climate change mitigation

Biden Can Leverage Larger Trends to Make Climate Progress

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 …

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Another Problem with Cost-Benefit Analysis of Climate Policy

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 …

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A Continent on Fire Ignores Climate Change

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, …

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Coal in 2019: A Tale of Decline

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 …

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Climate Policy at Midcentury — Africa

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.

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A Dozen Strategies for the Struggle With Big Oil

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 …

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New York’s Big Move

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 …

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Getting to 2050

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 …

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Good News From India

While we’ve been obsessing about Trump, India has made great strides in renewable energy.

We get so focused on the problems in our own country that it’s easy to lose track of what’s happening globally. It turns out that while we’ve been mired in our own travails, India has been making remarkableprogress on renewable energy. What happens in India has tremendous significance. It is now the most populous country …

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A Catalogue of Game Changers

We’re making progress on addressing climate change, and I’m hopeful that we’ll continue doing so. Yet it’s not clear whether the path we’re currently on will make progress fast enough to avoid very serious risks.  So what would it take for us to make a quantum leap in this effort?  I wouldn’t hazard a prediction …

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