Foreign Policy Blogs

Notes and Quotes

As always these days, there's an awful lot going on.  Here are what I hope you'll find to be pretty interesting items:

Carbon Dioxide by U.S. States , The A.P. took USDOE data and analyzed it and found some interesting numbers.  Not surprisingly, some of the leading states for population lead the nation in carbon dioxide emissions.  However, some of these big states, New York and California chief among them, rank at the bottom for per capita emissions – New York because of all its mass transit and population density, and California, for population density but also, no doubt, because it's been leading the nation for years in creating renewable energy opportunities.  Here's the story, courtesy of CBS News.

NASA Guy , Sorry if you might've been looking for this story from me last week but, frankly, the White House announcement rather eclipsed it (see last post below) and also, it was just too absurd.  The head of NASA, Michael Griffin, said, on NPR:  "I’m not sure it's fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with."  Absurd too because the Big Boss Man said, that very day, that attention to the matter and action was necessary.  James Hansen, one of the pioneers and leaders on climate change for years, and head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said: "I almost fell off my chair."  The bipartisan League of Conservation Voters has called for Griffin's head.  As Johnny Carson would've said:  "That is some weird, wild stuff!" 

Exxon Guy , At the recent annual general meeting, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson sounded not unlike a recent former U.S. Secretary of Defense.  Here's Mr. Tillerson on climate change:  "There's much we know and can agree on around the climate change issue, and there's much that we just don't believe we do know…and we want to have a debate about the things we know and understand, the things we know about that we don't understand very well, and the things we don't even know about around this very complex issue of climate science. So that is what will continue to be our position."  Okay. 

Another, more important development on ExxonMobil, was the attempt at the AGM by CalPERS and Ceres to remove " ExxonMobil board member Michael Boskin due to the company's inaction on the business risks from climate change."  CalPERS, the California pension system, has $245 billion in total assets and Ceres directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk, a network of more than 55 institutional investors with collective assets totaling a modest $4 trillion.  See this from Bloomberg News, and this press release. 

Airline Industry Meetings , This critical industry began its annual meetings on Sunday in Vancouver and global warming was at the top of the agenda.  A press release from yesterday signals really important progress:  "IATA Calls for a Zero Emissions Future."  IATA's "Strategy to Address Climate Change" is online here.  Giovanni Bisignani, IATA Director General and CEO, said:  "But a growing carbon footprint is no longer politically acceptable‚ for any industry. Climate change will limit our future unless we change our approach from technical to strategic. Air transport must aim to become an industry that does not pollute‚ zero emissions."  Good on "ya, mate.  (See also my mention on May 29 of the NY/NJ Port Authority initiative for their three big airports.  And there's something forthcoming here about Richard Branson in the not-too-distant future.)

Glaciers , Today is World Environment Day and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is celebrating by focusing on glaciers and the threat from global warming.  Here's a pretty informative slide show from them on the subject.  

Media Notes:  I've had the Weather Channel climate change blog up since we started up here in March.  Check out Forecast Earth.  The Weather Channel's coverage was itself covered in a story in the "NY Times" from yesterday, Everybody Talks About the Weather; All of a Sudden, It's ControversialI've also had the climate change blog up.

On another note, "The Economist" has one of their excellent, comprehensive surveys out in print and online:  Business And Climate Change – Cleaning up.  I will get going on an article-by-article analysis (not unlike the piece I did back in March on a similar "NY Times" special series) and get that out next week.  Stay tuned.



Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change