Foreign Policy Blogs

Some Quick Hitters

Energy Conference , In an update from the excellent blog, Hill Heat ("Science Policy Legislation Action"), we learn that we are going to a conference after all on the Senate and House energy bills. See this from my worthy fellow bloggers.  I was not reading the tea leaves correctly when I reported in my previous post (see below) that the conference was off and that the Democratic leadership was going to cobble a bill together and then submit it.  I should've been reading the "Congressional Quarterly" article on this.  ""The Speaker wants to go to conference. I want to go to conference,'  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said on the floor Friday. "We know we can't do a bill unless we include the Republicans in it.'"  This is all good news I daresay.

Transition to Sustainable Energy , The InterAcademy Council (IAC) issued an important report this week:  Lighting the Way: Toward a Sustainable Energy Future.  The IAC was created by all of the world's science academies in 2000 "to mobilize the best scientists and engineers worldwide to provide high quality advice to international bodies – such as the United Nations and the World Bank – as well as to other institutions."  The report details the science and technology necessary "for developing energy resources to drive economic growth in both industrialized and developing countries while also securing climate protection and global development goals."  You can find the report itself here.  In an article from "Scientific American," we hear from report co-chair Steven Chu, director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a Nobel laureate, that developing countries, such as China and Brazil, need "to leapfrog well past what we did in the West, like in the U.S., where we have sprawling suburbia and long commutes."  (I wrote about "leapfrog" technologies at my post, More Climate Summit, back in May.) 

Insurance Industry , If you're still struggling to believe that we're in the soup we're in, and the pot's getting hotter, then consider an industry that is as conservative as they get.  In my compendium of comments from people who are not generally known as ecofreaks (John McCain, the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, the leader of the British Conservatives, among others), If You Don't Like Al Gore, Then from April, I quoted Lord Peter Levene, chairman of Lloyd's of London:  "We cannot risk being in denial on catastrophe trends." Levene said this January 12 in a speech to the World Affairs Council at the National Press Club. "We urgently need a radical rethink of public policy, and to build the facts into future planning." See Lloyd's webpage on climate change here.

Now a report from the thoughtful organization, Ceres, "a national network of investors, environmental organizations and other public interest groups working with companies and investors to address sustainability challenges such as global climate change," puts insurance companies in the spotlight.  The Ceres press release is headlined Hundreds of New Insurance Initiatives Emerging to Tackle Climate Change and Rising Weather Losses.  The report, according to the release, "comes on the heels of billions of losses this year from unprecedented flooding and windstorms in Europe and wildfires in the West, and warnings by major European insurers that climate change threatens the industry's long-term solvency."  Get the full report, "From Risk to Opportunity: 2007 – Insurer Responses to Climate Change" here. 



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