Roots of distrust: The Climate Minute

Covid denial and climate denial seem bizarrely unexplainable, but a recent article plumbs the roots of the distrust of science from the 1920’s forward. Understanding why some people reject what seem to be obvious scientific facts is the first step toward building a better relationship between science and society.

The reading list:

  • How Americans Came to Distrust Science
    • Through all of this disputation, the core image of science as a value-neutral, and thus innately amoral, enterprise has sunk ever deeper into the cultural bedrock. Generations of commentators have taken for granted that science entails a morally detached approach to the world, even as they clashed bitterly over its applications and implications.
  • Tuskeegee Study suggests why some might distrust science.
    • In order to track the disease’s full progression, researchers provided no effective care as the men died, went blind or insane or experienced other severe health problems due to their untreated syphilis.

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre


Planning a Just Transition: The Climate Minute

Achieving the goal of 100% clean energy by 2035 will require thoughtful preparation and crisp execution. A new paper highlights the opportunity to shutter existing fossil fuel plants at minimum cost and with maximum care for the communities involved. All it takes is a little planning.

 The Reading List:

  • Biden's 2015 plan
    • "That started to change this summer. In a surprise move for a cautious candidate, Joe Biden put a 100% clean grid at the core of his climate agenda. Even more remarkable was his proposed timeline: 15 years. It was startlingly ambitious, considering his prior goals for eliminating emissions focused on a more gradual and familiar 30-year timetable."
  • Summary of Grubert article, via Twitter's Thread Reader
  • Link to Fossil Electricity Retirement Schedule for a just transition.
    • "Out in Science today: decarbonizing US electricity by 2035 only strands about 15% of capacity-years, based on typical lifespans. Setting explicit deadlines can help with the #JustTransition."
  • Could coal plants run on green hydrogen instead?
    • "You see an old coal plant and an obsolescent workforce; I see a superb opportunity for green hydrogen. Green?Hydrogen? Let’s start with hydrogen. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe but just coming into its own as a versatile fuel for a world moving away from hydrocarbons. Capturing hydrogen is simple in theory: just apply a lot of energy to water to break the two H’s (hydrogen) from the O (oxygen) to create pure hydrogen. Like natural gas, that hydrogen contains heat that can be released with combustion to drive a generator. Unlike natural gas, that combustion is GHG-free."
  • Gray, blue and green hydrogen
    • “As gas turbines are inherently fuel-flexible, they can be configured to operate on green hydrogen or similar fuels as a new unit, or be upgraded even after extended service on traditional fuels, i.e. natural gas,” GE says. “The scope of the required modifications to configure a gas turbine to operate on hydrogen depends on the initial configuration of the gas turbine.”

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre


MBTA service cut are a climate issue: The Climate Minute

At a time when carbon emissions from transportation constitute growing fraction of the state's total, the COVID pandemic has cut ridership on the MBTA. In response, the T is proposing dramatic service cuts. These cuts will have long time implications for how we address climate change.

The reading list:

The KIngston Trio sings about Charlie on the MTA

With that drastic drop in ridership, the MBTA has proposed drastic service cuts that, if approved, would be rolled out next year. “We do this with great regret,” said MBTA general manager Steve Poftak in an interview. “This is an unprecedented financial situation. . . . We are doing our best to manage through this.”

That perspective implies that the pandemic-controlled world we see today is the world we will be looking at six months or even a year from now; that people won’t be flocking back to Boston to work and play anytime soon; that there will be no new revenue to fill the gaps from their absence.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/11/23/opinion/future-public-transportation-is-line-massachusetts/

 The general manager of the MBTA said he would suggest deferring some critical decisions on the service cuts until February, when the agency formally embarks on its fiscal year 2022 budgeting process

https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/boston-mayor-walsh-to-speak-out-on-proposed-mbta-service-cuts/2250151/

Transit advocates worry that the proposed MBTA cutbacks will weaken a system that was already struggling before the pandemic. Housing advocates, too, are concerned. They say closing commuter rail stations and reducing subway frequency flies in the face of a decade of state housing policy largely designed around the notion that the best place to build new homes in a traffic-choked place like Greater Boston is next to a train stop.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/11/26/business/mbta-cuts-imperil-transit-oriented-building-boom/

Recently, the MBTA approved a contract to replace 32 diesel-electric buses with 45 “enhanced electric hybrid buses.” This sounds really good because you hear “electric” and “hybrid,” but EEH buses are really the same diesel buses that they have been buying for the last 15 years, just with a large battery pack.

