Polar Bear Says FU

This week in climate fingers and thumbs, we’d like to flip the bird to Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) for holding up the confirmation of key Obama science nominees in order to get his way on Cuba policy. Menendez has no complaints about the qualifications of John Holdren and Jane Lubchenco, and just last summer he told Grist that climate change is “incredibly important” and should be a top environmental priority for the Senate. So stop blocking these two key appointments, Bob! [UPDATE: It appears Menendez is no longer the holdup on these nominees. Apparently someone else is now deserving of this finger … ]

Another climate finger goes to coal industry flack Joe Lucas for refusing to say whether or not he thinks coal is contributing to climate change. Actually, we’re giving you a second climate finger for trolling our comment section and trying to further muddy the waters on what is and isn’t known about global warming.

Yet another climate finger goes to Slate and its managing editor, Jill Hunter Pellettieri, for publishing this asinine piece equating green efforts at hotels and other businesses with being “cheap.” At first, we thought the article was a parody, lampooning Slate’s love of vapid, self-important contrarianism. If only that were true. We’re so sorry you feel like it’s a tremendous act of “self-sacrifice” to sleep in the same sheets two nights in a row, Jill. We’ll cry you a river while the ice caps melt.

Good Job!

But now, for the good news. Green thumbs this week go to the 2,500 people who braved the cold and snow to protest outside the Capitol Power Plant on Monday. No one was arrested, despite their best efforts, but the action demonstrated the growing resistance to coal-fired power and the havoc it’s wreaked on communities across the country.

We’re also giving the thumbs up to Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) for cosponsoring the Clean Water Protection Act, a bill to outlaw the dumping of mining waste into streams. Yarmuth hails from the coal state of Kentucky, so his breakthrough on the issue is a big win for those working to stop the destructive practices related to coal.

And, oddly enough, our third climate thumb goes to conservative columnist George F. Will. Yeah, we’re sorta holding our noses here, but we gotta tip the hat to him for his latest column looking at the crisis in the food system in the United States and noting the key role the Department of Agriculture plays in repairing it. Sounds like he recently discovered Michael Pollan, and boy are we glad! Remarkable that one can expend so much ink denying the reality of climate change, but then turn around and fret about the fossil fuel use in our agricultural system. We’re not taking back that climate finger you got last week, George, but we’re glad you’ve been doing some homework.