Politics

Hey Rocky!

A day with SLC Mayor Rocky Anderson, in photos

While down in the good state of Utah several weeks ago, I got to spend some time with Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, featured subject of a Dave Roberts Q&A published yesterday. The good mayor had just days before given his state of the city address, the final of his two-term run as mayor of a city better-known for Mormons than for the range of forward-thinking policies in place there.   In his address, the mayor praised the city’s progress in cutting energy use and advancing the use of alternative energy sources, which “promotes a better quality of life, …

Bush’s farm bill “reform” proposal falls woefully short

Note: This is the third of a three-column series on the 2007 farm bill. The first two columns are here and here. The author promises not to return to the topic for at least a few weeks — but will likely backslide from this pledge in his Gristmill blog posts. Can Bush point the way for America’s farmers? Photo: whitehouse.gov/Eric Draper In this series, I promised to lay out new models for federal food and farm policy. But after two long columns, I still haven’t catalogued the full depth of the failures of current policy. Doing so is a necessary …

An interview with Salt Lake City mayor and green innovator Rocky Anderson

Rocky Anderson shows off the solar panels on his roof. Photo: Kate Sheppard As mayor of his city, Rocky Anderson has been unapologetically liberal. He’s pushed through aggressive sustainability measures and energetically championed affirmative action, gay rights, and reform of the penalty-heavy justice system. He’s also been a fierce and vocal critic of the Bush administration in general and the war in Iraq in particular. His city? Salt Lake City, Utah, square in the middle of the reddest state in the Union — the state with the highest percentage of Bush votes in 2000, a number that increased in 2004. …

The 'two sides' of the climate debate

One of them is missing

Bad Actors and their enablers have been pushing a particular spin on the climate debate: it has "two sides," the denialists and the alarmists. What can wise people above it all in the center do but roll their eyes at the grubbiness of it all? I’d like to introduce you to one side of the debate: Only 13 percent of congressional Republicans say they believe that human activity is causing global warming, compared to 95 percent of congressional Democrats. Moreover, the number of Republicans who believe in human-induced global warming has actually dropped since April 2006, when the number was …

Now Who’s a Moonbeam?

On heels of climate report, governments and businesses get real Heeding a call from French President Jacques Chirac, 46 nations are backing a plan to create a powerful new U.N. Environment Organization that could police climate offenders. Egregious emitters Russia, China, India, and the U.S. didn’t leap up and down volunteering to join, but Chirac will keep pushing, since the “very survival of humankind hangs in the balance.” Whatevs. In other news, 12 corporations including Nike, Polaroid, Sony, and IBM pledged to cut emissions totaling 10 million tons annually by 2010 as part of the World Wildlife Fund’s “Climate Savers” …

Dingell meets Gore

Gore to testify to Congress

Here’s a handy political rule of thumb: don’t front on John Dingell. In recent weeks, House Speaker Pelosi moved to create a special committee on global warming chaired by Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). It won’t have subpoena powers, but it will call hearings. It was a shot across Dingell’s bow, letting him know he better take global warming seriously. Well, Dingell has just booked Al Gore as the sole testimony before a March 21 joint hearing of his Energy and Commerce Committee and the Science Committee chaired by Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.). With a stroke, he sucked the air out …

Why do hurricanes matter?

Policy-wise, that is

As Andrew mentioned, the hurricane folks are saying that hurricanes are going to be the huge controversy when the IPCC report is released. Does climate change strengthen them? Yes? No? Kindamaybe with full takebacks? Does this consensus statement say we’re 51% sure while this other one says 49%? Let me ask a simple question: what policy implications follow from this debate? What difference will a clear answer make? What policy would make sense in light of the prospect of stronger hurricanes that wouldn’t make sense anyway, without that prospect? I get that there’s a matter of genuine scientific curiosity here. …

Merkel, May I?

E.U., Germany duke it out over auto emissions standards Once upon a time, the European Union proposed a carbon-dioxide emissions limit on all vehicles made or imported there. But Germany — home of Volkswagen, BMW, DaimlerChrysler, and Porsche — has yanked on the e-brake. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the country would not support a blanket emissions rule, though it would support case-by-case standards. So the E.U. is backing down — but not without Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, who authored the failed plan, shaking his tiny fist and threatening to replace his Mercedes with a Prius. Sock it to ‘em, …

GOP strategist Frank Luntz argues enviros are failing — and they’re mean to boot

Frank Luntz, the famed Republican pollster and messaging consultant who helped to shape Newt Gingrich’s 1994 Contract With America, thinks environmentalists are mean. Frank Luntz. The author of a new guidebook on politically effective language, Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear, Luntz is credited with popularizing use of the phrase “death tax” in lieu of “estate tax.” He became notorious in environmental circles in 2003 for a leaked memo [PDF] he wrote telling Republicans how to green their image. He advised them to tout their love of national parks, and to say “conservationist” instead …

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