An interview with Australian politician and rabble-rouser Bob Brown

Bob Brown goes to great heights to protect his homeland. Photo: Rainforest Action Network Bob Brown looks a caricature of an Australian senator: a bit disheveled in a rumpled gray suit, unfashionable glasses, and a goofy grin. But a little rumple goes a long way. In a career that has spanned three decades, Brown has brought new awareness of environmental and human rights into the Australian political process. The former doctor became the director of the Tasmanian Wilderness Society in the 1970s, during a bruising and ultimately successful fight to stop the damming of the Franklin River. Imprisoned in 1983 …

Where Credit is Due

Democrats take control of U.S. Congress, vow energy-fund reallocation Here at Grist, we’re advocates of multipartisan cooperation and fans of progress, no matter what its origins. But as the Democratic-led, greener-seeming Congress takes over today, we’d like to allow ourselves a whoop. Whoop! One of the Dems’ top priorities is an energy package that will stick it to Big Oil. By repealing oil and gas tax cuts and forcing the payment of long-shirked royalties, the Dems estimate they can generate $14 billion to $16 billion to put toward renewable energy. Whoop! “The Democrats are appropriately shifting money from the 20th-century …

Rocky Anderson

The Salt Lake City mayor is doing amazing green things

I just got done with a long and interesting conversation with Salt Lake City’s hard-charging mayor, Rocky Anderson. If you haven’t been following the guy, check out this remarkable article in The Nation. Prepare to have your accustomed-to-bad-news socks knocked off. Since his election in 1999, he’s implemented a comprehensive plan to green the city and meet Kyoto emissions targets (actually, SLC has already far exceeded the targets, six years ahead of schedule). He’s pushed the development of bus and light-rail public transit, zoned for dense, multi-use development, created miles of new bike paths, and vastly improved pedestrian and bike …

Naughty and Nice

How the energy industry spent its holiday vacation While you were whooping over your Wii, the energy industry exulted in a few holiday gifts of its own. Just before Christmas, a federal appeals court gave ExxonMobil a $2.5 billion break, slashing in half the $5 billion in damages that had been awarded to thousands of Alaskans affected by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. The (ridiculously profitable) corporation has appealed the size of the award several times since it was first handed down in 1994, and this cut is the largest yet. Thanks, yer honors! Renewable-energy operations, for their part, …

An environmental A to Z for 2006

The year, alphabetically

When it comes to global warming and the environment, everything seemed to change in 2006 -- at least in terms of public awareness. Here's an A-to-Z accounting of just some of those changes: A is for An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore's scientific but surprisingly human documentary on the threat of climate change, which was expected to take in at most $6-7 million at the box office but went on to gross over $45 million, the biggest documentary of the year and the third-largest of all time. B is for biofuels, which went from becoming a hippies-only fringe product to a highlight of the State of the Union address. To date, Washington has been focused mostly on ethanol, but other fuels requiring much less fossil energy to produce are coming to the fore and proving surprisingly popular. Or as the bumper sticker says: "Biodiesel: No war required." C is for California, which set a new standard for pollution control by passing a bipartisan package of bills designed to cut tailpipe greenhouse-gas emissions by 30 percent by 2016 (and many other measures). For this, Iain Murray, a fossil fuel-funded think tank writer for the far-right National Review, declared: "It is hard to escape the conclusion ... that what California has done is to decide to join the Third World."

John Edwards is running for president

Global warming is one of his top priorities

You probably heard that John Edwards has officially declared his candidacy for president. Here are his top five priorities: Provide moral leadership in the world Strengthen our middle class and end poverty Guarantee universal health care for every American Lead the fight against global warming Get America and other countries off our addiction to oil Edwards, who's been working primarily on poverty since the 2004 election, announced in the 9th Ward of New Orleans. Here's the video:

More on science politicization

Everybody does it

Thanks to Andrew for bringing up science politicization, something I've been meaning to talk about for a while. This was originally a comment on his post, but it got too long so I'm putting it up here. It seems to me that discussions of science politicization run together two distinct issues.

Not in Sound health

Washington guv defangs oversight panel

Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire may have announced a major program to clean up the Puget Sound just last week, but this week the tides have, er, turned. This week, she's planning to limit the power of an independent citizen oversight panel intending to keep an eye on the oil industry -- probably the biggest threat to Sound health.

What does 'politicization of science' mean to you?


People talk about the "politicization" of science all the time, usually in the form of an accusation designed to paint an opponent as biased or corrupt. Let's take a moment to think about the term and what it means. Science is a multi-layered, collective, and impersonal process consisting of three parts: individual scientists working under the scientific method,the results of the individual scientists undergo peer-review and are published for the community to evaluate, andimportant claims are then re-tested in the "crucible of science" -- they are either reproduced by independent scientific groups or have their implications tested to insure consistency with the existing body of scientific knowledge.