Four years ago this month we lost the irreplaceable Steve Schneider, eminent interdisciplinary climate scientist, pathbreaking climate change educator, champion of the IPCC process, stalwart opponent of the global warming denial machine, and dear friend. Remembering him with this video, and linking back to some earlier pieces:
The models used to calculate a Social Cost of Carbon for use in estimating the benefits of reducing carbon emissions fall far short of including a wide range of expected damages from global climate disruption. Using an SCC metric, or any cost-benefit approach, in making project-by-project decisions on U.S. government permits creates a bias in favor of approving fossil fuel development. What alternatives are needed for challenging the status quo and holding government accountable? Continue reading
Is the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) metric a good tool for use in making government decisions related to climate change and fossil fuel development? The EPA uses it in economically justifying its rules on reducing carbon emissions from vehicles and power plants. A federal judge recently rejected a proposed coal mine expansion in Colorado because the federal agencies failed to consider the SCC. But can the expected damages from climate disruption be captured adequately in SCC and cost-benefit analyses? What are the alternatives? Continue reading
New Jersey beach house on stilts that survived Hurricane Sandy (Photo: FEMA)
It's been a long time coming, but climate change preparedness has finally moved into the mainstream of national policymaking. Responding to the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience he established in 2013, the President announced a number of initiatives through which the federal government will support preparedness action by states and local communities to enhance resilience to global climate disruption. These are positive steps, though of course they fall far short of a comprehensive strategy, there is little in the way of new funding, and only proactive state and local leaders are involved, not the denialist governors and other 'leaders' who won't take action to protect their people. Continue reading
(1) No False Choices: To Preserve a Livable Climate, We Need to Slash Both CO2 and Methane ASAP; (2) Oil Change International Report: Fossil Fuel Production Subsidies Exceed $21 Billion Annually in United States, have increased by 45% under Obama's “All of the Above” energy policy; (3) Joint Economic Committee Hearing on "The Economic Impact of Increased Natural Gas Production" (video); (4) Leaked Trade Deal Document Shows EU Pressuring U.S. to Lift Crude Oil Export Ban; (5) Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) Presents Interim Report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. Continue reading
Dominion Resources LNG import terminal, Cove Point, MD (Photo: EARTHWORKS)
On July 13 in Washington, DC, demonstrators will rally near the U.S. Capitol to call on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reject a permit for Dominion Resources' proposed LNG export facility at Cove Point, Maryland – 50 miles from the White House on the Chesapeake Bay. "For far too long, President Obama has allowed FERC to put the interests of the oil and gas industry above our health, safety and climate, rubber-stamping project after project," say the organizers, who include activists from the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and 350. More than 150,000 people have submitted public comments opposing the project. Continue reading
Two crises reveal a pathological political dynamic darkening the prospects for our nation and its people, writes award-winning author Andy Schmookler: **The accelerating replacement of government by and for the people by government by and for big money. **The disruption of Earth's climate system, on which our lives depend, gaining momentum while our nation remains incapable of responding appropriately.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, an Obama political appointee, has failed to act and refuses to provide relevant documents on findings of scientific misconduct and whistleblower retaliation by agency managers, according to a lawsuit filed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Some of the findings of misconduct involved political interference with endangered species research relevant to the Keystone XL pipeline permit.
Recall that it was on Ashe's watch that the agency last year proposed, under political pressure and without a sound scientific basis, to remove endangered species protection nationwide for the gray wolf. And it is Ashe who will soon make a determination on protection for the wolverine -- a case in which agency management, perhaps under political pressure from western governors, has moved to overrule a recommendation by the relevant expert biologists that the wolverine be listed as threatened by climate change impacts. Continue reading
Photo: National Science Foundation
A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official has directed federal scientists to withdraw their recommendation that the last 300 wolverines in the continental United States deserve threatened species status. There has been pressure from Western states to overrule biologists who have concluded that climate change will threaten the wolverine with loss of habitat. A final decision will be made in August by an Obama political appointee. Continue reading