Climate Change

When Recycling Isn't: Lessons from a Nuclear Industry Conference

Sign displayed at the NEI conferenceI learned many things at the Nuclear Energy Institute's (NEI's) annual meeting, but perhaps none more surprising than this: When nuclear power executives discuss the state of their industry, they highlight many of the same issues as their environmentalist opponents.

Of course, the emphasis and even the language are different. But presenters at the "Nuclear Energy Assembly," held in Chicago from May 5 to 7, discussed financing for new nuclear plants, nuclear waste storage and nuclear weapons proliferation concerns.

Nuclear power opponents argue that the industry shouldn't expect or need government support, some fifty years into its existence. In a hotel conference room populated mostly with gray-suited older white men, industry executives repeatedly called for an expansion of federal loan guarantees for new nuclear plants.

Early on in the conference, NEI president and CEO Frank L. "Skip" Bowman said, "We use loan guarantees in this country to support ship building, steel making, student loans, rural electrification, affordable housing, construction of critical transportation infrastructure, and for many other purposes. Please don't tell me that America's electric infrastructure is any less important." He added, "I wish someone would tell me when the word 'subsidy' became a slur, a four-letter word. ... What is there of value in American life that is not subsidized, to some extent?"

Toyota: Mean and Not So Green?

"Green" Toyota Prius adAs a manufacturer of gas/electric hybrid cars, Toyota has enjoyed a public image as an environmentally responsible company. Toyota runs television ads playing up the "green" appeal of its Prius hybrid.


This Earth Day, Let's Scrape off the Greenwash

Today marks the 38th annual celebration of Earth Day, and once again the event comes with its fair share of PR hype and misleading marketing campaigns. In the spirit of dedicating ourselves to genuine concern for the planet, today is therefore a good time to look carefully at corporate environmental claims, some of which consist more of empty rhetoric than real substance. Companies like Wal-Mart are announcing environmental initiatives. General Electric has its "Ecomagnation" advertising campaign. In Singapore, a shopping center is advertising that customers can "shop to save planet earth" -- and if they buy enough, they might win a new car! The ritual of green hypocrisy frequently requires that companies and politicians redefine environmental progress in increasingly creative ways. Last week, for example, George W. Bush announced a plan to address the problem of global warming by "halting the growth" of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2025. Beyond the fact that this target date is 17 years in the future, what really means is that during those 17 years not only will greenhouse gas emissions continue, the amount of those emissions will continue to grow. As columnist Gail Collins observed in the New York Times, this would be akin to having an overweight person announce a plan to achieve "an 18 percent reduction in the rate at which he was gaining weight, to be reached within the next decade."

Audit Reveals the PR Machine Behind Canadian Global Warming Skeptics

An audit review (pdf) of over $507,000 (Canadian) contributed to two University of Calgary "research accounts" has revealed that C$123,427 was routed to Friends of Science (FoS) -- a group lobbying the Canadian government against taking action on global warming.


Obama and Clinton Get Down & Dirty with "Clean" Coal

The Associated Press reports, "Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are walking a delicate line as they promise to aggressively tackle global warming while trying to assure voters that they continue to believe in the future of coal," the energy source responsible for "nearly 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas, each



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