Green links

Courtesy of Climate Progress and Bill Becker, this cartoon on Nimbyism.


The Ecologist – How much your country is investing in renewables

Treehugger – What does the Green Party election win in Germany mean?

HuffPo – Obama sets goal to reduce oil imports

Here are two sites also worth checking – the SustainAbility blog and The PERColator.


Steven Chu – the ‘shining light’ of the Obama administration?

From Politico:

President Barack Obama has made a serious bet on clean energy with his budget. What that really means is that he’s banking on one man: Steven Chu.

Two major pillars of the Obama legacy have landed squarely in the lap of the energy secretary: the pursuit of clean power and nuclear nonproliferation. And with the Environmental Protection Agency under constant attack from Republicans and the climate bill a failure, the White House has seemingly turned its attention to the Department of Energy and Chu.

Obama failing to talk the talk

The general consensus on Pres. Obama’s State of the Union (‘SOTU’) address yesterday seems to be ‘good on energy’ but ‘bad on climate’. Indeed, he failed to mention climate change at all. It is worth remembering that Obama has his eyes set on the 2012 Presidential elections. That is why he has one foot firmly planted in the hallowed centrist/middle ground. With the internal battles waging in the Republican party and the insurgency of the Tea Party movement, perhaps he is right to nod towards the centre and assure moderate/swing-voters that he can be trusted to make the right decisions, with a cool head.

Unfortunately, climate change takes little notice of party politics. For Obama not to even mention climate change in the SOTU is very worrying! The US needs a President who is willing to lead on issues as important and (sadly)  divisive as climate change. As the graph above shows (h/t to Climate Progress and Matthew Hope from Univ. Bristol), Obama has mentioned climate change even less than when george Bush was President.

We urgently need a pan-European grouping of leaders to raise the profile of climate change once again. The US cannot be allowed to shirk its responsibilities to the rest of the world.

"We will Trust but we will Verify"

President Obama used a well-known Reganism in his message to oil companies on Friday.

For too long, for a decade or more, there has been a cosy relationship between the oil companies and the federal agency [the Minerals Management Service, MMS] that permits them to drill…It seems as if permits were too often issued based on little more than assurances of safety from the oil companies. That cannot and will not happen anymore. To borrow an old phrase, we will trust but we will verify.

Meanwhile, the BBC reports that BP representatives do not regard the Gulf oil spill disaster as the end of deepwater exploration.

Green Five

Paul Krugman – on the differences between how the Bush and Obama administrations reacted to environmental catastrophe. He concludes with this defence of the role of government:

If there’s any silver lining to the disaster in the gulf, it is that it may serve as a wake-up call, a reminder that we need politicians who believe in good government, because there are some jobs only the government can do.

NyTimes – looks at the possibility of a revival of meaningful climate legislation in the US. Views from contributors to Grist, Clean Air Watch and others are considered. Well worth a read.

Left Foot Forward – on Nick Clegg the “kingmaker” and how the LibDems must honour commitments to reduce carbon pollution if they are handed a Climate portfolio in the new parliament.

Tree Hugger – offers a view from the States about the UK elections with a particular focus on Zac Goldsmith, the “blue environmentalist”.

Business Green – advocates installing wind turbines on high-rise urban developments.

The Gulf Coast Oil Spill: Moving Forward

NYTimes – Paul Krugman says there is a small silver lining to a very dark cloud concerning the Gulf Coast oil spill. Krugman’s op-ed claims that the disaster is:

[A] pointed reminder that the environment won’t take care of itself, that unless carefully watched and regulated, modern technology and industry can all too easily inflict horrific damage on the planet.

Grist – also asserts that the oil spill is a real chancefor the Obama administration to jump-start a clean energy economy.

Mira Oberman – reports how better weather conditions in the Gulf will provide a much needed respite to coastal communities and clean-up operations.

To keep on top of events as they unfold day by day in relation to the Gulf oil spill, visit Climate Progress. By far the best source of information for green current affairs and campaigns stateside.