Coral Davenport

  • Hot and Bothered

    DURING THE 2012 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN, every Republican candidate but one—Jon Huntsman—questioned, denied, or, in the case of Mitt Romney, openly mocked climate change and its consequences.

    “President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet,” Romney said to laughter at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. “My promise is to help you and your family.”

    That carefully crafted throwaway line was stunning for many reasons. For starters, Romney spoke in a city that climate scientists have singled out as among the likeliest to suffer destruction as a result of

  • Power Mongers

    ExxonMobil, the worlds’s biggest and most profitable corporation, is used to being viewed as the bad guy. Every time recession-strapped Americans face new spikes in the cost of gas, the oil giant’s profits ratchet up even more. In 2008, record-high gasoline prices were the direct driver of ExxonMobil’s forty-five billion dollars in profit, the largest total in corporate history.

    The company also occupies an outsize role in the nation’s politics—as you’d expect would be the case for any firm booking profits in the mid-eleven-figure range. Since 1998, ExxonMobil has pumped $9.4 million into

  • All That Litters

    There are two man-made objects visible from space. One is the Great Wall of China. The other is a newer addition: a massive garbage dump at Fresh Kills, New York, home to fifty years’ worth of New York City’s trash.

    In the age of global warming, peak oil, devastating droughts, and dying species, it might seem a bit quaint to make the case, as Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Edward Humes does in Garbology, that the United States—the world’s largest generator of trash—will soon confront a new crisis of garbage.

    But Humes’s argument isn’t a castigation of litterbugs. It’s a persuasive and