Over the past year, UCS experts have shared knowledge of the consequences of sea level rise on coastal communities, convened leaders to discuss risks and evaluate appropriate responses, and analyzed problems with America’s flood insurance system. This month, we mark the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy with a forum at Monmouth University (you can attend in person or online), part of the Lewis M. Branscomb Forum series. Read More
October 15th, 2013
October 11th, 2013
New England gave birth to the Industrial Revolution in this country using water power. Now New England is struggling with decisions over how to power its future. Read More
October 10th, 2013
A new paper published earlier this week in the scientific journal PLoSOne calls into question whether we know enough about biochar to use it as an important strategy to mitigate climate change. The article, two of whose co-authors formerly worked here at UCS, did a systematic review of the scientific literature on biochar through 2011, and found 311 relevant papers.
But even with all this research, a key question remains unanswered: How long does biochar persist in the soil? Read More
October 8th, 2013
The Brayton Point coal plant is shutting down, and that’s a really positive development for a whole lot of reasons.
The new owners of the Somerset, MA, plant let it be known this week that they’d be shutting down Brayton Point by 2017. For the many community members and organizations that have worked for this goal for years, it’s a cause for celebration. But it’s also a great thing for the public at large. Read More
October 4th, 2013
October 3rd, 2013
On September 20, the EPA released re-proposed draft power plant carbon standards for new power plants. These standards can serve as a backstop against future emissions. Together with standards for existing power plants, due next June, this is an opportunity to curtail global warming emissions from the largest single source of these emissions in the U.S. They are also a step forward in delivering on the President’s Climate Action Plan. Read More
with Kelly Rigg, executive director, Global Call for Climate Action
September 27th, 2013
September 27th, 2013
In his “To Be or Not to Be” soliloquy, Shakespeare’s Hamlet eloquently presents each of us with an opportunity to wrestle with the timeless question of how to respond to the slings and arrows of life’s outrageous fortunes.
With today’s release of the Summary for Policymakers of Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) presents us with a very different opportunity to wrestle with our collective response to the slings and arrows of unabated carbon emissions on our warming planet. To be sure, the formal language of the IPCC is far less eloquent than Shakespeare’s, but the authoritative and cautiously-written climate science synthesis provokes us to confront profoundly important questions – questions that are hugely time-sensitive, not timeless. Read More
September 25th, 2013
Residents in Colorado are recovering from extremely rare precipitation the second week of September that was ten times greater than the average precipitation for this time of year. On September 19, Usagi reached “Super-typhoon” status with wind gusts over 160 miles per hour (over 71 meters per second). Better predictions about these events in real time are saving lives. At the same time, scientists are studying these events with more urgency so even more lives can potentially be saved. What does the latest science tell us about these rare events? And what about the recent trend in global average surface air temperature that has been in the news of late?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is poised to release the latest climate assessment “summary for policymakers” in Stockholm, Sweden, when they meet September 23 – 26, where these hot topics will be addressed. Read More
September 19th, 2013
Words are living things. Their definitions and meanings change as society changes, as evidenced by the Oxford English dictionary bestowing official word status to “selfie”, “unlike”, and “FOMO” (fear of missing out) in its latest update. Likewise, as society progresses, the definition of some words change entirely. Back in the day, for instance, an “awful” stage play would have filled you with a sense of awe and wonder, while today an “awful” movie is just plain terrible. Unfortunately, after a vote earlier this year by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the word “sustainable” might need to be added to the list of words that have lost their meanings. Read More