News organizations love anniversary stories, and if for some reason you haven't heard, it's the 70th anniversary of when the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. Despite all this coverage, however, I didn't notice any stories that bothered to mention the fact that the Obama administration wants the U.S. government to spend as much as $1 trillion over the next three decades on a new generation of nuclear weapons.
Next week, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce what may be the Obama administration's most far-reaching climate change initiative: its final rule for cleaning up existing electric power plants. Dubbed the Clean Power Plan, it will require each state to submit its own individual strategy for cutting emissions.
ExxonMobil no longer funds climate change deniers?! Is that right? Technically, perhaps, because practically no one can say with a straight face that global warming isn't happening anymore. Most, if not all, of the people who used to deny the reality of climate change have morphed into climate science deniers.
Sen. Whitehouse likened their actions to those of the tobacco companies that conspired to manufacture doubt about the link between smoking and disease when they were all too aware of it. In 2006, a federal district court ruled that the tobacco industry's deceptive campaign to maximize its profits by hoodwinking the public amounted to a racketeering enterprise.
The current mess is likely only a harbinger of things to come if industrialized nations don't dramatically reduce carbon emissions. Drought and desertification already ruin thousands of square miles of productive land annually, while rising sea levels could eventually force tens if not hundreds of millions of people from their coastal homes.
President Obama would make the world a much safer place if he took U.S. land-based nuclear missiles off hair-trigger alert. He has called the policy a "dangerous relic of the Cold War," and a number of high-ranking military officers and government officials agree. So why hasn't Obama done anything about it?
It sounded like a good idea back in 2000. Two decades after the Cold War ended, the United States and Russia each agreed to dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium -- enough for about 20,000 warheads -- by combining most of it with uranium to create mixed-oxide fuel for commercial nuclear reactors.
The average American is responsible for about 21 tons of carbon emissions annually, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. If every American cut those emissions by 20 percent over the next year, it would be the equivalent of shutting down a third of the nation's 600 coal-fired power plants.
Americans' love affair with beef has consequences beyond our borders. According to Boucher's 2012 study, U.S. beef consumption helps drive tropical deforestation, which is now responsible for about 10 percent of the world's carbon emissions. As demand for beef goes up worldwide, so does deforestation.