Politics

Law of the Sea

What will US ratification mean for health of the oceans?

I recently wrote a short piece for Seed about the Law of the Sea -- a piece of legislation that has been held up in the US Senate for the past 25 years, and which, if ratified, could have a major impact on ocean health. The treaty -- which was given a thumbs-up in October by the US Foreign Relations Committee and now awaits ratification in the Senate -- declares most of earth's vast ocean floor to be the "common heritage of mankind," placing it under UN aegis "for the benefit of mankind as a whole." That language has some people running scared. The treaty recently earned some scathing critique in the Wall Street Journal:

Yielding the moral high ground: Part II

Republicans have every reason to share ownership of the climate issue

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. In Part I, we saw how conservatives were turning their backs on the moral issue of our time -- global warming. Here we'll examine the many reasons conservatives should share ownership of this issue. Global warming and its solutions involve issues that are important to conservatives, progressives, Independents and even political agnostics. For example: National security: "Climate change can act as a threat multiplier for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world, and it presents significant national security challenges for the United States," 11 retired admirals and generals concluded in a security analysis last April. "The increasing risks from climate change should be addressed now because they will almost certainly get worse if we delay." Jobs: The global need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is arguably the biggest entrepreneurial opportunity the United States has known. Billions of the world's people need access to clean energy, a market of unprecedented scale. Here in the United States, according to an analysis by the Management Information Services in Washington, D.C., energy efficiency and renewable energy can create 40 million jobs by mid-century, at skill levels stretching from entry level to the highly technical.

Yielding the moral high ground: Part I

Republican candidates are keeping their distance from climate change

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. In recent years, conservatives have mastered the art of hijacking morality. They have positioned themselves as the champions of family values, faith and good old-fashioned patriotism. But on what some regard as the moral issue of our time, the party's presidential candidates are turning their backs. That issue is global warming. Al Gore is not the only prominent leader who considers climate change a moral issue. Three years ago, the National Association of Evangelicals issued its "Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility." It reads in part: We affirm that God-given dominion is a sacred responsibility to steward the earth and not a license to abuse the creation of which we are a part. Because clean air, pure water, and adequate resources are crucial to public health and civic order, government has an obligation to protect its citizens from the effects of environmental degradation. At about the same time, Christianity Today, an influential evangelical magazine, opined that "Christians should make it clear to governments and businesses that we are willing to adapt our lifestyles and support steps towards changes that protect our environment." The magazine endorsed the bipartisan global warming bill co-sponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman (I/D CT) and John McCain (R-AZ). Yet, the other Republican presidential candidates are keeping their distance from the issue as though it is their weird Aunt Ethel with halitosis.

Multiple states will sue over EPA decision to not let California regulate vehicle emissions

Riled up about the U.S. EPA’s decision not to allow California to regulate vehicle greenhouse-gas emissions, Golden State Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared he will …

Plan to regulate airline emissions moves forward in E.U.

A proposed law that would regulate emissions from airlines taking off from or landing in the European Union has been approved by environment ministers. The …

The underground food movement gains force, plus lots of bad news

Top green food stories of 2007

“…to make whole what has been smashed…” — Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History All over the country, communities are organizing to establish …

Johnson's staff

EPA staff say they were excluded from waiver decision; suspect Cheney’s involvement

Reporting in the L.A. Times, Janet Wilson confirms (as Juliet Eilperin did earlier) that EPA staff unanimously recommended granting California’s waiver, and that they were …

Japan says it won’t hunt humpback whales, at least for now

Under pressure from, well, most of the world to stop targeting humpback whales, Japan has announced it will hold off on its hunt for the …

Who's the greenest of them all?

Vote for the most heroic eco-hero of 2007

Check out our nominations for the most ass-kicking hero of 2007, then vote at the bottom of this post. (And tell us who we missed.) Barbara Boxer. Sen. Boxer (D-Calif.) has been pushing for tough climate and energy legislation as chair of the Senate Environment Committee, and going head-to-head with James Inhofe (R-Okla.) on global warming. She's also trying to make Capitol Hill more energy efficient. Leonardo DiCaprio. This green-leaning actor shined a spotlight on the world's top environmental leaders in his eco-documentary The 11th Hour, plotted a reality TV series about green building, and topped Grist's list of green celebs. John Edwards. Edwards pushed other Democratic presidential contenders to go greener by coming out first with an aggressive climate plan and environmental platform. Al Gore. This climate crusader won a Nobel Peace Prize, starred in an Oscar-winning film, and, uh, was named first runner-up for Time magazine's Person of the Year. James Hansen. Hansen, the top climate scientist at NASA, has been outspoken and aggressive about the need to fight global warming. He's taken his share of hits, and punched right back. Van Jones. Jones has been everywhere this year fighting for environmental justice and promoting a green economy. Plus, he's a hottie. Angela Merkel. German Chancellor Merkel has made fighting climate change a top priority this year. She had hoped to advance her cause at the G8 summit this past summer; unfortunately, the U.S. got in the way. Nancy Pelosi. The House speaker doggedly pushed through an aggressive energy bill -- though the Senate neutered it before it got to Bush's desk. Pelosi has also kept up demands for action against climate change, called for green-collar jobs, and worked to green the Capitol -- even if she doesn't "carry a big stick." Kevin Rudd. Elected as Australia's prime minister in November 2007, Rudd followed through on his campaign promise to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on his first day in office, leaving the U.S. all by its lonesome. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Governator continues to be California's most pumped-up environmental defender and ambassador. Watch out, Bush, cause he's pissed about the EPA's auto-emissions decision.