Swinging Between Optimism and Pessimism on Climate Change

good news, bad news

optimism-vs-pessimismEvery day seems to bring new news about climate change, some of it encouraging and some of it so disheartening that doomsday feels around the corner.  Here’s a catalogue of recent climate news, starting with the optimistic stories:

Bloomberg news reports that the end of fossil fuels is in sight.

The World Bank today announced a major agreement — signed onto by the world’s top oil producing countries — to stop natural gas flaring by 2030.

Global emissions flattened in 2014 even as the global economy grew.

The federal judges hearing the challenge to EPA’s Clean Power Plan appear to be leaning against striking it down, at least for now.

India has agreed to cut hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are chemicals used in air conditioners and refrigerators but trap greenhouse gases much more powerfully than carbon dioxide. India was the last major holdout.

A large percentage of the American public wants the government to take action to combat climate change.  This includes a majority of Republican voters. In fact almost half of all Republicans say they are more likely to support a candidate who will take action on climate change.

There are good reasons to believe that Hilary Clinton will take strong positions on climate change.

Lest your mood is too positive, however, here’s the bad news.

The first three months of 2015 were the hottest on record.

NASA satellite data collected over the past 12 years shows not only that the globe is warming but that “warming begets more warming.”

Vox tamps down the optimism from the Bloomberg report I cited above, saying that renewable growth is not outpacing the growth in fossil fuels if you include transportation and adjust renewable source capacity factors.

The California drought is the worst in 1200 years.

The Republican candidates for President include mostly skeptics and naysayers.

And Congress is hopeless.




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About Ann

Ann Carlson is currently on leave from UCLA School of Law. She is the Shirley Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law and was the founding Faculty Director of the Emmett I…

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