When someone sues an organization repeatedly and then gets put in charge of that agency it’s a pretty classic example of the fox guarding the henhouse. Welcome to the Bizarro World of the Trump Administration where the fossil fuel industry’s favorite son, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, is poised to run the Environmental Protection Agency. The appointment of a climate change denier like Pruitt to run the EPA affirms, as NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen has put it, that “the US government is officially done with being evidence-based.” On this week’s Sea Change Radio, Mother Jones reporter Rebecca Leber gives us a closer look at the new head of the EPA, what his appointment means politically, what the repercussions could be for the climate and how states may be able to protect the environment locally.
For the better part of the past decade, The New York Times and The Environmental Protection Agency have been frequent punching bags of the right wing. Conservatives allege that The Grey Lady has an open liberal bias and that the EPA is run by tree huggers who care more about owls than jobs. But this week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to Joe Romm of Climate Progress, who is angered by what he believes is a front page hit piece on the EPA by that bastion of liberal journalism, The New York Times. We delve into the details of the piece itself and explore the history of the conservative war against the EPA.
Have you ever been to the dump? It’s a pretty smelly place. Part of what you’re smelling is methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that’s created as biodegradable garbage breaks down. A number of studies have found that approximately one-third of all waste entering landfills can be composted instead, and over 90 American cities have responded by initiating curbside composting services. Residents separate out their garden waste (and in some cases food scraps), the biodegradable garbage is picked up and diverted, maxed-out landfills experience relief, and the city has a marketable product in the form of rich compost soil. Everybody wins – who could possibly be against this? Well, it turns out that some people are. Waste Management Inc., the nation’s largest waste disposal company and landfill operator, now captures methane from some of its landfills and converts it into energy. While that sounds pretty good, too, our guest this week on Sea Change Radio explains to host Alex Wise the complex set of issues that surrounds the question, “what’s the best use of biodegradable garbage?” Jason Mark is both a journalist and a farmer – listen now as he gives us the dirt on compost.
In the past Sea Change Radio has sought the input of journalists and policy-makers on President Obama’s environmental record. So far, however, we have not looked at his challenger, Mitt Romney. Many onlookers find themselves baffled as they try to make sense of this candidate’s positions on multiple topics, including climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency, and energy policy. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise talks with environmental journalist Neela Banerjee. A Washington DC-based reporter for the LA Times and Chicago Tribune, Banerjee helps shed some light on the Republican candidate who wants so badly to lead the United States. She discusses Romney’s past and current environmental positions and we get a glimpse of what a hypothetical Romney presidency might look like from a sustainability perspective.
Vampire power refers to the electricity electronic appliances and devices waste just by being plugged in, even when they’re switched off. Did you know that when you point your remote control at the TV to turn it off for the night, that appliance isn’t really off? In the middle of the night, at the witching hour, your TV, in standby mode, continues to suck power, like a sinister vampire draining electricity off the grid while you sleep blithely unaware.
This purely wasteful electricity consumption is said to amount to around 10% of residential use for the average American household. The good news is that the solution is very straightforward. By utilizing technological innovations that already exist, and changing some simple everyday habits, we can put a stake in the heart of this problem. This week on Sea Change Radio we talk with Maria Vargas who explains how the federal government’s Energy Star program is trying to raise awareness and promote more responsible energy consumption, and with Alan Meier, senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a faculty member at UC Davis and one of the foremost authorities on standby power.
While this broadcast focuses more on the progress being made by the Energy Star program, critics assert that the program’s binary “yes” or “no” system is less helpful to consumers than graded scale systems like in Europe – and also that the program certifies too many products.
What does our future on this warming globe hold? We explore this question today with Stephan Faris, who talks about his new book, FORECAST: The Consequences of Climate Change. And Matt Madia of OMBWatch tells us about a provision in the Waxman-Markey climate bill that would strip the EPA of its authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.
Alex Bowen, a Principal Research Fellow at The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment of the London School of Economics, discusses An Outline of the Case for a ‘Green’ Stimulus, a report he co-authored with Lord Nicholas Stern, the man behind the 2006 Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change. And in the ViewPoint, Donald Bartlett of the investigative journalism team Bartlett and Steele advances the idea of a Federal Reserve for health care. Continue reading
Today, Dada Maheshvarananda meditates on the alternative economic model of Progressive Utilization Theory, or PROUT. Joe Romm of Climate Progress analyzes the climate resolve of the Obama Administration. Lisa Woll of the Social Investment Forum proposes an Office for Innovation in Corporate Social Responsibility to the Obama Administration. And auto and environment expert Jim Motavalli comments on the significance of President Obama’s executive order directing the EPA to reconsider its refusal to grant California a waiver allowing it to regulate greenhouse gases from autos.
Jim Motavalli blogs on green matters for The Daily Green and Mother Nature Network and he blogs about cars in the New York Times “Automobiles” section. He was also a long-time editor for E–the Environmental Magazine, where he continues as a contributing writer. Motavalli combines his passion for autos and environment in his book, FORWARD DRIVE: The Race To Build Clean Cars for the Future. He thinks its time for the auto industry to wake up and smell the coffee. In his Sea Change ViewPoint commentary, he discusses the significance of President Barack Obama’s executive order directing the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its refusal to grant California a waiver allowing it to regulate greenhouse gases from cars and trucks.
Today we talk with Hunter Lovins, founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions, about the Presidential Climate Action Project. The Sea Change ViewPoint comes from Charlie Cray of the Center for Corporate Policy.
For many people, the election of Barack Obama as the US President stoked hope for big change. The transition to the Obama Administration brings promise of shifts to government regulations and policies to promote sustainability. Long before the election, though, a group of influential sustainability leaders gathered to brainstorm recommendations to the incoming President on tackling climate change. The Presidential Climate Action Project was born, Continue reading