Politics

Sam Brownback drops out of presidential race

Republican Sen. Sam Brownback dropped out of the presidential race today, having failed to gain many fans or much moola — or develop much of an environmental platform. If you want to ponder what might …

Lame duck quacking

Bush threatens to veto Democratic energy bill

According to this article in Roll Call (sub. rqd.), on Monday President Bush sent Congressional Democrats a letter with a list of demands regarding what must be or not be in the energy bill in …

The book to read on 'freedom from oil'

Sandalow explains the ins and outs of oil dependency

For years, I have been looking for a good, readable book on the oil problem and its solution -- just as I'd been looking for a good book on clean technology. Well, I found the Clean Tech book in August, and now I've found the oil book. It is Freedom from Oil, by Brookings scholar and White House veteran David Sandalow. It is an unqualified success -- cleverly told as a series of policy memos from the cabinet of a near-future President, who begins the book by telling his staff: I plan to deliver an address from the Oval Office one month from today. The topic will be oil dependence. In the breathless narrative that follows, you learn the stripped-down facts about oil dependency, plus the growing strategic and environmental danger posed by oil dependency -- and key solutions like plug-in hybrids and revised CAFE standards (as well as stories of fascinating figures in the oil game). You get a "unique window into the White House at work" from a former assistant secretary of state and senior director on the National Security Council staff. Sandalow's President ultimately offers an aggressive plan to free the country from oil dependence, which includes:

The wheat from the chaff

Good farm policies support good farm practices

Interest in the Farm Bill is usually confined to policy wonks and agribusiness lobbyists, but this year it has generated more buzz than a cowpie in a June paddock. Despite the stir, most of the public attention has been narrowly focused on only one aspect of the $280 billion policy package: the farm payments paid to corn, soybean, wheat, rice, and cotton producers. Though concerns over the current commodity programs are well-founded, their emphasis has given a negative cast to the Farm Bill debate: we should be against farm subsidies. But there are also things worth fighting for in the Farm Bill -- conservation programs that promote environmental enhancement, sustain family farms, and support rural communities are some of them.

Cape Wind project denied transmission-line permit, developer to appeal

The Cape Wind project was dealt another setback this week when a local commission denied a permit for the transmission lines that would carry electricity to the grid from the 130 offshore wind turbines that …

Climate equity: Tom Athanasiou

Justice requires fair burden-sharing

((equity_include)) This is a guest essay by Tom Athanasiou. Athanasiou is a long-time left green, a former software engineer, a technology critic, and, most recently, a climate justice activist. He is the author of Divided …

Truthiness in '08

Colbert announces candidacy

Alright, the Jake in ’08 thing might have been a joke, but this is one serious candidate:

A green civil war?

Environmental Defense has abandoned other green groups on Lieberman’s bill; how should they respond?

Over at OpenLeft.com, the always devastating Matt Stoller writes that "the green civil wars need to begin." He's urging other environmental groups to go after Environmental Defense for offering a ringing endorsement of the latest Warner-Lieberman climate bill. Environmental Defense is justifying a large corporate giveaway under the rubric of environmentalism, and the rest of the green community is letting ED get away with it. In terms of the policy, Environmental Defense is alone here. The green groups are remarkably polite to each other, as most of them started in the 1970s convinced that protecting the environment was a value system. At the time, it might have been. Today, the question is how to manage a commons, and these groups just don't agree with each other. There is no movement around the environment anymore, there are progressives, corporatists, and deniers, all fighting over a large multi-trillion dollar rapidly shrinking commons. The lack of robust internal debate among green groups means that ED's Fred Krupp can nonetheless speak for "the environmental movement," scoop up his corporate money, and throw everyone else to the curb. Having worked in the environmental movement, I've got to say that there is loads of "robust internal debate" and I know from my environmental friends that there has been very spirited debate on this exact issue within the green groups. But on the larger point, Matt is spot-on. Environmental Defense is once again destroying the unity of the environmental movement by endorsing this bill now despite some major weaknesses. In contrast, other environmental groups like Sierra Club are working hard to improve the bill -- and are reserving judgment until the final details are hammered out.

Clean water jacked

While industrial agriculture fouls the Mississippi, the EPA cowers in the corner

Industrial agriculture thrives on its ability to skulk away from — or, to use economist’s argot, "externalize" — the costs of its considerable ecological messes. Often, it does so with the tacit approval of the …

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