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Dream a Little Dream

America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy
By James Gustave Speth
Yale University Press, 2012, 272 pages

Gus Speth has been around the block – cofounder of the World Resources Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council, advisor to President Jimmy Carter, head of the UN Development Program, dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Sciences at Yale. He’s been a busy man, and more importantly, he’s an honest one. While not repudiating his past efforts, he readily admits that, at least when it comes to “the…
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by: Tom Athanasiou – Winter 2013

Equity: No Longer a Peripheral Issue at Global Climate Talks

What’s needed now is courage, and a bit of real statesmanship that takes into account the evolving realities of this mad and dangerous world

Well, the annual climate talks began again today. This time they’re in Doha, the capital of Qatar, which has the highest per-capita emissions in the world. Equity is, of course on the agenda. The surprise — at least it’s a surprise for…
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by: Tom Athanasiou – November 26, 2012

“Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math” — Bill McKibben’s call for a carbon divestment move

But the core problem here is that, absent real leapfrogging, the developing countries will be hard put to take any paths apart from those that have already been pioneered in the wealthy world

The new issue of Rolling Stone has a major essay by Bill McKibben, called Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math. It’s a must read, for a number of reasons. The big one is that McKibben’s call for a “carbon disinvestment” movement – aimed…
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by: Tom Athanasiou – July 27, 2012

The Limits of Limits

The Race for What’s Left: The Global Scramble for the World’s Last Resources
By Michael T. Klare
Metropolitan Books, 2012 306 page

When I mentioned to a friend that I was reviewing Michael Klare’s new book, his response, which I found surprising, was: “What’s Klare got to say that Richard Heinberg didn’t say a long time ago?” Heinberg popularized the idea of “peak oil” with his 2003 book, The Party’s Over, and he has since built a name for himself, at least within greenie circles, by promoting a larger and more metaphorical notion of…
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by: Tom Athanasiou – Summer 2012

An Arithmetic Proof Against the Keystone XL Pipeline

Do the Math: Burning the Tar Sands = Climate Catastrophe

Photo by Steve Meirowsky A truck hauls 36-inch pipe for Keystone XL Pipeline south east of Peabody, Kansas. The first wave of Keystone XL Pipeline protests — the arrests at the White House back in August — was one for the history…
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by: Tom Athanasiou – September 28, 2011

Look on the Bright Side

The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring on the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World
by Paul Gilding
Bloomsbury Press, 2011, 304 pages

“The great disruption” is an odd notion. It suggests that big trouble is on the horizon, but also that it’s not really going to be that bad. A “great disruption” is not anything like, say, a “long emergency” (James Howard Kunstler), or a “collapse” (Jared Diamond), and it’s certainly nothing like “the revenge of Gaia” (James Lovelock). All three are acknowledged here, but Paul Gilding’s opinion is that, after a rough transition,…
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by: Tom Athanasiou – Autumn 2011

Cancun Success or Failure – Compared to What?

Cancun was not a surprise. Nor was it a failure. This much is easy to say. But was it a success? This is a more difficult question. I used to have an irritating friend. Every time you made a strong, implausibly simple…
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by: Tom Athanasiou – December 14, 2010

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