May 2010

Tennessee Flood Victims Need Your Help May 6, 2010 : 1:48 PM

With waters finally receding, those affected by the floods in Tennessee need your help now to begin repairing and rebuilding their lives. Thousands have seen their homes and businesses flooded. According to Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, "I think it’s safe to say that the damage we’re looking at will easily exceed $1 billion."

Thousands in the Nashville area need your help. The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has two funds you can support to directly help those affected by the floods:

Flood Relief - Metro Nashville Disaster Response Fund

"In partnership with Davidson County's Office of Emergency Management, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has activated its Metro Nashville Disaster Response Fund to help to those affected by the May 1, 2010 floods. Donations of any size are welcome. Grants from the fund will support relief and restoration in the Davidson County area."

Give to Metro Nashville Disaster Response Fund

Flood Relief - Tennessee Emergency Response Fund

"The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee responds in times of disaster to connect generosity with need and has activated the Tennessee Emergency Response Fund to support relief efforts throughout Middle Tennessee necessitated by the May 1, 2010 floods. Donations of any size are welcome. Grants from the fund will support relief and restoration in areas of Middle Tennessee affected by the floods."

Give to Tennessee Emergency Response Fund


Current TV Honored May 7, 2010 : 3:19 PM

I want to congratulate everyone at Current TV. Last month the network’s documentary series Vanguard won both a Peabody Award and a 2010 Television Academy Honor for an episode called “The OxyContin Express.”

During the show, “correspondent Mariana van Zeller discovers that many of her fellow patients in a pain clinic in Ft. Lauderdale have driven as many as 18 hours and nearly a thousand miles to have a more-than-willing doctor prescribe them drugs to which they have become addicted.”

You can tune it to watch more Vanguard episodes Wednesday’s at 10PM (Eastern) or read more about the show by clicking here.


No Fooling Mother Nature May 7, 2010 : 5:04 PM

Tom Friedman publishes another great column in The New York Times:

“There is only one meaningful response to the horrific oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and that is for America to stop messing around when it comes to designing its energy and environmental future. The only meaningful response to this man-made disaster is a man-made energy bill that would finally put in place an American clean-energy infrastructure that would set our country on a real, long-term path to ending our addiction to oil.”


Check out my new essay in The New Republic May 8, 2010 : 3:07 PM

The New Republic published a new essay of mine online today entitled “The Crisis Comes Ashore: Why the oil spill could change everything.” To read the article in its entirety, click here.


Rain at the North Pole May 9, 2010 : 9:15 PM

This is incredibly rare: [Link]

“Spring showers are next to non-existent in the High Arctic, so Environment Canada's senior climatologist says he's baffled to hear that it rained near the North Pole this week.

“A group of British scientists working off Ellef Ringnes Island, near the North Pole, reported being hit with a three-minute rain shower over the weekend. The group reported the rain on Tuesday.”

“Rain in the High Arctic in April is nothing short of bizarre, said David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada.”

"My business is weird, wild and wacky weather, and this is up there among fish falling from the sky or Niagara Falls running dry," Phillips told CBC News in an interview that aired Thursday.”

"I mean, it really is strange. You just don't expect it to rain in the High Arctic in April; maybe in July and August. And certainly for these scientists from Europe coming over, they must have been also mystified."


Big Moves in the Senate This Week May 10, 2010 : 6:02 PM

John Kerry and Joe Lieberman will unveil their climate and green jobs bill on May 12:

“New legislation to limit U.S. greenhouse gases and boost “clean energy” production will be released May 12, Senators John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman, the authors of the measure, said today.”

“Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, said in an e-mailed statement they believe they can “secure the necessary votes to pass this legislation this year.””

We are on the road to passing the most important environmental legislation in a generation. That's why during the next few weeks I’ll be asking for your help to show the Senate that we demand they pass this vital legislation. This is our best opportunity to put America on the path to solving the climate crisis, and I know you’ll get the job done.


Smallest on Record May 11, 2010 : 6:28 PM

There was an interesting note in the April “State of the Climate” report from NOAA:

“According to the Rutgers Snow Lab, North American snow cover for April 2010 was the smallest on record (since 1966). Moreover, the anomaly was the largest of any of the 520 months on record.”

(h/t Joe Romm)


Cash for Caulkers May 13, 2010 : 2:35 PM

Another important piece of legislation passes the House of Representatives:

“Homeowners could collect thousands of dollars in Cash for Caulkers rebates for renovating their homes with better insulation and energy-saving windows and doors under a new economic stimulus bill the House passed Thursday.”

“The Home Star bill, passed 246-161, would authorize $5.7 billion over two years for a program that supporters — mostly Democrats — said would have the added benefits of invigorating the slumping construction industry and making the earth a little cleaner.”

"Home Star is that solid investment that's going to achieve that hat trick of energy savings for the homeowner, of moving toward a cleaner environment and of creating jobs here at home," said bill sponsor Peter Welch, D-VT.”


Time for Action May 24, 2010 : 11:33 AM

The National Research Council declares that it's time for action to solve the climate crisis:

“In its most comprehensive study so far, the nation’s leading scientific body declared on Wednesday that climate change is a reality and is driven mostly by human activity, chiefly the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.”

“The group, the National Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, issued three reports describing the case for a harmful human influence on the global climate as overwhelming and arguing for strong immediate action to limit emissions of climate-altering gases in the United States and around the world — including the creation of a carbon pricing system.”

The Senate should heed their advice and move quickly to pass the American Power Act immediately.


Thank you May 26, 2010 : 9:00 PM

On Saturday I had the pleasure of speaking at the South Carolina Aquarium's 4th annual Environmental Stewardship Awards. I want to thank the aquarium’s CEO, Kevin Mills, the board and staff, for hosting this wonderful event. You can learn more about this great facility by clicking here.


A Decade of Job Growth May 27, 2010 : 5:34 PM

For a year, conservative groups have been insisting that the climate bill is a "job killer." Last week, yet another study proved what they are saying is false.

“Senate climate legislation unveiled last week would spark a decade of multibillion-dollar investments to help overhaul how the nation produces and consumes energy, adding 200,000 jobs per year in the construction of new power plants and through greater demand for biofuels, according to a nonpartisan study….”


Support Andrew Cuomo May 28, 2010 : 1:19 PM

Last week Andrew Cuomo announced he is running for governor of New York. I know Andrew to be a tireless public servant, though I am not a citizen of New York, I strongly believe he is the right candidate to lead that state.

Learn more about Andrew and help out his campaign by clicking here. [Link]


Montgomery County Passes Carbon Tax May 29, 2010 : 4:06 PM

Montgomery County (just outside of DC) became the first county in America to pass a carbon tax. Keith Harrington at Grist tells the story of how it happened: (Some city governments including Boulder, Colorado, have also passed carbon taxes.)

“It would be hard to dream up a more delightful twist to cap off a campaign that was about as dramatic as they come in the world of county politics. Desperate to prevent what they rightly saw as a precedent that could unleash an avalanche of similar laws across the country, the Mirant Corporation -- owners of the big coal plant that was facing the $15 million tax -- spared no expense in their efforts to kill the bill. They ran an all-out astroturf campaign that was about as dirty as the energy they produce -- outrageously mischaracterizing the bill as anti-environmental, and setting up a website that is known to have generated at least one fraudulent email.”

"Local climate activists with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and other groups responded with a salvo of real, unpurchased and unmanufactured grassroots emails, petitions, and phone calls to the councilmembers, but right up to the key council subcommittee vote on Tuesday, there was a serious concern that Mirant's underhanded tactics might win the day."