President Obama


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Photo: Karen Perry Stillerman

Food and Farm Progress to be Thankful For

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

It seems like a million years since October 2008. That’s when author Michael Pollan published his open letter to the next “farmer-in-chief,” calling on the incoming president to take bold steps to transform the nation’s food system. The role of farmer-in-chief has been inhabited ever since by Barack Obama, and as his presidency winds down, some observers—including Pollan—have criticized the administration for not doing enough.

Others have tempered that assessment, arguing that the Obamas accomplished a lot in the food arena under tough circumstances, even though we have a long way to go. Personally, I agree with the latter view: we have quite a bit to be thankful for, in terms of concrete progress over the last eight years toward a healthier, fairer, more vibrant food system. Read more >

Photo: Karen Perry Stillerman
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President’s Budget Helps Create New Opportunities for Coal Communities

, senior energy analyst

Yesterday was a big day for policy geeks in Washington, DC—the annual release of the President’s proposed federal budget for next year. As reporters and analysts alike pore over the numbers and talking heads comment on the political headwinds, it’s clear that addressing climate change remains a major part of the President’s agenda. It’s also worth emphasizing that the president is making a coordinated and focused effort to invest in coal mining communities. Here’s how. Read more >

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Preparing for Climate Change: President’s Budget Misses Opportunity

, director of gov't affairs, Climate & Energy

Yeah, I get it. The president’s budget doesn’t really mean anything. It’s just a vehicle to lay out his vision for the country, right? Congress is controlled by Republicans, and most of the president’s fiscal priorities likely won’t be reflected in the budget he finds on his desk several months from now. But here’s one fiscal priority both parties should be able to support: pre-disaster mitigation, or …disaster preparedness. Read more >

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President Obama’s Plan to Cut Methane Emissions: Taking a Closer Look

, director of state policy & analysis, Clean Energy

On Wednesday, the Obama Administration announced a new goal and course of action to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas industry by 40-45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025. It’s a sensible near-term target that helps address one of the most potent contributors to global warming. But will the measures the Administration plans to implement be enough to achieve the goal? Read more >

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Early Wildfire Season in New Mexico Starts as U.S. Considers New Funding Sources to Fight Extreme Wildfires

, , senior climate scientist

I experienced very dry conditions in the mountains of northern New Mexico a few weeks back. I spoke with someone who travels to Taos nearly every winter and this was the least snow he could remember. The fire risk sign said “low” in the surrounding forests, but if more snow did not come soon I suspected those signs would start nudging to the yellow and red colors that warn of fire risk. Unfortunately, fires have already erupted in New Mexico this February. Some officials say that if 2014 continues to be the sixth year in a row with drier-than-average conditions on New Mexico’s Rio Grande, this would be the longest dry stretch since before the Rio Grande river gauges existed. Read more >

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