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Carl Pope
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A veteran leader in the environmental movement, Carl Pope is the former executive director and chairman of the Sierra Club. He's now the principal advisor at Inside Straight Strategies, looking for the underlying economics that link sustainability and economic development.

He has served on the Boards of the California League of Conservation Voters, Public Voice, National Clean Air Coalition, California Common Cause, Public Interest Economics Inc, and Zero Population Growth. Mr. Pope is also the author of three books: Sahib, An American Misadventure in India; Hazardous Waste In American and co-author along with Paul Rauber Strategic Ignorance: Why the Bush Administration Is Recklessly Destroying a Century of Environmental Progress, which the New York Review of Books called "a splendidly fierce book."

Entries by Carl Pope

Sweltering Through a Climate Breakthrough

(11) Comments | Posted July 6, 2015 | 11:43 AM

Neither Paris nor Lyon is burning -- yet. But sweltering, roasting under 40oC (106oF) skies, they definitely are -- and the delegates gathering in Lyon to channel the climate-action potential of cities, states and provinces feel the heat. In addition to the weather, the World Summit on Climate and Territories...

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Climate Politics and the Disruption of Conservative Orthodoxy

(0) Comments | Posted June 22, 2015 | 11:12 AM

The Republican reaction to Pope Francis's climate encyclical, juxtaposed to the Democratic congressional rebellion against President Obama on trade, suggest that climate and energy are powerfully disrupting the grid-locked orthodoxy which has dominated American politics for the last decade.

The Tea Party-Koch Brothers wing of conservatism, (and the corporate wing...

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A New Era for Trade Diplomacy -- With a Climate Protection Twist

(21) Comments | Posted June 16, 2015 | 6:33 PM

When Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi rose to speak against Fast Track Trade Authority for President Obama, she sealed the fate of last Friday's round of voting -- and signaled the beginning of something crucially important -- a fresh debate on the nature and purpose of trade diplomacy.

Following Pelosi's call...

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4 New Trumps Shaking Fast Track's House of (Trading) Cards

(23) Comments | Posted May 25, 2015 | 6:53 PM

After first rejecting "fast-track authority" to prevent Congress from amending President Obama's pendingres Asian and European trade agreements,13 Senate Democrats change their votes Thursday. The Senators who flipped had obtained other concessions, on issues like the Export-Import Bank and currency manipulation - but tellingly most of the concessions...

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Are We All (Elon Musk Excepted) Confused?

(21) Comments | Posted May 6, 2015 | 11:06 PM

Last week was startling -- but confusing -- on the energy/water nexus innovation front. On energy, Governor Jerry Brown moved forward boldly, committing his state to cut its greenhouse gas pollution by 40 percent by 2030, declaring "I've set a very high bar, but it's a bar...

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Let the Dialogue Resume!

(1) Comments | Posted April 29, 2015 | 2:43 PM

The energy and climate waters, it appears, are finally getting safer for thoughtful conservatives to test and navigate. The complete shut-down of conservative dialogue about climate solutions which followed John McCain's 2008 defeat (reinforced by the 2010 defeat of South Carolina Republican Bob Inglis over his...

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'Globalization and Its Discontents'

(23) Comments | Posted April 23, 2015 | 4:02 PM

Part of the genius behind the Goldman Environmental Prize is that it not only rewards inspiring individuals but spotlights communities and struggles that would otherwise remain off the global community's radar screen. The prize recipients this year -- the 25th -- were no exception. Few in the audience...

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The Senator From Searchlight

(5) Comments | Posted March 30, 2015 | 4:15 PM

Harry Reid's announcement that he will not stand for reelection to the Senate from Nevada in 2016 is a major loss for the climate movement -- and yet another signal that the U.S. Senate is being transformed by today's bifurcated, parliamentary politics into an institution almost unrecognizably different from its...

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The Future of Electricity (Part 3): To Speed Innovation, Share the Gains Fairly

(3) Comments | Posted March 18, 2015 | 3:53 PM

A few weeks ago I posted two parts of a promised three-part series on the remaking of the electricity sector of the U.S. economy. Those posts outlined the flimsiness of the arguments being made against clean electricity by coal companies and incumbent utilities, and the overwhelming...

