Biden has set up a lot of future actions. But he’s already got some notches on his belt.
Tomorrow marks Biden’s first 100 days in office. He’s appointed a great climate team and is negotiating an infrastructure bill that focuses on climate change. With luck, those actions will produce major environmental gains down the road. There are also some solid gains in the form of actions that have already come to fruition. Here’s …CONTINUE READING
Brazil asks for a billion dollars to slow deforestation. Would this be cooperation or extortion?
In March, US President Joe Biden invited the leaders of 40 countries to a virtual climate change summit, which takes place today and tomorrow. During the lead-up to this, many countries announced commitments of varying specificity and firmness to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (I hope to write soon on the European Union.) Brazil’s position is …CONTINUE READING
Direct air capture and sequestration of carbon dioxide will be central to climate policy this century, but how can we advance it through policy?
It is becoming increasingly likely that if the world is to avoid warming beyond 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius that we will have to actively remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, rather only rapidly decarbonizing global economies. Without carbon dioxide removal, the rate of decarbonization that would be required to meet a 1.5 or 2 …CONTINUE READING
Four Emmett Institute scholars react to an important new report
A few of us are part of the Emmett Institute’s Geoengineering Governance Project, where we study the legal and policy issues presented by solar geoengineering and carbon dioxide removal technologies. On the former set of technologies—that is, reflecting a little incoming sunlight to cool the Earth and temporarily counteract heating from greenhouse gases—the US National …CONTINUE READING
Despite the pandemic-induced global economic contraction, deforestation increased last year, with significant increases in the destruction of primary tropical forests.
Earlier this week, the World Resources Institute released its first assessment of global forest loss for 2020, offering a chance to take stock of what happened to the world’s forests during the pandemic. The news is not good. Despite a shrinking global economy, deforestation increased around the world in 2020. In temperate regions, some …CONTINUE READING
A first test of a long-planned outdoor solar geoengineering experiment has been delayed–again. Why?
It has been a busy week in solar geoengineering. Last week, the US National Academies released a report that offers recommendations for a research program and for governance of research. (A few of us will post our thoughts on the report here soon.) Here I discuss developments regarding outdoor solar geoengineering experiments, of which there have …CONTINUE READING
Elizabeth Kolbert’s new book asks what it means to protect nature in the Anthropocene.
Elizabeth Kolbert’s new book, Under a White Sky, opens with the story of the battle to keep invasive Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. The problem exists because of two earlier interventions with nature. A century ago, we reversed the flow of the Chicago river to keep the city’s pollutants out of Lake Michigan …CONTINUE READING
Some activists say “not in my backyard,” but strident opponents of solar geoengineering argue “not in anyone’s backyard.”
A peculiar type of activism is manifesting with regard to solar geoengineering. This proposed set of technologies to reduce climate change has been subject to only a few outdoor experiments. One has been in the pipeline for almost a decade: The Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (SCoPEx) would involve the launch of a balloon into the …CONTINUE READING
New book explores the hidden rules governing who gets what and why
For the last six years, Michael Heller and I have been writing Mine! How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives. It comes out today! We wrote the Doubleday book because we think everyone should have access to the handful of simple insights that can make us more effective advocates for change as consumers, …CONTINUE READING
The Biden Administration has already started to revisit this important issue.
“The social cost of carbon” isn’t exactly a household phrase. It’s an estimate of the harm caused by emitting a ton of CO2 over the many decades it remains in the atmosphere. That’s an important factor in calculating the costs and benefits of climate regulations. For an arcane concept, it has certainly caused a lot …CONTINUE READING