We’ve Used Up Our One-Time-Only Economic Boost From Fossil Fuels

We’ve Used Up Our One-Time-Only Economic Boost From Fossil Fuels

The economy, we have been taught, is a cat with considerably more than nine lives. The bottom might drop out of the stock market, but it will rebound — again and again. The Chinese were on top of the world, economically, for a thousand years or more, but then the...
A Failed State in Latin America?

A Failed State in Latin America?

Venezuela is at the mercy of its fluids. For a country that depends on oil for 95 percent of its exports, the prolonged drop in the price of crude has been a serious financial blow. If nothing else, though, Venezuela should be able to use its oil resources to keep the...
Rethinking U.S. Foreign Policy on Oil and the Middle East Wars

Rethinking U.S. Foreign Policy on Oil and the Middle East Wars

While drastically low gas prices may not mean anything more than savings at the pump for the average American consumer, shifts in global oil prices and production could bring the Middle East to the precipice of transformation. The flooded oil market—the result of U.S....
What a Sanders Foreign Policy Doctrine Could Look Like

What a Sanders Foreign Policy Doctrine Could Look Like

Lots of people—supporters and opponents alike—are asking what a Bernie Sanders foreign policy doctrine would look like. Beyond a few specific references and the important reminder that he, unlike Hillary Clinton, opposed the Iraq War, he’s tended to redirect questions...
In the Keystone Suit, It’s Big Oil vs. Democracy

In the Keystone Suit, It’s Big Oil vs. Democracy

A few years back, I was one of the hundreds of climate activists arrested while protesting the Keystone XL pipeline outside the White House. So when the president finally pulled the plug on the project last November, it felt like a huge victory — symbolic, maybe, but...
The Geopolitics of Cheap Oil

The Geopolitics of Cheap Oil

The market was supposed to save the planet. That, at least, was the argument of many economists grappling with the problem of climate change. As fossil fuels became scarcer, they pointed out, the price of oil and natural gas would go up. And then other options, like...
Will the Paris Climate Talks Deliver the World We Need? Not Likely.

Will the Paris Climate Talks Deliver the World We Need? Not Likely.

We need to leave more than 80 percent of known oil, coal, and gas reserves in the ground to avoid triggering catastrophic climate change. That means shifting away from an economy driven by digging, pumping, and burning fossil fuels to one that puts people and the...
How our screwed-up CEO pay system makes climate change worse

How our screwed-up CEO pay system makes climate change worse

Runaway CEO pay at the 30 largest U.S. public fossil fuel corporations rewards short-term actions, with disastrous results for the world’s climate, a new report finds. CEOs at big oil, gas, and coal corporations are rewarded for a short-term fixation on pumping up...
A Slick Maneuver

A Slick Maneuver

What a relief. In exchange for Iran taking steps to guarantee that it can’t build nuclear weapons, the sanctions that have choked off its access to world markets will end without a single shot. Instead of celebrating this diplomatic breakthrough, conservative...
How Would Francis Invest?

How Would Francis Invest?

When Pope Francis unveiled his letter to the world about how we must stop trashing the planet, he nearly broke the Internet. The pithy document included hundreds of zingers, including this line: “Whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the...
A Fossil-Fueled Fantasy

A Fossil-Fueled Fantasy

Newfangled carbon-capture power plants supposedly burn coal without poisoning the planet. They don’t. Extracting coal from the ground and disposing of its toxic byproducts makes a dirty mess no matter how it’s burned. But this “clean coal” ruse is conjuring up...
Edison’s Bright Idea

Edison’s Bright Idea

It dawned on Thomas Edison that sunshine could drive both his inventions and his friend Henry Ford’s horseless carriages. “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy,” he told Ford and Harvey Firestone, another enterprising inventor. “What a source of power! I hope...
Going off the Rails

Going off the Rails

When 27 CSX tanker cars loaded with fracked North Dakota crude tumbled onto a West Virginia riverbank on President’s Day, the ensuing fireballs leveled a house and forced hundreds of people to flee amid a heavy snowstorm. Even though 19 of the derailed cars — each...
What the U.S. Should Learn from Russia’s Collapse

What the U.S. Should Learn from Russia’s Collapse

After months of whispered warnings, Russia’s economic troubles made global headlines when its currency collapsed halfway through December. Amid the tumbling price of oil, the ruble has fallen to record lows, bringing the country to its most serious economic crisis...