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Carl Pope
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

A Low Carbon Future: The Complexities From Delhi

(1) Comments | Posted April 25, 2016 | 11:32 AM

Even the normally cautious Guardian enthused about the signal of global seriousness about climate change evidenced by a record 170 nations signing the Paris Accord on a single day, and emerging hopes that enough nations might ratify by the end of this year to bring the accord into legal effect four...

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Is the World Bank Snatching Climate Defeat from the Jaws of Victory?

(0) Comments | Posted April 11, 2016 | 1:56 PM

Here's a headline for climate action advocates to love: "Wind and Solar Crushing Fossil Fuels." It's Bloomberg New Energy Finance's summary of the current state of play in global energy markets, and it's got striking data points to support it. In 2015 record investment in new wind and solar electricity...

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The Secret Coal Bail-Out: Bigger Than GM

(3) Comments | Posted March 30, 2016 | 6:15 PM

Peabody Coal's long-awaited concession that bankruptcy lies ahead signals the curtain fall on the long-running, silent and secret bail-out of the management of the U.S. coal industry. As one analyst put it when Peabody announced that it faced a "going concern" letter, "It's the end of the era of publicly-traded coal companies."

Peabody is about...

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How the Koch's Might Turn an Unwelcome Trump Nomination into Opportunity

(4) Comments | Posted March 22, 2016 | 2:51 PM

It's clear that Donald Trump and the Koch Brothers disagree on a vast array of issues. Trump threatens the economic libertarian hold over the Republican party the Koch's helped engineer - indeed, the entire right-wing hammer-lock that had become the primary focus of their spending.

They didn't want...

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Donald Trump and His Wall

(1) Comments | Posted March 13, 2016 | 11:16 PM

Trump is right to boast that the Great Wall of China is 15,000 miles long -- much longer than his proposed U.S. border wall, which is, as he boasts, short and small. But then why is this one short and small Trump campaign pledges energizing his crowds? After all, it's...

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Flint Is All Around Us

(0) Comments | Posted February 15, 2016 | 5:51 PM

The catastrophic lead poisoning of the water supply in Flint Michigan is, obviously, an appalling condemnation of the vigilance exercised by the state-appointed Emergency Financial Manager, the State of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the regional officials of the U.S. EPA. But it is also a shocking reminder of...

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Civil War on Your Rooftop

(3) Comments | Posted January 28, 2016 | 5:33 PM

The fierce counterattack by utilities against the disruptive surge of roof-top solar peaked this month on the West Coast. California's big utilities successfully petitioned for increased "exit fees" for cities or counties leaving the utility to purchase electricity for their residents on the open market -- typically obtaining greener power...

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Implementing the Paris Accords: A Progress Report

(5) Comments | Posted January 20, 2016 | 10:32 AM

At the heart of the Paris Agreement are 195 voluntary national pledges to reduce climate pollution. These pledges broke through decades of gridlock, but if fulfilled, get us only halfway to climate rescue. By 2020 nations must be ready, roughly, to double this pace of emission reductions - but the...

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3 New Years Resolutions for a Climate Movement

(7) Comments | Posted December 30, 2015 | 7:15 PM

1) Take Delivery: Accelerate pre-2020 compliance with emission reduction pledges.

The Paris Accord -- by contrast with Rio and Kyoto -- was a bottom-up exercise in open-source diplomacy. National governments largely were significantly influenced by the leadership of cities, the private sector and community and civic organizations.

But it was...

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Biggest Environmental Moment in History?

(11) Comments | Posted December 13, 2015 | 1:43 PM

The Road from Paris

Dear friends,

The world acted. Not perfectly, not timely, but with seriousness and gravity. The metaphor of the day was some variant on turning point/pivot/fork in the road/hinge of history. No one proclaimed "mission accomplished."

Beyond ratifying the substantial, but inadequate, voluntary national commitments to lower...

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Why the Cuisine at the Paris COP Matters

(0) Comments | Posted December 8, 2015 | 11:14 AM

As the Paris Climate Summit reaches its closing days, it couldn't be more different than Copenhagen six years ago. For the first time in a major climate negotiation, the Draft Outcome was approved on schedule, Saturday evening. Nations which were seen as potential stumbling blocks, like India, have declared that...

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What's Really Happening at COP21

(3) Comments | Posted December 4, 2015 | 12:48 PM

If global warming was an enemy army besieging Paris, and the 21st UN Climate Summit the defenders, there is no sign outside that the siege is being lifted.  It's in the mid-50's here, a full 10 degrees above normal.

But you can sense that climate advocates recognize that this...

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Cities Can Lead, Cities Want to Lead -- Let Them!

(0) Comments | Posted December 3, 2015 | 12:57 PM

Prospects for the Paris Climate Summit are much, much brighter than for any climate gathering since Kyoto in 1997. Three main factors are driving Paris towards success: China's decision, partly driven by its air pollution crisis, to become a major advocate of change both domestically and globally has upended the...

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The Path to Cleaner Air in India

(0) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 1:51 PM

It's been unseasonably hot in North India this month; but cooler weather brings not relief but stinging eyes and painful breath.

Air pollution has become headline news here -- one of the snippets that flowed from President Obama's visit was that breathing the air had cut six hours off his life-expectancy. Soot levels 

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Paul Ryan's Poisoned Chalice

(29) Comments | Posted October 29, 2015 | 12:08 PM

The current debate over whether Paul Ryan should have allowed himself to be chosen as the presumptive next House Speaker reminds me of one of the plot puzzles in the movie Queen Margot: Even though Queen Mother Catherine de Medici's reputation as a ruthless poisoner...

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Pulling Back the Pickets: Full Fossil Retreat or Strategic Withdrawal?

(2) Comments | Posted October 20, 2015 | 2:46 PM

Six weeks from the Paris Climate Summit, this was the week that incumbent fossil interests pulled back from their long-held line of defense, the argument that reliance on coal and oil was essential for global prosperity, growth and stability, and that climate risks would simply have to be endured. Instead two powerful...

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Another Tea Party Assault on Democracy

(51) Comments | Posted October 12, 2015 | 1:36 PM

The House Freedom Caucus is correct in lamenting that the media have trivialized their true goals by focusing on the personality of the next Speaker of the House.  They are wrong to believe that a focus on their deep agenda would help their cause -- for that agenda is to...
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The Volkswagen Scandal: We Have Been Here Before

(11) Comments | Posted September 28, 2015 | 12:03 PM

In the frenzy of coverage of the outrageous Volkswagen use of sophisticated computer techniques to shut down the pollution controls on 11 million of VW's TDI diesel automobiles once they were no longer sitting in a test facility,  only a few have noted that this is not the first...

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What's the Matter With Carly?

(107) Comments | Posted September 22, 2015 | 6:25 PM


There's a clear pathway to the Republican nomination for Carly Fiorina after last week's debate, this week's poll results and the departure of Scott Walker from the Republican race.

It begins with an irony. Republican analysts chortled all this year over the "strength"...

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The Real Climate Wars

(3) Comments | Posted September 11, 2015 | 11:07 AM

The oil industry just counted coup, scoring an important tactical victory in the most important domestic climate fight of the year. (No it's not President Obama's Clean Power Plant rule. Rather it is California's Governor Jerry Brown's crusade to commit his state - and effectively, with a time lag, the US...

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