Environmental Defense Fund

Sandy might mark the beginning of an important shift in the political dynamic around climate change.

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The Senate won't take up meaningful climate change legislation before the August recess, which means, as my colleague Brad Plumer reports, it may not take it up at all. No cap on carbon emissions. No renewable energy standard for electric utilities. Only a few small energy-efficiency measures. (And Reid's office declined to say what provisions the bill will contain to "lessen our dependence on oil.") Everything else will have to wait until the fall—which means the odds of passage are low.

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Wal-Mart's enormous leverage over its suppliers has attracted plenty of attention in recent years. Usually, critics home in on the negative impacts. The retailer can dictate prices to factories around the world (after all, a single producer needs Wal-Mart more than vice versa), which encourages ruthless cost-cutting that, in turn, can lead to lower wages and shoddier working conditions. And that's not even the half of it. Barry Lynn wrote a long piece for Harper's in 2006 exploring the pros and cons of Wal-Mart's vast "monopsony" power. But there's a flip side, too.

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For a long time, GOP pollster Frank Luntz was mainly known as the guy who wrote a 2002 memo advising the Bush administration to "make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate [about global warming]." So it was a little surprising to see him this morning at the National Press Club, teaming up with the Environmental Defense Fund on a new set of poll findings about climate legislation.

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Earth to Obama

Bill McKibben: You can't negotiate with the planet.

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The conventional wisdom about the politics of climate-change legislation is that cap-and-trade is grossly, horribly unpopular and that Democrats in conservative districts ought to be blanching with terror over getting behind it. What's more (says the c.w.), those conservative Dems who did vote for the Waxman-Markey bill in the House probably signed their own political death warrants. But is this really true?

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Warming Up

Gregg Easterbrook: The real way we know the earth is warming.

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When 367 Republican House candidates signed the Contract with America on September 27, 1994, they pledged to create "a Congress that is doing what the American people want and doing it in a way that instills trust." As they stood on the steps of the Capitol, Texas Representative Dick Armey declared, "[W]e enter a new era in American government. Today one political party is listening to the concerns of the American people, and we are responding with specific legislation.

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Birds and Bees

Americans dump and spray 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides each year on their gardens, lawns, forests, pastures, farms, lakes and rivers; the amount grows 14 percent every year. Literally thousands of pesticide formulations used every day around the home have potentially harmful effect on humans. One Philadelphia man died early this year after household termite spray with chlordane poisoned his bone marrow. The government places virtually no restrictions on consumer pesticide use. Anyone can buy the poisons and use them as he pleases, endangering both himself and his entire community.

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