US Opinion and Commentary

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The Death Throes of Oil

Posted February 3rd, 2016 at 9:25 am (UTC-5)
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The possibility that the use of fossil fuels will one day be restricted creates a powerful incentive for oil producers to sell as much as they can before the limitations take effect. This logic might be behind Saudi Arabia’s response to plummeting oil prices: rejecting calls by OPEC to cut production.

Global Warming in 2015 Made Weather More Extreme and It’s Likely to Get Worse

Posted January 20th, 2016 at 1:11 pm (UTC-5)
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The fingerprints of climate change can be found not only on the air, ice and water, but they’ve also shown up on numerous recent cases of extreme weather around the world.

A Toothless Treaty Can’t Stop Climate Change

Posted December 14th, 2015 at 3:50 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama said he believes “this moment can be a turning point for the world”… And indeed, reaching any kind of consensus after months of preparation and weeks of exhausting talks can be cathartic. But the Paris agreement has parts that are specific and parts that are binding — never both at once.

#COP21: Paris Agreement a ‘Tremendous Victory for All of Our Citizens’

Posted December 14th, 2015 at 1:36 pm (UTC-5)
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“We are sending literally a critical message to the global marketplace,” Secretary Kerry noted. “Many of us here know that it won’t be governments that actually make the decision or find the product, the new technology, the saving grace of this challenge. It will be the genius of the American spirit.”

COP21: Turning Point or Empty Promises?

Posted December 14th, 2015 at 11:32 am (UTC-5)
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Nearly 200 nations signed the Paris accord to tackle climate change – but signing isn’t implementing, critics say. The deal sets out to commit signatories to reduce carbon emissions, but the targets are not legally binding. And that worries those who don’t trust big polluters, like China and India, to act. Even its most ardent supporters aren’t dismissing inherent flaws. Top US negotiator Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged this in an appearance on ABC News a day after the deal was announced Saturday. “I understand the criticisms of the agreement because it doesn’t have a mandatory scheme and it doesn’t have a compliance enforcement mechanism…. That’s true.” The other worry for detractors is that because the agreement is not a “treaty,” US congressional approval is not mandatory for ratification. Optimists point out that, while imperfect, the pact is a serious beginning, evidence that the world is no longer ignoring that which cannot be ignored.

The Global Economic Costs From Climate Change May Be Worse Than Expected

Posted December 10th, 2015 at 5:53 pm (UTC-5)
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Unmitigated, climate change could reduce global GDP by over 20 percent by 2100 – a number roughly 5-10 times larger than current estimates.

2015 Paris Climate Conference: Another Bad Deal for America

Posted December 1st, 2015 at 11:06 am (UTC-5)
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…The EPA and other federal agencies are forcing accelerated reductions on U.S. industries to meet harsher COP21 targets. That makes energy more expensive and encourages manufacturers to relocate to China where environmental enforcement is lax.

The Heat Is On

Posted November 30th, 2015 at 2:23 pm (UTC-5)
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Expectations are high in Paris for a deal to slow global warming. President Barack Obama laid down the gauntlet during a trip to Alaska, saying “This year, in Paris, has to be the year that the world finally reaches an agreement to protect the one planet that we’ve got while we still can.” There are hopeful signs: the debate is no longer whether or not climate change exists, but how to curb the greenhouse gases that cause it. As negotiators from 195 countries try to hammer out an agreement over the next two weeks, some experts are saying it’s a waste of time. Why? Because there is no set benchmark or standard built into the process of promising exactly how much a given country must reduce emissions. Still others say that softer approach is exactly how to convince leaders to act, if not now, then in future.

The Ill-timed Climate Change Talk

Posted November 30th, 2015 at 9:12 am (UTC-5)
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The concern isn’t just that climate change derangement syndrome has such an obsessive grip over this president and other world leaders that they choose to take their eye off the ball. It’s worse than that: the entire global warming agenda is an impediment to the war against terror.

The Terrible Cost of Demagoguery

Posted November 12th, 2015 at 11:08 am (UTC-5)
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President Obama’s justification for nixing the Keystone XL pipeline was yet another example of Oval Office demagoguery — a destructive impulse also rampant among those vying to succeed him.

Obama Evokes Economy, Climate Change in Rejecting Keystone Pipeline

Posted November 9th, 2015 at 9:53 am (UTC-5)
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“For years, the Keystone Pipeline has occupied what I consider, frankly, an over-inflated role in our political discourse.” – President Barack Obama speaking at the White House on November 6.

China Calling

Posted September 25th, 2015 at 3:16 pm (UTC-5)
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Cybersecurity. A trade imbalance of almost $350-billion. Intellectual property theft. Island building in the South China Sea. North Korea. Human rights. Those are just some of the issues on the table for this week’s U.S.-China summit. Presidents Obama and Xi announced an agreement — details of which are still to be worked out — that their governments will not knowingly support cyber theft of intellectual property or commercial trade secrets. In the next breath, Obama warned of possible sanctions for cybercrime that has happened, or may happen in the future. Despite the stern smiles and niceties of state dinner toasts, there is a lot of work to do on both sides of the U.S.-China relationship.

Pope Francis Goes to Washington

Posted September 24th, 2015 at 4:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Pope Francis must have been invited to address Congress for a reason. He waded into the fractious issues that divide his audience in the House chamber and across America. On immigration, the son of an immigrant challenged a nation of immigrants to remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The “common good” that business creates must also include the earth, a nod to climate change without ever uttering the phrase. Gay marriage? Francis acknowledged the questions raised about “fundamental relationships,” but stressed the “richness and beauty of family life” without any further definition. Did the lawmakers get the message they were looking for?

Obama Finally Gets Serious about Climate Change

Posted September 1st, 2015 at 11:01 am (UTC-5)
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Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which was originally announced last year, will for the first time label carbon dioxide a pollutant and establish national rules for carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants for every state.

Obama Renames North America’s Tallest Peak, Angering Ohioans

Posted August 31st, 2015 at 3:11 pm (UTC-5)
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On the eve of his trip to Alaska for a climate change conference, President Obama renamed Mount McKinley to its indigenous name “Denali.” Named for the 25th U.S. President, William McKinley, Alaskans generally welcomed the long-fought for change to the name of the tallest peak in the U.S. But McKinley’s fellow Republicans sounded a note of fury. Obama will likely get more of that when he begins talking climate change.