Tag Archives: mother jones

Incoming EPA Chief: Fox In The Henhouse

rebeccaleberWhen 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.

Methane Disdain

TimMcDonnellAlong with the Affordable Care Act, the Clean Power Plan may end up being one of President Obama’s signature accomplishments. We learned recently, though, about the US Supreme Court’s potential role in determining the fate of the plan. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with two journalists who have been covering other aspects of the plan. First, Mother Jones journalist Tim McDonnell joins us to talk about methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas that is not targeted in the Clean Power Plan or the Paris Agreement, and whose emissions from the oil and gas industry are largely unknown. We discuss the Aliso Canyon leak, efforts to monitor methane, and how much of the methane problem is cows. Then, Washington Post reporter Steven Mufson provides a who’s who in the efforts to obstruct the implementation of the Clean Power Plan.

Canary In The Coal Mine

TimMurphyThe former CEO of Massey Energy, Don Blankenship, is currently on trial for conspiracy to violate mandatory mine safety and health standards, making false statements to the SEC, and securities fraud.  Blankenship is being held personally responsible for aspects of the Upper Big Branch disaster of 2010  and the ensuing cover-up. Here to discuss the trial is Mother Jones reporter, Tim Murphy. Murphy and host Alex Wise talk about Blankenship’s history with Massey, the current legal proceedings, and whether this prosecution is a harbinger for the demise of the coal industry in general. Would the case have unfolded this way 15 years ago, when coal was still king? Or is Blankenship basically a canary in the coal mine, signaling to the industry that the fumes are getting toxic?

Inside Obama’s Clean Power Plan

TimMcDonnellPresident Obama announced a bold new climate plan last week. The plan is being widely heralded by environmental advocates, but, perhaps unsurprisingly, pilloried by coal states and fossil fuel companies who are actively mounting legal challenges. This week on Sea Change Radio we talk with two environmental reporters, Alex Guillén from Politico and Tim McDonnell of Mother Jones. They provide an overview of the climate plan and its goals, discuss some political and legal responses, and talk about how it may be viewed globally as we anticipate the UN Climate Summit in Paris.

 

Fracking Moves To China, Part II

credit: Steve Webel
credit: Steve Webel

Last week on Sea Change Radio, we learned about the new shale gas boom in China. This week, in the second part of my discussion with Jaeah Lee and James West of Mother Jones, we examine the larger questions that surround this shift in Chinese energy policy. Can natural gas be a bridge fuel as the industrial giant weans itself off coal? Will there be enough water to extract China’s significant shale deposits? Will shale gas exploration further divide urban and rural China, or could it help to close the country’s income gap?

West and Lee provide some answers to these complex questions, and also discuss the implications of Chinese investments into the U.S. natural gas sector. Will this big business alliance be good for consumers on either side of the Pacific? Find out on this week’s Sea Change Radio.

Fracking Moves To China, Part I

Jaeah LeeJamesWestThere is a relatively unanimous recognition that we inhabitants of earth really need to break our addiction to coal. It’s filthy and there are so many cleaner energy sources. This mantra is now being repeated all over coal-dependent China, where shale gas resources appear to be abundant. It turns out, however, that the transition away from coal may not be so simple – or even a step in the right direction. Mother Jones journalists Jaeah Lee and James West spent a year investigating the ins and outs of the growing fracking industry in China.

Host Alex Wise caught up with them before a recent panel discussion in San Francisco to talk about how U.S. oil and gas interests are exporting fracking around the globe and how the technology may pose risks in China that even exceed those associated with coal. Listen now to the first half of this two part series on today’s Sea Change Radio.

Get The Lead Out: Kevin Drum & Sarah Hess (re-broadcast)

KevinDrumSarahHessThe policy decisions we make today will have an impact on the next hundred years and beyond. It kind of makes you think, what policy decisions from the last century are we dealing with today? This week on Sea Change Radio, we focus on lead, a heavy metal whose regulation was slow to follow the discovery that it was highly toxic. The lag time meant the widespread use of this hazardous element as an ingredient in everyday substances like gasoline and house paint, and a toxic legacy that is still being felt.

First, host Alex Wise speaks to Mother Jones political writer Kevin Drum, who’s recently published a set of high-profile articles suggesting a link between lead levels in our environment and crime rates. Then, we hear from Alex’s sister, Sarah Hess, who shares her personal story of lead exposure and how it inspired her to become a community advocate for safe and lead-free playgrounds.

Get The Lead Out: Kevin Drum & Sarah Hess

The policy decisions we make today will have an impact on the next hundred years and beyond. It kind of makes you think, what policy decisions from the last century are we dealing with today? This week on Sea Change Radio, we focus on lead, a heavy metal whose regulation was slow to follow the discovery that it was highly toxic. The lag time meant the widespread use of this hazardous element as an ingredient in everyday substances like gasoline and house paint, and a toxic legacy that is still being felt.

First, host Alex Wise speaks to Mother Jones political writer Kevin Drum, who’s recently published a set of high-profile articles suggesting a link between lead levels in our environment and crime rates. Then, we hear from Sarah Hess, who shares her personal story of lead exposure and how it inspired her to become a community advocate for safe and lead-free playgrounds.

COP 16 Report

The 16th UN Climate Change Summit – also known as Conference of the Parties, or COP 16 was just held in Cancún, Mexico. So what happened there? Did we get the agreement we wanted? Many environmentalists say “no,” but this week’s guests both believe the summit was nevertheless historical and constructive. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise talks to Kate Sheppard, an environmental reporter at Mother Jones, and Martin Chilcott, the CEO of 2 Degrees Network. Both attended the summit in Cancún earlier this month and give us their perspectives for the next UN Convention on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa, the greening of China, and the potential “Sputnik moment” that could ignite the United States’ competitive spirit and finally inspire bolder climate change policy.