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Hurricane Katrina, Ten Years Later: How a Country that Bore Witness Still Plays Business as Usual

Ten years ago, this country was thunderstruck by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. As the death toll, the damage, the costs, and the human suffering mounted, we promised we would learn from this and never let it happen like this again. So, have we? Read More

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Obama, Kerry and Ministers Meet in Alaska: Why the Arctic Matters

President Obama plans to address ministers and experts from 20 nations at the U.S. State Department conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement, and Resilience (GLACIER) at the end of August. According to a White House official, President Obama is the first sitting U.S. President to visit Alaska’s Arctic. In a video about his upcoming trip to Alaska, the President pronounced, “As long as I am President, America will lead the world to meet this threat before it’s too late.”

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College/Underserved Community Partnership Program: Building a Better Tomorrow through the Power of Partnerships

What if there was a federal program that connected universities and underserved communities to work together to address critical issues? Would you be surprised if I told you that program already existed? What if I told you that program was created in part to improve the efficiency of government spending—would that shock you? Read More

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Crazy Hot Days, Crazy Warm Nights: A New Study on Climate Change in California’s Central Valley

Last week I, along with an international group of scientists, published a study in the journal Climatic Change in which we found that the hottest summer days (24 hour periods) in the Central Valley were twice as likely to occur due to climate change. Heat waves in California’s Central Valley have become progressively more severe in recent decades due to  higher humidity and warmer nighttime temperatures. Observations obtained from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center show that Central Valley nighttime temperatures were nearly 2°F (1°C) warmer in the 2000s compared to the 1901-1960 average and even higher for the whole of California (see plot below). Read More

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Climate Change Is Boring

When it comes to climate change, I’m pretty sure there are really only three types of people. Those who believe we’re buggering things up, those who don’t believe we’re buggering things up, and those who don’t know (and maybe don’t give a toss) either way.

Sure there are sub-groups, cliques and factions, but these are the big three. And nowadays it’s clear to me they all have one fundamental thing in common. For all these groups, hearing more science information about climate change makes no practical difference. The acceptors keep accepting, the deniers keep denying, and the ‘meh’ crowd keep on meh-ing.

So why are we still spraying the media waves with public communications full of climate science? Read More

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Cheap Renewable Energy is Here. Why Doesn’t The Grid Plan For It?

Wind farms and solar arrays are setting new records for low energy prices, with wind under 2 ½ cents and solar under 4 cents when conditions are right. These are cheap prices, given electricity from new natural gas plants is in the 5-7 cents range, coal at 6-10 cents, and nuclear somewhere between 13 and 15 cents, according to one fleet owner (nuclear can be unpredictable). So why aren’t more electric grid operators incorporating this energy as they plan to meet grid needs? Read More

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