If they'd come out and said, 'These are diesel buses with extended-range batteries,' that would have been a lot less of an issue. They literally just stripped diesel out of the name of the vehicle; this is what I meant when I called the plan “greenwashing.”

https://www.wbur.org/earthwhile/2020/12/04/mbta-silver-line-buses-greenwashing

This EEH moniker is a particularly insidious example of “greenwashing.” The proposed model is a New Flyer XDE60 model. “X” refers to the model (Xcelsior) and “60” refers to the length of the bus. “DE” describes the drivetrain: diesel-electric hybrid. EEH conveniently leaves out the fossil-fuel origin of all of the power for the bus. In fact, except for some compressed natural gas buses, all but the oldest members of the MBTA’s bus fleet are “hybrid” buses.

https://commonwealthmagazine.org/opinion/greenwashing-the-mbtas-hybrid-buses/

The Advisory Board’s view is that risk of permanent loss of ridership, increased congestion, and other negative effects of service cuts to people and communities is too high a price to pay right now, just as a vaccine is on the horizon.”

Many parts of the T’s proposal, such as pausing capital projects and reallocating federal funds, are viable and important, the board said in its report. But the Advisory Board found the T’s math to be unnecessarily cautious.

https://commonwealthmagazine.org/transportation/mbta-service-cuts-called-unnecessary/

"I don't want to see any of my residents hurt by the cuts," Koch said. "The bus route is the world to each individual that uses it."

https://amp.patriotledger.com/amp/3807814001

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre


Food for Thought: The Climate Minute

How we think about climate determine what we do about climate. Listen in as Elizabeth and Dennis Kucinich shake up your thinking. If we focus on our past problems, then our future will be determined by our past. Humans should break out and view the future as a new 'thing' to create, and not as the solutions to our past mistakes.

The reading list:

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre


A GEM of positivity: The Climate Minute

Positive and inspiring solutions to our environmental crises are being developed around the world. “Global Environmental Media” is new content platform, https://gem-tv.com/, which will bring together global, national and local perspectives to help us find a sustainable future. Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich are among the co-founders of this new initiative. They dropped in to tell us more about their efforts.

The reading list

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre

 


How to build a toolkit: The Climate Minute

Your #GivingTuesday gift will support concrete, pragmatic and useful progress. Listen in to what it takes to make a Virtual Advocacy Toolkit, then give at https://www.massclimateaction.org/giving_tuesday_2020

The reading list:

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre


Ties that bind us: The Climate Minute

The availability of affordable, energy efficient housing ties climate, health and social justice together. The Massachusetts Climate Action Network is focused on bringing efforts to bear. Listen in, and find how your Giving Tuesday can help address the overlapping crises we face.

The reading list

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre


What Joe can do: The Climate Minute

Now that Joseph Biden has received the necessary 270 electoral college votes to be declared President-Elect, the question comes: What can he do if the anti-climate party remains in control of the Senate?

The reading list:

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre


Small actions to address a big risk: The Climate Minute

Climate change is a systemic risk to the financial system. We discuss how individuals can vote with their dollars to choose a livable future.

The reading list:

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre

 


Will climate change topple your bank? The Climate Minute

Climate change poses a risk to our banks and insurance companies. This is a ‘systemic financial risk’ that must be recognized by our society.   We talk with an expert to learn more about the stakes of this staggering potential crisis.

The reading list

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre



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