nytimes.com — China announced Wednesday that its exports climbed 46 percent in February from a year earlier. Economists said the data signaled a rebound in consumer demand from the United States and other Western markets after the financial crisis last year.
It was the third consecutive month of increases in Chinese exports and the fastest growth in three years. Orders from the United States, the European Union and Japan accounted for almost half the growth, following a pickup in demand from emerging markets in the previous two months.
Chinese imports also rose 45 percent over the previous year, led by crude oil as factories stepped up production.
nytimes.com — About 120 executives and others from companies tied to wind power will meet with lawmakers and their aides. The group is in town for its annual industry meeting but also sees the need to advocate for policies it sees as vital.
"With the right policies in place, I think we are very well positioned to get something done and get it done quickly," said Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. "If Congress acts with this policy in place, you'll see explosive growth."
washingtonpost.com — A life spent stranded in Los Angeles traffic can nonetheless yield its epiphanies. One such moment came in November 2008, when L.A. County's beleaguered commuters voted to increase their sales tax by half a cent over the next 30 years to build an electric rail system that could speed their journeys and clean their air.
Now, Los Angeles is asking Washington for loans -- not grants, mind you -- to be repaid with that sales tax revenue, to accelerate said construction so that it can be done in one decade rather than three. In other words, to help finance a major environmental and stimulus program that won't add to the federal deficit. It's an idea so novel that Washington's initial reaction was befuddlement.
L.A. voters are as tax-averse as anyone, and the initiative that a whopping 68 percent of them supported followed the model for successful Golden State ballot measures: It left little to the discretion of elected officials. It stipulated where the rail lines would begin and end, which bus lines would be added, which roads would be widened. By generating roughly $40 billion over three decades, it would double the L.A. rail system -- a prospect so pleasing to all manner of Angelenos that Measure R was sponsored by the local chambers of commerce as well as unions and environmental groups.
time.com — Popularly, China is a villain in climate change. Many people who attended last year's chaotic U.N. climate-change talks in Copenhagen — especially those who belonged to the U.S. delegation — singled out China as the main reason the summit nearly collapsed. Chinese diplomats fought hard against any form of emissions regulation, even though their country is now the world's No. 1 national carbon emitter, and will emit far more carbon in the future than any other. In Washington, opponents of carbon cap-and-trade also point to China, which is unlikely to take on a carbon cap of its own, and wonder why the U.S. should have to restrain its
blogs.alternet.org — It’s not rocket science to create decent and useful jobs, (although it does go beyond the current cranial capacity of the U.S. Senate). It’s obvious that we desperately need to repair our infrastructure, increase our energy efficiency, generate more renewable energy, and invest in educating our young. We need millions of new workers to do all this work–right now. Our government has all the money and power (and yes, borrowing capacity) it needs to hire these workers directly or fund contractors and state governments to hire them. Either way, workers would get the jobs, and we would get safer bridges and roads, a greener environment, better schools, and a brighter future all around. So what are we waiting for?
While "zombie economists" keep repeating free trade, free trade, free trade, the US is losing ground in the clean energy market to countries like Germany, which created its own market before it was cost efficient, AFL-CIO deputy chief of staff, Thea Lee, said yesterday at a Center for American Progress panel on clean energy development. more »