US Opinion and Commentary

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Trump’s Environmental Impact Statement

Posted December 22nd, 2016 at 4:42 pm (UTC-5)
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Three days before Christmas and Santa Claus may be shedding that heavy red overcoat while preparing his yearly trek from the North Pole. Why? It’s said to be just around freezing — some 30 degrees (Celsius) warmer than normal.

The reason? A freakish blast of warmer air, thanks to a powerful El Nino and the impact of man-made greenhouse gases. Scientists warn that unless climate change can be slowed, rare events like this will happen more often.

President-elect Donald Trump’s position on climate change has evolved. In 2012, he tweeted that climate change was “created by and for the Chinese.” Since then, he has been on both sides of the issue. After the election, he admitted there is “some connectivity” between human activity and climate change.

But the resumes of several of Trump’s selections for important administration posts signals the issues of climate change and energy policy may be subjected to the political winds.

World’s Attention Has Turned to the Arctic

Posted September 28th, 2016 at 9:35 am (UTC-5)
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Nothing that happens in the Arctic stays in the Arctic. Because of global warming, this is not a play on words but a truism….The Arctic can no longer play second fiddle to other parts of the globe. It’s one of the world’s last major frontiers, and its value to every nation cannot be overstated.

How Energy and Conservation Became Partisan Issues

Posted September 21st, 2016 at 10:43 am (UTC-5)
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Although majorities of Americans cherish the environment and value readily available and reasonably priced energy, the elected officials, campaign activists and financial contributors who control our two major political parties portray it as a zero sum game.

Obama Addresses UNGA for Final Time

Posted September 21st, 2016 at 9:28 am (UTC-5)
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Delivering his final address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Barack Obama called on the world to move forward with “a better model of cooperation and integration.”

Meet the Mom Litigating the ‘Biggest Case on the Planet’

Posted September 15th, 2016 at 10:36 am (UTC-5)
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Olson will argue that the federal government, by failing to adequately regulate greenhouse gas pollution and by continuing to lease new federal lands and waters for fossil fuel extraction, as recently as this year, is violating the kids’ constitutional right to life, liberty and property

Cheap Gas Is Killing Coal and Saving the Planet

Posted September 9th, 2016 at 10:49 am (UTC-5)
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[N]atural gas is beating coal in the race to the bottom of energy prices. Thanks to the U.S. shale boom and significant increases in LNG exports from countries like Qatar and Australia, natural gas is plentiful and, more importantly, cheap….enabl[ing] both China and India to move away from much dirtier coal.

Iran’s Climate Change Challenge

Posted September 8th, 2016 at 5:08 pm (UTC-5)
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By Barbara Slavin Around the world, glaciers are melting, seas are rising, ground water is being depleted and July was the warmest month recorded since temperatures began being measured in 1880. Yet, the moderator of Wednesday night’s “Commanders-in-Chief” forum, NBC’s Matt Lauer, did not ask the U.S. presidential candidates any questions about the biggest and […]

How Not to Deal With Climate Change

Posted June 30th, 2016 at 11:32 am (UTC-5)
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why would a state ostensibly concerned with climate change turn away from its largest single source of clean energy? The answer, as is perhaps obvious, is the ideological insistence on renewables and an irrational fear of nuclear power.  

Securing Whose Future? Militarism in an Age of Climate Crisis

Posted May 16th, 2016 at 11:53 am (UTC-5)
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Regardless of the advocates and detractors, climate change is being entrenched into US military policy; a process that will almost certainly continue no matter who is elected in the next US president….the military concern with climate change is about ensuring its future ‘operationability’, rather than because it has become enlightened and decided to ‘go green’.

America’s Never-Ending Oil Consumption

Posted May 16th, 2016 at 11:23 am (UTC-5)
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The United States accounts for less than 5 percent of the world’s population, but it consumes about 20 percent of the global energy supply. The average American citizen uses nearly two times as much fossil fuel as a person living in Great Britain….But politicians seem wary of telling Americans they need to cut back.

President of Gabon: The Paris Agreement Is Just the Start of Africa’s Climate Quest

Posted April 22nd, 2016 at 12:49 pm (UTC-5)
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As we look to the future, we cannot improve our living standards while simultaneously degrading the natural environment around us. If we do, we will certainly face a similar climate migration, sparking a humanitarian crisis. Africa is going to have to walk a tightrope if we are to achieve sustainable growth.

Paris Is a Good Start – But More Must Be Done

Posted April 22nd, 2016 at 12:21 pm (UTC-5)
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So who’s right? Is the Paris Agreement a historic political breakthrough or is it a potential ecological disaster? It’s both.

Inaction on Climate Dims Space Future

Posted April 7th, 2016 at 3:16 pm (UTC-5)
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In contrast to NASA, Florida Gov. Rick Scott still seems to be closing his eyes to climate change. Last year several former state Department of Environmental Protection employees said they had been told not to even use the term. While Scott disputed those claims, he has failed to do anything to suggest he takes climate change seriously. […]

Terrorism – Not Climate Change – Dominates Campaign Trail

Posted March 25th, 2016 at 5:35 pm (UTC-5)
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For the most part, the presidential hopefuls from both parties have skirted the threat of climate change – instead, lacing their stump speeches with biting criticism of the current U.S. strategy to defeat ISIS. Despite this week’s deadly reminder of the gravity of Islamic extremism in Brussels, scientists argue strongly that the effects of global warming far outweigh terrorist attacks. Science tells us that 2015 was the warmest year on record. On the same day that 31 people died in twin attacks in the Belgian capital, retired NASA scientist James E. Hansen published a paper stating that the catastrophic consequences of greenhouse gas emissions headed our way at a much faster rate than previously predicted. Both Republican candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump disregard the growing consensus that global warming is real. Even two Republican mayors in Florida urged both men to stop denying the disaster that awaits the Earth and start coming up with policies to address the crisis. Democrat Hillary Clinton is a believer, but it has been her opponent, Bernie Sanders, who has clearly articulated the dangers of global warming while on the stump.

Terrorists, Bathtubs and Snakes

Posted March 24th, 2016 at 10:12 am (UTC-5)
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‘We have a political system that engages quickly and powerfully in response to terrorism and security risks,’ notes Daniel Esty, an environment expert at Yale Law School, ‘but doesn’t seem capable of galvanizing action on climate change and other risks that are less visible and spread over time and space.’