Naval Gazing

Five environmental groups sue Navy over sonar use off Hawaii Tensions over the U.S. Navy’s use of sonar in anti-submarine exercises off Hawaii have resurfaced, and five green groups are suing to change the practice. Citing concerns that sonar can kill and injure whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals, the lawsuit names both the Navy and the National Marine Fisheries Service, which issues permits for the activities. It asks the court to stop the exercises — 12 of which are planned through 2008 — until an environmental impact study is completed and protective measures are enacted. The Navy maintains that …

Influencing the Farm Bill

Now is the time to harangue your reps about farm and food policy.

As debate over the 2007 Farm Bill heats up, more people than ever are realizing that the five-year omnibus legislation, due to expire this year, directly influences what crops are produced in this country, who gets paid for them and how much, the manner in which they are produced, what kind of product they become, and who eats what. They're also connecting the dots and realizing that our current farm and food policy is making us overweight and unhealthy while lining the pockets of multinational corporations and polluting the environment. Though the increased attention is exciting, the Farm Bill is a hugely complicated and can be difficult to get a handle on. Even its timeline is confusing and unpredictable. Is it too late to express opinions to representatives? The answer is no -- but now is the time to get busy.

The great Cornholio

Corn ethanol politics

I really don't have anything to add, so here are some excerpts from Motley Fool telling it like it is: My theory is that the political support for massive biofuel expansion comes down to securing constituents' votes. Politicians know they can benefit politically from selling the benefits of biofuels ... and they also know there's too much at stake politically to back away from the issue. What states' politicians stand to benefit the most from backing biofuel? For starters, we can look at the top 10 ethanol-producing states, [by millions of gallons]: (Thanks KO)

Or Are You Just Happy to Sue Me?

U.S. prosecutors compare “eco-terrorists” to KKK In its unyielding quest to root out terror at its terror-y roots, the U.S. government is battling to have 10 eco-activists sentenced as terrorists. At a hearing in Eugene, Ore., yesterday, attorneys argued that 10 members of the loosely coalesced Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front deserve the label, which could not only net them longer sentences in scarier prisons, but also redefine how other forms of activism are prosecuted. U.S. attorneys compared the 10 — who have pleaded guilty to arson and conspiracy in connection with 20 fires from 1996 to 2001, …

Paul Hawken and <em>Blessed Unrest</em>

What would you like to ask him?

Tomorrow, I’m sitting down for a chat with Paul Hawken, author, entrepreneur, and environmental legend. We’ll be discussing, among other things, his new book Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming. (If you’re in Seattle tomorrow, you can see Hawken at a Grist-sponsored event at Town Hall.) If you’ve got questions you’d like me to ask Hawken, let me know in comments. In the meantime, here’s the introduction from Blessed Unrest: Over the past fifteen years I have given nearly one thousand talks about the environment, and every …

An interview with renowned climate scientist James Hansen

James Hansen. Photo: nasa.gov James Hansen, NASA’s top climate expert, believes scientists have an obligation to speak out when their findings have important implications for the public — and he certainly put that belief into practice last year when he told The New York Times that the Bush administration was trying to muzzle his calls for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Hansen has been speaking publicly about the threats posed by climate change for more than two decades, though it’s only in the last couple of years that the public has begun to listen. These days, Hansen is the closest thing climate …

The alternative to fear is not lack of emotion

How best to pitch the climate change message?

Mike Hulme of the UK’s Tyndall Centre says — yet again — that the language of "catastrophe" and "disaster" used by climate-change scientists and advocates is having the opposite of its intended effect: it’s making people numb and apathetic. I more or less buy this — I did, after all, write a five-part series arguing that fear is no friend of greens. But the conclusion Tim Haab draws from it is so spectacularly, diametrically wrong I can only shake my head: In other words, report the facts without the embellishment. … Factual representation of the science is more likely to …

Dingell promises climate legislation

Next year.

Cap-and-trade and a carbon tax: two great tastes, but do they taste great together?

And if not, why not?

A journalist of some renown called me last week to ask a question: would it be possible to do both a cap-and-trade program and a carbon tax? Al Gore famously urged that approach, but this journo had heard from other (reliable) sources that it’s not possible. My instinctive answer was yeah, sure, there’s no reason you couldn’t do it. (I mean, there are a gazillion political reasons it’s impossible, but there’s no technical or regulatory reason you couldn’t do it.) Is that right? Do any of you smart folk out there know of any reason you couldn’t implement the two …

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