Daily Archives: May 29, 2014

Obama to unveil historic climate change plan to cut US carbon pollution

• Proposed regulations could cut carbon pollution by up to 25%
• President still faces potential opposition from Republicans

Q&A: why the carbon proposal could make climate history

President Obama told West Point graduates this week that the US must lead by example on climate change. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty

President Barack Obama will unveil a plan on Monday that will cut carbon pollution from power plants and promote cap-and-trade, undertaking the most significant action on climate change in American history.

The proposed regulations Obama will launch at the White House on Monday could cut carbon pollution by as much as 25% from about 1,600 power plants in operation today, according to those claiming familiarity with the plan.

Power plants are the country’s single biggest source of carbon pollution – responsible for up to 40% of the country’s emissions.

The rules, which were drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency and are under review by the White House, are expected to do more than Obama, or any other president, has done so far to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions responsible for climate change.

They will put America on course to meet its international climate goal, and put US diplomats in a better position to leverage climate commitments from big polluters such as China and India, Obama said in a speech to West Point graduates this week.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics

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Economic Update: Myths of Capitalist Efficiency

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/24032-economic-update-myths-of-capitalist-efficiency

Thursday, 29 May 2014 15:48 By Richard D Wolff, Economic Update / Truthout | Radio Program

Richard D. Wolff speaks on the death of Maya Angelou; updates on Chilean students’ victory; Detroit’s plan to demolish 40,000 houses; and housing market realities. Major discussions on the international movement of economics students challenging curricula and teachers, and the economics of advertising.

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Richard D Wolff

Richard D. Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York City. He also teaches classes regularly at the Brecht Forum in Manhattan. Earlier he taught economics at Yale University (1967-1969) and at the City College of the City University of New York (1969-1973). In 1994, he was a Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of Paris (France), I (Sorbonne). His work is available at rdwolff.com and at democracyatwork.info.

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics
Cyprus International Institute (CII) (Harvard School of Public Health) http://Cyprus-Institute.us
Food-Matters

The Stiglitz Code: How Taxing Capital Can Counter Inequality

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/24002-the-stiglitz-code-how-taxing-capital-can-counter-inequality
Thursday, 29 May 2014 00:00 By Felicia Wong, Next New Deal |

Joseph E. Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science for his pioneering research in the shortcomings and imperfections of market systems. May 28, 2013. (Photo: InnovationNorway / Flickr)

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Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz argues that tax reform is the key to addressing inequality in a new Roosevelt Institute paper. Click here to listen to Stiglitz describe the key arguments of the paper. Click here to read his recent congressional testimony on why inequality matters and what can be done about it.

The American economy is at a crossroads. One of the questions that will determine which path we take is whether and how the government can use taxes to meet social needs. In recent years there have been countless calls to overhaul the tax code, but few have offered a robust set of objectives framed around providing and supporting public goods. The vision of active and effective government in support of the economic common good that President Franklin D. Roosevelt advanced through the New Deal is fading from sight.

That changes with the release of “Reforming Taxation to Promote Growth and Equity” by Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz. In this transformative new white paper, the Nobel-winning economist who foresaw the economic crisis and the rise of the Occupy movement sets out to reshape the debate around the role of taxation in our society.

The ideas proposed in the paper are premised on core economic principles – taxing bads, encouraging goods – on which the vast majority of economists agree. The policy toolkit Stiglitz describes applies across the entire economic landscape. With growing wealth inequality and the political power of the top 1 percent in the spotlight thanks to the success of Thomas Piketty’s bestseller Capital in the 21st Century, Stiglitz calls for taxing capital as if it were regular income and boosting inheritance taxes. He overhauls corporate taxation for the age of globalization and international tax havens, bringing money back to where it was made. He also proposes taxes on negative externalities to ensure that those whose actions do harm, whether in the form of environmental pollution or a financial crisis, pay the price.

…(read more).

Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics
Food-Matters

The World Health Organization in Thrall to the Nuclearists

Thursday, 29 May 2014 00:00 By Robert James Parsons, Truthout

A radioactive sign hangs on barbed wire outside a café in Pripyat, Ukraine. (Image: EL / TO ; Adapted: D. Markosian / DoD; WHO / DoD)

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The International Atomic Energy Agency, whose mandate is the promotion of everything nuclear, has – for the last 55 years – prevented the WHO from carrying out its public health mandate in a world ever more exposed to the lethal effects of ionizing radiation.

For 55 years, as of May 29, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been under the heel of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in matters regarding ionizing radiation and health. The IAEA, whose mandate is the promotion of everything nuclear, has thus prevented the WHO from carrying out its public health mandate in a world more and more exposed to the lethal effects of ionizing radiation.

At 8 AM on Friday, April 25, one day before the 28th anniversary of the Chernobyl catastrophe, two anti-nuclear activists met at the entry of the drive leading to the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva for a day’s vigil. They were there to protest the 1959 agreement that binds the WHO to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), giving the latter veto power over anything that the WHO may propose to do regarding human health and ionizing radiation. They stayed there until 6 PM.

As the work day at the WHO runs from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM, the vigil-keepers were seen by virtually all WHO employees and visitors, as well as by those traveling the public thoroughfare going by the entry (including students from the Geneva International School, just up the street). But this was nothing new, for on that day, the vigil was finishing its 365th consecutive week.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics

Years of Living Dangerously Bonus Footage: Bonus Footage: Traffic Jams in Dhaka

Years of Living Dangerously

Published on May 29, 2014

Michael C Hall gets a hands on lesson in navigating the ins and outs of navigating Dhaka.

Subscribe to the Years of Living Dangerously channel for more clips:
http://s.sho.com/YearsYouTube

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics

Reparations: Ta Nehisi Coates on Reckoning With US Slavery & Institutional Racism

freespeechtv

Published on May 29, 2014

An explosive new cover story in the June issue of The Atlantic magazine by the famed essayist Ta-Nehisi Coates has rekindled a national discussion on reparations for American slavery and institutional racism. Coates explores how slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and federally backed housing policy systematically robbed African Americans of their possessions and prevented them from accruing inter-generational wealth. Much of the essay focuses on predatory lending schemes that bilked potential African-American homeowners, concluding: “Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.”

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics

Impact of pesticide residue hard to track, experts say

http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2014/05/impact-of-pesticide-residue-hard-to-track-experts-say/

Population-wide research comes with steep challenges

May 27, 2014 | Editor’s Pick Popular

By Alvin Powell, Harvard Staff Writer

Pesticides have been linked to Parkinson’s disease, declines in cognitive performance, developmental disorders, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children. Their application has also been tied to environmental issues, such as the collapse of honeybee colonies and the development of resistant pests and weeds.

But we know surprisingly little about population-wide health effects of the low doses that are in the foods we eat every day, panelists at the Harvard School of Public Health said Thursday.

“We can’t tell for sure if you eat a bowl of salad today for lunch if it will lead to cancer in 10 to 20 years,” said Chensheng Lu, an associate professor of environmental exposure biology at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Lu, whose recent research has tracked the mysterious collapse of honeybee colonies to a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, said that broad studies on the effects of pesticide residue in foods are difficult to do. Funding is hard to attract because there isn’t a specific health impact being investigated. Also, there are daunting challenges to designing a scientifically valid study, stemming from the fact that so much of the population has been raised on foods treated with chemicals.

“Everyone has been exposed to pesticides to some degree,” Lu said.

Lu was joined in the discussion by Marc Weisskopf, an associate professor of environmental and occupational epidemiology at HSPH; Carolyn Dimitri, associate professor of food studies at New York University; and Gary Adamkiewicz, senior research scientist in HSPH’s Department of Environmental Health. The event, “Pesticides and Food: Eating Safely and Sustainably,” was sponsored by HSPH and the Huffington Post and moderated by Philip Hilts, director of the Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics
Food-Matters