Climate Politics

Does Being Conservative Have to Mean Ignoring Risks?

Florida’s Ron DeSantis doesn’t seem to think so.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis shows that it’s possible to be a staunch conservative and still be honest about the risks of climate change and the coronavirus.

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Utah’s Stealth Climate Plan

Here’s some upbeat news. I bet you needed that.

Hardly anyone noticed at the time, but Utah enacted an important bill about climate change in 2018. Yes, Utah – where the GOP holds 78% of the legislature. How that happened, and what happened since, is a story worth telling. The bill itself did not impose any carbon restrictions.  But it did call for “the …

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Can the Center Hold?

The Challenge to Mainstream Environmentalism

Is environmentalism facing a paradigm shift? Since the 1970s, mainstream environmentalists, lawyers, and scholars have sought incremental progress based on established law and political realities. But frustration with that approach is palpable. The face of climate advocacy is now seventeen-year-old activist Greta Thunberg rather than Establishment politician Al Gore. And there is growing frustration with …

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Congress Mandates Pentagon Climate Action

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, …

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Bright Spots of 2019 (Yes, there were some!)

A bad year in many ways, but with promising signs for the future.

It’s been a tumultuous and often grim year in terms of environmental protection. The Trump Administration continued its onslaught against environmental protection, completing major regulatory rollbacks. Nevertheless, there were some rays of sun through the darkening clouds. State Initiatives.  Progress as the state level continued, as it has throughout the Trump Administration.  New York State …

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OK Boomer

Sadly, all too many people in my generation are part of the problem.

The phrase “OK Boomer” got to be front-page news when Chlöe Swarbrick, a youthful member of the New Zealand parliament, used the phrase against a heckler.  She had been trying to explain why her generation was unwilling to accept delays in addressing climate change. She pointed out that her generation, and the ones to follow, …

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American Public Wakes Up, Smells the Coffee

Further evidence of a shift in public opinion on climate change.

As I discussed in a September 9th post, public opinion has been shifting toward greater recognition of climate change and the need to respond.  Much of the evidence came from polls dating back a few months. Further evidence is provided by two polls released this week. People do seem to be waking up to the …

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And the Survey Says…

How to interpret and utilize “environmentalist” poll results showing widespread support for environmental protection

As most of us know by now, environmentalism in the United States has increasingly become a politically polarizing topic. A Gallup poll from March 2018 revealed that only 42% of surveyed individuals consider themselves to be “environmentalists,” a figure which has decreased over time from the early 1990s: Interestingly, however, this shift in identity for …

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The GOP’s Climate Views Are Thawing

Significant parts of the GOP seem to be leaving Trump behind on the climate issue.

There were three interesting stories about climate politics in the papers today: one about Trump, one about other Republicans, and one about both. What these stories tell us is that part of the GOP is coming to terms with reality; Trump not surprisingly is not. First, as to Trump. As you may have noticed, Trump …

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The possibilities of a Green New Deal

Proposal for massive government investment in decarbonization of the economy could have long-term political benefits, if it’s done right

The new House Democratic majority takes over this week. In the period between the midterm elections and now, one major issue that has been discussed is the path forward for the Democrats on climate policy. Led by freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, activists have called for the new majority to set up a special House committee …

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