Politics

Corps may buy out coastal Miss. towns, encourage residents to move inland

The Army Corps of Engineers is seeking support from three coastal Mississippi counties for a proposal to buy out 17,000 homes and encourage residents to move inland. The Corps generally reserves buyouts for areas prone …

Business as usual?

Why we shouldn’t forget the Farm Bill

Once again, a prime example of our misguided farm policies hits like a ton of factory-farm manure sludge -- or in this case, a massive sack of federally insured, genetically modified corn. Last Wednesday, Monsanto announced that the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) approved a pilot program that will give farmers a 20 percent discount on insurance premiums if they plant a majority of their corn acres with seeds featuring Monsanto's trademarked YieldGard Plus with Roundup Ready Corn 2 or YieldGard VT Triple stack technology. This is the first time the FCIC Board has approved a crop insurance discount for specific crop traits, but not likely the last. For the moment, let's set aside the potentially sordid nature of this public/private arrangement. What is particularly ironic and imbalanced is that organic producers pay an extra 5 percent surcharge when they sign up for crop insurance because of the perceived additional risks associated with organic production. That's right. Organic producers are actually penalized for using production practices that have been shown to lessen risks. Simply put, this is bad policy that should be reformed when the Senate takes up the farm bill this month.

Working with cities to build markets

Clinton’s 21st century climate philanthropy

I heartily recommend this month’s Atlantic Monthly cover story, "It’s Not Charity" (via Yglesias). It’s mostly about Bill Clinton’s post-presidency adventures and the new model of philanthropy he’s trying to develop. Embedded within is a …

Goooooooooal

Moving toward a better energy policy

There's a great line often ascribed to Yogi Berra: "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else." This perfectly describes U.S. energy policy -- and offers a way forward that would not only create lots of social benefits, but just might make energy policy something that matters to U.S. electoral politics. To see why, try ranking those events in political history when politicians really got it right. Declaration of Independence? Emancipation Proclamation? Man on the moon? Pick whichever ones you'd like. Here's my prediction: those great moments were all framed around goals we sought to achieve, without prejudice to the path we took to get there. Why does this matter to energy policy? Because we've never had an energy policy that got beyond a narrow focus on the path.

Yang Jiechi on China's response to global warming

Bush-like doubletalk from Chinese foreign minister

The Foreign Minister of China, Yang Jiechi, gave a talk at CGI that would have made President Bush -- or Frank Luntz -- proud. Brian may have liked the rhetoric, but I (and a number of others I spoke to in NY) thought the comments were divorced from reality, pure spin. You can judge for yourself from the entire transcript, which I will excerpt and comment on here because I think the speech is much more important and ominous than Bush's recent climate speech. After all, Bush will be gone soon, but if this speech reflects China's view of the climate problem, we are all in deep, deep trouble. Yang says: A review of history shows that climate change occurs in the course of development. It is both an environment issue and a development issue. But ultimately, it is a development issue. Uh, not really. He presumably meant to say "rising greenhouse gases (GHGs)" instead of "climate change." And he presumably means to imply that you can't have development without climate change/GHGs.

U.S. EPA is bad at environmental protection

Shocking, shocking news can be discerned from U.S. EPA and Justice Department data: the EPA is totally slacking on cracking down on polluters.

An interview with John McCain about his presidential platform on energy and the environment

This is part of a series of interviews with presidential candidates produced jointly by Grist and Outside. John McCain. Photo: hatch1921 John McCain likes to project a tough-guy stance on the issues, and global warming …

U.S. food aid low, getting lower

The U.S. donates more food internationally than any other country, but shipping costs and rising food prices (thanks, biofuels!) have contributed to its lowest level of donation in a decade. The situation is likely to …

A look at John McCain’s environmental platform and record

Updated 22 Aug 2008 John McCain has a mixed record on the environment, but he’s long been outspoken about global warming. He introduced the first major bill in the Senate to address it: the Climate …

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