Opinion | What if Mother Nature Is on the Ballot in 2020? – By Thomas L. Friedman – The New York Times

By Thomas L. Friedman
Opinion Columnist

Aug. 14, 2018, 540
Flames reached the backyard of a home in Lake Elsinore, Calif., last week.
Credit
David McNew/EPA, via Shutterstock

Image
Flames reached the backyard of a home in Lake Elsinore, Calif., last week.CreditCreditDavid McNew/EPA, via Shutterstock
What if this time is different?

“There is an assumption that the 2020 presidential election will be business as usual: Donald Trump will run on the economy, social issues and immigration, and the Democratic candidate will run on income inequality, Democratic socialism and Trump’s character — the 2020 version of right-left U.S. politics.

But I believe there’s a sleeper issue out there that could force its way into the election. What if Mother Nature is on the ballot?

What if all the extreme weather this year — linked to climate change — gets even worse and more costly? What if the big 2020 issue is not left-right — but hot-cold or wet-dry? What if the big 2020 issue is not “Who lost Russia?” or “Who lost North Korea?” but “Who lost planet Earth?”

We’re talking about the natural world, so one has to be cautious. But if you look at all the destructive extreme weather buffeting the world this summer alone, it’s as if Mother Nature were saying to us: “Oh, you didn’t notice me tapping on your shoulder these past few years? O.K. Well, how about a little fire, Scarecrow? How about this:

“How about I bake Europe, set the biggest wildfire California has ever seen and more active wildfires — 460 in one day — than British Columbia has ever seen, and also start the worst forest fires in decades in Sweden, even extending north of the Arctic Circle where temperatures this month reached 86 degrees. Meanwhile, I’ll subject Japan to the heaviest rainfall it’s ever recorded, and then a couple weeks later the highest temperature it’s ever recorded — 106 degrees in Kumagaya, northwest of Tokyo. And for a punctuation mark, I’ll break the heat record in Death Valley, reaching 127 degrees, and burn the worst drought in living memory into Eastern Australia, where the BBC last week quoted a dairy farmer as saying, “It’s gotten to the point where it’s cheaper to shoot your cows than it is to feed them.” “

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NBC Meet the Press- with Chuck Todd- did an hour show on “The Climate Crisis.”

David Lindsay

NBC Meet the Press, with Chuck Todd, did an hour show on “The Climate Crisis,” with a panel, with no deniers, on December 30th, 2018. Kathleen Schomaker and I have watched it, and recommend it. The special guests are Michael Bloomberg and Jerry Brown.
https://www.nbc.com/meet-the-…/…/meet-the-press-1230/3850857

The Oil Industry’s Covert Campaign to Rewrite American Car Emissions Rules – By Hiroko Tabuchi – The New York Times

By Hiroko Tabuchi
Dec. 13, 2018, 181

“When the Trump administration laid out a plan this year that would eventually allow cars to emit more pollution, automakers, the obvious winners from the proposal, balked. The changes, they said, went too far even for them.

But it turns out that there was a hidden beneficiary of the plan that was pushing for the changes all along: the nation’s oil industry.

In Congress, on Facebook and in statehouses nationwide, Marathon Petroleum, the country’s largest refiner, worked with powerful oil-industry groups and a conservative policy network financed by the billionaire industrialist Charles G. Koch to run a stealth campaign to roll back car emissions standards, a New York Times investigation has found.

The campaign’s main argument for significantly easing fuel efficiency standards — that the United States is so awash in oil it no longer needs to worry about energy conservation — clashed with decades of federal energy and environmental policy.”

Is Exxon Conning Its Investors?  The New York Times Editorial

By The Editorial Board

Nov. 25, 2018, 195
Credit
Antonio Sortino
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CreditCreditAntonio Sortino

“In August, a lawyer for Exxon Mobil told a state court in Manhattan that New York’s attorney general should either sue the company for misleading investors about the impact of climate change on its finances or drop the case. “They should put up or shut up,” the lawyer, Theodore Wells Jr., said of a tangled case that had dragged on for more than two years. The weary judge, Barry Ostrager, agreed. “This cannot go on interminably,” he said.

