I can’t really say it often enough: nuclear power is a scandal. It’s squandered trillions of dollars, generated waste that will be lethal for hundreds of thousands of years, blighted vast areas of Japan and the Ukraine – and is still an accident waiting to happen. But, you say, in this age of warming, we need clean nuclear power to cut our greenhouse gas emissions. Utter, unadulterated, dangerously stupid bullshit! Okay? Can it be said any more clearly than that? Part of the extraordinary tragedy of commercial nuclear power is the fact that while the planet is truly burning, the Nukefists are fiddling away time, money, expertise and political will with this proven outrage of a technology. Continue reading
There has certainly been a tremendous amount of activity surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline project – as there should be: It’s a big test for the environmental movement and, frankly, for the Obama Administration. If approved and built, the KXL will give a tremendous boost to the economic prospects for Canadian tar sands. If denied, the permit will, at the same time, be a serious body blow to the further development of the tar sands and, perhaps more importantly, provide a hugely important signal from Barack Obama that he is deadly serious about solving the climate crisis. Beating back KXL will also be a historic victory for us treehuggers. Continue reading
The revolutionary “energy transition” that Germany is undergoing is being driven by a lot of forces: a very progressive public that fully embraces the concept of high tech and far fewer GHGs, a political establishment that backs the project – across the entire spectrum from right to left, and a number of visionaries like the late Hermann Scheer. I have written about the Energiewende for my old blog and for the new one.
Another one of Scheer’s generation of leaders on renewables is Rainer Baake. He’s heading up a project called the Agora Energiewende which is, among other things, supporting the transition with advanced technical thinking on a range of issues and is also helping to spread the gospel of 100% renewable electricity globally. Continue reading
Last week, there was a rally and March in New York City to send yet-another message to President Obama that the Keystone XL pipeline is a bad idea for the U.S. and for the planet. This picture juxtaposes two things of which we need more: loud and focused activism on climate change and superb green buildings like the Bank of America Tower. I’ve written here a few times about the KXL project. I’ve also had the privilege of interviewing one of the architects of the BofA Tower, Bob Fox, for my book. This building is also known as One Bryant Park and is one of the most advanced green buildings of its size in the world.
The salience of the opposition to the Keystone XL project is growing. One more indication is Elizabeth Kolbert’s eloquent essay in this week’s New Yorker: Lines in the Sand.
I’ve got a letter this week in the venerable New Yorker. Nicholas Lemann wrote an article there a few weeks ago about the first Earth Day and the state of the environmental movement today. It was, in a word, uninformed. I had a few bones to pick, so I wrote a letter.
I’m delighted, of course, that the good editors at the New Yorker saw fit to print my note. I am in excellent company, along with Fred Krupp, President of the Environmental Defense Fund, and Robert A. Low, a former top NYC environmental official.
They made some salient points as correctives to Lemann’s article as did I. The edited letter from me points out the really quite vigorous state of environmental activism in the US today, not to mention in the world beyond, and its effectiveness. Continue reading
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
I have written a few times here and a good number of times at my old blog for the Foreign Policy Association about the many and diverse reasons why the Alberta tar sands are a pox. You may agree. If so, you should be on your horse to get your comments into the US Department of State to tell them that the Keystone XL pipeline project, which will substantially enable further development of this planetary insult, should not be approved. Please go right away to the link here from 350.org and register your comments. The comment period ends soon! Continue reading
DeSmogBlog, if you don’t know it, is a great resource. Time named it one of the 25 best blogs of 2011. They’ve got a great team and hard-hitting stories. I was happy to have one there a few years back: The Paradox of Canada’s Tar Sands and America’s Drive to Substantially Decarbonize Energy.
They’ve been good enough to post an excerpt from the book there today. It’s on the insurance industry’s response to climate change. Take a look – and definitely bookmark and/or subscribe to DeSmogBlog.