Essential targets set by some of the world’s leading climate scientists and policymakers just passed. Now what?
Seven prominent figures in the global climate change policy discourse published an opinion essay in Nature. In “Three years to safeguard our climate,” they set a deadline for key targets to be met in order to stay on track to meet the Paris Agreement’s global warming goals. The notable thing is that the essay was …CONTINUE READING
The fight for racial justice must include a reckoning with US imperialism.
The recent spotlight on anti-Black violence has awoken many white Americans to an uncomfortable truth: that underneath its rhetoric of equality, the United States is a fundamentally racist country. The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on U.S. communities of color underscores this fact. The pandemic also reveals a lesser known but equally uncomfortable truth: that underneath …CONTINUE READING
I suggest steps toward global governance of carbon dioxide removal and solar geoengineering
A new report on the governance of climate geoengineering — that is, carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and solar geoengineering (or solar radiation modification, SRM) — has been released. International Governance Issues on Climate Engineering: Information for Policymakers was coordinated and issued by the International Risk Governance Center, edited by IRGC’s Marie-Valentine Florin, and commissioned by the …CONTINUE READING
New Reports Document Accelerating Wildlife Extinctions, Global Deforestation Trends
While public attention in recent weeks and months has understandably focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial justice shockwaves triggered by George Floyd’s tragic death, another disaster continues apace. This week the New York Times published two alarming stories documenting the accelerating decline of our global environment. The first, entitled “Extinctions Are Accelerating, Threatening …CONTINUE READING
Unbeknownst to many, the WHO does important work on pollution problems.
Withdrawing from international cooperation in the midst of global pandemic is an idea that’s just as bad as it sounds. President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the WOrld Health Organization (WHO) withdrawal will also be harmful in other ways. Notably, a major component of the WHO’s work involves the health impacts of pollution and dangerous …CONTINUE READING
The authors of a controversial, influential paper backtrack — again
Last summer, I pointed to a then-new paper in Science that concluded that planting trees could remove two-thirds of historical anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere at very low costs. At the time, I characterized the claims in it and the associated media communications as “misleading, if not false, as well as potentially dangerous.” …CONTINUE READING
Here’s how the deal was undone.
Three years ago today, Trump announced that he would withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Rex Tillerson, who was Trump’s Secretary of State about 10,000 tweets ago, was there, behind the scenes, when Trump was making the decision. Here’s what he might have written in his diary:. April 1. Talked with DT today. He said he’d …CONTINUE READING
Governments are not acting; maybe others could — and should
Although reductions in greenhouse gas emissions continue to be inadequate to prevent dangerous climate change, solar geoengineering appears able to substantially reduce climate risks. More research, including outdoor experiments, is needed to reduce critical uncertainties. This could pose some environmental risks and — arguably more importantly — will raise diverse social concerns, such as research …CONTINUE READING
Eyeballing trends in the epidemic? Proceed with caution!
Many of us anxiously scan coronavirus statistics, looking at trends and cross-country comparisons. Warning: We need to be cautious in interpreting those numbers. There’s lots of noise in the data, meaning that it’s not always an accurate measure of what we want to know about the disease. Even death counts are not always reliable — …CONTINUE READING
Some things are episodic. Others just go on and on. And on.
You might think a massive disease outbreak or skyrocketing unemployment would make our other troubles come to a halt or at least slow down. But no, not so much. Here are a dozen examples of things that refuse to stop, regardless of the day of the week, the presence of an epidemic, or a collapsing …CONTINUE READING