Dispatches > News

Camp crisis

"Camp crisis" Continued...

Issue: "Syria's pain," Sept. 8, 2012

Carbon contraction

The amount of carbon dioxide the United States releases into the atmosphere dropped to a two-decade low earlier this year, thanks to warm weather, the sluggish economy, and an evolving energy sector. The Energy Information Administration, tallying CO2 output from electricity generation, residential and commercial heating, transportation, and industry, reported that January through March 2012 saw fewer emissions (1.3 billion metric tons) than any first-quarter period since 1992.

Natural gas played the main role: With hydraulic fracturing technology making the gas abundant and cheap, many electric companies have switched to natural gas for power generation. Natural gas releases less CO2 than other fossil fuels.

The EPA is a player, too: The regulator set rules last year requiring coal plants to install expensive pollution scrubbers. Power companies have opted to shut down dozens of plants instead. Coal generated about half the nation's electricity in 2005, but this year has produced only a third.

Tireless fighter

Nellie Gray, tireless pro-life advocate and founder of the annual March for Life, died of natural causes on Aug. 13 in her Capitol Hill home at age 88. Gray, a Catholic, was a lawyer who worked for the State Department and then the Labor Department until 1973, the year the Supreme Court issued its Roe v. Wade decision forcing states to legalize abortion. Gray left her government job and organized the first March for Life in 1974: The first march drew thousands and she used a pickup truck as a platform and spoke through a bullhorn.

Gray continued to organize the annual marches, and every year on the January anniversary of the Roe decision the marchers have gathered on the National Mall and walked to the steps of the Supreme Court. The March for Life has become the largest annual protest in Washington.

Gray, who was found dead the same day as female sexual liberation icon Helen Gurley Brown, became an important female leader for a movement depicted as "anti-women." Gray's motto on outlawing abortion was "no exception, no compromise," but in one of her last emails to Father Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, she expressed the need for unity among pro-life Americans: "We shall unify and stop the evil of abortion because it is evil."

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