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2015 Wildfire Season in Oregon: Dangerously High Risks Underscore Need for Action on Climate Change

Like much of the Pacific Northwest, Oregon is facing the risk of a bad wildfire season this summer. With 86 percent of the state in drought and 34 percent experiencing extreme or exceptional drought conditions, Governor Kate Brown has declared a drought emergency for 15 counties. The state’s May water supply outlook predicts that, with sixty percent of the monitoring sites setting records for the lowest peak snowpack levels in 30 years, it is likely that there will be water shortages this summer. Capping carbon emissions, as proposed in HB 3470, is an important contribution Oregon can make toward limiting future climate risks, including from drought and wildfires. Read More

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Jeb Bush on Climate Change: What Do We Really Want Politicians to Debate?

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R) described the certainty of scientific knowledge on climate change as “convoluted” yesterday. Specifically, he said that it’s unclear “what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural.”

He also claimed that people who say the science is “decided on” are “arrogant.” Read More

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Palm Oil and the Art of Procrastination

“Procrastinate now, don’t put it off.”  – Ellen DeGeneres

Procrastination is a funny thing. While procrastination is theoretically acknowledged to be negative, people seem to delight in the concept. The internet is full of commentary on procrastination from web comics to a classification system to funny sayings. In fact, I bet a number of you just might be reading this blog to procrastinate some other work – am I right?! Read More

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Sea Level Rise, National Security, and Hope for Bipartisan Action on Climate Change: Obama’s Commencement Speech

Today, the president wisely chose to elevate the issue of climate change in a national security context while giving the commencement speech at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT. The timing is opportune politically because the only bipartisan movement (or agreement) on climate in this congress has been around the issue of national security. Sea level rise, and the tidal and storm surge flooding that come with it, is already challenging our defense infrastructure, and it can have real consequences for our military readiness as well. Read More

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Deceit and Disinformation on Full Display in ALEC’s New ‘Carbon Reduction’ Policy Measure

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is holding their spring task force summit today in Savannah, Georgia. A peek inside the day’s agenda makes it crystal clear that despite a rash of high profile membership defections—including most recently oil giant BP—and mounting pressure to stop misrepresenting climate science and undermining clean energy policies, deceit and disinformation is still the currency in which ALEC trades. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming  

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We Must Find Smart Ways to Prepare for Climate Change, or Growing Risks Could Lead to Fiscal Disasters

The effects of climate change are becoming more apparent every day, from the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans, white with bleached coral. Policy makers are beginning to realize that science can help them anticipate how risks are changing along with the climate, and this knowledge could help them control the costs of climate-related disasters, which taxpayers often bear. Thus, getting a handle on these risks is a crucial first step toward fiscally responsible policy – but some of our leaders still want to deny the problem. For taxpayers, this is a rare case in which doing something is cheaper than doing nothing at all. Read More

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Hey NERC, Where’s the Fire? Digging into a Flawed Study on the Clean Power Plan

We all know that yelling “fire” in a crowded theater is an abuse of free speech. Anyone doing that yelling will be called to account for their behavior. We should expect the same in the NERC portrayals of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. It’s time to see if there is evidence in their analyses that supports their alarms—and I don’t see how they justify the calls for delays. Read More

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The EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Setting the Record Straight on the Benefits and Costs

We’re working hard to set the record straight on disinformation about the Clean Power Plan, the first-ever national limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants under the Clean Air Act. It’s not hard to find fodder: there’s plenty of misleading stuff out there, and some of it has gotten way more airtime than it should have. To fight back, colleagues and I gave a webinar recently on the really wrong conclusions some studies have come to on the Clean Power Plan, and how they got it so far off the mark.

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Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming  

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CNN Just Went a Full Year without Debating the Reality of Climate Change

It’s been exactly a year since CNN hosted a misleading debate about established climate science. I hope it was the last one for the network and that CNN and other news outlets can move on to debates about how society is responding to climate risks. Read More

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Sea Level Rise, Growing Flood Risks, and the Need for a Strong Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

On January 30, 2015, President Obama issued an executive order to strengthen the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS) and create an extensive stakeholder process for implementing it. Tomorrow is the comment deadline for the implementation guidelines proposed by FEMA and UCS has weighed in with support for a strong FFRMS. Read More

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