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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. …

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The Status D’oh!

Salon.com Delves into Global Warming A new trio of articles on Salon.com does a nice job of laying out the current state of play on global warming, though its conclusions will come as no surprise to regular Grist readers: President Bush has been playing what the National Wildlife Federation's Jeremy Symons calls "whack-a-mole" with federal scientists, trying to obscure their consensus opinion that human activity is driving climate change. He promotes technological miracle fixes like hydrogen cars while refusing to rein in the extractive industries that have given him record amounts of money. John Kerry is more forthright about the …

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Oh, So Nov. 15 Is After the Election? Who Knew?

Bush Administration Delays Roadless Ruling The Bush administration announced yesterday that it will delay a final decision on whether to repeal the enormously popular Clinton-era Roadless Rule in order to gather more public input -- two more months of public input, as it happens. Some enviros (oh, the cynicism!) noted that the delay would put the final decision off until after the election, and further pointed out that much of the pristine land that could be logged, mined, or otherwise developed if the rule is repealed is in Western swing states. Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey put such crass political speculation …

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Schwarzenegger at an environmental crossroads

Arnold Schwarzenegger's exuberant speech last Tuesday at the Republican National Convention suggested that the Governator may be less the moderate Republican than advertised. Hailed by some during the convention as the Obama of the right, the California governor came across as a devout, rock-ribbed Bush lover. Just days after Schwarzenegger's speech, more evidence emerged to indicate that this compassionate conservative may be borrowing not-so-compassionate tricks from the Bush-Cheney playbook: An Associated Press story last Friday revealed that a sweeping reform proposal for California state government commissioned by Schwarzenegger was "influenced significantly" by industry interests -- in particular, ChevronTexaco, the largest …

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Grist chats with Andre Heinz, environmental activist and stepson of John Kerry

Some may cry nepotism when they see Andre Heinz, the middle son of Teresa Heinz Kerry, take to the podium as one of the leading spokespeople on the environment for John Kerry's presidential campaign, but his ascent is hardly without merit. True, he has deliberately steered clear of a career inside the Beltway, so in some senses he is new to the political scene. But having grown up in Washington, D.C., the son of former senator John Heinz (R-Penn.) and now the stepson of Kerry, he is as conversant on the inner workings of Capitol Hill as he is on …

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Omission Accomplished

Environment Invisible at GOP Convention Attendees at the Republican National Convention, which wrapped up last night, would have been hard-pressed to discern the party's positions on environmental issues. Other than a video touting the Bush administration's efforts to avert wildfires in national forests (by, um, logging), green themes were markedly absent from the gathering. "I have not heard that word -- environment -- emitted from the podium," said Sierra Club President Larry Fahn. Bush-Cheney campaign policy director Tim Adams said the environment "remains an important policy area for us," but many GOP delegates didn't seem to mind silence on the …

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Too Many Cooks Oil the Broth

ChevronTexaco Heavily Influenced California Restructuring California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) recently announced plan to comprehensively reorganize state government brought grumbles from some enviros, who were piqued by the proposed consolidation of various boards and commissions from which many of the state's groundbreaking environmental initiatives have emerged. This latest news isn't going to mollify them. The proposed reorganization contains several provisions that would directly benefit oil and gas behemoth ChevronTexaco by revising the process for permitting and siting refineries and streamlining the activities of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, which oversees many of the company's interests in the …

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24 Hour Party People

Energy Industry Funnels Millions into Unregulated Convention Parties The energy industry is treating Republicans to a gay old time in New York City this week, hosting a plethora of parties for favored politicians and others attending the GOP convention: a ball, a concert, a trap shoot, a honky-tonk salute, even a soiree with scantily clad acrobats swinging from the rafters. The American Gas Association, the Edison Electric Institute, the National Mining Association, and the Nuclear Energy Institute are among the most generous sponsors. Martin E. Edwards of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America says there's no lobbying at these …

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