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Thu, 2011-06-02 12:32Bill McKibben
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President Obama Must Say No To Dirty Energy's Wish List

Originally published at TomDispatch.

In our globalized world, old-fashioned geography is not supposed to count for much: mountain ranges, deep-water ports, railroad grades – those seem so nineteenth century. The earth is flat, or so I remember somebody saying.

But those nostalgic for an earlier day, take heart. The Obama administration is making its biggest decisions yet on our energy future and those decisions are intimately tied to this continent’s geography. Remember those old maps from your high-school textbooks that showed each state and province’s prime economic activities? A sheaf of wheat for farm country? A little steel mill for manufacturing? These days in North America what you want to look for are the pickaxes that mean mining, and the derricks that stand for oil.

There’s a pickaxe in the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming, one of the world’s richest deposits of coal. If we’re going to have any hope of slowing climate change, that coal – and so all that future carbon dioxide – needs to stay in the ground.  In precisely the way we hope Brazil guards the Amazon rainforest, that massive sponge for carbon dioxide absorption, we need to stand sentinel over all that coal.

Tue, 2011-05-24 11:00Bill McKibben
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No Need to Worry: Record Tornadoes, Raging Fires, Mega Floods, & Crop-Killing Droughts Are NOT What Climatologists Predicted

This op-ed originally appeared in the Washington Post.

Caution: It is vitally important not to make connections. When you see pictures of rubble like this week’s shots from Joplin, Mo., you should not wonder: Is this somehow related to the tornado outbreak three weeks ago in Tuscaloosa, Ala., or the enormous outbreak a couple of weeks before that (which, together, comprised the most active April for tornadoes in U.S. history). No, that doesn’t mean a thing.

It is far better to think of these as isolated, unpredictable, discrete events. It is not advisable to try to connect them in your mind with, say, the fires burning across Texas — fires that have burned more of America at this point this year than any wildfires have in previous years. Texas, and adjoining parts of Oklahoma and New Mexico, are drier than they’ve ever been — the drought is worse than that of the Dust Bowl. But do not wonder if they’re somehow connected.

Fri, 2011-04-08 12:54Bill McKibben
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People Power: How We Can Fight Back and Win Against Powerful Polluter Interests

Guest post by Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein, originally published at AlterNet.

Not for forty years has there been such a stretch of bad news for environmentalists in Washington.
         
Last month in the House, the newly empowered GOP majority voted down a resolution stating simply that global warming was real: they’ve apparently decided to go with their own versions of physics and chemistry.
         
This week in the Senate, the biggest environmental groups were reduced to a noble, bare-knuckles fight merely to keep the body from gutting the Clean Air Act, the proudest achievement of the green movement. The outcome is still unclear; even several prominent Democrats are trying to keep the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.
         
And at the White House? The president who boasted that his election marked the moment when ‘the oceans begin to recede’ instead introduced an energy plan heavy on precisely the carbon fuels driving global warming. He focused on ‘energy independence,’ a theme underscored by his decision to open 750 million tons of Wyoming coal to new mining leases. That’s the equivalent of running 3,000 new power plants for a year.

Wed, 2007-10-17 16:00Bill McKibben
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Step it Up 2007 - Action on Climate Change

Probably readers will recall the Step It Up rallies that we organized in the spring–1,400 protests in each of the 50 states that helped make calls for 80% cuts in carbon emissions a standard part of the global warming debate.
 
We're at it again–on Nov. 3 we're holding demonstrations all across the country (well, except in North Dakota, at least so far).
 
This time we're trying to cut the number down a little bit (last time we had a bit of the cannibalization problem that Burger King must encounter when opening new sites) and instead concentrating on getting politicians to actually come address the issue, head-on no excuses, tell us what the hell you're going to do. (You can see the map of all the rallies so far at stepitup07.org, and it's not too late to organize one in your community.)
Mon, 2007-09-24 20:38Bill McKibben
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Lomborg Cool On Polar Bears

Just as Bjorn Lomborg's new book, Cool It, was being finished, the IPCC published its economic data making clear that he had badly overestimated the costs and the difficulties of controlling global warming.

Their report convinced his old allies at The Economist magazine that the time had come to stop stalling and start making change, and that world would hardly notice the cost involved.

And earlier this month, just as his new book hit the bookstores, the U.S. Department of the Interior (that is to say the Bush administration, that is to say Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, formerly the governor of Idaho, that is to say not the Sierra Club) issued a report on the future for polar bears.

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