Politics

Coffee roasters perk up on USDA ruling

Sign a petition

The issue regarding certification of organic farmers in the Third World continues to gain steam. Equal Exchange, the organic and fair trade coffee group, has a petition drive (scroll to bottom of page) to block the USDA decision that would decertify organic 'grower groups' such as coffee co-ops. Grist had a spirited discussion on this previously.

Converts and heretics

Time to start welcoming rather than bashing eco-newcomers

Arnold Schwarzenegger is being offered up as an eco-hero, so naturally some folks in the green movement rush to point out that it’s all a big fraud. Why they do that — why progressives eat their allies — I’ll never understand. Let’s approach this through a semi-related phenomenon. I had the privilege of meeting Andrew Dessler in person the other day (how’d your talk go, Andrew?), and we discussed, among other things, how several climate change skeptics started off lightly flirting with craziness, before descending over time into full-on Inhofian fruitloopitude. How does that happen? I speculate it goes something …

Presidential contender supports carbon tax

If you can really call Chris Dodd a ‘contender’

Finally, a candidate for president has come out in support of a carbon tax! OK, it was Chris Dodd, but still. Dodd’s big energy speech this morning was mostly the usual stuff about tax credits and subsidies, but here’s the section that produced the headline: The truth is, we can make all the clean energy investments in the world, but we will never be able to rid ourselves of fossil fuel energy sources when they remain the cheapest option. It’s true that some corporations have at last begun to clean up their act — some because they want to stay …

Boxer is a fighter

Senator Boxer vows to take the global warming fight to the administration, rules out carbon tax in favor of cap and trade. The San Francisco Chronicle has the details.

No More Dicking Around

House approves long-delayed Wild Sky Wilderness bill After five years of delay, the House has passed a bill creating a 167-square-mile Wild Sky Wilderness area in northern Washington state. The bill had been approved by the Senate three times in recent years, but stalled out each time in the Republican-led House, with former California Rep. Richard Pombo fingered as the man responsible for standing squarely in the way. “The protection of the Wild Sky Wilderness … heralds a wilderness revival in Congress,” says Sean Cosgrove, a national forest policy specialist with the Sierra Club. “The Wild Sky Wilderness Act is …

Corn ethanol: it really does suck

And cellulosic might too — plus it’s still a decade off

Yes, this is another bitter polemic against ethanol, but I want to make one point up front, because I sometimes forget to: The only concrete alternative energy/climate policy that our political class can agree on — a plan that unites Democrats and Republicans to commit some $5 billion per year and rising — is a clear and obvious boondoggle: a cash sieve that has done and will do much more harm than good. This is our main public intervention into the energy markets on behalf of “alternative fuel”? The opportunity costs alone are staggering. Say what you want about Amtrak, …

An organic House

… or at least one representative

The House of Representatives held its first Ag committee hearing ever on organic agriculture today. I attended the hearing and found out Rep. Dennis Cardoza, the California Democrat who chairs of the House subcommittee on horticulture and organic agriculture, belongs to an organic CSA! For a full report, see the post on Chews Wise.

Music to the ears of us corn hataz

From the WSJ energy blog: Is the anti-ethanol crusade beginning to gather steam among mainstream Western publications? Two weeks after The Economist confessed, in a stunned-sounding editorial that it found itself in agreement with Fidel Castro’s vehement critique of foods-as-fuels, Foreign Affairs magazine has also jumped on board. In the magazine’s May edition, two professors from the University of Minnesota write that, like Castro and The Economist, they believe the growing use of biofuels may starve the world’s poor by pushing up food prices for minimal environmental gains. "Washington’s fixation on corn-based ethanol has distorted the national agenda," charge the …

Responsibility

The view from Washington

So here I am in Washington (the other one) in a homey B&B just eight blocks from the White House. I came here for a number of reasons, not the least of which is attending a conference called Climate Change and International Development (which was, by the way, recorded, and it is said that videos will be available here.) It was pretty good, and the less-public strategy meeting that followed it today (at the Friends of the Earth offices) was even better. Strategically, very little could be more important than the development folks joining the climate battle. Especially if they do something new. There's a lot to say here, and I'll not say much of it. I'm hardly an impartial observer and it would get too messy. But I do want to make a couple of bottom line points.

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