Put-up time has arrived. Late last month, Attorney General Barbara Underwood filed a fraud lawsuit against the company. Exxon responded with a 38-page brief basically denying everything. And Judge Ostrager has set a trial date for October of next year.

Much can happen between now and then. But the judge’s decision to allow the case to proceed could provide a rare teaching moment that allows the public to see a powerful company grappling with the kinds of choices that all legacy fossil fuel companies will surely face in a carbon-constrained world.

The case is not a rehash of the copiously documented charge that Exxon had for years subsidized climate change denialist groups even as its own scientists were acutely aware of the dangers of global warming. That charge is partly what inspired Ms. Underwood’s predecessor, Eric Schneiderman, to begin investigating the company in the first place. But Exxon has since agreed that climate change is a problem, supported the Paris agreement and invested in cleaner fuels. Nor does the suit hold the company responsible for climate change, unlike several cases against the fossil fuel industry brought by New York City and other localities seeking damages from the rise of sea levels and other consequences of a warming world. Most of these suits have been thrown out of court.”

Trump Administration’s Strategy on Climate: Try to Bury Its Own Scientific Report – By Coral Davenport – The New York Times

Coral Davenport
By Coral Davenport
Nov. 25, 2018, 472

“WASHINGTON — The Trump White House, which has defined itself by a willingness to dismiss scientific findings and propose its own facts, on Friday issued a scientific report that directly contradicts its own climate-change policies.

That sets the stage for a remarkable split-screen political reality in coming years. The administration is widely expected to discount or ignore the report’s detailed findings of the economic strain caused by climate change, even as it continues to cut environmental regulations, while opponents use it to mount legal attacks against the very administration that issued the report.

“This report will be used in court in significant ways,” said Richard L. Revesz, an expert in environmental law at New York University. “I can imagine a lawyer for the Trump administration being asked by a federal judge, ‘How can the federal government acknowledge the seriousness of the problem, and then set aside the rules that protect the American people from the problem?’ And they might squirm around coming up with an answer.”

The 1,656-page National Climate Assessment, which is required by Congress, is the most comprehensive scientific study to date detailing the effects of global warming on the United States economy, public health, coastlines and infrastructure. It describes in precise detail how the warming planet will wreak hundreds of billions of dollars of damage in coming decades.”

U.S. Climate Report Warns of Damaged Environment and Shrinking Economy – By Coral Davenport and Kendra Pierre-Louis – The New York Times

Coral DavenportKendra Pierre-Louis
By Coral Davenport and Kendra Pierre-Louis
Nov. 23, 2018 751

“WASHINGTON — A major scientific report issued by 13 federal agencies on Friday presents the starkest warnings to date of the consequences of climate change for the United States, predicting that if significant steps are not taken to rein in global warming, the damage will knock as much as 10 percent off the size of the American economy by century’s end.

The report, which was mandated by Congress and made public by the White House, is notable not only for the precision of its calculations and bluntness of its conclusions, but also because its findings are directly at odds with President Trump’s agenda of environmental deregulation, which he asserts will spur economic growth.

Mr. Trump has taken aggressive steps to allow more planet-warming pollution from vehicle tailpipes and power plant smokestacks, and has vowed to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, under which nearly every country in the world pledged to cut carbon emissions. Just this week, he mocked the science of climate change because of a cold snap in the Northeast, tweeting, “Whatever happened to Global Warming?”
But in direct language, the 1,656-page assessment lays out the devastating effects of a changing climate on the economy, health and environment, including record wildfires in California, crop failures in the Midwest and crumbling infrastructure in the South. Going forward, American exports and supply chains could be disrupted, agricultural yields could fall to 1980s levels by midcentury and fire season could spread to the Southeast, the report finds.”

