Foreign Policy Blogs

Catching Up

There are a slew of stories that I have been scanning while I've been working on some other projects.  Here are some of them now.

"The Washington Post" says Report Warns of a Much Warmer Northeast – Effects Could Be Disastrous, Says Two-Year Study.  As someone who grew up skiing on the blue ice of Vermont, one line in the article grabbed my attention.  If trends continue, the report says:  "The Northeastern ski industry, except for western Maine, would probably go out of business."  The Union of Concerned Scientists, the venerable Cambridge-based non-profit, does fantastic work on global warming, energy and an array of other subjects. 

"Reading a scientific paper on the train this weekend, I found, to my amazement, that my hands were shaking," begins a recent commentary from George Monbiot at "The Guardian."  The report to which he refers comes from Jim Hansen at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University Earth Institute (and several colleagues).  As you know, Hansen is one of the seminal thinkers on global warming and still one of the leading and respected scientists in the world doing this work.  The report, Climate change and trace gases, asserts that the earth's climate is "remarkably sensitive to global forcings."  This means, in a nutshell, that a sufficient degree of warming can "flip" the state of ice sheets to provoke a runaway melting. 

Monbiot goes on in his commentary to talk about how we need to pursue renewable energy much more aggressively.  You won't get any argument from me.  In a report from the Environment News Service, we get some very good news indeed:  Renewable Energy Future Could Save the World Billions of Dollars a Year.  Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council issued a great report on this saying "Investing in a renewable electricity future will save 10 times the fuel costs of a "business as usual' fossil-fuelled scenario, saving $180 billion USD annually and cut CO2 emissions in half by 2030…"  "The energy [r]evolution" is a comprehensive blueprint.

Not incidentally, if you think Greenpeace is still regarded as a bunch of anarchists by governments, corporations and other environmental organizations, you should note, among other evidence, that they're working with some big multinationals to produce some felicitous environmental outcomes.  In an excellent "FT Report – Corporate Citizenship And Philanthropy," we learn that "Coca-Cola, Unilever and others have been working with Greenpeace to develop alternative refrigeration technology and persuade suppliers to make the switch."  Coke's director of European public affairs has what I consider a priceless quote:  "It's very powerful for a company to be associated with an NGO, especially if it's an activist one."  Go to the FT for this particular article, Corporate citizenship: More than the sum of the parts, by Sarah Murray, and some other great articles and features including a video and some podcasts.

I like activism , see my post from March of the same name.  So does Coca-Cola apparently.  Who knew?



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