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The Sustainable City

A great paradox of the transition to a sustainable economy is that it will not be achieved in rural places in harmony with nature, but in cities built to exploit nature without destroying it. The problem with the idea of getting "back" to nature is...

Posted February 9, 2016    

The Clean Power Plan Overcomes Another Attack

Recently, a federal appeals panel rejected an effort to block the Clean Power Rule while the rule is being challenged in the federal court system. Although the latest decision does not mean that the courts will uphold the rule, it does mean that the...

Posted February 3, 2016    

There's Plenty of Blame for Flint, Michigan's Water Crisis

Whenever I hear that environmental protection is a partisan issue, I'm reminded of New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia's famous statement that there is no Democratic or Republican way to pick up the garbage. The provision of clean air, safe...

Posted January 22, 2016    

The Not in My Backyard Syndrome and Sustainability Infrastructure

As our communities have gotten more crowded and transportation become more congested, it has become more difficult to site major facilities for waste management, water supply, sewage treatment, mass transit, and pretty much anything from a Big Box...

Posted January 5, 2016    

Microbeads, Marine Debris, Regulation, and the Precautionary Principle

A small, one could say, micro-sized miracle took place earlier this month as the United States Congress enacted the Microbead Free Waters Act of 2015. This legislation requires that manufacturers remove the beads, largely used in cosmetics, from...

Posted December 29, 2015    

Electoral Politics and Environmental Sustainability

A year from now we will have a new president-elect, and will know the profile of the U.S. federal government for the next several years. The issues of environmental protection and a sustainable, renewable economy are not likely to play heavily in...

Posted December 22, 2015    

Garbage: The Back End of the Renewable Economy

Like many, I believe that the Paris climate agreement will be seen as a turning point, when the world community finally agreed to address the climate crisis. One cannot understate the importance of the transition from fossil fuels to renewable...

Posted December 15, 2015    

From Copenhagen to Paris: Moving From Talk to Action on Climate Change

During the Copenhagen climate meetings in 2009, I posted a piece on The Huffington Post assessing the conference. At that time, I observed that:"There is a broad consensus about the need for reductions in the emissions that cause global warming....

Posted December 2, 2015    

The Small Steps That Will Lead to a Low-Carbon Economy

As the world heads toward the Paris Climate talks in a few weeks, we will focus on the big ideas and large steps that will lead to a renewable resource-based future. There is a time and place for big ideas, and this year the COP21 talks in Paris are...

Posted November 24, 2015    

Symbolic Politics, the Keystone Pipeline, and Climate Policy in the Real World

From burying a car at the first Earth Day to the campaign to ban the Keystone Pipeline, U.S. environmentalists have long demonstrated an affinity for symbolic politics. We obviously knew that one buried car wouldn't stop air pollution, and any...

Posted November 18, 2015    

Getting Sustainability on the Agenda of Our Dysfunctional Federal Government

Last week I participated in a very timely panel discussion at Columbia University on the impact of climate and the environment on the 2016 elections. The panel was moderated by Chuck Todd, the brilliant and politically savvy moderator of NBC's Meet...

Posted November 10, 2015    

The White House Pushes Clean Energy While Coal States Push the Past

In an article appearing in The Hill last week, Timothy Cama reported that:A coalition of 24 states and a coal mining company filed lawsuits Friday to challenge the most significant piece of President Obama's environmental agenda, his signature...

Posted October 30, 2015