climate change mitigation
I didn’t think cutting methane was a high priority. Now I do. Here’s why.
I didn’t use to think that eliminating methane emissions should be a priority. True, methane is a potent greenhouse gas. But it’s also a short-lived one, which only stays in the atmosphere for twenty years or so. In contrast, CO2 emissions cause warming for 2-3 centuries or more. So methane emissions seemed to be something …CONTINUE READING
Debate about climate policy is often distorted by misconceptions.
In this post, I want to talk about some of the ideas that make it hard to have sensible discussions about climate policy. I don’t mean outright climate denial. Instead, I’m talking about less blatant misconceptions that keep many people from thinking seriously about cutting carbon emissions. Myth #1. EPA climate rules are a regulatory …CONTINUE READING
Biden can use these three strategies to make major progress on climate issues.
With the next president of the United States finally decided, we can now begin moving on to the work at hand. Joe Biden’s election creates an exciting opportunity for climate action. But there’s one clear hurdle: Unless the January runoff elections in Georgia for two Senate seats deliver surprising success to the Democrats, President-elect Biden …CONTINUE READING
It’s hard to estimate benefits. But it turns out costs are also uncertain.
It’s common knowledge— at least, among people who follow these things — that it is hard to estimate the benefits of a proposed climate policy. But it’s actually quite difficult to estimate the costs as well. There are three major problems in estimating the benefits of a proposed climate policy. First, it’s hard to estimate …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
Like Canute & the ocean, Trump may wave his hands, but he can’t stop the tide.
Coal is just about the worst possible way of generating electricity in terms of its climate impacts. It’s also a serious public health hazard due to the particulates, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides it produces. Thus, reducing the use of coal is a high priority. How did we do in 2019? The short answer is …CONTINUE READING
If we’re not careful, African emissions could rival those of China and India today.
If current projections hold and nothing is done to change the trend, Africa could emit as much carbon as the U.S. or even China today. We can’t allow that to happen.CONTINUE READING
Big Oil will fight against energy transformation. How do we fight back?
The oil industry is enormous – something like 2-3% of global GDP. Individuals firms like ExxonMobil earn tens of billions of dollars each quarter. Controlling climate change will mean drastic curtailment in the coming decades of the industry’s major products. There’s no way that the industry will accept this lying down, and it’s a formidable …CONTINUE READING
The Empire State has jumped into the first tier of state climate action.
Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a breakthrough climate change law, the “New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.” What every state does to address climate change is worthwhile, of course, but New York is particularly significant in terms of the national picture. It’s the nation’s third-most populous state and also …CONTINUE READING
A roadmap for achieving an 80% emissions cut.
To do its part in keeping climate change to tolerable levels, the United States needs to cut its carbon emissions at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. That’s not just a matter of decarbonizing the electricity sector; it means changes in everything from aviation to steel manufacture, and reducing not only CO2 but also …CONTINUE READING