Politics

To the rescue!

A new group called The Elders to solve globe’s problems

Singer Peter Gabriel and industry titan Richard Branson conceived, and have now convened and funded, a group called The Elders, a small collection of eminent global statesmenpersons who, it is hoped, will be able to … um … be wise and stuff. And also use their superpowers to solve pressing global problems like climate change and poverty and reality tv. Meet your elders! The members include Desmond Tutu, South African archbishop emeritus of Capetown; former U.S. President Jimmy Carter; former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan; Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and Mohammed Yunus, the Nobel laureate and founder of …

The 'crime' of dialogue: Iran's disgraceful detention of Haleh Esfandiari

Environmental peacekeeping runs into authoritarianism

My friend and colleague is in jail. Unjustly. Her name is Haleh Esfandiari, and she is a grandmother. In early May, she was thrust into solitary confinement in Iran's Evin Prison with a single blanket. She hasn't been allowed to meet with her friends, family, or lawyers since then. This picture shows Evin Prison nestled within the leafy northern suburbs of Tehran at the foot of snowcapped mountains, but the prison has none of the bucolic qualities that the image suggests. "Notorious" is the ubiquitous descriptor. Haleh's "crime" is doing what we do every day here at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.: provide a safe space where scholars, policy-makers, and ordinary men and women can learn from one another through open, nonpartisan dialogue on today's most pressing issues. Or at least we thought it was safe.

Use the Task Force, Dick

Members of mysterious energy task force finally revealed You might want to sit down for this: the Bush administration’s national energy policy was heavily influenced by Big Industry. Shocking, we know. In 2001, a task force headed by Vice President Dick Cheney met with various entities to discuss energy policy; since then, the administration has battled to keep from saying who was involved. Finally, The Washington Post has acquired the names of some 300 interest groups and individuals who gave input, including electric utilities, natural-resource trade groups, and about 20 oil and gas companies. Green groups were lumped together into …

Me, on the radio

You know you wanna listen

Yesterday, I was on radio show called Earthbeat, discussing the presidential candidates and their views on climate and energy. You can read about it here, or download the one-hour mp3 here.

Cheney energy task force ... revealed!

Pretty much what you thought it was

Six years and a protracted legal battle later, The Washington Post has finally gotten its hands on a list of who met with Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force in 2001. Turns out it’s a bunch of oil and gas execs. Shocking. This is my favorite ‘graph from the story: The task force issued its report on May 16, 2001. Though the report was roundly criticized by environmental groups at the time, some energy experts say that in retrospect it appears better balanced than the administration’s actual policy. Sigh. Here’s the full list.

Carbon credit allocation

All the kids are talking about it

Today in Greenwire, Darren Samuelsohn rightly notes that the big — and by big we’re talking multi-billions of dollars — question around a cap-and-trade system is how the credits are initially allocated. Do you give more to utilities with lots of coal plants, because they need help transitioning to a low-carbon future? Do you give more to utilities with gas and hydro, to reward their low-carbon ways? Do you auction them all? Some mix? You can be sure lots of utility lobbyists are rapidly becoming experts on the subject. You need a subscription to read the article, so here’s a …

Lady Bird's green leanings

The passing of the former first lady (sorta) missed by enviros

Asher Price over at the Austin American-Statesman calls us out for not mentioning that Lady Bird Johnson passed away last week. The former First Lady (what did she go by, anyway? “Lady”? “Bird”? “LB”?) was a staunch environmentalist, even though she rejected the term. She was the major driving force in the more than 200 environment-related bills that her husband passed while in office, including the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, the Wilderness Act, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the Wild and Scenic Rivers program. We got a letter from a reader about our neglect, too, that shares …

House offset hearing on Wed.

This hearing is the main reason I haven't had time to post more "rules" -- I know, I know ... you have been waiting for them as anxiously as for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming hearing on voluntary carbon offsets tomorrow will be webcast at globalwarming.house.gov -- and I have been reliably informed that if there's any problem with that website, the direct link to the hearing room feed is here. You don't get that kind of information anywhere else on the web! And here's a Greenwire (subs. req'd) story on the hearing:

Bloomberg's congestion fee plan ...

Dead

… killed by lawmakers in Albany.

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