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Goldilocks Is Dead

March 24, 2015

Five years ago I wrote an article for Reuters titled “Goldilocks and the Three Fuels.” In it, I discussed what I call the Goldilocks price zone for oil, natural gas, and coal, a zone in which prices are “just...

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OVERdevelopment, OVERpopulation, OVERshoot

March 20, 2015

Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana; © Peter Essick. “Even as a waste disposal site, the world is finite.” —William...

Jaguari Reservoir, one of five in São Paulo’s Cantareira System, which is at about 13 percent of capacity. Image acquired on February 11, 2015. Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

Lessons from São Paulo’s Water Shortage

March 17, 2015

It’s getting harder and harder to separate nature’s role in disasters from our own, and the dire water predicament confronting São Paulo, Brazil, is no exception. But as with the ongoing drought in California, there are important lessons from...

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Only Less Will Do

March 13, 2015

When I’m not writing books or essays on environmental issues, or sleeping or eating, you’re likely to find me playing the violin. This has been an obsessive activity for me since I was a boy, and seems to deliver...

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Recycling in the Anthropocene

March 12, 2015

Recently I’ve been reading salvos in a raging debate about biological and ecological conservation. Traditionally, conservation has largely been about protecting “natural” environments by keeping human presence to a minimum. Now some observers have pointed out that there are...

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Sustainability for Whom?

March 4, 2015

The mission of UPSTREAM (formerly Product Policy Institute) is “sustainable production and consumption and good governance.” Sometimes I feel like we’re swimming against the tide in advocating a role for government action in ensuring sustainable production and consumption. Big...

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Is the US Overplaying Its Energy Hand?

February 25, 2015

In the grand poker game of geopolitics, energy is often the wild card. That’s why the Middle East is such a mess: Great Powers (first Britain, more recently the United States) have been installing, propping up, toppling, threatening, or...

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The Year the Dam of Denial Breaks

February 25, 2015

This is the year the “dam of denial” will break and the momentum for climate action will become an unstoppable flood. It will be messy, confusing and endlessly debated but with historical hindsight, 2015 will be the year. The...