The global problematique

A big picture statement the world’s big problems

I’m on a listserv, where somebody made the fateful mistake of casually asking me, "from a Gristy environmental point of view, wouldn’t it be a good thing if fossil fuels ran out?" In return, they received … a whole bunch of words. Then I thought, "hey, wait, I just wrote a bunch of words without putting them on the blog! What the eff am I thinking!?" So, without further ado, here’s a whole bunch of words: —– I don’t particularly consider myself an environmentalist as such, and I wouldn’t presume to speak for Grist. I just consider myself a progressive …

She Puts the Dud in Dudley

Bush appoints anti-regulation advocate as top regulatory official Mere days ago, we mentioned that President Bush might give Congress the runaround by making recess appointments of industry-tied folk to top environmentally related positions in his administration. Well, that didn’t take long. Meet Susan Dudley, the newly appointed head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, who will have occasion to change or block rules proposed by government agencies. As the administration’s top regulatory official, it’s only logical that she’s a conservative academic considered to have an anti-regulation agenda. In the past, Dudley has argued that ground-level ozone is beneficial, …

Will the environment be a factor in '08?

Not if experience is any guide

A professor of mine once remarked that while the environmental movement is wide, it is also thin. Nowhere is this more evident than in national elections, where candidates focus almost exclusively on national security issues and bread-and-butter economic agendas. (In contrast, local and state elections often produce clear environmental mandates.) Despite the perception that Democratic candidates place more of an emphasis on environmental issues, in 2000 Gore talked more about putting the social security surplus in a lockbox than he did about global warming, while in 2004 Kerry barely mentioned the environment or energy policy despite numerous opportunities and the obvious link between our addiction to Middle Eastern oil and terrorism.

Never underestimate the power of sleeping around

Between the sheets in the Abramoff scandel

Italia Federici, the founder of the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy (CREA), is the latest target of investigation in the ongoing saga of Jack Abramoff (whose first name might as well be Disgraced Lobbyist), according to recent press reports. Federici, who at the time was dating the coal lobbyist turned Interior Department official J. Steven Griles, served as Abramoff’s “in” at the Interior Department, according to the Justice Department. According to a letter the DOJ sent to her in January urging her to get a lawyer quick, there is “substantial evidence” linking her to criminal activity in the Abramoff …

Breaking: Automaker suit against Calif. greenhouse-gas regulations may be dismissed as early as tomo

You heard it here first

The lawsuit filed by automakers against states that have adopted California’s greenhouse-gas restrictions on vehicles may be dismissed as early as tomorrow (Wed.) afternoon. When the Supreme Court ruling in Mass. vs. EPA was announced, the judge handling the automakers’ lawsuit — Judge William K. Sessions III of the U.S. District Court of Vermont — summoned the lawyers in the case to his chambers for a discussion in light of the ruling. Check out the court’s schedule for tomorrow morning. If the suit is dismissed, it will be, in practical terms, a much more significant consequence of Mass. v. EPA …

I do not think it means what you think it means

President Bush "said he took climate change very seriously Tuesday, a day after the US Supreme Court ruled the government must regulate greenhouse gases." In other news, President Bush "said on Tuesday he planned no new action to impose caps on greenhouse gases blamed for global warming."

Between a Rocky and a chainstore

SLC mayor at it again

Have we mentioned how cool Rocky Anderson is? The Salt Lake City Council is pondering a resolution to keep chain stores with "cookie-cutter architecture" out of neighborhood business districts. Mayor Rocky and his staff are pushing them to take it step futher and keep chain stores out, period. "I don’t care what kind of facade Starbucks has; we ought to be promoting more local businesses rather than category killers and big boxes," he told the Salt Lake Tribune. "I’ve been in McDonald’s with a nice facade in the front. They’re still McDonald’s."

Eventually, politicians give the people what they want

So keep it up

Think about this article -- descriptively titled "Legislature flooded with bills about climate crisis; poll driven politicians see need to tackle global warming" -- the next time you get an email asking you to call or email your representative on an environmental issue. You keep it up long enough and they get it:

'Climate change': too big and too little

It’s the wrong lever for creating social change

On Saturday night, I was on a panel at the Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Festival on the subject of "communicating about climate change." My co-panelists were KC Golden of Climate Solutions, LeeAnne Beres of Earth Ministry, and Sean Schmidt of the Sustainable Style Foundation. The moderator was Steve Scher of local public radio station KUOW. It was fun. Most of what I said had to do with the following mini-revelation that came to me as I was walking to the event: the problem with communication about climate change is that it has been too focused on climate change. The notion …

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