The long battle to keep the hazardous San Onofre nuclear plant shut down gained momentum last week with a ruling that the crippled reactor cannot be re-opened without a full public hearing by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
At the heart of California Governor Jerry Brown’s current mission to China is the possibility of a major turn away from climate devastation. Yes, it is also about obtaining foreign investment. Yes, it revives an insider controversy about whether California should have foreign trade offices at all. And yes, the 90-person delegation includes some who represent wealthy interests. But those stories are diversions from the central question of whether Brown can help the US and China forge a common agenda in energy conservation and renewables. Brown may be the key, because he travels unburdened by the growing security tensions, similar to the Cold War, between Washington and Beijing.
Gov. Jerry Brown, an early pioneer of solar energy and conservation, once again might become a global leader in the battle against extreme climate change. Fresh from an impressive election triumph last November, and freed at last from a Republican legislative veto, Brown ventured forth to a national governor’s meeting this month and will travel to China in April.
Less than a week after the presidential election, a fired-up crowd of climate activists cheered Bill McKibben and the “Do the Math” roadshow at their UCLA stop. “Do the Math” is on a three-week caravan traveling by biodiesel-powered bus, with a stop in Washington, DC, to challenge the president to take quick action on the environment.
Obama will accelerate his environmental agenda as a result of the new electoral mandate, especially given his victories in Virginia and Ohio where the coal industry was a formidable base of opposition. Little-noticed in his first term – except by the hard Right – Obama included an unprecedented $200 billion for energy conservation and renewables in his stimulus package, in addition to the near doubling of fuel efficiency standards.
For today’s young, the economic future is far more bleak, and global warming an unprecedented threat. Out of necessity, many will be searching for meaningful forms of communal self-sufficiency, healthful food, and renewable energy. Tom Fels’ captivating and profound reflection on one earlier commune, Montague Farm, founded in the 1960s, offers hard-learned reflections, some practical, some eternal, from a time when communes were the chosen path of many. Elegantly written. An informative and worthwhile read.
How could three pacifist senior citizens breach a secure nuclear weapons facility to pour blood on the spot where uranium was enriched for the 1945 Hiroshima bomb? What does it say about the risk of loose nukes in the world, except that the emperor has no clothes?
It is a historic fact that the Obama administration has done more for green energy than all previous presidencies combined. The facts are recounted in Michael Grunwald's fascinating The New New Deal, but as the author notes frequently, facts do not matter in politics anymore.
When the political circus is over, America will be left with more green building blocks than most could have imagined.