Politics

Nothing to fear ...

Fear of death leads to authoritarianism, not sustainability

It’s tempting to think that if you scare the shit out of people — really convince them, down to their bones, that hurricanes, diseases, and starving refugees are hiding just around the corner — that …

Put It in Park

Donations roll in for national parks’ centennial projects The 100th anniversary of the National Park Service is a mere nine years away, and donations are rolling in to spruce up parks for the occasion. In …

Ignoring science: Not just for Republicans anymore!

Michigan gov. follows Gingrich’s example, kills science advisory board

Newt Gingrich, claiming a mandate to make government smaller, actually managed to abolish only two offices: the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). The OTA was a widely praised, nonpartisan board that helped Congress understand and deal with technical issues -- exactly the kind of office you don't need if you get your understanding of biology from Genesis, your thoughts on telecommunications from K Street, and your opinions on energy from Exxon. The OTA was probably one of the least-known but best performing offices in all of D.C. Oddly, Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan just killed the Michigan Environmental Science Board, which was composed of volunteer scientists appointed by the Governor. The only cost to the state was for member travel when on assignment, and for preparation and distribution of reports. Here are the reports prepared by the MESB over the years:

Killing you legally

The Bush administration proposes to make illegal MTR mining legal

I suppose I should have something to say about the Bush administration’s latest effort to encourage mountaintop removal mining. But what? It’s not like there’s any particular analytical insight required. The Bushies are choosing profit …

You call this wonkery?

New article fails to shed light on state renewable portfolio standards

Jordan Schrader of USA Today manages to pen a long piece about the profusion of state renewable portfolio standards (RPSs) without discussing, except in the most glancing, cursory fashion, any of the important issues around …

The right target

How much should we aim to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions?

As faithful Daily Grist readers know, yesterday six western states (and two Canadian provinces) formally debuted the Western Climate Initiative, a cap-and-trade agreement aiming to lower GHG emissions by 15 percent below 2005 levels by …

Violence, in a gentle manner

Romney on energy

Here’s Romney on energy: … his plan to get America “energy independent, by increasing oil, gas, nuclear, and liquid coal development,” calls for it to be done in an environmentally sound manner.

Alternative information

GA state legislature tries to figure out whether climate change is real

Wow. Via the indispensable Aunt Phyllis, this is old school: On Tuesday the Georgia legislature held a hearing called "Climate change: fact or fiction?" Listen to these blasts from the past: “In the media, we …

Roads vs. transit

Seattle enviros face a Hobson’s choice in November

This November, those of us who live in and around Seattle will vote on a $17.7 billion transportation package that would expand light rail (by 50 miles) but also include billions for road expansion -- including roads that will primarily serve sprawling developments to Seattle's south and east, making the package a Hobson's choice for environmentalists. (The state legislature tied the roads and transit votes together last year, on the theory that road supporters will only support transit if it's accompanied by pavement, and vice versa.) A lot of the debate around whether the package is good or bad, environmentally speaking, has centered around whether the roads part of the package (known as the Regional Transportation Investment District, or RTID) consists mostly of "good" or "bad" roads. There are a lot of elements to this debate, the first of which is: What constitutes a "good" road? Are new HOV lanes "good" (because they serve people who are carpooling) or "bad" (because they're still new road miles), and could they have been created by converting preexisting general-purpose lanes to HOV lanes? Another issue is whether roads that are designated primarily for freight, but can be used by single-occupancy cars, count as "good" or "bad." Further confusing matters is the question of whether already-clogged roads produce more or fewer greenhouse gases when they're expanded to accommodate more traffic, because traffic moves more smoothly (at least for a little while.) Given all those variables, it's not surprising that Seattle's environmental community is split on whether RTID/Sound Transit is a good or a bad thing.

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