The planet passed a woeful milestone this month. The annual minimum of CO2 in the air occurs in September at the end of the Northern Hemisphere’s summer-is greater than 400ppm. Given the long lifetime of CO2 in the atmosphere, it is unlikely that you or I, or anyone living, will see a planet with less than 400ppm in the remainder of our lives. At the same time, Bill McKibben notes that humans have already built enough mines and drilled enough wells to pollute the air beyond safe limits. That said, there is NO need to explore for new fossil fuel deposits, or even to exploit the ones the industry knows about. New wells are a waste of money, since we cannot use the oil. (Tell that to your investment advisor!) Listen in as we discuss.
A profoundly important legal battle played out in a Washington DC courtroom this week. At issue was the very legitimacy of the methods used in the Clean Power Plan. We discuss (in ‘keep it simple, stupid!’ terms) the issues and implications. Listen in!Read more
The President’s Clean Power Plan is back in court this week, with big implications for Climate Hawks. Lamar Smith continues his witch-hunt, but the SEC is turning its eye toward Exxon’s possible shareholder fraud. Finally, the Paris Agreement maintains steady progress toward full ratification. That is good news! Listen in.Read more
Governor Baker signed an Executive Order to set policy for the state related to global warming. It promises emissions targets for the year 2030 and 2040, and focuses on transportation as the next big area for reductions. The Order comes in a year that has seen two major Supreme Judicial Court rulings favoring climate action, the passage of the Omnibus Energy bill, and Baker’s own effort to make RGGI stronger. These are all good signs, a credit to climate activists, and a warning that we must maintain the pressure to fulfill the promise of these decisions.Read more
A series of very important events happened very quickly on the Dakota plains last week. After a high profile guard-dog attack on the alliance of Native American activists, a Federal judge rejected the tribe’s legal claim. But almost immediately, the Obama Administration moved to stop pipeline construction. Two days later, an arrest warrant was issued for one of the journalists covering the story. What does this all mean? Can we even tell yet? Listen in as we try to unpack some of the implications of this tumultuous week.
The reality of climate change was apparent last week in reports on rising sea levels, the climate-related drivers of the Baton Rouge floods and even human caused earthquakes in OK. On the other hand MA has a new port to assist in wind turbine installation, and CA passed historic and ambitious climate regulations. Listen in!Read more
The pipeline destruction of the Dakota plains became the scene of violence this week, with haunting images recalling both the massacre at Wounded Knee and Bull Connor’s dogs. At the same moment, New Zealand gave ‘personhood’ rights to a national park. Can we combine this sense of collective ownership (did the Indians really ‘sell’ Manhattan Island?) with the private property rights that allow us to risk poisoning the Missouri River? Listen in!Read more
Massachusetts’ Governor Baker proposed a 5% per year decrease in the carbon emissions allowed under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and the President goes to China to jointly sign the Paris Agreement. We discuss.Read more
Recently, the enormously influential Pope Francis made a strong call for climate action, going so far as to say “To till too much, to keep too little, is to sin.” For Roman Catholics, the Pope’s words have a profound impact. For Climate Hawks, this question can be re-phrased to ask about the best way to distribute revenue from a carbon pricing system like California’s cap and trade or New England’s RGGI or even a carbon tax. Is it better to promote electric cars for those who can afford them, or to provide mass transit and energy efficient homes to the poor? Easy questions with hard answers, but we discuss. Listen in.Read more
In September, NASA will launch a mission to visit an asteroid and return with a sample of rock. This presages the arrival of space mining. This raises the question: what does the drive to exploit the environment say about human nature? Is mining an insignificant asteroid in deep space driven by the same impulse to that allows us to dump carbon into a seemingly limitless atmosphere? Should humans learn to tame these responses, or are they the parts of our nature that will save us? Listen in!Read more