Politics

Vive la Discorde

E.U. leaders gather for summit, squabble over renewable-energy target As European Union leaders gather for a two-day summit that starts tomorrow, one question is dominating the agenda: what exactly did the Olsen twins buy on their recent Paris shopping spree? Once that’s answered, the heads of state will move on to more mundane topics like emissions cuts and renewable energy. While the summit is expected to result in an agreement to cut carbon emissions 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 — and as much as 30 percent if other nations around the world agree to cuts — there’s strife …

The Hill Is Alive With the Sound of Musing

Pelosi and Boxer aim to green Capitol Hill Tired of talking the energy-efficiency talk in an eco-unfriendly setting, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Barbara Boxer (both D-Calif.) are aiming to green Capitol Hill. On Friday, Pelosi wrote a letter directing the House chief administrative officer to look into implementing “the most up-to-date industry and government standards for green building and green operating procedures” in da House. Preliminary recommendations are due by the end of April, and may include thoughts on parking-lot materials, public transportation, and recycling. Boxer has set up a pilot program encouraging energy-efficient lighting in Senate offices, …

Like a spam filter for your mailbox

Knock that junk off

Washington state is one of a half dozen states considering legislation this year to create a "do not mail" list for residents, similar to the feds' popular "do not call" registry. And like the telemarketing industry's cries that it would be utterly destroyed and millions of contented telemarketers would be out of a job, similar forces are mobilizing against the "do not mail" bills, including the Direct Marketing Association, the mail carriers' union, and others who argue that junk mail is simultaneously essential, irreplaceable, and innocuous. Bollocks.

Who made global warming a partisan issue?

Hint: the people who deny we’re causing it

A right-wing news site called … Right Wing News recently sent a poll to 240 "right-of center" bloggers. Sixty-three responded. There’s much amusement to be had reading through the results, but let’s focus on this: 4) Do you think mankind is the primary cause of global warming? Yes (0) — 0% No (59) — 100% Kind of reminiscent of this : Only 13 percent of congressional Republicans say they believe that human activity is causing global warming … Which is kind of reminiscent of this: JONATHAN KARL: But what’s your sense, where is the science on this? Is global warming …

Good God, Y’all

U.N. chief says climate change poses as big a threat as war When we were in school, assemblies were a chance to see something fun, like a juggler or a movie. How times change. Two months after taking office, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave his first climate-change speech, saying all kinds of gloomy things to an audience of schoolchildren from around the world. To wit: “The majority of the United Nations’ work still focuses on preventing and ending conflict, but the danger posed by war to all of humanity and to our planet is at least matched by the climate …

She Will Have Her Way

Hearing held on Inuit climate and human-rights claim against U.S. In the northern reaches of the world, climate change is more than a theory. For years, native Inuit have seen extreme weather and weak ice interfere with their lives, and they say big emitters like the U.S. are to blame. Today — more than a year after filing a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and a month after the body reversed its decision to deny a hearing — the Inuit will have a chance to formally make their case. “Our way of life is at stake,” says …

That’s, What, Two Days in Iraq?

U.S. Department of Energy to grant up to $385 million for cellulosic ethanol The U.S. plans to sink up to $385 million into cellulosic ethanol, doling out grants for six bio-refineries across the nation. The funds, spread over four years, will cover up to 40 percent of a $1.2 billion push expected to result in annual production of more than 120 million gallons. “Ultimately, success in producing inexpensive cellulosic ethanol could be the key to eliminating our nation’s addiction to oil,” said Energy Secretary Sam Bodman. The plants, in Iowa, Kansas, Florida, California, Idaho, and Georgia, will use sources ranging …

Meany in a Bottle

Baby bottles found to leak chemicals, California may ban them Most parents discourage their kiddos from ingesting known toxics, so a new study from green group Environment California is a bit of a bummer: when run through a simulated dishwasher 50 to 75 times, name-brand baby bottles leach the chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, in levels that have caused reproductive abnormalities in lab animals. Baby-product representatives spun the bottle, calling the report “sensational and biased” and arguing that their products meet federal standards, which really is far from comforting. Feeling un-comforted, California Assembly member Fiona Ma (D) has introduced a …

An Old Lease on Life

U.S. Interior Department negotiating to recoup lost royalties Not yet recovered from its embarrassment at a contractual omission that lost the U.S. a hell of a lot of money, the Interior Department is negotiating with 22 oil and gas companies to try and recoup the dough. When the feds issued deep-water drilling leases for the Gulf of Mexico in 1998 and 1999, they neglected to stipulate that drillers would have to pay federal royalties if the market price for oil and gas rose above a certain level. Prices have, of course, shot up, and meeellions of dollars have stayed in …