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Cities on a Hill

Fifty mayors from around world sign environmental accord Marking the culmination of World Environment Day festivities in San Francisco, 50 mayors from cities the world over yesterday signed a set of environmental accords some are calling a "municipal Kyoto." Among the 21 commitments therein are increasing clean-energy use, reducing waste sent to landfills, adding affordable public transportation, planting trees, and of course, reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Action by urban centers is vital, says David Cadman, deputy mayor of Vancouver, British Columbia: "Cities now cover 2 percent of the world's surface, but they accommodate 50 percent of the world's population and consume …

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Foreign corporations spend big to influence U.S. environmental law

Cold, hard, foreign cash. Lobbying has become as much a part of American culture as apple pie, blue jeans, and monster trucks, but it's not just U.S. companies playing the game. Increasingly, foreign corporations are spending big bucks to push their interests in Washington, D.C., many with the intent of weakening environmental protections -- from changing rules on the disposal of hazardous waste to opening more lands to mining and drilling to clearing the path for more nuclear-power development. From 1998 through 2004, total annual expenditures on lobbying the federal government nearly doubled, from $1.6 billion to an estimated $3 …

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Are corporations hog-tying conservation groups in CAFTA fight?

Macaws and effect in Central America. A year ago, President Bush signed the Central American Free Trade Agreement. Since then, the controversial plan has inspired protests across the U.S. and in Central America. And while past trade agreements have been ratified by Congress in less than two months, the Bush administration has delayed the vote on CAFTA multiple times, unable to rally the support needed for it to pass. The latest vote is scheduled for this month, but CAFTA's passage is by no means inevitable. Many Democrats and some Republicans, having learned from the fallout of NAFTA -- for example, …

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It’s a Lap Dog’s Life

Blair heads to D.C. to beg for Bush's support on G8 climate agenda U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair has put his political life on the line to support the Bush administration numerous times, citing the "special relationship" between the two countries. Ha ha, sucka! Next week Blair will fly to Washington, D.C., to beg the Bushies to support his ambitious agenda for July's meeting of the G8 countries, but they have been -- and show every sign of continuing to be -- entirely intransigent on the subject. At the center of Blair's agenda are climate change and aid to Africa. …

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Like a Metric Earth Day

Mayors from all over globe gather to celebrate World Environment Day A five-day gathering to mark U.N. World Environment Day kicks off tomorrow in San Francisco and is expected to bring together at least 70 mayors from cities across the globe. San Francisco is the first U.S. city to host the annual event and will focus workshops, lectures, and other activities on sustainable city living. One of the major goals of the conference is the signing of the Urban Environmental Accords, a plan -- billed as the urban Kyoto Protocol -- aimed at spurring world cities to take action related …

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An environmental-justice advocate insists he’s not dead yet

Ludovic Blain. "The Death of Environmentalism" should be called "The Death of Elite, White, American Environmentalism." A critique of the environmental movement that draws on neither the perspectives nor achievements of the environmental-justice (EJ) movement is, at very best, incomplete. That the DOE interviews and recommendations only focused on white, American male-led environmentalism meant that the fatal flaws of that part of the environmental movement infected the critique itself. These omissions inspire me to paraphrase Sojourner Truth and ask, "Ain't I an environmentalist?" I was struck by how the piece echoed the National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summits of …

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The environmental movement won’t thrive till it tackles economic development in low-income districts

Growing up in east Los Angeles as the son of Central American immigrants, the everyday challenges faced by the people in my community seemed far removed from the American dream: the lack of good housing and jobs, failing schools, scraping together money for groceries, and all-too-common police brutality. If you had asked us, we would have told you we were concerned about the days when the air pollution was especially thick, or when the smells coming from the incinerator directly south of our housing complex were particularly bad. We would have told you we were concerned -- but that these …

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Why race and class matter to the environmental movement

This piece is excerpted from the essay "The Soul of Environmentalism: Rediscovering Transformational Politics in the 21st Century." The full essay can be found here. Elvis was a hero to most,but he never meant shit to me ...-- Public Enemy, 1989 Activists of color may not want to stand on John Muir's shoulders. Environmentalism in the United States has always been as diverse as our country itself. In the 19th century, for example, African-American abolitionists fought slavery as well as the use of arsenic in tobacco fields. Later, Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King Jr. were only two of thousands …

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The Blair Pitch Project

Biz leaders urge Blair to act on climate A dozen of Britain's top business chieftains have sent a letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair urging him to get on the ball in the fight against climate change. The heads of BP, Shell, HSBC Bank, and other major companies say global warming is a massive problem that demands aggressive business investment, but they want to know how government policies on climate will shake out before they firm up their plans to tackle the challenge. Meanwhile, Blair is on the road pitching his agenda for the G8 summit that his government will …

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Climate finally getting more notice in Senate with energy-bill amendments

The climate-change debate is beginning to move forward inside the Beltway -- at a glacial pace relative to the rest of the industrialized world, of course, but these days even glaciers are moving at a discernable clip. Heat is on in Senate as climate starts getting more attention. As the energy bill goes through the markup process in the Senate and security hawks and enviros turn up the heat on the climate issue, four senators are hatching plans to offer climate-change initiatives as amendments to the bill, which is tentatively scheduled to go to the Senate floor in late June. …