Politics

U.S. will host climate meeting of world’s largest emitters

Representatives from the world’s 17 largest greenhouse-gas emitters will gather tomorrow in the good ol’ U.S. of A. for a climate-change discussion. (And yes, the U.N. just had one of those — President Bush played hooky.) The group, which includes China, India, and Brazil, will be convened by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Bush will address them on Friday. Some E.U. nations will send junior ministers, as their senior officials have just, ahem, attended the U.N. meeting. Some see the summit as evidence that Bush is finally, finally, taking leadership on the climate issue; others fear that the group …

Environmentalism and economic justice, sitting in a tree ...

Van Jones has helped push equity to the center of the green discussion

Back in March of this year, I interviewed Van Jones of the Ella Baker Center in Oakland, Calif. He was excited because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had adopted his "green-collar jobs" language and agreed to craft legislation around it. In August, such legislation was introduced in the House. Now things are taking off like crazy. Earlier this week the Senate Environment Committee held a hearing on green jobs, where Sen. Barbara Boxer brandished Jones’ work and said, "we still have a chance to avoid the worst effects of global warming and in doing so, we will also strengthen our economy …

Clinton Global Initiative: Bill and Al, reunited at least

Bill Clinton kicks off annual meeting with big names and big aims

I'm not sure when Al Gore and Bill Clinton were last in the same room together, let alone on a stage together, but they reunited publicly today at the start of the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting. (And, to focus on the superficial for a moment, their handshake -- clumsy and brief, an afterthought really -- didn't look at all like the sort of handshake you might expect a former U.S. president and his erstwhile second-in-command to share.) Clinton introduced and honored several people before the plenary officially kicked off, including Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) and the president of the Florida Power & Light Company, for their joint efforts to expand solar power as a means of bringing Florida's emissions into line with the goals of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. It wasn't the sexiest thing I've seen all week, but it may be of higher impact to recognize work like that in a room full of rich, powerful people than to have Al Gore speak about climate change for the kerjillionth time.

Bush administration pressured to act on climate by banks, international leaders

The pressure is rising on the Bush administration to take action on climate change. This week, some of the world’s leading banks are gathering as lobbying group International Carbon Investors and Services to urge the U.S. and other developed nations to introduce a lightly regulated carbon-trading program. And, in anticipation of Bush’s planned summit on global warming later this week, government officials from around the globe went to the White House yesterday to urge mandatory cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions. Not to mention the near-constant ragging the administration gets from a certain scrappy, incisive web magazine. Personally, we don’t know how …

Inspector general’s report finds problems with royalty-collection program at Interior

A new report by the U.S. Interior Department’s inspector general points to a “profound failure” of the technology that the Minerals Management Service uses to monitor the roughly $10 billion in oil and gas royalty payments from energy companies each year. But it’s not just the technology. Higher-ups in the agency apparently decided that even after catching oil companies underpaying by over $1 million, it would impose too much of a “hardship” on the companies to require them to calculate the royalties owed, despite the fact that MMS’ own computers weren’t capable of making the necessary calculations. The report was …

You too can be John Dingell's legislative adviser

Dingell wants feedback on his carbon tax bill

Rep. John Dingell is going to put a draft of his carbon tax bill on his website this Thursday, to solicit feedback. (Did I say "tax"? I meant "emissions fee.") Reportedly, this marks the first time Dingell’s done something like this. I dunno. If he’s just introducing the tax to sabotage the rest of the climate legislation in the House, why do this? Why allow for public comment before introducing a bill if you mean the bill to fail? Inscrutable as usual. Regardless, when he opens it up for feedback, I’m going to head over (hopefully joined by lots of …

Greenspan vs. Naomi Klein and Amy Goodman

A remarkable bit of radio on Democracy Now

I agree with Joseph Romm that Alan Greenspan is way overrated. Sure, he declares in his new book that "I’m saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows — the Iraq war is largely about oil." But he adds in his very next sentence, to paraphrase: And that’s a good thing. Yes, he supported the war because he saw it as essential to maintaining a smooth flow of oil. Everything else, for him, was political window dressing. And yes, he became a hero to certain liberals because he worked well with Bill Clinton. But what did the …

Do something already

Poll finds people ready for action on climate change

The BBC World Service just released the results of a poll they did of 22,000 people in 21 countries on attitudes toward global warming. Short story: large majorities believe that human beings are causing global warming, that urgent action needs to be taken to avert it, and that part of that action should be rich countries helping fund the efforts of poor countries. Says GlobeScan President Doug Miller, "The strength of these findings makes it difficult to imagine a more supportive public opinion environment for national leaders to commit to climate action." And yet, national leaders continue to dither and …

Senate approves water bill, Bush may veto, Senate may override

The Senate has approved a $23 billion water bill, which includes $3.6 billion for wetland and coastal restoration in Louisiana and $2 billion for restoration work in the Everglades. It would also create a new national levee safety program and calls for much-needed outside review of water construction projects undertaken by the Army Corps of Engineers. Critics of the legislation decry the earmarks for hundreds of water projects in nearly every state, and say the bill lacks good prioritization. President Bush has threatened to veto; the Senate may very well overturn said hypothetical veto with a two-thirds majority. Granted, the …