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Posts Tagged ‘climate-change’

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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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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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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Picking Up Speed: Why California Climate Action Keeps Moving Ahead

April 29, 2015 may not go down in history, but for those of us who care about taking meaningful climate action it was a very nice day indeed here in California. Read More

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Dear Humans: Industry is Causing Global Warming, Not Your Activities

Scientists and climate policy wonks usually say global warming is caused by “human activities.” This shorthand obscures an important point: while we humans are certainly responsible for climate change on some level, just a few of us – particularly in industry and government – are a lot more responsible than the rest of us.

After all, I like humans. I like activities, too. And it’s industry practices and government policies that largely determine how much heat-trapping emissions our human activities produce. Read More

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Forests, Agriculture, and Climate Change: Why the U.S. Needs Action, Not Just Accounting, in its INDC

The United States has now told the world what it intends to do about climate change in the 2020s, by submitting its INDC (“Intended Nationally Determined Contribution”) to the United Nations. As we found in our report Halfway There? in January, the U.S.’ land sector – agriculture and forests – could be a big deal for the climate negotiations in Paris next December. Of course, our actions to reduce fossil fuels will be critical, but land use is important both as a source of global warming pollution and a way to take it back out of the atmosphere. Read More

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Making Room for Renewables: Grid Integration Solutions for California’s Clean Energy Future

I’ve blogged many times about the clean energy policies California has in place that have made it a leader. The state is well on its way to supplying 33 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and now, in a visionary step to dramatically reduce global warming emissions, is considering ways to increase that amount to 50 percent by 2030. Read More

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Book Review: How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate by Andrew Hoffman

A few years ago, my colleagues and I worked with Andrew Hoffman, the director of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, to host a forum on increasing public understanding of climate change. The event sticks with me because the participants came from so many different backgrounds: environmental justice, Creation care, energy production, social science, media, climate science, and service in Congress.

Hoffman has condensed the myriad approaches to climate communication we discussed that day — and much more — into an indispensable guide. At a slim 100 pages, Hoffman’s book offers a fine distillation of the growing body of social science that explains our curious and conflicting approaches to climate issues. In addition to identifying the problematic ways we often approach climate change, he also suggests several potential ways forward that can restore the climate debate to what he calls a “more civilized plane.” Read More

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Can Republican Politicians Change Their Tune on Climate and Energy?

When former Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) ran for president in 2011, he flatly rejected climate science and even claimed that scientists had manipulated climate data. But last week, in response to a question about climate and energy issues at the Conservative Political Action Conference, he touted his environmental record, instead. Read More

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Smothering Snow, Spiking Sea Levels, and Other Climate Plot Twists: Expecting the Unexpected in the Northeast

When I first started digging into climate impacts, I used to think that the northeastern U.S., where I live, was a pretty good place to have landed. I still think so. It’s unlikely we’ll see historic mega-droughts, like those forecast by some for the U.S. Southwest. We’ll see heat that we’re far from prepared for, but it’ll be hotter still in the South. Our forests are expected to change, but they’re not under pressure like those in the Mountain West, nor are they currently experiencing rising risks of wildfire. We have our own problems, to be sure, like coastal vulnerability and trends in extreme precipitation.

But this week in the news there are two new studies that reminded me to expect the unexpected. While we understand the general pathway of change, the shorter-term directions the climate can take along the way can take us by surprise. Read More

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