Pushing EPA to regulate aviation greenhouse gas emissions

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Photo: International Civil Aviation Organization

Photo: International Civil Aviation Organization

On August 5, two environmental groups sent notice of intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for failure to comply with a court order that would lead toward regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. aviation. EPA has long delayed taking any steps to apply its Endangerment Finding to aircraft emissions. The groups first petitioned EPA to take action in 2007, the same year our report on the federal NextGen aviation planning program charged that the Bush administration was making a deliberate effort to disconnect aviation planning from the global warming problem. It seems that, as far as taking meaningful action is concerned, the Obama administration has continued to kick this can down the road. Continue reading

Posted in Climate Change Mitigation, Climate Litigation | Leave a comment

On wildfires, climate change, and politicians saying burn, baby, burn

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A day after California Governor Jerry Brown declared a wildfire state of emergency, the President's Science Adviser John Holdren appeared in a video linking increased wildfires in the U.S. West to human-caused climate change. In response to urgent calls for additional funds to fight expanding wildfire disasters, congressional Republicans stonewalled, then left town for five weeks, while the West continues to burn. Thus they combined global warming denialism on behalf of the energy interests they front for, blanket opposition to even the most reasonable White House proposals, and continued undermining of the basic public safety net functions of government. John Holdren on wildfires and climate change:

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Posted in Climate Science Watch, Congress: Legislation and Oversight, Global Climate Disruption and Impacts | 1 Comment

A note on global warming, ocean acidification, and the future of medicine

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Photo: NOAA Ocean Service

Photo: NOAA Ocean Service

The likely loss of natural chemicals that might have life-saving value in advancing the development of new medicines should be added to the list of consequences of global warming, ocean acidification, and loss of biodiversity. Continue reading

Posted in Climate Science Watch, Global Climate Disruption and Impacts | Leave a comment

New research on ocean acidification threat and recalling some political history

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New NOAA-led research on ocean acidification and the threat it poses to marine life is more evidence of the dangerous implications of human-caused climate disruption. Scientists have been calling attention to the acidification threat for quite a few years now, but from the Bush administration to the current Congress there has been a problem of science denialism. And ocean acidification is one of numerous aspects of dangerous human interference with the climate system that is not included in the Social Cost of Carbon metric used by the U.S. government in regulatory policymaking. Continue reading

Posted in Global Climate Disruption and Impacts, Global Warming Denial Machine | Leave a comment

Remembering Stephen Schneider

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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:

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Posted in Climate Change Education and Communication, Global Warming Denial Machine | 1 Comment

What to do about the "Social Cost of Carbon" metric? -- Part 2

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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

Posted in Activism, Assessments of Climate Impacts and Adaptation, Climate Litigation, Energy, Obama Administration, Science-Policy Interaction | Leave a comment

What to do about the "Social Cost of Carbon" metric? -- Part 1

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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

Posted in Activism, Assessments of Climate Impacts and Adaptation, Climate Litigation, Energy, Obama Administration, Science-Policy Interaction | 1 Comment

Deep Decarbonization: Truly facing the climate challenge

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NASA EarthThe recently released Deep Decarbonization report shows that current government emission reductions commitments fall far short of what is needed to keep the world from warming more than 2 C degrees from preindustrial times. Few countries have analyzed the implications of such reductions for their economies, and few politicians have fully understood those implications. The US, for example, has an “all of the above” approach to energy development that is inconsistent with climate stabilization and that reflects the political class’s unwillingness to grapple with the implications of the 2 C warming limit. The report uses a methodology that is consistent with the strategy of “working forward toward a goal” by assessing the cost effectiveness of different paths for meeting a normatively-determined target.  Continue reading

Posted in Climate Change Mitigation, Science-Policy Interaction | 2 Comments

On Obama's new actions to support state and local climate preparedness

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New Jersey beach house on stilts that survived Hurricane Sandy (Photo: FEMA)

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

Posted in Climate Change Preparedness, Obama Climate Plan | Leave a comment

Weekend reading on climate change mitigation and fossil-fueled politics

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(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

Posted in Climate Change Mitigation, Energy | Leave a comment