It’s Earth Day time once again, and we are delighted to present the Third-Ever List of Grist Superlatives — our take on the good, the bad, and the weird of the past year. Think we missed something? Add your cleverest contributions in comments below. (And check out our lists for 2007 and 2006.)

Our sweet Kathleen.


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Year’s biggest loser: coal

Staunchest anti-coal advocate who does something about it: Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius

Hottest new energy technology you never hear about: solar thermal

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Try saying that three times fast.


Most transparent attempt to derail momentum toward climate action under the guise of advancing it: Bush’s Major Economies meetings

Second most transparent attempt: This month’s “major speech” on climate

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Most unintentionally revealing attempt at reassurance from Bush: “We’re doing a lot to protect this environment.”

Blue is the new green is the new black.

Most unsettling green-is-the-new-black trend: Blue is the new green

Most legitimate trend in danger of facing media-inspired backlash: green building

Most overused and under-elaborated term of the presidential campaign: green-collar jobs

Most overlooked issue of the 2008 campaign: urban sustainability

Perennialest non-candidate of the 2008 campaign: Al Gore

Best way to piss off Grist readers: Raise their hopes that Gore’s running

Adorablest car we can’t quite bring ourselves to buy: Smart ForTwo

Adorablest misread of the name “ForTwo” by a Grist staffer: “fort-wo”

Uncatchiest names for eco-cars: Flextreme, Provoq, EcoBoost

Startlingest appearance of a hybrid vehicle on national TV: The “not yet available” Cadillac Escalade awarded to Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning

Biofuel source we still can’t get our heads around: human fat

They tried to make him go to reg-hab, Stephen said no, no, no.


Most audacious prioritization of political hackery over expert counsel: EPA chief Stephen Johnson’s denial of California’s air pollution waiver

Second most audacious: Johnson’s open defiance of the Supreme Court’s ruling that EPA must regulate CO2

Third most audacious: Johnson’s refusal to turn over documents related to the ruling to the House Climate Change Committee

Bush apparatchik most likely to be deposed: Stephen Johnson

Best use of flotation device to protect baby seals: Pamela Anderson

Most doggedly eco primetime show: Boston Legal

Least doggedly eco primetime shows (but points for trying): NBC’s Green Is Universal lineup

We’d give up meat for her — and oxygen, too.


Awkwardest adolescence: Knut!

Tolerablest vegan spokesperson: Natalie Portman

Best organic Scotch we tried this year: Benromach

OK, only organic Scotch we tried this year: Benromach (send more!)

Spendiest lobbyist attempting to weaken climate legislation: ABEC ACCCE

Favoritest sponsor of presidential debates: ABEC ACCCE

Creepiest commercial from ABEC ACCCE:

Climate policy player most like Baltar — if, you know, policy players were like BSG characters: U.S. CAP

Best climate-related stickin’ it to the man speech: Papua New Guinea delegate at Bali talks

Van with a plan.

Photo: Green for All

Most ubiquitous eco-hottie with a serious message: Van Jones

Endangeredest species not listed under the ESA: polar bear

Greenest politician who, uh, went down this year: Eliot Spitzer

Worst Live Earth-inspired theme song: “Hey You,” by Madonna

Punniest group to hop on corn-fueled-tour bandwagon: Korn

Most comfortable-sounding undergarment made of wood: By Nature briefs

Least comfortable-sounding undergarment made of wood: chopstick bras

Most innuendo-licious wind-powered venture: Heidi Fleiss’ Stud Farm

Most lovable alt-energy spokesdude: Wind

Nothing comes between me and my carbon.


Questionablest use of U.N. funds: Laundry PSAs (don’t iron those jeans!)

Most organizing for least impact: Earth Hour

Least organizing for most impact: “ecoterrorists”

Worst time for John McCain to skip a vote in the Senate: 59-40 vote against the energy bill in Dec. ’07

Second worst: 59-40 vote against the energy bill in Feb. ’08

Climate proposal that ought to pass but won’t: carbon tax

Climate proposal that ought to pass and just might: cap and trade

Dirty, rotten scoundrel.

Year’s biggest, fattest loser (did we mention?): coal