Climate Change

A Thanksgiving Day Reflection


Thoughts about the impacts of extreme events and climate change on food security, and hopes for the Paris negotiations

Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude for the food and community we share. But as many of us feast with loved ones today, our gratitude might also prompt reflection about the sources of our food and, more generally, the fragility of the environment. This seems especially appropriate, as Native American tribes are among those most […]

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Mr. Smith’s War Against Science

lamar smith

Further harassment of climate scientists from the House Science Committee.

Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), who chairs the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, doesn’t believe in climate change.  Still, by current political standards, I guess we should be glad that he hasn’t accused them of cheering when the Twin Towers fell, as his party’s leading contender for the Presidency did to what he called “thousands […]

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NIMBYs Gone Wild!!

Know Your NIMBYs

New Proposed Initiative Would Make Los Angeles a BANANA Republic

Los Angeles is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis: the city’s renters pay on average nearly half of their disposable income on rent alone. This threatens the city’s social and economic health: you simply cannot have a great city and hollow out its middle class. But NIMBYs never rest, and in the midst […]

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The Mexican Energy Revolution


After decades of state control, Mexico opens its energy sector

November 20th is Revolution Day in Mexico – a national holiday celebrating the end of its ten year uprising against the dictator Porfirio Diaz. Also this month, Mexico will begin accepting bids on up to 6 million certificates for renewable energy, hoping to add up to 2,500 megawatts of clean electricity to its energy mix. […]

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Promises to Keep


In the run-up to the Paris talks, the major economies have all pledged carbon reductions.

With Saudia Arabia’s pledge last week to cut emission, all of the world’s major economies are now on board.  In a nutshell, here is what they are promising. Except as noted, the target dates are all 2030.  A number of countries have subsidiary promises in terms of percentage of renewable energy or of bigger cuts premised […]

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A gift from the Montreal Protocol parties to the Climate Convention

montreal protocol oewg meeting

Montreal Protocol parties agree to negotiate amendment to limit HFCs

Last week, the parties of the Montreal Protocol took an important step to broaden their treaty’s chemical controls to contribute to limiting climate change. The chemicals at issue are the HFCs, or Hydrofluorocarbons. (Like the other halogenated chemicals relevant to ozone depletion, the acronym tells you the chemical composition of the class of chemicals. The […]

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Attack of the Killer Blob


A weird patch of warm weather is killing sea lions and poisoning crabs.

There’s a weird area of warm water, which has come to be known as the Blob, sitting offshore of the West Coast.  That doesn’t sound too significant, except perhaps in terms of making things more pleasant for swimmers.  But actually, it’s causing a whole cascade of impacts on wildlife and humans. As the Chronicle explains: “The […]

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Goodbye, Keystone, Goodbye

A Big Pipeline Deserves a Big EIS

After seven years, the project is history.

The President announced this morning that he would not approve the Keystone pipeline project.  This wasn’t a huge surprise at this point of the game.  Still, it’s a good time to take stock of the dispute. The fight was largely — but not entirely — symbolic.  With falling oil prices, the alternative of rail transport […]

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Don’t Blame Canada Anymore

Canada's Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna

Climate Policy Triumphs Over South Park in New Trudeau Government

We Americans tend to think of Canadians as nice, friendly, well-intentioned folk, a little more left-of-center than the US — sort of what Blue America would be if it didn’t have to deal with the south. For the last 10 years, though, that has been anything but true: the Conservative government of Stephen Harper brought […]

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Clean Power Plan Litigation Kick-Off

CCP series

Flood of lawsuits follows publication of EPA rules to regulate power-plant GHGs

*Updated: Nov. 17, 2015* On Friday, October 23, 2015, the Federal Register formally published EPA’s rules to control greenhouse-gas emissions from fossil-fuel-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act. I described the basics of the rules after EPA released the unofficial text in August. The final text of the rule to regulate new and modified […]

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