Obama rejects KXL

It’s been a few months since I’ve been on the air.  There is absolutely no better news I could come off my sabbatical with than that the Keystone XL pipeline project is dead. President Obama this morning announced the US rejection of the application.  There is enormous significance in this on several levels: Continue reading

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People’s Climate March

pcm-march-logo-badgeNew York City this week and next is the center of the Climate Activist universe.  I define activism broadly:  it means not only being in the streets and expressing discontent with the pace of change toward decarbonizing and denuclearizing our energy economies to save the climate system, but also doing the hard work of researching, litigating, legislating, organizing, writing, speaking, making movies, teaching, farming, financing, designing, planning, building, regulating, and working, day after day, to create the newer world that we need.  I celebrate everybody and all the energy and focus and commitment brought over the past 50 years of the modern environmental movement that has brought us forward.  The first environmental journalist, Phil Shabecoff, wrote a great book, A Fierce Green Fire, about the movement.  (They made a documentary last year too.)

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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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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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Do the Math – The Movie

I went to a great event last night:  the premiere of “Do the Math.”  It’s a powerful short (45-minute) documentary about what the indomitable Bill McKibben and 350.org have set in motion with their stunning and timely movement to get universities and others to divest from the fossil fuel industry.  I wrote about what I called McKibben’s Manifesto, a blockbuster piece in Rolling Stone last summer and a call to arms.  I subsequently wrote about the first stirrings of the divestment movement.  Well, the movement has grown exponentially in only a few months:  as of today, there are initiatives at 302 colleges and universities, in 74 cities and states, and beyond.  Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, for one, has already set the wheels in motion in his city.  See what Fossil Free is doing and how you can get on board. Continue reading

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Carpe Diem

Carpe diem.  Seize the day.  That’s what some American university students are realizing needs to be done.  I was in the streets in the early ‘70s protesting the war.  I even wound up in jail a couple of times.  One of the proudest things I can say about that time is that I was in jail with the legendary peace activist Dave Dellinger for three days.  It’s good to be young and to know what’s at stake. Continue reading

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Natural Gas (Revisited)

I’ve had a busy end of the summer with a great vacation out West, plus getting squared away back home, getting ready for my NYU teaching assignment and performing various tasks relative to the forthcoming book.  I’ve been meaning to write about natural gas, having saved some interesting items to highlight and discuss from earlier in the summer.  I’ll do that soon, particularly as I have an engagement in a couple of weeks to speak about fracking and natural gas on a panel sponsored by the UN Association.

In the meantime, I want to simply revisit a post I did at my FPA blog back in March:  To Frack or Not to Frack?  Continue reading

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“Publishers Weekly” + Endorsements

Well, the first review is in:  The venerable Publishers Weekly, reaching thousands of publishers, librarians, writers, folks in print, film and other media, as well as agents, has given a thumbs up.  The review notes that the book “…takes a broad look at efforts to combat the effects of climate change and finds much that is encouraging.”  Later, it characterizes the book as “…a helpful synopsis of the world’s efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change.”

I might add that the book has garnered two early endorsements of which I’m especially proud. Continue reading

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McKibben’s Manifesto

I mentioned Bill McKibben’s recent blockbuster article at Rolling Stone in passing the other day.  If you didn’t know about the reality of the climate crisis before reading the article, you do now.  This article may well have the impact that Elizabeth Kolbert’s Field Notes from A Catastrophe had a few years back.  If you were only “concerned” or “cautious” – in the parlance of Yale’s ongoing “Six Americas” study – you’re going to be moved into the “alarmed” category. Continue reading

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It’s Not Me, It’s You

The Keystone XL pipeline is a travesty.  Indeed the whole idea of the Alberta tar sands should be, at this late date, anathema.  However, never let it be said that the oil companies and their henchpersons, in Canada and the U.S., are able to actually even consider the health of the planet and the natural environment of the regions in which they operate. Continue reading

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