Tell the President to Stop All Arctic Drilling

We need your help. Tell President Obama and Secretary of the Interior Jewell to halt proposed plans to allow drilling in Alaskan waters. Shell recently announced that it is abandoning its Arctic Ocean drilling program. But that’s not enough. Big oil is waiting to snap up new offshore oil and gas leases. Tell the President … Read more

Big Win: President Obama Stops Arctic Drilling

In a stunning development this week, President Obama announced that he is cancelling upcoming oil and gas lease sales for Arctic waters off the coast of Alaska. And, in a companion move, the Department of the Interior denied requests by Shell and Statoil to extend the leases they already hold in the Arctic Ocean. These … Read more

Coal Declines Worldwide – Even in China

“Worldwide, for every new coal plant built, two have been shelved or cancelled since 2010…. In China, coal use declined in 2014, signaling the start of a shift towards greater reliance on renewable energy. And, in the U.S., over 77,000 megawatts of coal energy have retired or are slated to retire.” This good news comes … Read more

Keeping the Amur River Wild and Free

The Amur River is the largest, still free-flowing river in Asia, and its basin the most biodiverse region in Russia. But its vast forests, wetlands, and steppes, as well as its endemic tigers, leopards, cranes, and bears are threatened by a voracious demand for energy and natural resources. Drawing on lessons learned over the past … Read more

Public Participation and Public Protest in China

China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection recently reported that there was a 31% rise in mass environmental protests during 2013. The statistic highlights the growth of “NIMBY” (not in my backyard) environmentalism in China, and it comes as no surprise given already excessive pollution levels faced by communities across the country. To many, the prospect of … Read more

Grassroots Organizations Will Help China Move Away From Coal

First Published in the Huffington Post President Obama’s new carbon rule elicited a seemingly strong reaction from China: a pledge to institute a national carbon cap by 2016. But does China’s pledge have teeth? We argue yes, but only if grassroots organizations and citizens put increasing pressure on the government to reduce the country’s reliance on … Read more

Pacific Environment Welcomes Sun Qingwei as China Climate Coordinator

China has recently been generating a tremendous amount of news because of its pressing need to decrease air pollution and build a clean energy future. This is a heavy undertaking, as China is the world’s leading producer and consumer of coal.  To help reduce coal pollution in China, Pacific Environment just hired Sun Qingwei, who … Read more

Cleaner Energy for Cleaner Air in China

Air pollution is strongly linked to premature death in China. According to a study by the World Health Organization, it contributed to some 1.2 million deaths in 2010. The country’s top officials have pledged to declare a war on smog. Yet coal, the main culprit in this tragedy, still rules China’s energy sector. In March … Read more

Update: U.S. Government Suspends Consideration of Funding for Yamal LNG

First published in the Huffington Post On March 25, 2014, my Huffington Post blog, Will the U.S. Fund Russian Gas Exports?, reported on the U.S. Government’s consideration of funding for the enormous and environmentally harmful Yamal liquid natural gas (Yamal LNG) export project in the Russian Arctic. I questioned whether the U.S. government should subsidize … Read more

25 Years Later: Did We Learn Anything from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill?

This year’s traditional Iditarod dog sled race began, as usual, with great excitement along the snowy streets of my hometown, Anchorage, Alaska. Dogs yelped and cried, straining their harnesses, eager to leap into the air and run. Meanwhile, we Alaskans, dressed in bright, traditional parkas, were packed tightly on the sidewalks surrounding the staging areas. … Read more

Will the U.S. Fund Russian Gas Exports?

First published in the Huffington Post As the geopolitical crisis in Ukraine grows, Western governments are talking tough about sanctions against Russia. President Obama and the European Union have now leveled sanctions against Russian and Crimean political figures and a bank, but not yet against other companies. As Rachel Maddow points out, with these sanctions, … Read more

Energy Access and the True Cost of Fossil Fuel Projects

First published on the Huffington Post Energy Blog Last year President Obama launched Power Africa, an initiative to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than two-thirds of the population is without electricity. In a parallel move, the House Foreign Affairs Committee leadership introduced the Electrify Africa Act to encourage access to electricity … Read more

Shell Abandons Plan for Drilling in Arctic Seas

Yesterday, the CEO of Shell Oil announced sharply lower earnings and canceled plans to try to drill in Arctic seas off the coast of Alaska.  While couched in terms of a temporary decision applying only to this summer’s drilling season, the actual press announcement by the company had the feel of a more dramatic change … Read more

U.S. Government Finance Agency Curbs Coal Support

Today, the Directors of the U.S. Government’s largest trade promotion agency, the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank), approved restrictions on financing for coal plants abroad. In doing so, the Ex-Im Bank became the first government export credit agency in the world to curb coal plant financing. But the restrictions include unnecessary exemptions. For example, in some … Read more

How to Build a Grassroots Climate Change Movement in China

Zhao Zhong joined Pacific Environment’s China team one year ago. After a successful career at the helm of Green Camel Bell, a grassroots environmental group based in Gansu Province, Zhao Zhong was eager to help share his skills with other up-and coming grassroots leaders. As Pacific Environment expands to the air pollution and energy sphere … Read more

Snow Leopards Saved From Gas Pipeline

After years of local and international resistance, Russia’s oil giant Gazprom finally abandoned plans to build a gas pipeline that threatened indigenous cultural sites and untouched wilderness in the Altai Republic in Siberia. In the last decade, the construction of multi-national pipelines has received worldwide attention—the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline in the U.S. … Read more

Halting U.S. Financing for Coal Abroad

This summer was big for our efforts to halt public financing for fossil fuel projects. In June, President Obama launched a Climate Action Plan that calls for a partial ban on U.S. Government financing for coal plants abroad, except in limited circumstances. The ban includes U.S. taxpayer-backed financing for coal plants through federal agencies such as … Read more

Harnessing Social Media to Challenge Coal in China

In China, where coal is king, Pacific Environment is harnessing the power of social media to show that the emperor is wearing some very dirty clothes. We just launched “The Problem with Coal,” a Chinese-language blog on Weibo.com, China’s hugely popular social networking site. It focuses exclusively on coal’s devastating impacts on people’s health and … Read more

Forward on Climate – Impressions from a Day of Action

When I arrived at 1 Market Plaza in San Francisco this past Sunday, I saw an entire city block filled with people demanding  that President Obama block the Keystone XL pipeline and take action on climate change. This was the largest environmental rally in San Francisco history, with 5,000 participants, and  the largest nation-wide environmental … Read more