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Beyond Keystone

(6) Comments | Posted March 3, 2015 | 9:18 AM

President Obama's veto this week of a Republican bill passed -- precisely so that he would veto it -- mandating the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline does, indeed, as former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg pointed out, serve as "a perfect symbol of Washington's dysfunction." Obama made...

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From Megawatts to Gigawatts - India's Swach Shakti Moment

(2) Comments | Posted February 21, 2015 | 11:11 AM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi proclaimed India's "megawatts to gigawatts" challenge at the Renewable Energy Investment Summit (RE-Invest) here this week, building on his existing commitment to 160 gigawatts of solar and wind by 2022. Energy Minister Piyush Goyal doubled down, saying that he expected that the already ambitious...

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Future of Power (Part 2): Outrunning the Revolution

(7) Comments | Posted February 16, 2015 | 12:36 PM

The U.S. electricity sector will be unrecognizable in 20 years. How-- and how-- fast it changes will be a big factor in how large a price the world pay for having disrupted climate equilibrium - but it is not the climate threat that will drive the changes. Electricity is a...

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The Future of Electricity (Part 1): Why They Hate the Clean Power Rule

(1) Comments | Posted February 12, 2015 | 5:02 PM

The vicious coal industry/right-wing attack on President Obama's proposed Clean Power Rule is not fundamentally about the rule itself. Substantively, the proposal is simply the fulfillment of one of George W. Bush's 2000 campaign promises -- to clean up carbon pollution from power plants.

Amidst groans and outcries of Presidential...

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A Modest Proposal to Suppress the Whiskey Rebellion and Heal American Politics. (With Apologies to Jonathan Swift.)

(0) Comments | Posted January 28, 2015 | 7:01 PM

San Juan, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

Why not a Commonwealth of Texas? That thought occurred to me reading about political stalemate in Washington while celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Sierra Club's vibrant chapter here.

A modern Whiskey Rebellion afflicts America. Calling itself "The Tea Party" these rebels have...

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Flood Tide for the Climate Movement

(6) Comments | Posted January 9, 2015 | 7:05 PM

There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood leads on to fortune.
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the...

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The Grid Reliability Myth

(13) Comments | Posted December 28, 2014 | 7:38 PM

On August 1, 2011, a feral heat wave grasped Texas by its drought-parched throat. Temperatures remained over 100 degrees for 40 days -- dozens of people died. Air conditioners all over the state struggled valiantly to cool buildings -- much of their effort leaked out into...

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COP20: Rounding the Turn on the Road to Paris

(0) Comments | Posted December 15, 2014 | 7:20 PM

COP20, the United Nations climate conference held here in Lima, Peru, was dramatically unlike its predecessors. It opened amid confidence that progress toward a major new agreement in Paris next year would continue -- and closed with a weak but formally adequate agreement that keeps the process rolling....

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Carbon Intensity: The Foundation of Climate Diplomacy -- New Delhi, India

(1) Comments | Posted December 1, 2014 | 5:22 PM

As the world gathers in Lima to discuss next year's climate deadline, a lot of focus is on the US-China climate agreement. While alone that deal has not paved a pathway for a meaningful global agreement all the way to Paris, if you detour through New Delhi something intriguing and...

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A Tale of Two Oil Companies

(0) Comments | Posted November 12, 2014 | 1:40 PM

This may be the shortest blog I've ever written. On Election Day, voters in a number of cities and counties voted on whether to severely restrict or ban oil and gas development -- the oil industry poured millions of dollars in an effort to avoid these restrictions. In...

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Why Fossil Fuels Are Dirty Politics as Well as Dirty Energy

(1) Comments | Posted November 3, 2014 | 4:16 PM

When the Western Energy Alliance in June invited K-Street mugger Richard Berman to advise them on how to deal with public opposition to oil and gas extraction, Berman's back-alley style can hardly have surprised those who invited him. His tactics and viciousness have been broadly reported...

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