Joseph Curtin | We Can Kick Our Coal-Burning Addiction. Here Are Some Ideas. – The New York Times

Dr. Curtin is the managing director for power and climate at the Rockefeller Foundation

“To avert worsening climate disasters, all sectors of the economy must be transformed by midcentury. But one task is more urgent than all others: the rapid phase-down of planet-warming emissions from coal-fired power plants in emerging economies.

The world’s leaders are failing badly in meeting this goal. Burning coal for electricity is the single largest source of global greenhouse gas emissions. Every year it accounts for about 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide — more than 70 percent of global fossil fuel emissions from electricity generation.

And we’re continuing to move in the wrong direction. Since 1990, the world has doubled its emissions from coal-fired power. There are now more than 6,500 plants. At least an additional 941 are planned. According to our calculations at the Rockefeller Foundation, combined, they would emit 273 billion tons of carbon dioxide if allowed to operate for their normal operational lifetime of about 40 years — which is equivalent to nearly eight years of all carbon dioxide pollution globally. These emissions would presage humanitarian crises that can scarcely be imagined for the world’s most vulnerable communities.

We need to stop building coal plants immediately and cut coal emissions in roughly half by 2030 to keep global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above preindustrial levels. That is the upper limit for warming set by the United Nations to avoid escalating climate risks. We must also accelerate the replacement of existing coal plants with clean power, which will unlock the potential to decarbonize transportation, buildings and industry. Innovative political and financial solutions are emerging. The question is: Will we harness them?”

David Wallace-Wells | Progressives Should Rally Around a Clean Energy Construction Boom – The New York Times

Opinion Writer

You’re reading the David Wallace-Wells newsletter, for Times subscribers only.  The best-selling science writer and essayist explores climate change, technology, the future of the planet and how we live on it.

“The alliance that pushed the Inflation Reduction Act into law in August was always a somewhat fragile and ramshackle one: Green New Dealers and the coal-state senator Joe Manchin, carbon-capture geeks and environmental justice warriors, all herded together in the sort of big-tent play you get with a 50-50 Senate and one party functionally indifferent on climate.

One conspicuous cost of the compromise reached was a promise made by Senator Chuck Schumer to Manchin on what was vaguely called permitting reform: a catchall phrase referring to a whole host of efforts to cut red tape and ease the rollout of energy infrastructure. After weeks of speculation and intracoalitional debate, the text of the compromise was released on Sept. 21. By Sept. 27, the coalition had fallen apart, with Manchin somewhat abruptly pulling what had become known as the side deal from a must-pass budget resolution.

This was seemingly a victory for the progressive caucus, activists and environmental justice groups, which opposed the agreement as a fossil fuel handout, and another mark of a growing climate rift on the left in the aftermath of what was widely hailed as the most significant decarbonization bill passed into American law. (Nothing breaks a partnership like success, I guess.) But it also suggests an obvious next step for the left side of the now fractured climate coalition: its own alternative permitting reform bill, focused on building more electric transmission lines and streamlining regulatory approval for clean energy projects (without allowing for more fossil fuel infrastructure or the stampeding of frontline communities).

Fat Bear Week Is in Full Swing – The New York Times

“The first time Mike Fitz saw a bear in the wild, in 2007, he did what he was trained to do: He made a lot of noise.

“You can read and listen to all of the advice — it helps prepare you mentally, but at the same time I’m thinking, ‘Oh, that is a bear in front of me, looking at me,’” Mr. Fitz said. “What am I going to do now?”

This particular bear, on top of Dumpling Mountain in Katmai National Park in Alaska, however, was not exactly an imminent threat. The bear was about a quarter-mile away from Mr. Fitz, and his yells across the vast landscape barely made a dent. “I hadn’t figured out that making noise is appropriate in certain situations,” he said. “The bear probably heard me and thought, ‘What is this two-legged creature doing?’”

The encounter proved to be a formative moment for Mr. Fitz, and for millions of bear fans around the world. Mr. Fitz is the founder of Fat Bear Week, now in its ninth year. What began as a way for Mr. Fitz, a former park ranger, to engage with visitors to Katmai has “spiraled.” “

Democrats Worry for Mandela Barnes as GOP Attack Ads Take a Toll – The New York Times

“MADISON, Wis. — Politicians who visit diners know the deal: In exchange for photos establishing their working-class bona fides, they must cheerfully accept heaping portions of unsolicited advice.

But on Tuesday at Monty’s Blue Plate Diner here in Madison, one of the first people to approach Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, the Democratic nominee for Senate in Wisconsin, took the tradition to a new level, presenting him with a typed-up list of concerns about his campaign.

The supporter, Jane Kashnig, a retired businesswoman who has spent recent weeks going door to door to speak with voters, told Mr. Barnes his backers were jittery about his inability to repel an unending volley of attack ads from Senator Ron Johnson and his Republican allies.

Show more fire, Ms. Kashnig urged the Democrat and his campaign. “The people on the doors want him to fight,” she said.”

Tesla Powerwall — SunFusion Energy Systems

Are you considering a Tesla Powerwall system for your home?

If so, you realize the benefits that a system like that can bring. Having the ability to power your entire home on battery provides distinct benefits:

  • Immunity from power outages and brownouts.

  • Save money on monthly energy bills by charging batteries using solar or off-peak grid power.

  • Keep your home running when utility companies shut off the power to your neighborhood.

