How Six Americans Changed Their Minds About Global Warming – The New York Times

“The Rev. Richard Cizik used to believe climate change was a myth. The science had to be rigged, he thought; those who believed in it were just tree-huggers. But in 2002, a friend convinced Mr. Cizik to go to a conference about climate change, and there, he said, “the scales came off my eyes.”

Nearly 70 percent of Americans now say that climate change is mainly caused by human activity, the highest percentage since Gallup began tracking it two decades ago. The number of Americans who say they worry “a great deal” about climate change has risen by about 20 percentage points.

But people don’t change their minds easily about controversial issues. So what is behind this trend?Anthony Leiserowitz, the director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, said Americans’ opinions about global warming have fluctuated over the years, shifting along with partisan fissures, extreme weather events and messages from political and religious figures. But the overall upward trend in opinion, he said, was strongly tied to the fact that more people are beginning to relate to climate change as a personal issue.”


‘I’m Just More Afraid of Climate Change Than I Am of Prison’ – The New York Times

“On Oct. 11, 2016, Michael Foster and two companions rose before dawn, left their budget hotel in Grand Forks, N.D., and drove a white rental sedan toward the Canadian border, diligently minding the speed limit. The day was cold and overcast, and Foster, his diminutive frame wrapped in a down jacket, had prepared for a morning outdoors. As the driver, Sam Jessup, followed a succession of laser-straight farm roads through the sugar-beet fields, and a documentary filmmaker, Deia Schlosberg, recorded events from the back seat, Foster sat hunched in the passenger seat, mentally rehearsing his plan.

When Jessup pulled over next to a windbreak of cottonwood trees, Foster felt the seconds stretch and slow. For months, he’d imagined his next actions: He would get out of the car, put on a hard hat and safety vest, retrieve a pair of bolt cutters from the trunk and walk to the fenced enclosure about 100 feet away. He would snip the padlock that secured the gate and approach the blunt length of vertical pipe in the center of the enclosure — the stem of a shut-off valve for the 2,700-mile-long Keystone Pipeline, which carries crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta to refineries on the Texas coast. He would cut the chain on the steel wheel attached to the stem, and turn the wheel clockwise until it stopped.

What Foster didn’t expect was that once he’d broken through the chain-link fence, he would be briefly overwhelmed by the magnitude of what he was about to do. He faced away from the biting wind, and allowed himself to cry. He then put a gloved hand on the steel wheel, which was almost three feet across and mounted vertically as if on the helm of a ship, and began to turn it. For long minutes it spun easily, but then both the wheel and the ground below his feet began to shake. Foster had been told to expect this, but still he hesitated. When he resumed turning, he had to throw his body into the task, at times dangling from the wheel to coax it downward. Finally, he could wrestle it no farther, and the shaking stopped. He felt a profound sense of relief. He replaced the lock on the wheel with a new padlock, sat down and, breathing heavily, began to record himself on his phone. “Hey, I’ve never shot video for grandkids that I don’t have yet,” he told the camera, “but I want any grandkids, or grandnephews and nieces or whatever, anybody in any family tree of mine, to know that once upon a time people burned oil, and they put it in these underground pipes, and they burned enough, fast enough, to almost cook you guys out of existence, and we had to stop it — any way we could think of.”

Ten minutes before Foster entered the enclosure, Jessup and another supporter each called the operations center of the pipeline’s owner, the TransCanada Corporation, and described what Foster was about to do. The company called the sheriff. About half an hour after Foster walked away from the valve station, an officer arrived and arrested Foster, Jessup and Schlosberg.What neither the sheriff’s department nor TransCanada knew, however, was that while Foster was closing off the Keystone Pipeline, four other cross-border pipelines — in Washington, Montana and Minnesota — were being shut down, too. Together, the pipelines carry nearly 70 percent of the crude oil imported to the United States from Canada.”

DL: This is a fascinating and complex story. While I care deeply about climate change, and I am impressed that by getting into small boats and blocking oil or coal ships, some polical progress has been made. But attacking the oil pipeline hardware, or turning the valves, doesn’t seem to me to be the most effective way to convince Americans that climate change is a serious problem, and that we need to accelerate our involvement in environmental  awareness and political change. That the main character lost his wife and children, suggests that he was a bit self-absorbed in rightous cause, to detriment of his familial relations.  In terms of political tactics, there appears to be real difference between an illegal but peaceful protest march, as practiced by Ghandi and Martin Luther King, and tresspassing to sabotoge private property, as practiced by these eco protesters.

