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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

Five Things to Remember about Obama's Clean Power Plant Rule

(0) Comments | Posted July 29, 2014 | 6:16 PM

Thursday and Friday EPA will hold in this city the final in its series 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 the...

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Too Big To Punish?

(0) Comments | Posted July 18, 2014 | 6:56 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

(11) Comments | Posted July 8, 2014 | 9:19 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 | 10:02 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 | 4:29 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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The Factory That Forged Me: Fremont, the Tesla Motors Plant

(3) Comments | Posted May 23, 2014 | 8:23 PM

Ironically, this is the first time I've toured this particular auto-assembly plant (which was first owned by General Motors; then by New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc., a joint venture between GM and Toyota; and now by Tesla), even though much of my understanding of innovation and sustainability comes from bird-dogging...

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"Buy Them, Sue Them, Wipe Them Out"

(0) Comments | Posted May 1, 2014 | 3:54 PM

The narrative arc of the 25th annual Goldman Environmental Prize begins in the North Caucasus, where Suren Gazaryan, a caver turned bat biologist turned environmental activist, joined the Environment Watch on North Caucasus in their campaign to block former Russian President Medvedev from building a lavish palace in...

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Deepwater Horizon +4: Really, Have We Learned This Little?

(0) Comments | Posted April 24, 2014 | 5:28 PM

Four years ago last week a horribly stressed sheet of steel -- the blow-out preventer on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig -- behaved like a horribly stressed metal plate, and standing aside like a coward while 5 million barrels of oil boiled up from the overheated sub-ocean floor into the...

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We Are All Malala

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 3:13 PM

2014-04-14-MalalaYousafzai2247889.jpg"We are all one," a slight, sixteen-year-old with a quiet, present smile began. She is Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl whose advocacy for girl's education in her transcendent if traditional-bound Swat Valley led the Taliban to gun her...

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The Tortuous, Corrupted Logic of the Last Supreme Court Ruling on Finance

(1) Comments | Posted April 8, 2014 | 10:01 AM

The Supreme Court's Tuesday decision in McCutcheon to eliminate overall campaign giving limits not only shredded the remaining constraints on money in politics -- it also declared a constitutional right for the wealthy to corrupt -- as long as they stop short of explicit bribery.

The shard of...

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Corporate Recklessness and Our Future

(13) Comments | Posted March 26, 2014 | 10:20 AM

The decision by the Obama administration to reopen federal drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico to BP opens an interesting window into a fundamental question: What does it mean to hold a corporation accountable and responsible?

The administration justified the decision by asserting that it had...

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The Iron Law of Toxic Extraction

(1) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 12:52 PM

The alkylation unit at this Tesoro refinery might serve as the gateway to the Norse hell. A network of pipes carries sulfuric acid, kept below 0 centigrade to avoid boiling. The acid corrodes the pipes as it surges to catalyze and break the energy chains of highly explosive hydrocarbons. Constant...

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'The Wrong Side of History'

(25) Comments | Posted February 21, 2014 | 5:19 PM

Conservatives love to argue against clean energy by saying that the government "shouldn't pick winners or losers." So why then, did conservative Tennessee politicians, like U.S. Senator Bob Corker, Governor Ted Haslam, and State Senator Bo Watson, threaten to give or withhold government incentives based on whether Volkswagen...

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The Trade Elephant in the Climate Room

(4) Comments | Posted February 14, 2014 | 1:36 PM

It intrigues me when two of the most important climate speeches of the year have been delivered by AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka. First at the CERES Investor Summit he made the compelling case for climate activists to pivot their advocacy from stopping fossil projects to nurturing clean energy...

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Farmer John Doubles Down

(1) Comments | Posted February 7, 2014 | 10:57 PM

I don't usually do sequels to blogs, but events have moved rapidly since my first blog on Speaker John Boehner's injecting himself into California water policy. For one thing, it's raining here, so the worst drought in the state's history may become just a severe drought. And Californians...

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Farmer John and the Cow-Flop

(7) Comments | Posted February 1, 2014 | 6:08 PM

John Boehner, it's fair to say, have never been a major player in California water policy, or even in its hyper-political expression, California's water wars. He's served on the House Agriculture Committee, and boasts of the agricultural richness of his Ohio Congressional District. But he was perfectly willing,...

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Lighting a Candle

(1) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 11:11 AM

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka was the truth-teller at this year's CERES Clean Energy Investor's Summit. Trumka eloquently indicted climate crisis denials by recalling the traditional coal industry claims that mines laden with methane would not explode, inadequate timbers would not collapse, and coal dust would not clog miner's...

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The Low Expectations of the Conservatism of Denial

(78) Comments | Posted January 2, 2014 | 10:40 AM

Climate disruption, broadband access and crumbling bridges and roads have an odd thing in common: they have entered the never-never land of conservative denialism -- where they are simply not problems for which the right feels obliged to offer solutions.

On the new ideological fault line in American politics all...

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Beyond Incoherent

(4) Comments | Posted December 26, 2013 | 2:26 PM

Last September at the Clinton Global Initiative, the singer Bono called out American oil companies and the American Petroleum Institute's legal challenge to U.S. regulations requiring oil and mining companies to reveal the terms of their concessions with foreign governments.

Bono argued that until API intervened,...

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Fact Free Bjørn

(1) Comments | Posted December 12, 2013 | 8:43 AM

Sigh. Bjørn Lomborg has once again been given a fact-checker free podium -- and has left it fact free. His latest salvo in The New York Times claims that the world's three billion poorest -- who, lacking access to modern energy, light with kerosene and cook with wood...

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