Why Energy Conservation Will Remain Crucial
Even after switching to clean power, we’ll still need to limit energy use.
If we switch to renewables, we won’t need to worry about saving energy. Right? Wrong! One reason to save energy is to limit carbon emissions from the energy we use. That’s going to important until the energy system has been completely cleaned up. But energy conservation is important for reasons that go beyond the direct …
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The latest IPCC report contains crucial new information about how soon and how bad climate impacts will be.
When the IPCC released its latest climate science report a few weeks ago, many commentators observed that the report should heighten our sense of urgency about climate action. Most of that discussion was at a very general level. It’s worth taking a closer look at some key findings and their policy implications. Here, I want …
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Can we govern large-scale green infrastructure for multiple water benefits?
by Lidia Cano Pecharroman, Christopher Williams, Nell Green Nylen, and Michael Kiparsky
Green infrastructure is increasingly emphasized as an alternative, novel path for water infrastructure. The possibilities are intriguing: Can we transition from a landscape dominated by siloed grey infrastructure (think concrete and steel, constructed for one or a few key outcomes like water supply or flood control) to one that centers natural processes in water infrastructure …
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The Fuss about Methane
Part 1: Science and weird facts
Methane is getting a lot of attention in climate debates. There was even a “Methane Day” last Tuesday at the climate conference in Glasgow. Several new regulations controlling methane emissions have been adopted recently, including two new rules for the US oil and gas sector announced last week. There’s a new informal international agreement to …
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Speaking Truth to Corporate Power
Decades ago, industry scientists fought to get their bosses to pay attention to climate change.
Decades ago, their own scientists told car companies and oil companies about climate change, information the companies chose to ignore. The scientists were voices crying out in the corporate wilderness. Sadly, they were ignored at the time, but companies are starting to pay the price for that in lawsuits. Those scientists advocated for the truth, …
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Vaccination, Enlightenment Values, and the Founders
Anti-vaxxers and climate deniers are abandoning America’s founding values.
Ironically, those who most trumpet their allegiance to the Founders often have least in common with their values. The Founding Fathers were men of the Enlightenment. They shared a belief that reason, free inquiry, and science would better the human condition. They looked to reason as a guide. They sought, in Jefferson’s words, to expunge …
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Another Historic Climate Court Ruling in the Netherlands
A court orders Shell to cut its emissions, including of its consumers. But will this stand after appeal?
In recent years, The Netherlands has become the leading site of climate change litigation. Contrary to expectations (including my own!), its district, appellate, and supreme courts decided in favor of Urgenda, an upstart environmental organization, ordering the government to more aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Now the same district court has gone further, again in favor of environmental groups …
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The Ninth Circuit Makes EPA an Offer It Can’t Refuse
Regulate chlorpyrifos or else!
Chlorpyrifos is one of the most widely used pesticides in America, although it has been banned in the EU. Last week, the Ninth Circuit took the extraordinary step of ordering EPA pointblank to ban or reduce traces of chlorpyrifos in food. A dissenter accused the majority of misreading the statute in question and abusing its …
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When “Stay In Your Lane” Is Wrong
Technical policy questions often involve ethical political questions that the public must have a say in
As vaccination for the coronavirus in the United States ramps up, I want to take a look back to a policy dispute over the initial plans for vaccine distribution at the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 – in part because that fight (like “follow the science,” which I blogged about recently) also …
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“NIABYs” Obstruct Important Climate Change Research
Some activists say “not in my backyard,” but strident opponents of solar geoengineering argue “not in anyone’s backyard.”
A peculiar type of activism is manifesting with regard to solar geoengineering. This proposed set of technologies to reduce climate change has been subject to only a few outdoor experiments. One has been in the pipeline for almost a decade: The Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (SCoPEx) would involve the launch of a balloon into the …
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