This week’s post in my ongoing series focuses on the third stage of grief, bargaining. The U.S. coal industry continues to get hammered by a series of terrible earnings reports, an ongoing wave of bankruptcies, and falling bond prices. Since my last post, Alpha Natural Resources has been delisted from the New York Stock Exchange because of consistently and unusually low stock prices, and Arch Coal executed a 10-1 reverse stock split in an effort to delay the same fate. In the bargaining stage, the grieving person typically looks for ways to avoid the ultimate fate, or buy time. For the coal industry, the bargaining stage manifests itself as industry supporters trying to delay any attempt to limit pollution from coal, including action to reduce carbon emissions. Read More
July 24th, 2015
July 21st, 2015
When the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) arrives in San Diego on July 22 for its annual meeting, the agenda will include efforts to undermine clean energy and climate policies that are widely supported by the people of California. Yet the public won’t know what is discussed at the meeting because the doors will be closed to most media, despite the presence of lawmakers from around the country. Read More
July 14th, 2015
John H. Richardson has published a despairing profile of climate researchers in Esquire, where he examines the existential dread they sometimes feel as they study the effects of industrial carbon burning. In particular, he focuses on Jason Box, a climate researcher whose blunt Twitter message went viral last year: Read More
July 13th, 2015
It’s summer, it’s beautiful out, and all thoughts naturally turn to… the Clean Power Plan! This historic, first-ever nationwide limit on carbon emissions from power plants will be finalized within weeks. Many of my colleagues and I have spent months deep in the weeds of the technical details of the draft proposal. But it’s important to look at the big picture, and think about why we’re doing this. Here are six reasons I really care about this powerhouse of a rule – and why you might too. Read More
July 9th, 2015
The Union of Concerned Scientists broke the news yesterday that Exxon employees were considering how climate change should factor into decisions about new fossil fuel extraction as early as 1981. The reactions, especially from ExxonMobil, have been as interesting as the original revelation. Read More
July 9th, 2015
Today the White House announced a series of actions targeted at building climate resilience among vulnerable communities, including low-income, tribal, and some communities of color. This is a welcome step, and one that the environmental justice community has been asking for ever since President announced his Climate Action Plan two years ago. Read More
Steering Toward Sustainability: How California’s New Groundwater Law Can Help Us From Driving Off a Cliff
July 1st, 2015
According to new research by NASA, many of the world’s biggest aquifers are being depleted at a much faster rate than they can be replenished, and California’s Central Valley is among the worst. As we all know, California is in the fourth year of an exceptional drought. When surface water supplies are scarce, we turn to groundwater. Unfortunately, our combined groundwater uses have led to chronic overdraft in many places. Like a bank account, overdraft means we are withdrawing more than we are replacing. Together, this exceptional drought along with the undesirable condition of many groundwater basins, led California to pass the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act last year. The Act is a big deal since it represents the first statewide effort to comprehensively measure and manage groundwater.
Now that the dust is settling, water users and managers are wondering: what does the Act mean for us? Read More
June 23rd, 2015
If you’re looking for a new car, you’ve got to test drive an electric vehicle (EV). Just do it. Sure, you can read about how EVs provide instant torque, are cleaner and cheaper to drive than gas vehicles, and can fit the needs of 42 percent of American drivers, but the best way to understand the allure of an EV is to go drive one.
I recently took the 2015 Kia Soul EV home for lunch, and was amazed at how much I enjoyed driving on electricity. I’ve previously driven several EVs, but never alone, and never for an extended period of time. Having the Soul EV for a couple hours allowed me to better understand what, exactly, it would be like to own an EV – and I loved every minute of it. Read More
June 18th, 2015
Pope Francis released his much-anticipated encyclical on humans’ stewardship of our planet earlier today. While my colleagues and I spend most of our time talking about science and policy, the pope’s message has given us an opportunity to reflect on our own moral reasoning around climate and energy issues as well as the intersection of faith and science.
Update, June 23: My colleague Mike Jacobs, a senior energy analyst, added his thoughts in a separate post about Pope Francis’s plug for electric co-cops and other clean energy issues in the encyclical. Read More
June 12th, 2015
Pope Francis has something important to say about climate change, and deniers who have used religion as their last bastion should take note. In this Pope’s world, science and religion are calling in harmony – and with urgency – for action on climate. The Pope is a leader of many firsts: the first Latin American pontiff, the first Jesuit, likely the first with a chemistry degree, and the first to issue a formal teaching for Catholics around the world that equates climate action with caring for one another. A recent poll indicates he will reach a very receptive audience. Read More