Photo: Lance Cheung, USDA/CC BY 2.0, Flickr

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Delivering on the Paris Climate Agreement: The Oxford 1.5 Degrees Conference Charts a Path

, lead economist and climate policy manager

This week I am heading to Oxford to attend a conference, 1.5 Degrees: Meeting the challenges of the Paris Agreement. This comes close on the heels of the recent ratification of the Paris Agreement by the US, China and Brazil. Clearly, the next phase of work focused on fulfilling the promise of Paris is in full swing, and I am excited to be part of it. Read more >

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Republicans, Democrats, and Climate Change: A Success Story in Massachusetts

, president

Conventional wisdom holds that the politics of climate change has become so polarized that bipartisan action is all but impossible.

Massachusetts has just deflated that balloon. Read more >

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America’s 66-Year War (and Counting)

, China project manager and senior analyst

The “forgotten war” that institutionalized the division of the Korean peninsula—a war that has not ended—might have been avoided if the United States and the People’s Republic of China had come to terms with each other in 1949 instead of 1979. Sixty-six years on, as the Kim dynasty develops nuclear weapons, mutual suspicion between the United States and China continues to abet a perpetual state of crisis in Korea. Read more >

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The House Science Committee held a hearing this morning to validate its overreaching subpoenas of 9 nonprofit organizations, including the Union of Concerned Scientists. Photo: Gretchen Goldman
The House Science Committee held a hearing this morning to validate its overreaching subpoenas of 9 nonprofit organizations, including the Union of Concerned Scientists. Photo: Gretchen Goldman

House Science Committee Holds Hearing on Its Own Authority: Chairman Smith Circles the Wagons

, lead analyst, Center for Science and Democracy

This morning the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing to discuss its legal authority to issue subpoenas its Chairman had already issued.  Yes, you read that correctly. House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith held a hearing this morning to investigate his own investigation. And the hearing was as bizarre as that sounds. Read more >

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Cleveland Can Beat the Heat by Planting Trees—But Don’t Forget Environmental Justice

, Kendall Science Fellow

Climate change presents many threats to cities, compromising their ability to protect public health, or deliver critical services like sewage disposal or adequate protection against storm surges and flooding. Many cities are acutely aware of these threats, and are developing climate adaptation plans with strategies to mitigate, and adapt to, climate change impacts. Read more >

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library
Article (doi:10.1175/WCAS-D-15-0026.1) Declet-Barreto, J.; Knowlton, K.; Jenerette, G. D. & Buyantuev, A. Effects of urban vegetation on mitigating exposure of vulnerable populations to excessive heat in Cleveland, Ohio Weather, Climate, and Society, 0, 0, null Abstract: AbstractHot weather is a threat to human health, especially in cities, where Urban Heat Islands (UHIs) are elevating temperatures already on the rise from global climate change. Increased vegetation can help reduce temperatures and exposure to heat hazards. We conduct an ensemble of Geographically Weighted Regressions (GWR) on Land Surface Temperature (LST) for May-October to estimate potential LST reductions from increased vegetation and assess the effect of temperature reductions among vulnerable populations in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. We apply possible tree canopy increases to our results, finding that LST reductions can range from 6.4 to 0.5 °C for May-October, and are strongest from May-July. Potential LST reductions vary spatially according to possible canopy increases, are highest in suburban fringe neighborhoods and lower in downtown areas. Among populations at high heat-related health risks, the percentage of the population 65 years of age or older in Cleveland is negatively associated with LST, while percentages of Hispanics and those with low educational achievement are most positively associated with higher LST. Percent Hispanic also has the lowest potential temperature reductions from increased vegetation. Neighborhoods with the highest potential temperature reductions had the highest percentages of Whites. Three sub-populations associated with high heat health risks are negatively correlated (African-Americans, the elderly) or not correlated (persons living in poverty) with LST, and the relationships to LST reduction potential for all three are not statistically significant. Our estimates of the effect of vegetation increases on LST can be used to target specific neighborhoods for UHI mitigation under possible and achievable, policy-prescribed tree canopy scenarios in Cleveland.
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