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May the Schwarz Be With You

Schwarzenegger signs bevy of environmental bills California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) won props from enviros this week as he signed into law more than two dozen pro-environment bills. The measures will (take a deep breath) allow drivers of hybrids getting at least 45 miles per gallon to go solo in highway carpool lanes, require that all cars built since 1976 get emissions checks from now on, establish the Sierra Nevada Conservancy to protect the beloved mountain range, create a cabinet-level Ocean Protection Council, prohibit dumping of so-called "gray water" from sinks and showers by cruise ships, limit bottom trawling along …

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Lost in the Wilderness Committee

Wild Sky wilderness bill dead in the water for this year Despite overwhelming public and bipartisan support, an effort to create Washington state's first new wilderness area in 20 years died yesterday, thanks to both partisan quarreling and the intransigence of Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), chair of the House Resources Committee. The story is complicated and rife with political finger-pointing. Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) was the original sponsor of a bill proposing the 106,000-acre Wild Sky wilderness area, to be located in his district northeast of Seattle. Pombo balked at the bill, saying that because some of the land had …

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Sounds Familiar …

Conservative Australian leader gets green during election year Australian Prime Minister John Howard has long been viewed as an implacable foe of environmentalists, scoffing at the Kyoto Protocol, supporting logging in old-growth forests, and declaiming his unwillingness to lose a single job or dollar of economic growth in the name of environmental protection. However, it's an election year in Australia, and opinion polls show that Green Party voters constitute 6 percent of the electorate, more than enough to sway the results. Thus Howard has discovered a heretofore unacknowledged love of all things green, competing with the opposition Labor Party to …

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Boilerplate Tectonics

Bush and Kerry discuss their positions on science In the latest issue of the journal Nature, President Bush and John Kerry each respond to 15 questions about science and related topics. Because the responses are written, neither candidate sounds like himself -- there are no Bushian malapropisms or Kerryan layered qualifiers -- and for the most part they simply regurgitate campaign-trail boilerplate. However, there are revealing differences, particularly on global warming. When asked, Bush acknowledged that it is a "serious long-term issue," but then said the following: "In 2001, I asked the National Academy of Sciences to provide the most …

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All in the Family

Kerry draws on family and Clinton admin folks for environmental advice Check out MSNBC for a handy roster of John Kerry's top advisers on the environment. At the center of his advisory circle is family, namely wife Teresa and stepson Andre Heinz. Teresa -- who first met Kerry at an Earth Day rally -- serves on the boards of several enviro organizations and has used her inherited ketchup fortune to fund numerous environmental initiatives. Andre, as Grist readers will already know, has worked on environmental issues his whole adult life. Filling out the list are numerous Clinton policy hands, including …

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Saleem Ali sends dispatches from a sustainable peace and development gathering

Saleem Ali is assistant professor of environmental studies at the University of Vermont and on the adjunct faculty of the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. He is attending the Wilton Park Conference on Environment, Development, and Sustainable Peace. Thursday, 16 Sep 2004 STEYNING, U.K. A quiet English estate, renowned for its roster of conferences since 1946, is the venue for a meeting of 65 environmental professionals to discuss pathways toward sustainable development and peace-building. Sponsored by the British, Dutch, and German governments, as well as the United Nations Environment Program, the conference aims to shed light on …

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Environment serving as a measure of character in presidential race

At a time when the man commonly derided by greens as the worst environmental president in U.S. history is up for reelection, it's perplexing that the most publicly discussed environmental issue of the campaign right now is Yucca Mountain -- a molehill in the grand scheme of America's environmental problems. Yucca Mountain. Photo: WhiteHouse.gov Of course, dumping nuclear waste in this Nevadan outpost is a genuine concern -- particularly for, say, Nevadans. But nationally speaking, even many enviros are ambivalent on the issue; as a whole, the green community has put forward no clear alternative plan of action. Enviros have …

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Vanity Blair

Tony Blair calls for action on global warming, critics heap scorn U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair made a major speech yesterday that referred to global warming as the earth's "greatest environmental challenge," and though he never mentioned U.S. President Bush by name, he pointedly called on the world's wealthiest countries to take the lead in battling it. Saying that international cooperation was vital, he laid out three goals for 2005: to reach agreement among the G8 nations about the nature and causes of global warming; to agree about scientific and technological means to address it; and to persuade large non-G8 …

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Walking on Blair

Conservatives Accuse Blair of Being Weak on Climate Change In a depressing illustration of just how far global consensus on climate change has left the U.S. behind, this week British Prime Minister Tony Blair was criticized for doing too little on global warming by Michael Howard, the leader of the conservative Tory party. Howard attacked Blair for failing to use his close relationship with President Bush to push the U.S. to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. He accused Blair's Labor Party of putting all its eggs in the onshore wind-power basket, ignoring the potential of several other forms of renewable energy. …