|Monday, 06 Aug 2007|
Haunted By Milli Vanilli?
An innovative new site lets you trade books, CDs, DVDs, and video games -- fair and square. Kate Sheppard explains in the latest installment of Ask a Brokeass.
Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson likes to play up his image as a horse-ridin', gun-totin' man of the Wild West, but don't be distracted by the cowboy swagger -- the governor of New Mexico also has a serious policy wonk side. That was on full display in May when he unveiled a broad and ambitious climate and energy plan, including goals to cut greenhouse-gas emissions 90 percent by 2050 and get half of the U.S. electricity supply from renewable sources by 2040. In the fifth in a series of interviews with presidential candidates, Grist and Outside caught up with Richardson to get the scoop on why he's billing himself as the "energy president." Tune in tomorrow for an interview with dark-horse candidate Mike Gravel, and later this week for still more Democratic contenders.
Dream a Little Ream of Me
House passes ambitious energy bill, Bush threatens veto
The first national renewable-energy standard. Revoked oil-industry tax breaks that will help pay for clean energy. Funding for green job creation. A carbon-neutral federal government. What's all this, the deluded longings of some kooky environmentalist? Nope, it's a few of the features of the massive energy bill passed by the U.S. House on Saturday. "We are turning toward the future," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). "This beautiful planet is God's gift to us. We have a moral responsibility to preserve it." The legislation -- which notably requires utilities to generate 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020, but does not address vehicle fuel economy -- still faces hurdles: it must be morphed with the Senate version passed in June, then weather the withering gaze of President Bush, who has threatened a veto. But hey, let's just be happy for now. The vote is "a big, big deal," said Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.). "There has been no legislation like this for a generation."
straight to the source: Los Angeles Times, Noam N. Levey and Richard Simon, 05 Aug 2007
You put it on your fries, or in your bath, or both -- but do you know what effect it has on the planet? We're talking about salt, of course, one of the overlooked assets of everyday life. Today a curious reader asks all sorts of salty questions, and advice maven Umbra Fisk shakes down her sources for some answers.
We Could've Sworn Someone Was Already Working On That
Bush confirms plans for U.S.-hosted climate summit
Late last week, President Bush solidified plans for an international climate summit in September. The meeting, to be hosted by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, will convene 12 to 15 industrial and developing countries, including India and China, to discuss long-term climate goals. But critics are jumping all over the idea, first floated in June; they say Bush's refusal to consider mandatory emissions cuts has tanked any hope of progress. "If this is just to carry on with a voluntary approach," said Elliot Diringer of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, "then it could be worse than useless." Others point out the curious timing of the meeting, which will occur just three days after a similar U.N.-sponsored climate conference of 100 nations in New York. U.N. Climate Change Secretariat head Yvo de Boer was gracious about the parallel effort: "The proof of the pudding is in the eating," he said, earning our eternal idiomatic affection. "It will be interesting to see what this delivers."
straight to the source: Reuters, Alister Doyle, 04 Aug 2007 straight to the source: Financial Times, Fiona Harvey, Mark Turner, and Andrew Ward, 03 Aug 2007
New York to paste "global warming index" stickers on some new vehicles
New York has become the second state in the U.S. to require new cars and light trucks to bear a "global warming index" sticker. (We'll give you a minute to guess which one was first.) The law, which begins with the 2010 model year, aims to educate consumers and cut pollution. Each sticker will show how the vehicle's emissions compare to the average overall emissions of that model year, and will also reveal which model within the vehicle's class has the lowest emissions. Nasties to be indexed include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride. "Global warming is one of the most serious environmental problems of our generation," said New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D). "Every level of government, every business, and every consumer can play a role in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions." Oh, and: the first state was California. And New York is basing its law on theirs, so manufacturers don't have to devise different stickers. Isn't that thoughtful?
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