Carol Browner Tapped as ‘Climate Czar’

Along with Obama’s appointment of Stephen Chu to Energy Secretary comes word that he has chosen a so-called ‘climate czar’. Browner will likely be instrumental in implementing Obama’s climate policy. Like Obama, she supports a cap-and-trade policy, an extremely promising way to reduce greenhouse gases. In fact, Browner called for the winner of the 2008 election to pursue capping with tradable permits months ago:

Browner’s resume includes a record-long tenure as Administrator of the EPA. As the New York Times reports, she began the fight to regulate greenhouse gases as part of the Clinton Administration only to have the Bush Administration undermine the authority of the EPA and the Supreme Court. The creation of a ‘climate czar’ post, and the appointment of someone with Carol Browner’s credentials and principals may be very good news for those concerned about the environment and climate change.


Food and Climate Change: Part 1

The author attended a two-part lecture series on Food and Climate Change hosted by the Sustainable Food Initiative at Brown University. This is the first of two posts recapping the main points and providing analysis of the lectures.

Cooks Diet For A Dead Planet

Cover of Diet for A Dead Planet

Christopher Cook, journalist and author, gave the first in this two-part series. He called his “Just Food Nation”. Cook, who penned the book Diet For a Dead Planet, asserted that we need “radical change” to our food system.

In addition to the growing climate crisis, Cook also linked problems such as the recent food crisis and the American obesity epidemic to a fundamentally broken food system.

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OECD Nations Unwilling to Internalize the Costs of Climate Change

One of the developments out of the UN Climate Talks this week in Poland was the launching of an Adaptation Fund to help poorer nations deal with the disastrous effects of climate change such as drought, floods and rising sea levels. Where the fund fell short was its endowment as just $80 million dollars  were allocated to addressing this critical element of the fight. The cash will be raised by a levy on a U.N. system of projects to cut greenhouse gas emissions in poor nations. The real question is, should countries most responsible for climate change contribute most to mitigating its consequences?
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The “Smartest” Cabinet Choice Yet

According to NBC, President-elect Obama will choose Nobel laureate Steven Chu as his Energy Secretary.


In addition to being one of the brightest minds to ever occupy a cabinet position, Chu is also an incredible realist when it comes to biofuels. He has taken an environmental approach in his analysis of our energy situation, realizing the need to develop new energy sources that currently do not exist.

Chu urges scientists to find environmentally friendly form of fuel

The most progressive and refreshing viewpoint he takes is on corn-based ethanol, currently part of most politicians’ “alternative energy” plan.

“From the point of view of the environment,” explains Chu, “it would be better if we just burnt oil.”

It sounds a lot like he understands the concept of EROEI and the disastrous environmental impacts of current ethanol production. This pick is change that we at Smash the Mirror can definitely believe in.

The Inane Ramblings of a Climate Change Denier

Glenn Beck: Where’s the warming?

NOTE: I do not intend this as a straw man against climate change skeptics who have the ability to apply statistics and logic to their analysis. This is simply a critique of some terribly constructed and false arguments.

Glenn Beck on his radio show today:

All right, let’s see. Well, first of all, they are not remaining constant because they are going down. So you are wrong there. But I’m trying to get my arms around this “Natural variation would mask the warming thing.” Let me see, because I’m an alcoholic, I speak bullcrap fluently. Let me see if I can translate that from bullcrap to English. They’re saying that cooling will mask the warming. Cooling will mask the warming. See if I have this right. I mean, I’m not a scientist, but I’m a thinker, and help me out. Stu, if cooling is masking warming, then wouldn’t it just be cooling?

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Is this type of advocacy beneficial?


A group of skiers, including former olympians, were brought in by the WWF on Friday to the U.N. climate talks in Poland. The group handed a petition to Polish Environment Minister Macjiec Nowicki, urging the U.N. talks to consider the impact climate change is having on their sport. Along with the irony of a group responsible for environmental damage making this appeal, this plea also runs the risk marginalizing a very important issue through an overly simplistic anthropocentric viewpoint.
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The Myth of Being Too Poor for Sustainability

One myth regarding sustainability just never seems to go away: the notion that it is expensive. It came to the forefront again during this past US Presidential Campaign. Mr. Obama has expressed strong support for environment, something for which he should be commended. Instead, he was attacked for being impractical.

The American voters subsequently choose Obama in huge numbers, giving him a 365-173 electoral college victory and a mandate to follow through on his agenda. Now in seemingly every interview, the Obama team is being asked what they will sacrifice from their agenda in order to cope with the Economic Crisis, as if to say “we won’t really waste money worrying about the planet, right?”
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