Corporate Air Polluters Get Environmental Justice Report Cards

James Boyce

Michael Ash and I at the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, have released a new edition of the Toxic 100 Air Polluters, a ranking of the top corporate air polluters in the United States.

The Toxic 100 rankings are based on releases of hundreds of toxic chemicals from industrial facilities across the country. The rankings take into account not only the quantity of releases, but also the toxicity of chemicals, transport factors such as prevailing winds and height of smokestacks, and the number of people exposed.

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Protectionism, Brazil and Doha

Matias Vernengo and Timothy A. Wise

Ask a TripleCrisis Economist: Triple Crisis Blog has invited readers’ questions in advance of the April 24-25 IMF/World Bank meetings in Washingon. post your questions at Ask a TripleCrisis Economist. Here are two responses to an earlier posted question:

Q: Will Brazil’s recent threats of retaliatory protectionist measures motivate the US to institute more conciliatory agricultural policies and trade practices? And is there any hope that those sanctions or a US response might spur some talk of energizing the Doha talks?

VERNENGO: As it turns out, Brazil agreed to temporarily suspend the imposition of sanctions allowed by the World Trade Organization (WTO).  It is important to note, however, that the Brazilian measures should not be represented as protectionist.  One must remember that they are a retaliation authorized by the WTO, resulting from the American cotton subsidies.  In other words, the protectionist policies are the original subsidies provided by the US government.  Peripheral countries are often referred to as protectionist, but more often then not they pursue more open policies than their more developed trading partners.

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Why is Obama Drilling?

Frank Ackerman

Once upon a time, “There’s Only So Much Oil in the Ground” was a popular song that could be heard on the radio. The year was 1974, and Tower of Power, an Oakland-based soul and funk band, was enjoying some commercial success. They made the year’s top 100 with “What is Hip?” In addition to the important topics of being young, hip, and falling in and out of love, they sang about the energy crisis. Following a brief OPEC oil embargo, the price of crude oil (in today’s dollars) jumped from $23 per barrel in 1973 to $41 in 1974. Everyone was thinking about the world’s finite and diminishing supplies of oil. As the song continued, “Sooner or later there won’t be much around.”

Now it’s later. What have we learned in the decades since OPEC, Tower of Power, and others brought the oil crisis to our attention? Back then, the Nixon administration’s energy policy included a big push to open the outer continental shelf to offshore oil and gas production. In 2010, the Obama administration has announced plans to open more of the outer continental shelf to oil and gas production.

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Why the IMF Changed its Mind about Capital Controls

On Triple Crisis, Ilene Grabel was the first to highlight the IMF’s change in position on capital controls. In this new video for the Guardian and in a related article for Foreign Policy magazine, Triple Crisis blogger Kevin Gallagher also notes the IMF’s acceptance of capital controls and argues that the US should follow suit and stop outlawing the use of controls through its trade and investment agreements.

Read “Control That Capital”, from Foreign Policy, along with more of Gallagher’s research on foreign investment for development.