Politics

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Reversing Reagan’s joke

This phrase was the punchline to Ronald Reagan's cruel joke about the nine most dangerous words in the English language. Well, maybe it's getting to the point that those words can be used in a positive way. Paul Waldman, in an online article at The American Prospect, writes: As hard as it may be for many progressives to accept it, scarred as they are by years of GOP abuse and the tepid, apologetic stance of their own allies, the time has finally come for them to defend, without reservation, the idea of a vigorous, engaged government. They can finally say, without fear of disastrous political consequences, that sometimes government is not the problem, it's the solution. On the other hand, Roger Cohen of the International Herald Tribune, writing in the New York Times op-ed page on August 6, seems to want us to not think about solutions: Economic power lies with central bankers, global corporations and high-rolling masters of the universe. Military power is constrained by mutually assured destruction and the 24-hour news cycle. What remains are image, perception and identity. That is, just watch the political fun and games, and strutting, and symbolism; don't worry about global warming, the end of cheap oil, mass extinction, the dying oceans, rivers, and lakes, and the deforested landscapes. The "central bankers, global corporations and high-rolling masters of the universe" will be sure to keep business-as-usual going, and there's nothing we can do about it.

Romm on the policy and politics of global warming

Watch him on ‘OnPoint’

Very good piece here from E&ETV ($ub req'd). Worth the time to watch. Description:

Irony alert

Honk if you think I’m a giant asshole

New specialty license plate option being offered in Oklahoma: “For Sooners looking to show their terror-fighting pride while tearing up the asphalt,” writes one USA Today blogger. (h/t: TP)

BPA: Here to Stay?

Controversial panel will decide whether bisphenol A poses a health risk Last week, several dozen scientists issued a consensus statement that ubiquitous chemical compound bisphenol A likely poses health and reproductive risks to humans. This …

An interview with Mike Gravel about his presidential platform on energy and the environment

This is part of a series of interviews with presidential candidates produced jointly by Grist and Outside. Update: Mike Gravel switched from the Democratic Party to the Libertarian Party in March 2008; after failing to …

Gravel on the Issues

A look at Mike Gravel’s environmental platform and record

Update: Mike Gravel switched from the Democratic Party to the Libertarian Party in March 2008; after failing to secure the Libertarian nomination, he ended his presidential campaign in May 2008. Mike Gravel, the darkest of …

Biofuels fueling conflict

The need for good research

The rush to put biofuels in our gas tanks has given people analyzing natural resources and conflict some work to do. How are European and American policy mandates to dramatically increase the use of biofuels affecting the places that grow biofuel inputs? It seems fair to say that little consideration has been given to the potential conflict and equity impacts of this surge in demand for palm oil, sugarcane, and corn. After President Bush's 2007 State of the Union address, which called for massive increases in biofuels, we heard stories of skyrocketing corn tortilla prices and resulting social disruptions. Now we have stories coming from places like West Kalimantan, a remote region of Indonesia where the rush to plant palm-oil plantations is generating conflict with Indonesians who grow rubber trees and other crops on their small plots of land. The NGO Friends of the Earth Netherlands has a new report calling out the unethical practices of some palm-oil companies that clear existing crops first and make payouts (maybe) to the farmers who own the land later. It strikes me that this particular link between natural resource management and conflict offers an avenue for addressing one of the traditional shortcomings of environment and conflict research.

Step It Up 2 is coming this November — get ready to hit the streetsAsk politicians to join Step It

Bill McKibben is organizing Step It Up 2, a national day of climate action. A scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College, McKibben is the author of The End of Nature, the first book for a general audience …

Repetto argues for upstream cap-and-trade

More on carbon trading

August is a time to catch up on reading. A good place to start is "National Climate Policy: Choosing the Right Architecture" [PDF], by Yale's Robert Repetto, one of the country's leading experts on environmental and resource economics. He argues for an upstream cap-and-trade system, and against a safety valve. Other views can be found here, here, and here. This is Repetto's conclusion:

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