Blog

Joe Nocera's Fracking Rorschach Test

New York Times columnist Joe Nocera takes easy comfort in a highly selective industry-funded survey of methane gas emissions from U.S. fracking operations.  Too bad he's not looking at the bigger-picture damage that fracking is causing to our environment and the global climate.

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Iowa Lawmaker Combines Errands

Iowa State Senator Rob Hogg decided to combine errands.  Along with dropping his son off at Harvard, he felt the timing was right for delivering an important message to New England - about climate change.

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The Place Where I Live

.... or swim, walk, and reflect.

Orion Magazine, one of my favorite publications, runs a column called "The Place Where You Live," inviting readers to describe spots that are near and dear to them.  I chose to write about Walden Pond, the closest I have to a spiritual touchstone. 

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Yet Another Bone-Chilling Summer

In the Boston Globe this past Sunday, Leon Neyfakh argues for jettisoning what UC Berkeley architecture professor Gail Brager calls the "thermal monotony" of our air-conditioned lives.  It's well worth the read, if only to remind us how thermally resilient we all used to be.

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"Cape Spin" Comes Ashore at Lincoln Center

"Riotous."  "Gripping."  "Tragicomic."  That's what critics have said about Cape Spin! An American Power Struggle. This smart and sassy film incisively captures the epic "Cape Wind" battle, over the siting of America's first offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound.  From May 17-24, Cape Spin! will have thrice-a-day screenings at Lincoln Center, and following the screenings I will join the filmmakers for a public discussion of the Cape Wind controversy within the broader context of wind power's dramatic American ascent.  Check film times here.

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West Coast Winds of Change

Recent wind power talks in Seattle and Portland gave me a chance to experience two vibrant American cities where sustainable architecture, downtown revitalization, and multi-modal transportation are setting examples for the nation.

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Mitt Romney's Energy Doublespeak

Mitt Romney's rallying cry for "clean coal" rings hollow when viewed in the context of his call for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to be stripped of its authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.  Since carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants are the greatest single contributor to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, how does Romney propose to rein in these dangerous pollutants?  In an op-ed that appeared in the Des Moines Register on October 23, I look at this and other inconsistencies in Romney's energy posturing.  A similar version of this op-ed ran in CSRwire Talkback on October 24.

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Human Fallibility in the Nuclear Industry

Three civilians armed with nothing more than bolt cutters and hammers were able to penetrate the defenses of the the Y-12 National Security Complex at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  Some time later, they were noticed by a lone guard, but only after they had managed to spray-paint a number of slogans on the facility's walls.  The ease of entry that this thankfully pacifist trio enjoyed should remind us of the perils of relying on a technology that presumes an impossibly high level of vigilance in protecting the public from potentially catastrophic hazards.

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China's Environmental Movement Comes to Life

Citizen activists in several Chinese towns and cities have recently taken to the streets to protest polluting industries.  This represents a dramatic break from the decades of government-enforced silence that have allowed heavy industries to contaminate the country's air, water, and soil with relative impunity.  Amidst this rising tide of citizen engagement, it remains unclear whether concerns about the siting of new wind farms - a non-issue to date despite their rapid development - will become a focus of greater Chinese public scrutiny. 

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Real Energy, Real Jobs

The employment gains from wind power are described in an article that ran this past Thursday on CSRwire, a blog hosted by The Corporate Social Responsibility Network. 

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