Hey, That’s Half the Battle

Bush chats with Merkel and Barroso, agrees climate change is a problem U.S. President George W. Bush met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and E.U. President Jose Manuel Barroso at the White House yesterday, chatting about international trade, air-travel policy, missile shields, and The Most Important Issue of Our Time. Though no climate action steps were agreed to, Merkel and Barroso seemed happy that Bush even acknowledged the problem. “We agree there is a threat, there is a very serious and global threat. We agree that there is a need to reduce emissions. We agree that we should work together,” …

Taking the 'fund' out of Superfund

New report says federal cleanup program wasting away

Image reprinted with permission from the Center for Public Integrity. A drop-off in both government action and funding has all but stopped the push to clean up America’s most toxic sites, posing health and environmental threats all over the country, according to a comprehensive series of reports released last week by the Center for Public Integrity. Under the Bush administration, the amount of money budgeted to clean up these sites has plummeted and cleanup has stagnated, while the list of sites that need environmental remediation continues to grow. The detailed report chronicles the government’s failure to clean up our country’s …

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New book examines Army Corps ruling

Attention brains: I am contractually obligated, by virtue of having been born, to mention that my father has helped put out a book of essays that look at the Supreme Court’s ruling last year on the Army Corps of Engineers and the Clean Water Act, and at the future of federal wetlands protection. The five essays are by lawyer and scholar types who were involved in the case, so they ain’t just whistlin’ about Dixie. The pieces range from dry analyses to more accessible prose (any lawyer who uses the phrase “bibbity bobbity boo” can’t be all bad). They are …

Power, program, and practical considerations: Objectives

How to build a real climate movement

((brightlines_include)) Campaigns and programs crafted to advance the Bright Lines strategy must also fit real world constraints and political realities on the ground, and take account of external roadblocks to effective action. The following objectives address these issues. 1. Tangible risk. Climate change is like world hunger: it's an issue of concern when media attention is high, just as coverage of periodic famines raises concern about world hunger. Most Americans do not see climate change as an immediate or personal risk, yet, like world hunger, they view it as a problem so immense that it is impractical to think that it will ever be solved. NGO relief efforts and international governmental aid are widely supported, but are seen as altruistic, charitable actions. Climate policies and programs now advanced in the U.S. are so small-scale they can only be understood in similar terms, as altruistic and charitable acts like huger relief. Measures like Governor Corzine's initiative in New Jersey, for example, take aim at an intangible, global risk with essentially symbolic action. The problem must be dealt with by establishing the scale of global response and role of the U.S. in advancing a solution, but should also be tackled by defining tangible, local risks. By advancing climate change assessment and remediation, several objectives are achieved:

More bitter chocolate

What the choco-giants are up to.

A couple of weeks ago, we noted here that Big Food is haranguing the FDA to loosen the definition of “chocolate” to allow for adulteration. At the time, I didn’t know why the industrial chocolate giants were agitating for this dubious cause. Now I think I know: cocoa-bean prices rose abruptly last year, pushed up by strong global demand and bad weather and political unrest in the Ivory Coast, the world’s most prolific cocoa-producing nation. By scheming to substitute hydrogenated fat for cocoa butter, the chocolate giants are plotting more than just a con job on U.S. consumers. They’re also …

Climate change in the Dem debate

A video compilation

The South Carolina debate among Democratic presidential candidates on Thursday didn’t exactly light my fire, but there were some decent bits. LCV’s Heat Is On program is rounding up all sorts of good YouTube clips relating to global warming, and they’ve got a cut together video of every mention of climate change in the debate: