Wanted: One good environmentalist

USDA Seeks to fill enviro slot on Organic Board

The United States Department of Agriculture seeks to fill an "environmentalist" slot on the National Organic Standards Board, an opening announced in an April 16th press release. Why should you care? The NOSB makes recommendations to the USDA on what is allowable under USDA Organic Standards. Cloned animals? Recombinant DNA? Sewage sludge? The Board influenced all the decisions to keep these substances out, and will make important future recommendations as well. Contact Katherine E. Benham, of the National Organic Program. Nominations close August 17, 2007. The position will probably be filled around January, as that's when environmentalist Andrea Caroe's term ends. More in the press release here. Holla, people! I know you know someone!

Conservatives for rail transit

Um, overseas

“As part of efforts to shed its image of closeness to the motoring lobby, the party wants the government to commit immediately to key rail expansion projects …” That’s the conservative party. The dawn of …

Parody is so pre-9/11

I can’t do much to improve on the humor of the two lead paragraphs in this AP piece: The head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday the growth of greenhouse gases by less than …

No sweat solutions to global warming: a series

A reintroduction

I'm restarting my series on solutions to global warming, both on how to phase out fossil fuels and the best means to sequester carbon, because I consider the topic a critical one. The carbon lobby has mostly (not entirely) given up disputing that global warming is occurring. They know that they won't be able to confuse the public on its human-caused nature much longer. But a final stalling tactic is open to deniers -- to pretend that nothing can be done, or at least nothing that most people are willing to live with. There is an old engineering saying: "no solution, no problem." Converging with this, there is a small but unfortunately influential primitivist movement. In their belief that technology itself is totalitarian, they also contribute to the idea that the only solution to global warming is a drastic reduction in the technical level of civilization -- perhaps down to the hunter-gatherer level. Many well-meaning, intelligent people promote a less extreme version of this trope -- the conviction that we need to impoverish working people in rich nations to solve our environmental crisis and deal justly with the poorer countries. The primary purpose of this series is to ensure that energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies become known as inexpensive fossil fuel substitutes available today, rather than a high-priced vision of tomorrow. The U.S. needs to understand that continued use of fossil fuel is a political decision rather than a technical one.

G8: We really mean it on climate change this time


The 33rd meeting of the G8 is happening in early June, in Germany. German Chancellor Angela Merkel — perhaps in retaliation for the infamous backrub — is determined to put climate change high on the …

Great Danes

Denmark is a model of energy independence

Back in January, Jonathan Cohn wrote a fantastic piece in The New Republic about Denmark. Conventional economic wisdom says that countries must choose between robust social services and economic growth. But, Cohn wrote, Denmark casts …

American automakers: The power of can't

What a bunch of whiners

So, remember that lawsuit by the automakers against states implementing California’s clean air standards? The one I said might be dismissed, um, several weeks ago? Breaking: it wasn’t dismissed! In fact, the trial is rolling …

Flogging the horse race

Will campaign coverage drown out or draw out competing stories?

Can you believe we're already several galloping laps into horse race reporting on the 2008 presidential campaign? Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi describes this phenomenon more eloquently than I can (and with more profanity than I would probably dare) here. For anyone already snorting in disgust and tuning out the constant stream of chatter about who's raised more money, who's realigning their image this way or that (with what hunting photo-op or change of hairdo), and who's notched up a point and a half in Iowa polls, Taibbi is spot on: The election, after all, is nearly a full Martian year away, with a Super Bowl and two World Series still to play out in between -- which means that the "urgency" of breaking campaign news is now and will remain for at least a year an almost 100% media concoction.

Gristmill to Schweitzer: STFU

Quit with the coal boosting already

Down in Salt Lake City, the National Governors Association is holding a three-day Energy Summit. Tired of federal slacking, the NGA has for the first time in its history drawn up a specific list of …

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