Interior cancels decades-old protections for migratory birds — High Country News

“The Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks have sparked a lot of outrage. But one recent action by the Interior Department drew unprecedented protest from a bipartisan group of top officials who go all the way back to the Nixon administration: a new legal opinion that attempts to legalize the unintentional killing of most migratory birds.Under the new interpretation, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act forbids only intentional killing – such as hunting or killing birds to get their feathers – without a permit. The administration will no longer apply the act to industries that inadvertently kill a lot of birds through oil drilling, wind power and communications towers. Critics fear that these industries might now end the bird-friendly practices that save large numbers of birds.”

Source: Interior cancels decades-old protections for migratory birds — High Country News

On Climate- Gov. Murphy Brings a New Voice to New Jersey – The New York Times

“Given the Trump administration’s indifference to climate change, the task of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, the main global warming gas, has fallen largely to city and state governments. It is thus greatly encouraging that New Jersey, under its new governor, Phil Murphy, a Democrat, will join — more precisely, rejoin — the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a consortium of nine Eastern and New England states that has achieved substantial emissions reductions from large power plants since its start in 2009.”

What Republicans Think About Climate Change — in Maps – The New York Times

“Over the past two decades, Republicans have grown increasingly doubtful about climate change, even as Democrats have grown increasingly convinced that it’s happening and is caused by humans. But recent research published in the journal Climatic Change reveals greater nuance in partisan climate opinions across the country.

“Pockets of Republicans, or even a plurality or majority, support some pro-climate issues,” said Matto Mildenberger, a professor of political science at the University of California Santa Barbara and lead author on the study. Researchers found variation in Democratic beliefs too, he said, but those findings were less politically relevant because a majority of Democrats tend to accept climate science and support related policies no matter where they live.The study’s maps show how Republican support swings between minority and majority, depending on geography and how questions are posed.”

For an Endangered Animal- a Fire or Hurricane Can Mean the End – By Livia Albeck-Ripka – NYT

“When lighting struck the Pinaleño Mountains in southeast Arizona at around 2:45 p.m. on June 7, igniting a 48,000 acre fire that reduced an ancient forest to blackened poles and stumps, a scurry of rare squirrels — 217 of the 252 left in existence — disappeared.

Some were fitted with radio transmitters that burned to ash; conservationists deduced their fates. They hoped others had managed to escape.But for those 35 survivors — biological remnants from the last ice age — Jeff Humphrey, a spokesman with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, was deeply concerned.“Most of them have lost the cones they’ve stored for their winter nourishment,” Mr. Humphrey said. “How do we get them through this winter?”

‘Like Going Back in Time’: Puerto Ricans Put Survival Skills to Use – The New York Times

“SAN JUAN, P.R. — A grandmother turned a school bathroom sink into a bath. Neighbors are piling into a garage for communal meals prepared on an old gas stove. A 79-year-old man made a bonfire out of fallen tree branches to cook.More than a month after Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico on a path of destruction that spared no region, race or class, residents of the island have found their creativity stretched to the limit as they try to function without many amenities of the modern world.

It is not just water and electricity that are in scarce supply. Cellphone service ranges from spotty to nonexistent. Cars are damaged and roads blocked. For many, work and school still have not resumed, so they wander the streets, play board games and sit around telling stories by candlelight.

“It’s like going back in time,” said Kevin Jose Sanchez Gonzalez, 25, who has been living in darkness since Sept. 5, the day before a previous storm, Hurricane Irma, began to chip away at Puerto Rico’s electrical grid.Crammed into homes three or four families at a time, living on canned and freeze-dried food without any means of turning it into a hot meal, and sleeping in shelters, Puerto Ricans have been learning to make do, sometimes in extreme ways.”

Yes. Here are two of many comments I recommended and support.

Wade Nelson Durango, Colorado 1 hour ago

This could be America’s greatest hour. Construct and ship 100,000 tiny homes built from shipping containers. Offer American utilities massive tax breaks to send linemen, trucks, and equipment to P.R. Create a WPA or CCC to employ tens of thousands of under-employed Americans to rebuild homes. Fill the harbors with older cruise boats to house them while they do. Put every asset of the National Guard into restoring safety, and order in the island. Put a billion of OUR tax dollars in Elon Musk’s hands to fill the island with solar and PowerWall batteries instead of giving a tax cut to the rich. In other words, SEND THE CAVALRY. Americans need to take heed; whatever is NOT DONE in Puerto Rico will eventually NOT BE DONE in your town, your state, whether NorCAL, the Eastern Seaboard, Texas, or even Denver Colorado when disaster strikes YOUR area. As you have done to the “least of these, so you have done unto me” a wise man once said!

