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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.

Mr. Pope is co-author -- along with Paul Rauber -- of 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

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

(0) Comments | Posted January 28, 2015 | 3:53 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 | 8:05 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 | 8:38 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 | 8:20 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 | 6:22 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 | 2:40 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 | 5:16 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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What Your 'Fill Her Up' Really Buys -- Our Elections

(19) Comments | Posted October 22, 2014 | 5:39 PM

When you last filled up your gas tank, you may have thought about where the oil came from. Today let's think about where the money you paid went. Some of it, indeed, went to the salary of the trucker who delivered the gasoline, the woman behind the cash register, or...

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What Oil Price Got to Do, Got to Do With It? (10 Things to Remember About Oil Prices)

(2) Comments | Posted October 15, 2014 | 4:28 PM

Panicking finance ministers. Squabbling OPEC. Slumping stock markets. Cancelled oil projects. Speculators rushing out of energy investments.

Here we sit, inundated with gloomy but indecipherable news on the economy and energy. Perched on the cliff of a slumping global economy, the price of oil slipping down from obscene...

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What American Environmentalists Can Learn From Prime Minister Modi

(0) Comments | Posted October 3, 2014 | 7:06 PM

A Discourse of Character Not Consequence

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rock-star love-fest with the American Indian diaspora at Madison Square Garden last week was hardly a policy address -- Modi's theme was India's potential greatness and his vision of how to enable it, not a 10-part to-do list...

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To Change Everything... Sandy Ground Zero, NYC

(2) Comments | Posted September 22, 2014 | 5:58 PM

The slogan of the 300,000+ People's March for Climate Justice that rolled over Manhattan like a tsunami yesterday -- "to change everything we need everyone" -- was embodied not only in the raw numbers -- larger than the 1963 March for Jobs and Justice led by Martin Luther...

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Pump the Movie -- Pricking Petro-Nonsense

(4) Comments | Posted September 16, 2014 | 4:39 PM

It's about time that someone pricked the fraudulent "Saudi America" narrative that the oil industry and its allies have been peddling successfully to the media for the past several years -- and a new movie Pump the Movie does exactly that. According to the current petro-fantasy, a domestically...

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The Limits of Political Suicide

(6) Comments | Posted September 10, 2014 | 12:35 PM

According to the media, the 2016 presidential campaign began here last Thursday with the 7th Clean Energy Summit, an energy gab-fast honchoed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Center for American Progress and the University of Nevada.

The opening gambit was Hillary Clinton's speech ...

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Fasten Your Seat Belts: An Energy Phase Shift Has Begun

(6) Comments | Posted September 3, 2014 | 10:32 AM

When the ice breaks up in a northern river and unleashes the spring melt, it's not just an ice cube in a glass warming from 31-34 degrees -- instead, what was a stable, frozen system, becomes a wild, chaotic flood.

The turbulent economics of low carbon energy are similarly poised...

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Will the Tea Party Impeach Governor Pat McCrory?

(81) Comments | Posted August 12, 2014 | 4:40 PM

"With or without legislation, we're going to move forward to protect the waters of North Carolina from coal ash." -- Governor McCrory, August 2

Any informed observer of North Carolina politics is shaking their head at my headline -- while Pat McCrory is not, himself, a Tea Party...

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5 Things to Remember About Obama's Clean Power Plant Rule

(1) Comments | Posted July 29, 2014 | 11:46 PM

Thursday and Friday EPA will hold in this city the final in its series of hearings on its proposed rule to clean up carbon pollution from coal fired power plants. There will be a lot of theater, and a lot of opposition as well as support. Some of...

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Too Big To Punish?

(0) Comments | Posted July 18, 2014 | 7:56 PM

As of this week, a single violation of prohibitions on watering your lawn in California can cost $500. I recently picked up a tourist brochure for Sierra County California which cautioned me that a medical emergency in the mountainous, rural county was likely to require air evacuation, that...

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The Emerging Clean Energy Edge

(13) Comments | Posted July 8, 2014 | 10:19 AM

Global energy markets are reaching a tipping point. A pathway has opened for climate progress, but only if governments; business and public's recognize and exploit the opportunity.

For the first time, a large fraction of the world's fossil fuels could be replaced at a lower cost by clean energy, with...

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'You Have to Work with A**holes. That's Democracy. We, in Our Wisdom, Elected Them.'

(0) Comments | Posted June 14, 2014 | 11:02 AM

My annual calendar has two special days, each celebrating a special form of courage. Both, environmentally appropriately, are in the spring. One, in late April, is the Goldman Environmental Prize, recognizing the courage that comes from not flinching when a tank rolls at you. Sadly, too often the tank keeps...

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Why the Carbon Rule Is a Bigger Deal than the Media Understands

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2014 | 5:29 PM

The headline in Tuesday's NYT gave the top-line evaluation of the Obama Administration's power plant carbon rule: "Hopes Modest for Carbon Rules."

Environmentalists had hoped that the Administration would measure reductions not from 2005, but from 2012, when power plant carbon emissions had already come down by...

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