BTS 5/12/08: US-Russia Relations; Dusk on Planet Earth; Lebanon at War

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Well-known environmentalist Bill McKibben is so startled by the terminal nature of the world environment that he has started a new campaign, 350.org -- to get back to that crucial number, 350 ppm (parts per million) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In Bill's latest piece "Earth at 350," Bill quotes from foremost climatologist Jim Hansen's article in Science saying that we must somehow return the planet's atmosphere to 350 ppm (it's now at 385) -- and fast -- "if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted." Bill will discuss the climate change tipping points that lie in our immediate future -- and he says "We might stop just short of some of those tipping points, like the Road Runner screeching to a halt at the very edge of the cliff. More likely, though, we're the Coyote." Don't miss this interview with Bill McKibben.

But we’ll begin tonight on a more familiar terrain, the Cold War – or rather the Cold Peace, pregnant with perhaps a worse Cold War according to Stephen Cohen. In a recent article Steve asks why the presidential candidates aren't talking about Moscow's impact on our national security. In light of Medvedev's inauguration we'll ask Cohen about the Cold "Peace" with Russia, whether or not Putin will still call the shots, and what we should be hearing from our presidential hopefuls on this score.

And at the end of the hour we visit with Hisham Ahmed, recently returned from Lebanon, where war has broken out again. Hisham will take us bts on Lebanon’s political crisis.

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Stephen F. Cohen, professor of Russian studies at New York University, is the author of several books, including Rethinking the Soviet Experience: Politics and History Since 1917, Buhkarin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography, 1888-1938, Voices of Glasnost: Conversations With Gorbachev's Reformers (with Katrina vanden Heuvel) and, most recently, Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia (Norton).

2. Bill McKibben is an American environmentalist and writer who frequently writes about global warming, alternative energy, and the risks associated with human genetic engineering. Beginning in the summer of 2006, he led the organization of the largest demonstrations against global warming in American history. His first book, The End of Nature, was published in 1989 by Random House after being serialized in the New Yorker. It is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has been printed in more than 20 languages. Other books include Hope, Human, and Wild, Maybe One, Deep Economy, and The Bill McKibben Reader, a collection of 44 essays written for various publications over the past 25 years. Bill is a frequent contributor to various magazines including The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Orion Magazine, Mother Jones, The New York Review of Books, Granta, Rolling Stone, and Outside. He is also a board member and contributor to Grist Magazine. He has been awarded Guggenheim and Lyndhurst Fellowships, and won the Lannan Prize for nonfiction writing in 2000. He is currently a scholar in residence at Middlebury College, nd co-founder of the new grassroots climate movement 350.org.

3. Hisham Ahmed, formerly Associate Professor of Political Science at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank, is now a professor of Politics at St. Mary's College in California. He is the author of a 1994 book on Hamas, “From Religious Salvation to Political and Social Transformation.”