Now is exactly the time to talk about climate change, and all the other systemic injustices — from racial profiling to economic austerity — that turn disasters like Harvey into human catastrophes.
Turn on the coverage of the Hurricane Harvey and the Houston flooding and you’ll hear lots of talk about how unprecedented this kind of rainfall is. How no one saw it coming so no one could adequately prepare.
Humans are causing Earth’s climate to change. We know that. We’ve known it for decades. Okay so what? The follow-up questions should be directed to what the effects of warming will be. What will the costs be to society, to the natural biosystem, and to human lives? Let’s be honest, if the consequences of warming are not large, then who cares? But, if the consequences are severe, then we should take action now to reduce the warming. This really comes down to costs and benefits. Are the benefits of reducing emissions greater or less than the costs?
Against the sparkling backdrop of sailboats bobbing on San Francisco Bay, Gov. Jerry Brown last month signed a bill extending California’s cap-and-trade program, assuring that the most high-profile piece of the state’s fight against climate change persists for another decade.
The Trump administration has decided to disband the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment, a group aimed at helping policymakers and private-sector officials incorporate the government’s climate analysis into long-term planning.
VANCOUVER, Canada—For nearly two weeks, beginning August 1, the skies over Vancouver were filled with the smoke of forest fires burning in central and northern British Columbia. The smoke from those fires and others farther afield has waxed and waned over much of North America since July. Three days ago, Vancouver and coastal BC and Washington State gained a respite thanks to a weather front from the Pacific Ocean that pushed the smoke eastward. But the respite could end soon, depending on the vagaries of weather patterns.
On July 19, Joel Clement, a top climate scientist and policy analyst at the Department of Interior (DOI) filed a whistle-blower complaint with the Office of Special Counsel alleging that his reassignment to an accounting position was retribution for speaking out about the dangers of climate change. Clement, who had raised the alarm about the potential catastrophic impacts of rising sea levels and warming temperatures on Native communities in Alaska, had been transferred to the Office of Natural Resources Revenue, which collects royalty checks from the fossil-fuel industry.
Camp 41, Brazilian Amazon -- Less than 30 years ago, the Earth's tropical rainforests held the carbon equivalent of half of the entire atmosphere. But as atmospheric CO2 has escalated along with the deforestation of so much of the tropics, that is no longer the case. Nevertheless, carbon stored in tropical rainforests is still significant.