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

Partner Wins 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize

With all of the negative attention Russia is receiving in the news lately, it’s easy to overlook the many inspiring people who are fighting for social and environmental justice in Russia. One such courageous activist is Suren Gazaryan, winner of a 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize for challenging government corruption and environmental degradation—at great personal risk. … Read more

Standing on Sacred Ground: Pilgrims and Tourists

For generations, indigenous groups have been battling governments to protect their sacred lands. Danil Mamyev, a Pacific Environment partner and founder of the Uch-Enmek Nature Park in Russia’s Altai region, and Caleen Sisk, chief of the Winnemum Wintu tribe in northern California, are the key figures in a new documentary by Sacred Lands Film Project. … 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

Russia Celebrates International Day of Rivers

First published on Rivers without Boundaries On March 14, 2014, at public hearings in the town of Mogocha, located in Zabaikalsky Province in eastern Russia near the border of China, local people endorsed an ambitious plan to develop a nature reserve on 330,000 hectares. This protected area is being designed to safeguard the upper flow of … Read more

Creating a Strong Polar Code Is Our Priority

We all know climate change is having a huge impact here in the northland – and with it the Arctic Ocean is changing rapidly. Arctic sea ice is disappearing fast. Credible research now suggests that the Arctic may be ice free during the summer as early as this decade —84 years earlier than previously predicted … 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

A Win in Our Fight Against Dangerous Oil Spill Chemicals

Pacific Environment often opposes poorly planned oil drilling because of the grave risk of oil spill disasters. But it turns out even the clean-up can cause ecological and human disaster. Right now toxic chemicals can be used to clean up oil spills in U.S. waters. In the aftermath of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill … Read more

Announcing the 2013 Whitley Award Winner Eugene Simonov

Pacific Environment is proud to announce the winner of the 2013 Whitley Award – our own Eugene Simonov. The award is well deserved; it recognizes Eugene’s talent, years of hard work, dedication, and his tremendous impact on the environment in his community and beyond. Eugene joined Pacific Environment as the Conservation Science Specialist in February 2013 … Read more