible Now) programs, I provide a comparison of solar CLEAN Contract (feed-in tariff) rates across the United States. Comparing published rates is not particularly helpful, however, because contract lengths vary (from 15 to 25 years) and the solar resource also varies widely.  For international comparisons (e.g. Germany), it's also necessary to account for the currency exchange rate and the federal tax incentives that are routinely factored in to U.S. solar CLEAN prices. Here's a look at the methodology for normalizing the CLEAN rates for comparison, and two maps illustrating those …

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

Got $60 worth of coal-in-the-ground? BLM will give you a buck and change for it

Dave Roberts and others have been talking about leaving coal in the ground.  That got me thinking:  What’s it worth there? The question looms large in light of recent and imminent federal leases to extract a bazillion tons of coal from public land in the Powder River Basin (PRB).  Critics of the practice note that Americans are being compensated for this public resource at well below its market value. But if you don't happen to be in the coal business, the market value of coal-to-burn pales in comparison to the vital functions of coal-in-the-ground (hereafter, "coal ITG"). Undisturbed coal delivers …

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

Give Solar Panels a Break

When I helped Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger create the Million Solar Roofs Initiative in California a few years ago, we designed it to stimulate mass production of solar panels to bring down cost. What we didn’t anticipate was that the building industry would crater around the same time and that unemployed roofers and electricians would find new jobs installing those clean energy systems, which created competition and dramatically lower installation costs. In fact, about 60% of the cost of installing a rooftop solar powerplant is tied up in the American parts and labor other than the solar panels themselves. I emphasize …

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

Urgent: Tell Your Senators to Protect Public Health – Don’t Roll Back EPA’s Mercury Standards

A big Senate vote this week will determine the fate of mercury safeguards that continue to garner overwhelming support from Americans nationwide. This past weekend the U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously passed a resolution (PDF) supporting the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) mercury pollution standards. This comes on the heels of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's letter to the EPA, signed by 91 of his fellow mayors, in support of these critical public health protections. Millions of Americans believe EPA is doing the right thing in requiring that coal companies clean up their act when it comes to mercury pollution. This week, …

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

Fracking, Climate Action and July 28

“To address the huge threat posed by global warming, I believe it is essential to move as quickly as possible away from natural gas towards renewable energy resources, and to not further develop shale gas unless major (and expensive) steps are taken to greatly reduce methane emissions.” -Cornell U. professor Robert Howarth, May 31, 2012, testifying before the House of Representatives

“On July 28th, 2012, we invite community members and organizations everywhere to join us in Washington, D.C. for a rally at the Capitol to demand no more drilling that harms public health, water, and air. . . Elected officials and public agencies must insist that the industry stop all drilling that is dirty and dangerous, and put communities and the environment first, starting by removing special exemptions and subsidies for the oil and gas industry. Join community leaders, celebrities and policymakers and add your voice to the call for a clean, fossil fuel free energy future.”
-Call to Action at http://www.stopthefrackattack.org

There are two energy-related issues that have generated significant popular movement over the past year: the movement in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline and tar sands oil extraction, and the movement against hydraulic fracturing of deep-underground shale to extract natural gas.

The stop-the-pipeline movement won an historic temporary victory, with the final decision still to be made. The stop-fracking movement has also won victories, among them many-months-long fracking moratoriums still in place, but not permanent, in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and the Delaware River basin area. However, fracking is taking place in 20 or so other states.

Read more: Uncategorized