Reply 41 Recommended

David Solá-Del Valle, MD

Boston 3 hours ago

Facts about Puerto Rico a full month after the Hurricane (based on my visit to PR from Oct 9-Oct 14 and having my whole family in PR):
1) 77-88% (varies daily) of the island is without electricity, and Puerto Rico only has ~400 workers to restore the grid at this point as opposed to the 18,000 that were mobilized to Florida.
2) Most of my family is without water, and they live in Caguas, a mere 16 miles south of San Juan, essentially a suburb of San Juan, and easily accessible.
3) Getting a text or a phone call outside of San Juan is still miraculous. Imagine how difficult communications are. Sometimes you have to drive to see the person you need to talk to and pray they’re home and that you haven’t wasted your gas in vain. Of note, ~50% of cell towers are still down as of today.
4) The main hospitals in Caguas are working with generators.
5) Traffic is a mess – I lived it – no traffic lights are functional, and there aren’t enough policemen to man them all. Puerto Ricans have learned to multiply their usual commutes by 3-5 times depending on the day and weather.
6) I stood in line at several supermarkets in Caguas and Carolina to find food for my family to finally be allowed to enter and find half-empty shelves. This has been particularly hard for may cousin with Crohn’s disease.
7) 50 dead officially, 113 people missing, and people dying every day from lack of electricity, water, medications, etc. A video from a fellow physician in Centro Médico (in SJ) showed how grim it

Elon Musk Wants to Rebuild Puerto Rico’s Power Grid With Solar –

Ta’u, an island in American Samoa, with 100% sustainable energy grid by Tesla.

“Elon Musk Wants to Rebuild Puerto Rico’s Power Grid With SolarPuerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló responded positively to Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s offer to help restore the island’s hurricane-wrecked power grid with the company’s batteries and solar panels.”Let’s talk,” the governor tweeted to Musk Thursday evening. “Do you want to show the world the power and scalability of your #TeslaTechnologies? PR could be that flagship project.”Musk tweeted back that he would be “happy to talk.” ”

Source: Elon Musk Wants to Rebuild Puerto Rico’s Power Grid With Solar

E.P.A. Announces Repeal of Major Obama-Era Carbon Emissions Rule – The New York Times

“What is the impact on emissions?While the repeal of the Clean Power Plan offers a reprieve for America’s coal industry, it is unlikely to halt the decline of coal altogether. Even in the absence of the rule, many utilities across the country have opted to shift to natural gas, wind and solar, driven by cost concerns and state-level policies. Many states, like California and New York, are already moving ahead of the targets set by the Clean Power Plan as they develop their own climate policies.”

Make me vomit. Here are the three most recommended comments, all of which I heartily endorsed.

Mae B Haynes Wayzata MN 55391 20 hours ago

I’m too angry to write a reasoned comment. Trump is so jealous of Obama that, like a four year old, his only agenda … and it’s an obsession… is to “get back at him” by negating all the good Obama has done. I have never been so afraid for my country. All that comes to mind – and won’t go away – is the wish that Trump and his entire cabinet get to spend a three week, all expense paid vacation breathing the air that spews forth from coal powered chimneys, with Scott Pruitt leading the way.

Reply 1377 Recommended

NYT Pick
George Spring Lake, NJ 18 hours ago

As someone who worked as a research engineer for EPA at its birth in December, 1970, I am dismayed at how Pruitt is dismantling this critically important agency. However, despite the despicable actions of Pruitt, coal is dead, or at least is a dead man walking. The power industry knows this; even coal miners know this. The most Pruitt’s actions will do (and there is a terrible price in health and environmental degradation for them) is slow down the inevitable demise of coal. The country is also moving away from gasoline. The major auto makers, following the pioneering work of Tesla, have announced their intention to convert their offerings to fully electric vehicles. It is likely we will meet our goals under the Paris Climate Accord in spite of this administration. While the rest of the world is busy developing the technology for the post-fossil fuel world of the 21st century, Trump and his administration are busy turning the clock back to the 1950’s. Brilliant.

Reply 1040 Recommended

NYT Pick
C. Davison Alameda, CA 18 hours ago

“Hazard” is right. My heart is breaking. Let’s move back to smoggy air, dirty drinking water, rivers on fire. Let’s bring more unwanted children into the world and expedite removal of the ill by denying them easy access to health care. Let’s let private hands exploit our ancient, treasured Parks and Monuments at gig economy wages. Let’s put minorities and dissenters “in their place.” Let’s decimate more communities with storm damage. Let’s contaminate the world with malice and murder. How is this my country? I’m kneeling, too. @thefairelection

Reply 929 Recommended