Politics

A look at the environmental record of Joe Biden, Barack Obama’s running mate

Updated: 23 Aug 2008 Joe Biden, Barack Obama’s running mate, has earned an 83 percent lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters during his 35 years representing Delaware in the U.S. Senate, voting fairly consistently with environmentalists and the mainstream of his party. In 2007, while running for president, he said “energy security” was his top priority, and argued that he was well-suited to deal with the challenge thanks to years of experience on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which he now chairs. Biden is also a big booster of biofuels. Read Grist’s 2007 interview with Joe Biden. Key …

Cali water madness

Interior Dept. plans huge water giveaway to Big Agribiz

Brad Plumer points to this, which tells the story of how the Interior Department is planning to give away gargantuan amounts of water to Big Agribiz in California. If you’d like to dig into the background details, check out some posts we ran by Lloyd G. Carter, president of California’s Save Our Streams council — here, here, and here. It’s mind-boggling.

'Oh, crap ...' says the industrial agrodiesel investor

Small protest may be start of agrodiesel’s biggest nightmare

A link to John Cook's Venture Blog in the Seattle P-I via a post by Glenn Hurowitz brought my attention to a guy named Duff Badgley (not to be confused with Duffman or Ed Begley). Duff is an old-school, grassroots, car-free, long-haired, bleeding-heart, dirty hippie environmentalist. His protests may very well turn out to be Imperium's worst nightmare. From an article about the filing of Imperium Renewables' IPO (initial public offering) where they must, by law, warn potential investors of known potential risks: In its filing, the company said that palm oil is the cheapest feedstock available and noted that shifting public opinion about the use of palm oil could hurt its business. "Unfavorable public opinions concerning the use of palm oil, soybeans and other feedstock, or negative publicity arising from such use, could reduce the global supply of such feedstock, increase our production costs and reduce the global demand for biodiesel, any of which could harm our business and adversely affect our financial condition," the company wrote. An all-important goal in any power struggle is to gain and then hold the moral high ground.

Catching up

Experts to Utah: Climate change is real

If this happened any place else but Utah, it might not be worth noting, but in that state I believe it’s progress: A state blue ribbon task force on climate change stated emphatically Monday that humans are to blame for global warming and offered a slate of recommendations on ways Utah can fight the changes. Glad that’s settled! This is somewhat surprising: But one much-discussed option, developing nuclear power, was only on the B list of recommendations by the Blue Ribbon Advisory Council on Climate Change. Dirty hippies! Here are some highlights from the "high-priority" options to fight climate change: …

Emission Accomplished

Indiana regulators give BP a pass on meeting federal soot regulations Last week, oil company BP backed off of a plan to dump lots more ammonia and sludge into Lake Michigan; this week, Indiana regulators granted the same refinery an exemption to a federal rule that would have required it to halve its soot emissions. Because we certainly wouldn’t want it polluting too little! The Indiana Department of Environmental Management suggested that meeting federal soot regulations would pose “an extreme hardship” to poor BP.

Talkin'

Latest round of UN climate talks focuses on energy investment

Just how excited can one get by the latest round of international talks on climate change? This one is focused on business, specifically energy investment: A new report by the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change says additional investments of about $210 billion a year will be needed – mostly in the developing world – to maintain greenhouse gas emissions at their current levels until 2030. “If the funding available … remains at its current level and continues to rely mainly on voluntary contributions, it will not be sufficient,” the report warns. If you weren’t aware.

Theories of eco-impotence

Why is green so low on the political agenda?

Why, with green so ubiquitous in media and culture, is it not higher up on the political agenda? Emily Gertz says it’s because the green grassroots aren’t involved in party politics. Matthew Yglesias points to new survey data from American Environics (PDF) which indicate that concern for the environment is broad but shallow. While everyone claims to care about environmental issues, nobody — not even those who rate their concern the highest — makes them a priority in the voting booth. Is it one of those two, or something else?

How much wind and solar could we have gotten for the cost of the Iraq War?

Paul Gipe does the math.

Green movements or green paint

China’s central government faces a choice between democracy and eco-collapse

"Choking on Growth" is the apt title of the new New York Times series on the "human toll, global impact and political challenge of China's epic pollution crisis." Epic, indeed. The first installment shows how "As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes." The statistics are daunting:

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