Climate change and conflict: a 'myth'?

Not really

I get the point Idean Salehyan is trying to make in "The New Myth About Climate Change,” but — the headline should tip you off — the whole piece has been unnecessarily tarted up to generate controversy. It administers a stern beating to a series of strawmen. The "myth" in question is that global warming increases the probability of conflict, or as Salehyan puts it, "international and civil wars, a rise in the number of failed states, terrorism, crime, and a stampede of migration toward developed countries." What the piece demonstrates, however, is that the claim is a myth only …

The World Bank and global warming

An attempt at censorship by Wolfowitz

Sad, but perhaps not surprising. "Wolfowitz attempted to censor World Bank report on global warming," from Greenwire ($ub req'd):

What should Congress do on climate?

Go big or play it safe

I’ve had the Lieberman-Warner climate bill proposal (PDF) printed out for a couple weeks now, but still haven’t gotten around to reading it. Bad blogger! The general assessment from other quarters seems to be: eh. Medium. The big flaw is that it gives around 25% 75% of its permits away. Bad, bad, bad, but maybe necessary to get coal-state legislators on board. On the positive side, it’s got a cost-containment mechanism that, unlike Bingaman’s escape hatch, would hold fast to long-term environmental targets. Bill Scher has a good rundown and comes out in about the same place. The $6 million …

Tee hee

A funny for word nerds

This is, I suppose, vaguely environmental, but I’m only blogging it because it’s hilarious. At least if you’re a word nerd like me.

World Government Blvd.

Turns out that NAFTA superhighway is superfictitious

Last year I caught wind of concern on the far right about a "NAFTA Superhighway," an (alleged) gargantuan new road, four football fields wide, that would plow straight up through the country from the Mexican border, through Texas, through Minnesota, all the way up into Canada. Foreigners would own parts of it! The World Bank would settle disputes about its use! The last one out, take down the flag! Today in The Nation, the inimitable Chris Hayes takes a long, close look at the highway project, and finds that — you’ll never believe this — it’s collective ‘winger hallucination: … …

Dingell is dispensable

Even though conventional wisdom says you need him to pass major environmental legislation

Whether House Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell is a potential friend or an implacable foe is not only the subject of intense debate here at Gristmill, but a key strategic question for the environmental movement and the Democratic Party. I recently wrote an article for The American Prospect about how Dingell's fellow congressional Democrats are abandoning him as he tries to obstruct meaningful energy and climate legislation -- and implied that his diminished power means Democrats and environmentalists can go around him without worrying about fallout from not having him at the table. I want to use this opportunity to provide a little more information about how I reached that conclusion, in a way not possible within the length constraints of the original American Prospect article. First, I was struck, and a little surprised, by the almost unanimous unwillingness of Democrats to say anything meaningful in support of Dingell. While all stopped short of explicit on-the-record attacks, they generally responded to my questions about their support for Dingell with harsh criticisms of his policies, largely untempered by the personal praise members usually bestow on even their roughest opponents.

Protect our sharks, protect our oceans

Sharks vs. humans

Humans kill something like 100 million sharks annually. More humans are killed annually by dogs and by falling coconuts than are killed by sharks. At such levels, humanity will certainly survive its encounter with dogs and coconuts. The same cannot be confidently said of sharks and people. The U.S. Shark Finning Prohibition Act is, unfortunately, another law whose name is misleading. The law carries a loophole that makes enforcement difficult. Sharks are allowed to be landed after their fins have been cut off. It's time to shut down that loophole and require that fishing companies prove that they are only killing the legal number and types of sharks for their fins by landing the creatures fully intact. Sharks help to maintain an essential balance beneath the water's surface. Removing them from the ocean creates booms in prey species further down the food chain, which, in turn, can create terribly destructive cascading effects on countless ocean creatures.

Uniting friends, dividing enemies

Good ideas, those

Of the many stupid things this country’s leadership has done since 9/11, perhaps none was so stupid as violating a basic principle of conflict that dates back to Sun Tzu: Unite your friends and divide your enemies. Instead, they have needlessly fractured our alliances and spent a great deal of time lumping every scary brown person into one undifferentiated mass of "Islamonaziextremofascism" (or whatever comic book term is in vogue in the fever swamps these days). Consequently, we have lost power and Al Queda has gained it. Nothing was better for Bin Laden than being cast as the leader of …

McHenry thinks bikes, unlike sexual harassment, voter fraud, and war with Iran, are worth condemning

Congress’ dimmest bulb laughs at bikes

The energy bill just passed by the House contains a provision that would offer a $20 monthly tax rebate to bicycle commuters. When Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) found out, he took to the floor of the House to deliver this speech (via Streetsblog): A major component of the Democrats’ energy legislation and the Democrats’ answer to our energy crisis is, hold on, wait one minute, wait one minute, it is promoting the use of the bicycle. Oh, I cannot make this stuff up. Yes, the American people have heard this. Their answer to our fuel crisis, the crisis at the …

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