Connecting the Dots on Oil – Iran, Trump, and the Kochs

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

I wrote here almost a year ago that “It’s the fossil fuels, stupid.”  We, the people, suffer, of course, from Trump Inc.’s self-serving, kleptocratic impulses, manifest in his executive agencies, with the full complicity of that wholly owned subsidiary of corporate America, the Republicans in Congress, aided and abetted by the reactionary majority on SCOTUS.  But if there’s a guiding force behind the greed, the racism, the sheer vileness of the behavior, indeed the treason of these mutants, it’s fossil fuels.  More precisely, it’s the money generated by the fossil fuels. Continue reading


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America, We Need to Talk

America, you need to read this book.  In fact, America, this is a textbook for how to get yourself out of the regressed state in which you find yourself.  It’s more:  It’s an encyclopedia of the reasons why we’ve come to this parlous state in our history, why our democracy is at greater risk than it’s ever been, how we have been lied to and cheated on – including to and by ourselves, the missed chances for righting our wrongs, and the abundant opportunities that are ours for the taking.  This book is a paean to good sense and civic engagement; a laurel wreath for our forebears who fought for freedom – political, economic, cultural, and spiritual; and it’s a recipe book for how to make nourishing, delectable meals to build our moral strength and satisfy our souls. Continue reading


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“Grab Him by the Midterms”

I was the wingman yesterday for my daughter at the Women’s March in New York City.  There were about 120,000 people out to express their determination to make change.  Last year it was about the outrage at the election of such a manifestly unfit person to be the head of America’s executive branch of government.  This year it was about putting some more balance back in our democracy by electing people to office that reflect more traditional Continue reading


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World Energy Outlook 2017

I went to a talk last night at the Council on Foreign Relations:  Dr. Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency IEA), sat down with Amy Myers Jaffe, the Council’s senior fellow for energy and the environment, for an interesting discussion.  (The video is here, along with a transcript.)  The IEA was founded in 1974 to help the world’s major economies respond to the Arab oil shocks of that time.  It has since become a well of knowledge about the world’s energy resources, now and for the future, and many of the critical aspects of our energy production and use, not the least of which are climate change, pollution, and energy poverty.  This year’s World Energy Outlook, in fact, contains an important report on the outlook for energy access for those billion of our fellow world citizens who have no modern energy services. Continue reading


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The Nightmare Continues

You can find all sorts of explanations for the parlous state of our body politic.  The catastrophe of our last national election cycle here was preceded by the irrational Brexit vote (a misguided cry of anger and pain from English nationalists [but not Londoners]), has since been compounded in Europe by the onslaught of the far right in Germany in September and now this week in Austria.  I wrote a paper several years ago that took a long, hard look at the Contemporary American Right in which I posited that right wingers are, in a word, ill.  A distinguished student of conflict, Vamik Volkan, calls them regressed.  (Notice that I don’t dignify the inhabitants of these pathologies as “conservative” – it does them far too much justice.) Continue reading


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“It’s the fossil fuels, stupid.”

James Carville, one of the sharper Democratic consultants to come around in several generations, reminded Bill Clinton’s campaign staff that among the three things on which they needed to focus one was:   “The Economy, Stupid.”  This morphed into the expression “It’s the economy, stupid.”  It has become abundantly clear that the message of the present White House administration, along with their Republican party enablers and a few Democrats from fossil fuel-dependent states (like Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota), is that “It’s the fossil fuels, stupid.” Continue reading


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World Oceans Day

Today is World Oceans Day.  It is taking place in conjunction with a major international gathering at the UN headquarters in New York:  The Ocean Conference.  This timely conference is meant to highlight the critical importance of our oceans and the crises they are undergoing.  Sustainable Development Goal 14 zeroes in on the marine environment: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Continue reading


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Can Trump Destroy the Paris Agreement and Thus the Earth’s Climate System?

I have a Spanish friend who likes to use the expression:  “Is complicate.”  When it comes to the climate crisis, the transition to clean energy, and international politics one can safely say:  “Is complicate.”  I tried to convey a real sense of optimism in my book, A Newer World, and some of the hopeful trends I identified then have proven even more robust than I could have imagined at the time I was researching and writing it.  We are spending a great deal of money, globally, on clean tech, and that’s only going to continue. Continue reading


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