Doha – The Climate Talks

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was established 20 years ago at the Earth Summit in Rio.  The Earth Summit was an extraordinary and genuinely groundbreaking event.  It, arguably, ushered in the present age of international initiatives on sustainability.  Philip Shabecoff, in his excellent history of the environmental movement, A Fierce Green Fire, wrote “….the human community was ready to alter the collision course it was on with the physical world that sustains it and might at last meet the challenge of creating an ecologically rational, prosperous, and just global economy…” Continue reading

Wind Power – Action This Day!

During World War II, Winston Churchill would stamp vital messages “Action this day.”  That is the level of concern that we need to bring to bear on the distinct possibility of the cutoff of the federal Production Tax Credit for wind. The American Wind Energy Association, and hundreds of others, want Congress to extend this vital support for wind power. Continue reading

BP’s “Day of Reckoning”

The US Department of Justice leveled a $4 billion judgement against BP for its criminal behavior in the explosion at its Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico in April of 2010.  The Guardian characterized the judgement this way:  “BP met its day of reckoning in the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster on Thursday when the company admitted guilt on 14 criminal charges…”

DOJ’s press release quoted Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer:  “The explosion of the rig was a disaster that resulted from BP’s culture of privileging profit over prudence.”  That’s certainly nothing new for the oil industry. Continue reading

After Sandy – Smarter Power and Transportation

It seems more and more evident every day, with storms like Sandy upon us, that business as usual is no longer an option.  It’s certain that we have to accelerate our efforts to mitigate the greenhouse gases that are exacerbating, day by day, global climate change.  But we also have to adapt.  The sad reality is that we are seeing the unmistakable signs of a warming world and that the impacts of climate change are here to stay, probably for a hundred years or more.  As no less a personage than the New Yorker’s David Remnick writes this week, we can have No More Magical Thinking. Continue reading

Obama and the Climate

You will not be surprised to learn that I think that Barack Obama is the clear choice for President in this election.  I have lauded the President and his actions all along the way during the past four years.  He has brought some fabulous actors on energy and the environment into his administration and they have produced some truly useful outcomes.  I certainly question some aspects of the program, like giving aid and comfort to nuclear power and “clean coal,” but by and large he has pushed as hard as politically and physically possible during his first term.  His second term will undoubtedly build on the successes of the first, and may even culminate in a comprehensive greenhouse gas regime for this country and an international agreement with teeth.  It depends on how a number of the political stars align. Continue reading