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Hurricane Sandy: Beware Of America's Disaster Capitalists by Naomi Klein, The Guardian | November 6, 2012Less than three days after Sandy made landfall on the east coast of the United States, Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute blamed New Yorkers' resistance to Big Box stores for the misery they were about to endure. The same day, Frank Rapoport, a lawyer representing several billion-dollar construction and real estate contractors, jumped in to suggest that many of those public works projects shouldn't be public at all. The prize for shameless disaster capitalism, however, surely goes to rightwing economist Russell S Sobel, writing in a New York Times online forum. Sobel suggested that, in hard-hit areas, Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) should create "free-trade zones – in which all normal regulations, licensing and taxes [are] suspended". This corporate free-for-all would, apparently, "better provide the goods and services victims need". read more »
Romneyism by Robert B. Reich, robertreich.org | November 5, 2012By now, in these last remaining days before the election of 2012, we have learned enough about the beliefs of the Republican presidential candidate to see them as a worldview all its own – a kind of creed that explains Mitt Romney. Those who say he has no principles are selling him short. Despite its contradictions and ellipses, Romneyism has an internal coherence. It is different from conservatism, because it does not intend to conserve or protect any particular institutions or values. It is also distinct from Republicanism, in that it is not rooted in traditional small-town American values, nationalism, or states’ rights. The ten guiding principles of Romneyism are. read more »
The Storm We Can’t Ignore by Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, greenforall.org | November 5, 2012Lately it seems like no one wants to talk about global warming. The issue has received so little attention from our political candidates during this election cycle that you’d think the problem had evaporated. That is until this week when Hurricane Sandy hit, flattening coastal neighborhoods, leaving millions of Americans without power and forcing dozens of others to face the worst loss of all as their loved ones were swept away.The storm was unlike anything we’ve seen in a generation. It was also a sobering reminder of what’s in store for us if we don’t get serious about fighting climate change. We’ll face more frequent and intense hurricanes, along with drought, wildfire and flooding. Globally, we’ll see a spike in food and water shortages, famine, disease, and conflicts over shrinking resources. And poor communities will be hit first and hit hardest. read more »
Oil-Rig Wasteland: How The Election Looks From 37,000 Feet by Greg Hanscom, grist.org | November 5, 2012The last time I flew over the Wyoming gas fields, the scene hadn’t changed much. The gas boom is still going full throttle, thanks in part to deals the Bush administration cut before leaving office. That view from an airplane window is a vivid reminder of the price we’re still paying for eight years of environmental rollbacks, just as the scenes of Hurricane Sandy show the price our kids and grandkids will pay for years of drill-mine-log-everything policies. The last four years are littered with disappointment, but they at least show us that there has been a shift in priorities — a shift that could quickly be undone if we decide to let oilmen run the show again. read more »
Which Political Leader Will Deal with “Weather on Steroids?" by Alison Rose Levy, alternet.org | November 5, 2012In the face of a genuine human, societal, and economic catastrophe, President Obama, Governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie, and Bloomberg—all the front line public officials responsible for witnessing and addressing the full impact of Hurricane Sandy, have in different ways stepped beyond their comfort zones. The devastating impacts and enormous costs have forced these political leaders to recognize that for proper management and planning, politicians can no longer afford to dance around the climate change issue fearing to call a spade a spade in deference to the sensibilities of climate deniers and those who fund them. Now the question is: Will any of these elected officials truly step up to become a leader in the New Green Growth Economy? And if they did, what might that look like? read more »
Hurricane Sandy: Rebuilding Is Madness by David Gessner, salon.com | November 5, 2012“No one could have predicted this.” Those were the words of President Bush after Katrina, and as soon as they came out of his mouth you could almost imagine a hundred coastal scientists shaking their heads all at once, thinking, no sir, this is exactly what we predicted. So, too, New York City last week, though honestly — and I know that this isn’t what people suffering right now want to hear — a lot of the predictions painted a picture that was a lot worse. Water higher, winds wilder, buildings down. read more »