Source: Tesla Powerwall — SunFusion Energy Systems

Is Teeth Whitening Safe? What to Know and Products to Use – The New York Times

By Hannah SeoOct. 3, 2022Sign up for the Well newsletter, for Times subscribers only.  Essential news and guidance to live your healthiest life. Get it in your inbox.From toothpastes to gels, strips, mouth trays and rinses, there is a dizzying array of products that claim to lighten, brighten and whiten your teeth. And with so many options lining drugstore shelves, it can be daunting to figure out the right method for you.But are at-home teeth whitening products as effective as they claim? And are they safe? We asked some experts to find out.How does teeth whitening work?Teeth whitening products sold over the counter work in one of two ways, the experts we spoke with said. They either scrape away stains using physical force or bleach those stains with the same chemicals used for in-office whitening procedures.Physical abrasion. Products that have any sort of grittiness — whether they’re whitening toothpastes, regular toothpastes or just plain baking soda — will act as an abrasive and physically file away stains that occur on the surfaces of your teeth, said Dr. Dorota Kopycka-Kedzierawski, a dentist at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Many regular toothpastes contain a little bit of texture for this reason, and brushing itself is an act of physically scraping off stains and debris.

Bolsonaro Outperforms Polls and Forces Runoff Against Lula in Brazil’s Presidential Election – The New York Times

Jack Nicas, The Times’s Brazil bureau chief, has covered the country’s presidential race since last year.

“RIO DE JANEIRO — For months, pollsters and analysts had said that President Jair Bolsonaro was doomed. He faced a wide and unwavering deficit in Brazil’s high-stakes presidential race, and in recent weeks, the polls had suggested he could even lose in the first round, ending his presidency after just one term.

Instead, it was Mr. Bolsonaro who was celebrating. While the challenger, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a former leftist president, finished the night ahead, Mr. Bolsonaro far outperformed forecasts and sent the race to a runoff.

Mr. da Silva received 48.4 percent of the votes, and Mr. Bolsonaro 43.23 percent, with 99.87 percent of the ballots counted, according to Brazil’s elections agency. Mr. da Silva needed to exceed 50 percent to be elected president in the first round.

They will face off on Oct. 30 in what is widely regarded as the most important vote in decades for Latin America’s largest nation.”

Opinion | The Global Indigenous Movement to Fight Climate Change – The New York Times

Ms. Falquez is a photographer and visual artist. Ms. Verde is a staff editor in Opinion.

“The natural resources that Indigenous peoples depend on are inextricably linked to their identities, cultures and livelihoods. Even relatively small changes in temperature or rainfall can make their lands more susceptible to rising sea levels, droughts and forest fires. As the climate crisis escalates, activists fighting to protect what remain of the world’s forests are at risk of being persecuted by their governments — and even at risk of death.

For decades Indigenous activists have been sounding the alarm. But their warnings have too often been ignored. So, they organized.

Indigenous peoples and communities, working in the Americas, Indonesia and Africa joined forces and together became the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities. They work to protect their rights and territories, amounting to nearly 3.5 million square miles of land across the planet.”

Peter Coy | In Retirement, You May Not Need to Spend So Much – The New York Times

Opinion Writer

“If the recent rout in the stock market has you drastically cutting back your retirement spending plans, it probably means that you were counting too much on ever-rising asset prices. But a new research paper suggests that spending less at advanced ages is not necessarily a sign of failure to plan. Even people who plan perfectly do it.

Let’s back up for a minute. The notion that your spending should be consistent over your lifetime is known as consumption smoothing, an economic concept developed by Milton Friedman, Franco Modigliani, Robert Hall and others. The core idea is simple: No amount of luxurious living at age 60 compensates for living in penury at 25 or 85. So you should borrow when you’re young, save and pay off debts during your peak earning years and then spend down your savings in old age. If you do it right, you will enjoy an even standard of living throughout your adult life.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment:
Great essay. I wish it had included, that if you reduce your consumption, you will probably reduce your carbon foot print, with just a little effort.
David Lindsay wrote “The Tay Son Rebellion,” and blogs at InconvenientNews.net.

Opinion | One of the Hottest Trends in the World of Investing, ESG funds, are a Sham – The New York Times

Mr. Taparia is a clinical associate professor at the New York University Stern School of Business and a former entrepreneur.

“Wall Street has been hard at work on a rebrand. Gone is the “Greed is good” swagger that embodied its culture in the 1980s. “Greed and good” may best summarize its messaging today as it seeks to combine high profits with lofty intentions.

“To prosper over time,” Laurence D. Fink, the founder and chief executive of the investment giant BlackRock, wrote in a remarkable public letter in 2018, “every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

At the heart of this rebranding is a new industry of funds, created by BlackRock and peers such as Vanguard and Fidelity, that purport to invest in companies that are good corporate citizens — that is, companies that meet certain environmental, social and governance criteria. These E.S.G. criteria are wide ranging, pertaining to issues such as carbon emissions, pollution, data security, employment practices and the diversity of corporate board members.

On the face of it, E.S.G. investing could be transformative, which is why it’s one of the hottest trends in the world of investing. After all, allocating more capital to companies that do good helps them grow faster and lower their cost of capital, creating an incentive for all companies to be more socially and environmentally conscious.

But the reality is less inspiring. Wall Street’s current system for E.S.G. investing is designed almost entirely to maximize shareholder returns, falsely leading many investors to believe their portfolios are doing good for the world.”