The GOP’s climate denial doesn’t extend to DOD.
Everyone says climate laws can never pass Congress. But there’s a major exception. Each year since Trump took office, Congress has passed climate legislation as part of Defense Department spending. Trump has signed all of those laws. In 2017, there was a congressional finding that climate change is a threat to national security. In 2018, …CONTINUE READING
Conditions in Australia keep getting worse. The government offers platitudes.
Australia is remarkably exposed to climate change and remarkably unwilling to do much about it. Conditions keep getting worse. Yet climate policy in Australia has been treading water or backpedalling for years, as I discussed in an earlier post. Let’s start with the temperature. The Guardian reports that in the year up to July 2019, …CONTINUE READING
The role of transparency in municipal climate plans
Last week, San Antonio’s City Council approved its first-ever Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. This Plan’s main benefit is its ability to track and measure GHG emissions, while also signaling to City agencies, other municipalities, and the state that it is committed to climate mitigation and adaptation efforts. This is a big win for a …CONTINUE READING
Wildfires were bad enough already. Climate change is making them worse.
Fires have been unusually severe lately. According to one scientist, “’[I]n the late 20th and early 21st century, with these hot droughts, fires are ripping now with a severity and ferocity that’s unprecedented,’ says Tom Swetnam. . . . A fire in the Jemez Mountains Swetnam studies burned 40,000 acres in 12 hours, a ‘horizontal …CONTINUE READING
They don’t get as much attention as floods or earthquakes, but wildfires are deadly serious.
This is the first of a three-part series about wildfires. Massive wildfires are a growing problem, posing risks to people and the environment. Considering that my house is located only a few miles from the 1991 Oakland Hills fire, which killed 25 people, destroyed 2800 homes, and caused $1.8 billion in damage, this is an …CONTINUE READING
We live in an uncertain world. Scenario planning can help.
When Shell Oil produced a sophisticated scenario of the path to a carbon neutral world in 2070, a lot people took notice. Shell concluded that the “relevant transformations in the energy and natural systems require concurrent climate policy action and the deployment of disruptive new technologies at mass scale within government policy environments that strongly …CONTINUE READING
Standards for levees, seawalls, and other infrastructure urgently need attention.
The federal government is responsible for responding to major floods and runs the federal flood insurance program. It also has millions of dollars of its own infrastructure at risk from floods. Yet the government is failing to deal effectively with flood risks before the fact. Let’s begin with the levees that are the main defense …CONTINUE READING
It’s not just that we’re slow in achieving resilience. It’s that often we’re moving in the opposite direction.
Some economic models of climate change come out with low damages because they assume smooth and effective adaptation efforts. That never made much sense. There’s a lot of inertia in social systems, and planning major projects can take a long time. Some of what we’re seeing lately is worse than that, however. We’re seeing cases …CONTINUE READING
Despite Trump, cities across the country are taking climate change seriously.
In the era of Trump, one bright spot remains what’s happening in cities across the nation. Here are some numbers: 402 U.S. mayors have endorsed the Paris Agreement and announced their intention of meeting its goals, while 118 have endorsed the goal of making their cities 100% renewable. A bit of quick research provides a …CONTINUE READING
New report provides a snapshot of renewable energy growth across the country.
The federal government gets all the headlines, but state governments control much of energy policy. They control local utilities and set policies on renewable energy. But because so many jurisdictions are involved, it’s hard to get an overall picture of what’s really happening. I’ve been trying to get at least a rough sense of what’s …CONTINUE READING