World's 'Cleanest Coal-Fueled Power Plant' Is A Climate Bait-And-Switch by Tony Davis, grist.org | November 1, 2012A few years back, Robert Redford narrated a documentary, Fighting Goliath, that told the epic Texas tale of how a coalition of ranchers, environmentalists, and others banded together in the mid-2000s against a giant power company’s plans to build 11 coal plants that would have belched pollution across the state. When the dust settled, only three plants were approved, and the rest were killed in a buyout of the power company, despite an effort by Gov. Rick Perry (R) to fast-track the scheme. Today in West Texas, the simple heroism of that tale has been replaced by a far more complex story of trade-offs, pragmatism, and scientific uncertainties about a project slated for what Odessa city officials call “the clean energy capital of the world.” At the heart of it all is one of the very first full-scale tests of that still hazy concept, “clean coal. read more »
Will Climate Get Some Respect Now? by Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times | November 1, 2012President Obama and Mitt Romney seemed determined not to discuss climate change in this campaign. So thanks to Hurricane Sandy for forcing the issue: Isn’t it time to talk not only about weather, but also about climate? It’s true, of course, that no single storm or drought can be attributed to climate change. Atlantic hurricanes in the Northeast go way back, as the catastrophic “snow hurricane” of 1804 attests. But many scientists believe that rising carbon emissions could make extreme weather — like Sandy — more likely. In that sense, whatever its causes, Sandy offers a window into the way ahead. So brace yourself, for several reasons. read more »
Name Storms After Oil Companies -- They're The Ones Most Responsible For Climate Change by OurFuture.org Staff, OurFuture.org | October 31, 2012As gutsy New Yorkers begin the task of drying out the city, here’s one thought that occurred to me last night watching the horrifying pictures from a distance. It’s obviously not crucial right now — but in the long run it might make a difference. Why don’t we stop naming these storms for people, and start naming them after oil companies? Global warming didn’t “cause” this hurricane, of course — hurricanes are caused when a tropical wave washes off the coast of Africa and begins to spin in the far Atlantic. But this storm rode ocean waters five degrees warmer than normal, so it’s no great shock that it turned into a monster. By the time it hit land, it had smashed every record for the lowest barometric pressure, and the largest wind field. Sandy had a big head start on flooding out the city. read more »
Greens Defend Climate Tactics, Politico | August 5, 2010
Environmentalists went with an all-or-nothing strategy for the 111th Congress. Nothing won. Now, green groups licking their wounds after spending tens of millions of dollars to pass a cap-and-trade bill must answer serious questions about whether they are capable of playing another round of hardball.
Browner, Gibbs Say Drilling Ban Could End Early with Safety Assurances, thehill.com | August 5, 2010
Two senior White House officials said Wednesday that the administration’s controversial moratorium on deepwater oil-and-gas drilling could end before the scheduled late November expiration.
The six-month ban imposed in the wake of the BP spill is under heavy attack from the oil industry, Republicans and Gulf Coast lawmakers from both parties.
Administration Overly Optimistic About Fate of Spilled Oil (VIDEO) , Huffington Post | August 5, 2010
The Obama administration on Wednesday delivered an upbeat verdict on the fate of the estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil that spewed out of BP's blown out well in the Gulf of Mexico, saying that most of it has either been dispersed, burned off, skimmed up, directly recaptured through containment efforts, evaporated or dissolved.
Oil Spill Calculations Stir Debate on Damage, The New York Times | August 5, 2010
Oil Rig’s Owner Had Safety Issue at Three Other Wells, The New York Times | August 5, 2010
The company that owned the oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in April had widespread safety concerns about several of its other rigs in the gulf, and a month before the disaster it commissioned a broad review of the safety culture of the company’s North American operations, according to confidential internal reports.
Report: Reid Mulling Broader Energy Bill , thehill.com | August 5, 2010
A Bet on Clean Energy in the Automotive State, The New York Times | August 4, 2010
Economy Sags, Green Tech Investment Surges , grist.org | August 4, 2010
The anemic economic recovery may have hit the dog days of summer with consumer spending and factory orders slowing, but the new energy economy continues to surge, according to a report released Tuesday by Ernst & Young. read more »
BP's Fight Against Energy Nonprofit Highlights Murky World of Advocacy-For-Hire, The Washington Post | August 4, 2010
U.S. Finds Most Oil From Spill Poses Little Additional Risk, The New York Times | August 4, 2010
A government report finds that about 26 percent of the oil released from BP’s runaway well is still in the water or onshore in a form that could, in principle, cause new problems. But most is light sheen at the ocean surface or in a dispersed form below the surface, and federal scientists believe that it is breaking down rapidly in both places.