Columbia Energy Conference

cgep_banner_home_main3_0I was up at Columbia University Thursday for the Spring 2014 Energy Policy Conference convened by the Center on Global Energy Policy.  The very interesting line up of experts included the head of Statoil, Helge Lund; the former head of Duke Energy (the nation’s largest electric power utility), Jim Rogers; and superstar energy analyst and author, Dan Yergin, among a number of other worthies.  I came to hear John Podesta, Counselor to President Obama, and the White House point man on climate and energy. Continue reading


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Big Events, On the Near Horizon

kxl rallyThe Cowboy Indian Alliance is riding into Washington on April 22nd and setting up camp to make a statement:  Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline and Protect the Earth.  They will be joined on April 26 by thousands of people who share that message.  It’s a critical message, and I personally think that John Kerry understands it.  I think that Barack Obama understands it.  It’s our job to give them the political cover to do the right thing.  It’s as simple as that.  It’s our job to refute the lies from the special interests and to overwhelm the forces of reaction with reason, our voices, our votes and our support for organizations and candidates that know the hour is late. Continue reading


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What We Know

what we knowI think it’s, to be honest, more-than-a-little absurd that scientists and policy makers feel the need, at this late date, to further underscore the immediacy, the clarity and the solid basis of the climate science that has been showing us, for decades, that we are in a crisis – and that catastrophe is looming. Continue reading


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Climate Change = Weapon of Mass Destruction

Kerry in JakartaJohn Kerry is a climate hawk.  I’ve been a fan since before 2004 when I helped out on his presidential campaign.  (Heavy sigh.)  Now that he’s the US Secretary of State, he’s in a unique, critical position to be able to significantly advance an agenda of moving us off the path of self-destruction we’ve been on and onto one in which everyone can enjoy abundant energy and clean air and clean water, not to mention a climate system that will be able to heal itself over time. Continue reading


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Kerry Pushing Forward

KerryOfficialPortrait_400_1First of all, I want to quickly acknowledge the fact that I’ve been off the air for weeks.  Put it down, if you will, to the end of semester for my graduate class, the holidays, some other work that needed to get done, but mostly to a sort of mini-sabbatical that I took for myself.

So, to the point:  There was a great article the other day in the NY Times from Coral Davenport, the climate change beat reporter who came on in December:  Kerry Quietly Makes Priority of Climate Pact.  (Davenport is a vast improvement from John Broder, her predecessor, who took the opportunity often, it seemed to me, to take a hatchet to the administration’s efforts on climate and energy, and who had, at best, a cynical attitude to clean tech and policy advances.) Continue reading


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Stop the Keystone XL

WebI’ve written here a number of times about the Alberta tar sands and the Keystone XL, and going back a few years as well at my old Foreign Policy Association blog.  Ryan Lizza, a great political analyst and writer, wrote a fascinating update recently at The New Yorker:  The President and the Pipeline.  Not only does Lizza bring us up to date on the politics of the pipeline, but he profiles one of the key players in the mix today:  Tom Steyer.  Steyer is an activist with a difference – he’s got financial resources and many like-minded friends with similar resources.  He’s got the ear of President Obama.  He’s an increasingly influential force in Democratic party politics.  He also founded the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford Law School, along with his equally high-powered wife, Kat Taylor.  (I interviewed the executive director there, Dan Reicher, for my book, when Dan was still at Google.)  Steyer is, in short, somebody I’m glad to have in my foxhole with me. Continue reading


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Gina McCarthy at EPA

epa logoLisa Jackson, for my money, is a tough act to follow, but Gina McCarthy is going to be just great.  She’s got absolutely everything you need in an EPA Administrator:  She’s smart, tough, experienced and, most of important of all, she’s got the full faith and credit of the President.  I love this account from the recent NY Times story on her:  “’Why would you want me?’ Ms. McCarthy said she asked the president when he offered her the top job.  The president told Ms. McCarthy that his environmental and presidential legacy would be incomplete without a serious effort to address climate change.  ‘I’m so glad he said that, because if he hadn’t, I wouldn’t have wanted this job,’ she said. ‘It’s an issue I’ve worked on for so many years, and it just can’t wait.'” Continue reading


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The Plan

obama at georgetownAs promised, the President gave a major speech today on how to fight the climate crisis and move us forward to a much more sustainable energy economy.  The three main components of the plan are to mitigate the production of greenhouse gas gases, to help the country’s cities and states, citizens and businesses adapt to the impacts of climate change, and to lead on international efforts to confront the climate crisis.  The White House has provided an excellent infographic detailing the plan, with the full report here as well. Continue reading


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“The Global Threat of Our Time”

Germany US Obama.JPEG-0709f

That’s what the President of the United States called climate change today at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.  With Chancellor Angela Merkel on the podium beside him, he said: “The effort to slow climate change requires bold action.  And on this, Germany and Europe have led.”  Truer words were never said.  “Our dangerous carbon emissions have come down.  But we know we have to do more — and we will do more.”  President Obama was referring to the US here in his speech. Continue reading


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