Edwards: 80% reductions by 2050

The first pres. candidate to make the pledge

According to an account from an appearance at Howard University, John Edwards has become the first presidential candidate to publicly pledge to the target of reducing U.S. GHG emissions by 80% by 2050. That’s the baseline. Who else will step up?

I Think I Can’t, I Think I Can’t

Automakers tell Congress why fuel-economy improvements won’t work Congress hosted a few more cranky white men yesterday, as the CEOs of Chrysler, Ford, GM, and Toyota’s North American division appeared before a House subcommittee to explain why they couldn’t possibly raise fuel-economy standards. Joined by the head of the United Auto Workers, the churlish chiefs pointed to the high costs of meeting a 4 percent a year raise proposed by President Bush, saying it posed a threat to jobs and retirees’ health care. They also said using ethanol and regulating tailpipe emissions would be better ways to wean the U.S. …

Take That, Iowa

New Hampshire towns send climate-change message to feds The votes are in, and the message is clear: New Hampshire is peeved about global warming. Nearly 90 towns approved a nonbinding resolution at their annual meetings this week telling the feds to act on climate change and harrumphing that presidential candidates should make it a priority in their campaigns. About 90 more will debate the resolution — which also endorses the idea of a national sustainable-energy research initiative — at upcoming town meetings this spring. Given its traditional first-in-the-nation primary status, the tiny state’s fist-shaking is nothing to sneeze at. “There’s …

7/7/07: Capitol records

Gore looks to Capitol lawn for U.S. Live Earth concert

On 7/7/07, Al Gore hopes to rock the House. Yes, that’s House with a capital "h." Gore’s first choice for hosting the U.S. Live Earth concerts was the 300-acre National Mall, but turns out it’s double-booked already. The official National Mall Dayplanner says "annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival" and "rally by a religious group" (no details on which religious group, but it’s not this one). So now Gore’s looking to the front lawn of the U.S. Capitol building. And he’s using his political sway (yeah, he’s still got it) to help make it happen. Gore-friend Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid …

Not So Fast

Environmentalists take EPA, Interior Department to task Remember when U.S. agencies used to be able to get away with their nefarious eco-deeds? Like, for the last seven years or so? The times might just be changing. Deed one: the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management decided, after 20 years, to reactivate 23 drilling leases in areas of Utah that have since been protected, including Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Smackdown: three green groups, not buying BLM’s explanation that it was merely correcting a failure to decide on the leases in the 1980s, filed suit today. …

A Little Light Music

U.S., E.U. push phaseout of incandescent bulbs, U.K. gets serious about carbon The world is seeing the energy-efficient light: a U.S. coalition including Philips Lighting and the Natural Resources Defense Council will push to phase out incandescent bulbs by 2016. And following the lead of Australia and California, European Union leaders have proposed ditching the bulbs even sooner, a plan that could reduce E.U. carbon emissions up to 25 million tons a year. E.U. President Angela Merkel, who uses energy-saving bulbs at home, offered her pitch: they’re “not quite bright enough, so sometimes when I’m looking for something that’s dropped …

Seattle's difficult decision: Cary Moon

She prefers a ‘people’s waterfront’

Seattle is facing a difficult decision: what to do with a crumbling highway that serves as a major north-south corridor through the city? Below, we hear from Cary Moon. Cary is a landscape and urban designer and co-founder of the People’s Waterfront Coalition. The PWC’s No-Highway option won second prize in a national design competition sponsored by Metropolis magazine, called “Next Generation: Big Idea.” —– Faced with a maddening choice between two miserable highway options to blight our downtown shore for another century, Seattleites are wondering how in the heck we got here. How did our beautiful green city end …

Seattle's difficult decision: Erica C. Barnett

She says no and hell no

Seattle is facing a difficult decision: what to do with a crumbling highway that serves as a major north-south corridor through the city? Below, we hear from Erica C. Barnett. Erica is the senior news writer for Seattle’s alternative newsweekly, The Stranger, where she covers City Hall and transportation, writes a weekly politics column, and serves on the paper’s editorial board. She also has a blog. —– Voters in Seattle are being asked to take up-or-down votes on options to replace the dangerous (so we’re told) Alaskan Way Viaduct on our waterfront — a new, larger elevated viaduct and a …

Seattle's difficult decision: A mini-series

Because local transportation choices aren’t local any more

As Bradley noted below, the citizens of Seattle face a dilemma. The Alaskan Way Viaduct — an elevated highway that enters Seattle on its west flank, offering stunning views (to drivers) of the city and the waterfront — is falling apart. There’s real danger that an earthquake, or just Father Time, could send it tumbling down, along with lots of cars. Nobody wants that. That’s where the consensus ends. The question is: what should we do about it? In some sense this is a local decision, of course. But in an age of climate change, such decisions are never purely …

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