Climate Change

Climate Policy

Do environmental justice groups have a legitimate beef with California’s cap-and-trade program?

Photo: ItzaFineDayAn environmental justice coalition called the Association of Irritated Residents (not making that up) has sued to stop implementation of California’s AB 32 climate program, and it looks like they’ve won the first round. A judge has ruled that the state’s Air Resources Board didn’t fully consider alternatives to the cap-and-trade portion of the program. The launch, slated for January 1, 2012, is in limbo. Environmental justice groups’ beef with emission trading in California goes way back, and I don’t pretend to know the entire history in detail. But as I understand it, the core of the objection is …

World Bank to the poor: ‘Coal’s good enough for you!’

The World Bank — famous for funding gobsmackingly huge, planet-killing coal-fired power plants — is changing its tune, sort of. Under a new set of proposed rules, the Bank would only be allowed to fund gobsmackingly huge, planet-killing coal-fired power plants in the world's poorest countries. Progress! Okay, that sounds dastardly, but it’s a little complicated. The world's poorest countries are exactly the countries that will suffer most under climate change, so less coal is good (though no coal would be better). But they’re also the countries for whom energy poverty represents an even bigger threat than climate change, meaning …

Climate Change

Downplaying or remaining silent about climate change was and is a blunder for progressives

Progressives shouldn’t keep quiet.Photo: Jennifer MooSome of the best pollsters have known for years that progressives can and should talk about climate change. Mark Mellman calls the polling that suggests one shouldn’t talk about global warming, a “politically naïve, methodologically flawed, and factually inaccurate.” Sure, if you talk about any subject in a clumsy fashion you will turn people off — just look at how Obama and major progressive politicians managed to turn a winning political issue, health care reform, into an unpopular one! Much of the climate language that gets tested is truly lame. But the fact that poor …

Climate Policy

Why is the conventional wisdom of climate economics so pessimistic?

Cross-posted from Real Climate Economics. The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing yesterday on climate change science, economics, and policy. It was fascinating to listen to, and will no doubt provide much rich food for thought and discussion (for starters see Andy Revkin, or Chris Mooney, or Steve McIntyre for a skeptic’s view). The witnesses included two climate scientists (Kerry Emmanuel and John Christy), a physicist turned climate researcher (Richard Muller), a corporate lawyer (Peter Glaser), a business school expert on forecasting (J. Scott Armstrong), and a respected economist (David Montgomery). Several of the witnesses are …

Is Obama’s weak-sauce energy policy just savvy political Kung-Fu?

For the next couple of years, Obama is playing defense on climate change, and that could explain the fairly tame energy policy he announced yesterday, says Ezra Klein of The Washington Post. Like the Kung-Fu masters of yore, he knows that he cannot hope to defeat his opponents in a frontal assault. These are, after all, politicians who would strip the EPA of even its existing power to regulate greenhouse gases, so there's no way in hell they'd vote for strong action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Rather, he's got to bend like the reed. If he puts forth a …

Climate Policy

Internationally linking carbon trading systems is the wave of the future

The latest rage in Washington policy discussions these days (that’s relevant to climate change) is renewed interest in renewable electricity standards, this time in the form of so-called “clean energy standards.” I’ve written about this policy approach recently and will do so again in the near future, but for today I want to turn to an important issue — for the long term — on the related topic of the international dimensions of climate change policy. The current state of affairs Despite the death in the U.S. Senate last year of serious consideration of an economy-wide cap-and-trade system for carbon …

Infrastructure

Hot-and-cold running crisis: cities, water, and climate change

Woman carrying water through the Dharavi slum of Mumbai.Photo: Meena KadriCross-posted from Cool Green Science. Imagine living on less than a bathtub of water for all your daily needs: drinking, cooking, bathing, washing clothes … and everything else. By 2050, more than 1 billion city dwellers may be doing just that if we don’t build new infrastructure or begin new water conservation efforts, according to a new study [PDF] by scientists at The Nature Conservancy and other institutions. And more than 3 billion in cities may suffer similar water shortages at least one month of every year, says the report. …

EPA reports massive drop in U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions

Don’t be confused, we’ve got some good news.Photo: Corie HowellCross posted from Sightline’s Daily Score blog. Great Scott, how did I miss this? Late last month, the EPA released a draft greenhouse gas inventory, showing that net climate warming emissions from the U.S. fell by a whopping 15 percent from 2000 through 2009 [PDF]. A 15 percent decline? Wow. Just wow. But the story gets even more dramatic. Over the same period, the U.S. population grew by about 9 percent. Combining the two trends, net per capita greenhouse-gas emissions fell by 21 percent over the decade. And most of that …

Cities

World’s cities are the ‘battleground’ in fight against climate change

Or, the other option.The world’s cities are going to have to move aggressively to curb their greenhouse-gas emissions, or the whole planet is going to pay for it. That’s the word in a new report from the United Nations Human Settlement Program, or UN-HABITAT. The report is called “Hot Cities: Battle-Ground for Climate Change,” (you can find a summary and links to purchase the full report here). It paints a dire picture of how an increasingly urban and wealthy global population could mean “potentially devastating effects of climate change on urban populations”: Urban centres have become the real battle-ground in …

Got 2.7 seconds?

We've devised the world's shortest survey to find out what kind of actions our readers are taking. You know you want to.

×