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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

What Your 'Fill Her Up' Really Buys -- Our Elections

(19) Comments | Posted October 22, 2014 | 4:39 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 | 3:28 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 | 6:06 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 | 4:58 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 | 3:39 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 | 11:35 AM

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 | 9:32 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 | 3:40 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 | 10:46 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 | 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

(13) 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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