Climate Change

“Knocking on Our Door”: Wildfires Threaten Mt. Wilson Observatory and San Gabriel Foothill Communities

Mt. Wilson Observatory tweet

On Sept. 15, Angeles National Forest reported the Bobcat Fire was within 500 ft. of historic observatory in San Gabriel Mountains

The Bobcat fire blazing in the San Gabriel Mountains is threatening lives and homes, forcing evacuation of communities in foothills clogged with acres of brush dried out by the hottest August ever recorded in California. For flatland Angelenos like me, the fires are both omnipresent and distant, sensed only by the hazy skies and smell …

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When Republicans Supported the Environment: Bush 41

The GOP wasn’t always the sworn enemy of environmental protection.

Younger people today probably know about George Herbert Walker Bush (R) as the father of George W. Bush and (perhaps) as the architect of the first Iraq War. But he also had some notable environmental achievements to his credit. Here are some of his accomplishments: Air Pollution Law. The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments were …

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California’s Burning. What’s the Link to Climate Change?

Dark orange skies above San Francisco, at 10am on Sept. 9 2020

Answering your denialist friends

It’s a hard day to work in California, what with all the burning.  Those closest to the fires and smoke are evacuating (or being rescued), or are among the brave men and women fighting in inferno-like conditions to increase fire containment.  But even those of us far away and physically safe from the fires are …

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Time to Get Serious about Climate Change and Oceans

Science can unlock powerful tools to fight climate change and ocean acidification, but only if we fund research and govern it well.

  In the Before Time, I spoke with a few ocean scientists on climate issues, and I heard a common refrain. Climate change receives little attention or funding, considering the magnitude of the problem; climate impacts on oceans get even less; and marine carbon removal gets almost none at all. Humans are short-lived terrestrial creatures. …

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Hurricanes, Wildfires, Climate Change and the Republican “Platform” and Convention

No Acknowledgment of the Biggest Environmental Existential Threat We’ve Ever Faced

Hurricane Laura is  barreling down on Louisiana and Texas, bringing with it “unsurvivable storm surges” and “life-threatening hazards” to parts of the Gulf Coast.  Louisiana Governor Jon Bel Edwards is imploring residents to evacuate: “This is a very serious storm — I don’t think I have ever held a press conference to take something as seriously …

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Let’s Talk Coordinated Governance

Chinese policymakers learn from California’s pioneering work on air and climate regulation.

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new report on Coordinated Governance of Air and Climate Pollutants: Lessons from the California Experience – authored by me, David Pettit at NRDC, and Siyi Shen. The report is an effort to introduce California’s experience in air and climate regulation to Chinese regulators and researchers. In …

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We’re Going to Need a Much Bigger FEMA

FEMA is built to handle one disaster at a time. That’s not going to work in the future.

“When troubles come, they comes not as single spies but as battalions.” That wisdom goes back to Shakespeare. Yet our disaster response system is keyed to handling single disasters, not clusters of major disasters.  That needs to change. This week is a good illustration.  We have fires in California that may set records.  We have …

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Pandemic Lessons in Governance

What have we learned about dealing with mega-risks?

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has driven home some lessons about governance. Those lessons have broader application — for instance, to climate governance.  We can’t afford for the federal government to flunk Crisis Management 101 again. Here are five key lessons: 1. Effective leadership from the top is indispensable. Major problems require action by …

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UCLA Law Faculty Weigh In on Solar Geoengineering Experiment at Harvard

How to engage the public when everyone on Earth is a stakeholder?

  It’s been a surprisingly busy year for solar geoengineering research. In late December, Congress appropriated $4 million to NOAA to study the influence of atmospheric aerosols on climate, with an eye on assessing “solar climate interventions.” In March, Australian scientists ran a trial of a cloud-seeding technology on the Great Barrier Reef that may …

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Next Steps in U.S.-China Environmental Cooperation

Pressing Both Countries Toward Carbon Neutrality.

U.S.-China relations are perhaps at their lowest point in decades and there is no end in sight at the moment. Each week brings a barrage of new U.S. federal policy measures aimed at China. Against this backdrop, ChinaFile recently asked a group of China experts to opine on the prospects for U.S.-China relations in coming …

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