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Everybody’s a Critic

New voices join chorus pushing Bush to act on climate change At this point it's getting hard to keep track, but a couple more notable folks have joined the ranks of those calling on the Bush administration, either implicitly or explicitly, to act on global warming. Perhaps most unexpected is James Baker, former secretary of state and Bush family consigliere, who helped President Bush triumph in Florida in 2000. "It may surprise you a little bit, but maybe it's because I'm a hunter and a fisherman, but I think we need to pay a little more attention to what we …

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Hawks speak out for U.S.-grown clean energy

"It's not a hardship to drive it. It's fun." -- George Shultz, former Secretary of State, referring to his Toyota Prius, a hybrid car that uses much less gasoline than a conventional vehicle, at the second annual summit of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, February 11. I found this nugget in my inbox, tucked into the recent issue of @stanford, "a monthly newsletter of campus news and research," in the "Heard on Campus" segment (I am an alum of the law school). How great to hear another respected Republican foreign policy leader touting the benefits of cleaner and …

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Hazy Delays of Winter

Clear Skies bill still bottled up in Senate committee Help -- Clear Skies has fallen, and it can't get up! President Bush's "Clear Skies" legislation is stuck in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Committee Chair James Inhofe (R-Okla.) has delayed a vote on the bill three times, most recently yesterday, each time realizing that it's still deadlocked at a 9-9 split. The vote has now been rescheduled for March 9; an Inhofe spokesflack said that it has to happen by March 15 or the bill is likely toast for this year. As the bill's prospects look more and …

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Bush Sticks Johnson in the EPA

President Bush announces nominee to head EPA Today President Bush announced his new pick to lead the U.S. EPA: Steve Johnson, who's been the agency's temporary head since Mike Leavitt left six weeks ago to head the Department of Health and Human Services. If confirmed by the Senate, Johnson, a 24-year EPA veteran, will be the first professional scientist to hold the position. The choice of Johnson, a low-key, wonky agency vet whose work has focused on pesticides, may signal a new approach from the White House; Bush's previous EPA administrators, Christie Whitman and Mike Leavitt, were both significant players …

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Enviro-justice activists send a dispatch from a panel with The Reapers

Thursday, 3 Mar 2005 SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. The Asian Pacific Environmental Network was invited to speak on a panel yesterday with "Death of Environmentalism" coauthor Michael Shellenberger, Taj James, executive director of the Movement Strategy Center, and Adam Werbach, past president of the Sierra Club. The goal was to broaden the debate about the future of the environmental movement that was ignited by Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus' recent paper. The room at the World Affairs Council was packed with a couple hundred people, primarily activists, organizers, and funders whose question was, "Now what?" In contrast to the eruption at the …

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He Wasn’t Kidding About Being Back

Schwarzenegger returns with new, revamped solar initiative Yesterday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) joined state senators from both parties to introduce a new version of his solar plan. What David Hochschild of Vote Solar called "the most ambitious solar initiative ever proposed in the United States" would offer substantial rebates to homeowners who install solar panels, require big developers to offer solar as an option (10 percent of customers tend to opt for it if it's offered), and extend a program of solar-energy tax credits. Last year's "million solar roofs" initiative was defeated after developers objected to a provision mandating …

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An interview with Sen. Chuck Hagel, Republican from Nebraska, on his new climate bills

Sen. Chuck Hagel.A possible GOP presidential contender in 2008, Nebraskan Sen. Chuck Hagel has lately sprung to the public stage as one of the leading Republican voices on climate change. In mid-February, he introduced three bills designed to be economic jumper cables that would boost the development of clean-energy technologies -- one focusing on international technology exchange and the other two cumulatively authorizing $4 billion in corporate loans and tax credits over five years to spur the domestic development of clean technologies. Hagel has been sounding off on the challenges of climate change at venues like the Brookings Institution, and …

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Pombo and mercury

So, last week, the GOP leadership of the House Resources Committee -- in particular, Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) -- released a report (PDF) claiming that mercury has not been linked to deleterious effects on human health, and that most mercury in the U.S. environment comes from natural sources. The science overwhelmingly contradicts Pombo. Amanda touched on this in the latest Muckraker. Today, Chris Mooney delves further into the details, in this column and this follow-up on his blog. To summarize: A substantial portion of the mercury load in the U.S. environment comes from coal-fired power plants, and mercury stunts children's neurological …

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Because it’s there

It's difficult to work up outrage these days, I know. But still. Republicans have long had a >hard on for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It's never made any sense -- the amount of oil we could get is a tiny fraction of what we need, and it's 10 years out in the future. It will do nothing to reduce energy prices or dependence on foreign oil. Now it turns out that even the oil companies themselves don't think it's worth it. A Bush adviser says the major oil companies have a dimmer view of the refuge's prospects …

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Pombo eggs on mercury debate with controversial report

Pombo says: Eat up! House Resources Committee Chair Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) -- longtime bete noire of the environmental community -- cooked up what appears to be some fishy science in a report released last week titled "Mercury in Perspective: Fact and Fiction About the Debate Over Mercury" [PDF]. The report -- written not by scientists but rather by aides to Pombo and another member of his committee, Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.) -- aims to downplay the overwhelming evidence that mercury from coal-burning power plants poses a significant health risk to Americans. Two of the report's claims are particularly stunning, as …