Foreign Policy Blogs

More Quick Hitters

Coal Plants Blocked – In a somewhat extraordinary recent development, a proposal for two 700 MW coal-fired power plants to be built in Kansas was rejected by the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Roderick Bremby said in his decision: “I believe it would be irresponsible to ignore emerging information about the contribution of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to climate change and the potential harm to our environment and health if we do nothing.” See this story from the Worldwatch Institute and the press release from Kansas. Here’s Secretary Bremby in a concise and lucid statement on his decision.

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France‘s Initiative – French President Sarkozy has pledged to fight global warming. See this article from Reuters via the “Boston Globe.” See also Sarkozy offers green bargain for reform from the “Financial Times.” Sarkozy is reported as supporting a carbon tax ” as part of a wider overhaul of the tax system to favour employment.” This echoes the proposals I referenced in “Oh, to be in England “ and Carbon Tax , Another Voice from mid-September. (Beyond this article, the “FT” has a very informative special section on climate change with a ton of terrific, up-to-date coverage.)

Health ImpactsConcern Over Health Risks Posed By Climate Change reads the headline from Scoop, a New Zealand news service. The U.S. Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works held hearings on October 23 on “Examining the Human Health Impacts of Global Warming.” The testimony given by Dr. Julie Louise Gerberding, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, itself became a subject of controversy. A couple of days after the hearing, Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said “It was brought to my attention that Dr. Gerberding’s written testimony was heavily edited during the review process coordinated by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, to remove most of the specific information about the health impacts of global warming.”

In remarks before the Committee on October 23, Dr. Michael McCally, Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility, said: “Already we are seeing the symptoms of global warming in the form of heat waves, fires, flooding, hurricanes, drought and increases in pest and water borne diseases.” PSR has a new report on the health consequences of global warming for the U.S.

On the same day as the hearing in Washington, the World Health Organization was announcing that its theme for World Health Day in 2008 will be “protecting health from climate change.” See the WHO webpage on Climate Change and Human Health.



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