Politics

Political efforts to water down IPCC report

A visual comparison

When the IPCC WGII summary was released last week, there were media reports on last-minute clashes between scientists and political types — the former pushing for the original strong language, the latter pushing to water it down. George Monbiot’s column yesterday addressed the subject, in characteristically outraged tones. For those interested in the details, DeSmogBlog has compiled a comparison of a leaked version of the summary and the final summary released last Friday, with changes highlighted. Over at the Seattle P-I blog, Lisa Stiffler has another rundown of the changes. There’s nothing storm-the-barricades outrageous, but it’s pretty clear that all …

Population

Quit talking about it already

We’re constantly getting yelled at here at Grist for not discussing population, which according to the yellers is the ultimate problem of all problems, such that addressing any other problem without addressing it first is to demonstrate one’s total subjugation to The Man and False Consciousness. The issue came up in this thread, so I thought I’d say for the record why I never bother to discuss population. It’s obviously relevant to the ecological health of the planet that there are so many human beings on it. In the long-term, we human beings need to vastly reduce both our per-capita …

A Newt paradigm

Gingrich and Kerry face off on climate, except they don’t really face off all that much

John Kerry and Newt Gingrich squared off on climate change this morning. The result? Gingrich committed to the statement that something needs to be done and distanced himself from partisan brethren like Inhofe. He also dropped a line about a need for some “green conservatism.” The transcript: KERRY: I’m excited to hear you talk about the urgency — I really am. And given that — albeit you still sort of have a different approach — what would you say to Sen. Inhofe and to others in the Senate who are resisting even the science? What’s your message to them here …

Another One Writes the Bust

Court rules against Bush administration’s fish-protection plan The Great Judicial Smackdown of 2007 continued this week, with a federal appeals court ruling that the Bush administration’s plan for “protecting” fish on the Northwest’s Columbia and Snake rivers violates the Endangered Species Act. The feds had claimed that the rivers’ hydroelectric dams could be made safe for the 13 listed salmon and steelhead species that must navigate them. They also said that since the dams were built before the ESA became law, they shouldn’t be considered for removal or alteration. But the three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court called that …

Do They Even Have Roads There?

Vermont court hears landmark vehicle-emissions case This week, the U.S. state with the fewest registered cars will take the driver’s seat in the race to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions. A Vermont court will hear a landmark case on whether the state’s adoption of a stringent California emissions law is legal. Under the Clean Air Act, states can choose between federal legislation and California’s, which is notoriously progressive. But miffed automakers argue that — buckle your seatbelt — because cutting emissions means burning less fuel, which means improving gas mileage, the law is attempting to govern fuel economy, something only the feds …

Bush (almost) blows

Our prez nearly made a slip of the plug

The funniest news lede I've read in a long time: Credit Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally with saving the leader of the free world from self-immolation. Apparently, our befuddled prez was about to stick an electrical plug into the hydrogen tank of a Ford hydrogen-electric plug-in hybrid. This act, if completed, would have generated Hindenburg-esque bad publicity and probably made Cheney our next president. (Eep!) To make the save, Mulally apparently "violated all the protocols," grabbing the president's arm and steering him away from the plug. Maybe that's exactly what Bush needs: someone who's not afraid to step in to steer him away from stuff that's eventually going to blow up in his -- and our -- face. Wonder if Mulally would accept a pay cut ...