The Green New Deal Goes Local

Ithaca, a city of 30,000 people in the Southern Tier of New York state, has pledged to be carbon-neutral by 2030. The city government is leading the way by implementing a strategy to achieve full decarbonization, including all areas of the economy. That means vehicles, buildings, the electric grid, waste, and land use. “It’s a… Continue reading The Green New Deal Goes Local

Environment, Latin America

Latin America’s New New Left

Perhaps the most radical statement from Gustavo Petro, the newly elected president of Colombia, has been his promise to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Petro has said that he will not issue any new licenses for hydrocarbon exploration, will stop fracking pilot projects, and will end the development of offshore drilling. Petro has called… Continue reading Latin America’s New New Left

Environment, Russia and Eastern Europe

No Victory Day

Imagine an Olympic final in basketball, not unlike the one last summer between the United States and France. The score is tied in the final minutes, and tension is mounting among the flag-waving partisans in the stands. France is in possession of the ball when something strange happens. A sudden fog descends upon the play.… Continue reading No Victory Day

Environment, Russia and Eastern Europe

The Five Plagues Testing Humanity

Once upon a time, the tutelary gods of nationalism and internationalism met for a chat. They had a superb perch above the clouds. From there, they could see everything happening on the Earth below and they set to arguing, as they so often did. Sophia, the goddess of internationalism, began by proudly pointing to the… Continue reading The Five Plagues Testing Humanity

China, Environment, Russia and Eastern Europe

Russia and China’s Dirty Partnership

The leaders of Russia and China are joining forces. Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Beijing for the Winter Olympics to show solidarity with his largest trade partner at an event that the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia are boycotting diplomatically. The statement that Putin signed with Chinese leader Xi Jinping confirms their… Continue reading Russia and China’s Dirty Partnership

Environment, Russia and Eastern Europe

Protests at the Pump

The first major protest of the post-Communist era in Eastern Europe was not about corruption. It wasn’t about disappointments with democracy. It was about gas. In October 1990, furious at the new liberal government for raising gas prices by 65 percent, taxi drivers in Hungary set up barricades and established roadblocks that brought transportation to… Continue reading Protests at the Pump

Environment, Russia and Eastern Europe

Russian Green Deal: Light at the End of the Tunnel?

In October 2021, the Russian government finally released its plan to achieve carbon neutrality—by 2060. That’s 10 years after the target date most other countries have adopted. The plan relies more on offsets—like forests that absorb carbon dioxide—rather than significant cuts in emissions. But for the world’s fourth largest emitter of carbon dioxide—and the world’s… Continue reading Russian Green Deal: Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Economics, Environment

The “Selling” of Degrowth

Over the last three decades, a growing number of scientists and ecologists have argued that economic growth has long outstripped the capacity of the planetary ecosystem. They have developed numerous sophisticated models to demonstrate their point. They have boiled down the technical information—about the availability of mineral resources, the limits of energy generation, the constraints… Continue reading The “Selling” of Degrowth


Climate of Delusion

There is an astonishing statistic in a Pew research study released in 2020 on perceptions of how different countries handled COVID-19. Only 15 percent of people in a dozen countries around the world thought the United States was doing a good job of addressing the pandemic. That sharply contrasted with how Americans felt: 47 percent… Continue reading Climate of Delusion

Environment, Highlighted, US Domestic Policy

Revisiting the Goldilocks Apocalypse, TomDispatch

Imagine for a moment that Hillary Clinton had won the presidential election in 2016. Imagine, in other words, that the “blue wall” of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania had held firm four years ago. Claiming election fraud, Donald Trump would have insisted on a recount and Election Day would then, too, have stretched into election week… Continue reading Revisiting the Goldilocks Apocalypse, TomDispatch


The Ungreening of Obama

Barack Obama was green when he entered the Oval Office. He was a relative newcomer to politics. He was also the most successful fundraiser in presidential history, hauling in more green than the two Democratic and Republican candidates in 2004 combined. And he was, more or less, an environmentalist. Back in 2004, Amanda Little dug… Continue reading The Ungreening of Obama


Crapshoot in Copenhagen

In the Maldives, the cabinet strapped on scuba gear and met under water to emphasize the risk of global warming to their island nation. In Nepal, the ministers put on oxygen tanks and conducted their business high up on Mt. Everest to focus attention on the impact of climate change on the world’s highest peak.… Continue reading Crapshoot in Copenhagen


Carbon Disarmament

I never much liked the idea of arms control. During the Cold War, we managed our nuclear arsenals rather than reduced them. We treated our nukes like huge, dangerous animals. We restricted their movements but gave them ample care and feeding. Until recently, getting rid of the animals altogether was not part of the political… Continue reading Carbon Disarmament