One French Hand Clapping for Waxman-Markey

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

. . . er, yes, I know that Michael Jackson died, I’m just trying to see whether I can hold off having to write about that. Though if I get any more e-mail requests, I guess my hand will be forced.

For now, though, I’d rather discuss the Clean Energy and Security Act, otherwise known as the Waxman-Markey bill after its leading Congressional sponsors, that was passed in the US House of Representatives yesterday by a narrow 219-212 vote. This is the legislation that would move the US towards a “cap and trade” approach to regulating greenhouse-gas emissions. One key to understanding the push for such a law is clearly the issue’s whole international aspect: the rest of the world rather expects the United States to embark on something of this sort, whether it is Europe that already is further ahead in its environmental legislation or it is China and India who are definitely behind, but looking on to see whether there will ultimately be American inaction that can justify their own.

That’s why it is good to see an article in the authoritative French newspaper Le Monde such as the one just written by Corine Lesnes. Obama launches his green revolution, she proclaims in the piece’s very title, which features at the top an oddly hagiographic photo of Obama standing in front of what seems to be an early-American wilderness mural, perhaps during a visit to the Department of the Interior. (more…)

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Dutch Evangelicals Find US Inspiration

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

I’ve mentioned before in this space the fascinating evangelical outliers to the usual crowd of stolidly-secular European on-line newspapers, the Dutch publications Nederlands Dagblad (“Christianly engaged”) and Reformatorisch Dagblad. Damn (- whoops! Sorry . . .): two of them, even, and in a country of only 16 million souls!

At least these papers definitely provide an alternative take on happenings in the public sphere, both national and international. (more…)

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Hummer Die-Out

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

The Monster is dead, indisputably dead: General Motors, maker of the infamous Hummer, has made this clear, and anyone with a set of paired braincells can realize how jarring its big-box image and horrendous gas mileage comes across in this new era of high gas prices and global environmental concern. (Only in the military, one can assume, is its place not under threat.)

Of course, that is not welcome news to many. This includes many Germans, who come from a culture that does appreciate well-engineered motor vehicles, together with their unfettered use. Think of those renowned no-speed-limit Autobahnen. And since when were Germans ever known for their mass use of bicycles, as the Dutch and the Danish – and Chinese, etc. – are known for to this day?

No, through recent history the pride of Germany has been their excellent armored fighting vehicles, and then – once the sheer catastrophe of the Second World War turned them away from things military – their exquisite autos: Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, even Volkswagen. The last few decades, though, they have also taken up the cause of environmentalism in a big way – Germany is the country where you’re asked to sort your street-side trash by Glass/Paper/Packaging/Other, for example – and this has of course at times worked at cross-purposes with their automobile love-affair. (more…)

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