Copenhagen

Smoggy Bottom

WHEN SHE first learned that she was being considered as President Obama’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton reportedly e-mailed an aide her complete disinterest: “Not in a million years.” Happily, his determined wooing won her over. From a failed presidential candidate who kept her race alive well past the bitter end, and from a polarizing first lady as reviled as she was beloved, Clinton has turned into what one of the London papers recently called “a hard-headed yet compassionate stateswoman who has restored reason and credibility to America’s global mission.” Clinton managed to calm and

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“Smart cities” is the urban buzz phrase of the last few years, and fans often turn to European cities for inspiration. From Amsterdam’s bike lanes to Copenhagen’s wind power, from Barcelona’s 22@ innovation district to Berlin’s dramatic redevelopment, European examples abound.

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Prince William did a little food sampling while in Copenhagen today—and it was a far cry from the mouth-watering appetizers served at his wedding back in April, which included Cornish Crab Salad on Lemon Blini, Roulade of Goat Cheese with Caramelized Walnuts, and Scottish Smoked Salmon Rose on Beetroot Blini. Today, William sampled a humbler food: a high-protein peanut paste used to alleviate extreme hunger.

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Take Only Pictures

When Chinese President Hu Jintao meets his American counterpart at the White House tomorrow, he will undoubtedly go through the motions of engaging him on substantive matters. But there will be little in the way of agreement: At the last summit, in November 2009, China and the United States released a 4,223-word joint statement that became a dead letter within three weeks, after acrimonious exchanges at the Copenhagen Climate Summit.

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Cancún, Mexico—Another year, another round of U.N. climate talks. This year's discussions in Cancún are likely to end much as last year's haggling in Copenhagen did—without a firm global treaty to stop drastic climate change. But the stalemate has led to an intriguing side development: Large, multinational corporations are starting to play an outsized role in the negotiations. If world leaders can't agree on how best to cut carbon emissions (and, so far, it's not clear they can), then the world's CEOs may start taking the lead.

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Is Ballet Over?

An excerpt from 'Apollo's Angels.'

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Don't look now, but cap-and-trade is coming to the United States—and there's nothing the Senate can do about it. Earlier today, California, New Mexico, and three Canadian provinces—Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia—unveiled a plan to set up a carbon-trading system for greenhouse gases by January 2012.

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Enviro-types don't have much to be cheery about these days. Climate legislation has sputtered out. Jay Rockefeller is trying to delay the federal government's ability to rein in greenhouse gases. And the party of climate denialism is poised to grab a bunch of seats in Congress next year. So that means carbon emissions are just going to keep rising without end, right? Well, not necessarily.

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Check out the Intermountain West states on this map from the Metro Program’s “State of Metropolitan America.” Now look at the major metropolitan areas—Phoenix, Denver, Provo and Ogden, Albuquerque and others. Do you notice how most of the major metropolitan areas except Las Vegas, Salt Lake, and Boise have being seeing growing shares of their workers commuting by public transit? It’s but one finding among dozens in the extensive drill-down on what’s happening in U.S.

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Now that financial reform has passed through the Senate, is energy next? As always, that's… unclear. A big problem right now is that no one actually seems to be at the forefront of shepherding the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act through the chamber.

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