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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

  • So-Called Fiscal Cliff Averted as Congress Begins New Fight over Spending on Social Welfare Programs

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    After much drama, the "fiscal cliff" has come to an end — for now. We look at what is in the Senate deal approved by the House Tuesday night with economist Juliet Schor. The bill lays the groundwork for future battles between Democrats and Republicans over decisions on federal spending and debt, when much of the focus is expected to be on cuts to so-called entitlements. "The government needs to be spending to do the things the country needs," Schor says. "So we need to be spending on shifting into a clean energy paradigm." Schor is a professor of economics and sociology at Boston College and author of "True Wealth: How and Why Millions of Americans Are Creating a Time-Rich, Ecologically Light, Small-Scale, High-Satisfaction Economy." [includes rush transcript]

  • Will 350.org Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign Be Key Tactic in 2013 Battle over Climate Change?

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    We host a conversation about how to confront global warming with 350.org founder Bill McKibben and journalist Christian Parenti. Some have called 2013 "year zero" in the battle over climate change. This comes as 2012 was a year of extreme weather, from the melting of the Arctic to Superstorm Sandy, to the massive typhoon in the Philippines. It was also the warmest year on record in the United States, with massive droughts and frequent wildfires. In the U.S. presidential debates, neither of the major-party candidates took on climate change. But right after the election, McKibben and 350.org hit the road to begin a campaign focused on confronting the role of the fossil fuel industry — what McKibben calls "Public Enemy Number One to the survival of our planetary civilization." The tour has since ended, but the fossil fuel divestment campaign it launched is growing. Many environmentalists welcome the fossil fuel divestment campaign as the new frontier in their activism, but some have raised questions about the effectiveness of a widespread fossil fuels divestment campaign, including Parenti, who wrote the recent article, "Problems With the Math: Is 350’s Carbon Divestment Campaign Complete?" We host a discussion about the campaign with McKibben, who was just voted "Vermonter of the Year" by the Burlington Free Press and is the author of "Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet." Parenti is professor of sustainable development at the School for International Training and the author of "Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence." [includes rush transcript]

  • "An Enormous Loss": Rebecca Tarbotton, Leading Environmentalist, Dies in Swimming Accident

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    We remember Rebecca Tarbotton, leading environmentalist and executive director of Rainforest Action Network, who has died at age 39. Tarbotton passed away after a swimming accident in Mexico while on vacation. She was RAN’s first female executive director and appeared on Democracy Now! in May to talk about its campaign against Bank of America, which is the lead financier of mountaintop-removal coal mining. We ask environmentalist Bill McKibben to share his reflections on the work of Tarbotton, his friend. "Becky was one of the very first people involved in this tar sands campaign," says McKibben of the movement to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. "We have no surplus of feisty, smart, wonderful, young environmental leaders." [includes rush transcript]

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