What’s New in the Latest U.S. Climate Assessment – By Brad Plumer and Henry Fountain – The New York Times

By Brad Plumer and Henry Fountain
Nov. 23, 2018

“WASHINGTON — Global warming is now affecting the United States more than ever, and the risks of future disasters — from flooding along the coasts to crop failures in the Midwest — could pose a profound threat to Americans’ well-being.

That’s the gist of Volume Two of the latest National Climate Assessment, a 1,656-page report issued on Friday that explores both the current and future impacts of climate change. The scientific report, which comes out every four years as mandated by Congress, was produced by 13 federal agencies and released by the Trump administration.

This year’s report contains many of the same findings cited in the previous National Climate Assessment, published in 2014. Temperatures are still going up, and the odds of dangers such as wildfires in the West continue to increase. But reflecting some of the impacts that have been felt across the country in the past four years, some of the report’s emphasis has changed.

Predicted impacts have materialized”

Sherrod Brown: Rumpled- Unvarnished and Just Maybe a Candidate for President – The New York Times

By Sydney Ember
Nov. 15, 2018

“COLUMBUS, Ohio — One after another, the Democratic candidates in Ohio fell.

But there was Senator Sherrod Brown celebrating his re-election last Tuesday night at a hotel ballroom before a crowd of anxious revelers.

“Let our country — let our nation’s citizens, our Democratic Party, my fellow elected officials all over the country — let them all cast their eyes towards the heartland,” Mr. Brown said from the stage, dispelling the sense of disappointment that had begun to descend.

Then, his gravelly voice rasping out a crescendo, he made it clear where he thought his party could forge its path to success: his triumphant campaign, he said, was the “blueprint for America for 2020.” The revelers roared.

If his victory speech seemed to double as a calling card for a possible presidential run, there was good reason. Not only had Mr. Brown won his third term in this crucial battleground that President Trump claimed by eight points, he was the only major Democrat to win a statewide seat in Ohio.”

David Lindsay: This piece by Ember flunks. No mention of climate change. It misses the big story, that Sherrod Brown is a leader to fight climate change, while protecting manufacturing.  See post before this one.

Climate bill hinges on Ohio’s Sen. Brown | TheHill

“In early May, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) predicted climate change legislation would be more difficult to pass than healthcare reform, noting that the biggest obstacle would come from Democrats in states “down the middle of this country.”

Brown is weighing all of that while answering questions in his office on the seventh floor of the Hart Building, which until last year was occupied by then-Sen. Obama (D-Ill.).

For starters, he thinks the Senate climate change bill needs to invest significantly more to help U.S. manufacturers, which face a competitive disadvantage with companies in China and other countries with less strict environmental rules.

Brown wants Boxer to increase the size of rebates to manufacturers that consume large amounts of energy, and give more assistance to small- and midsized manufacturers trying to retool their businesses to compete in the clean-energy economy.

Perhaps most controversially, Brown wants the Senate to consider imposing tariffs on foreign competitors operating in countries with lax rules for greenhouse gas emissions.

“Carbon dioxide emissions expand if a company closes down in Toledo, Ohio, and moves to Shanghai, where the emissions standards are weaker,” he said. Brown describes this phenomenon as “carbon leakage.”

Democrats such as Sens. Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Carl Levin (Mich.) and Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.) say they have the same concerns as Brown and acknowledge that he has been a leading advocate for industrial states.

“His voice on manufacturing is really important,” said Stabenow of Brown.”

Source: Climate bill hinges on Ohio’s Sen. Brown | TheHill

Gov. John Hickenlooper signs on to U.S. Climate Alliance – By BRUCE FINLEY | The Denver Post 

Photo from NYT:

 

By BRUCE FINLEY | bfinley@denverpost.com | The Denver Post
PUBLISHED: July 11, 2017 at 12:25 pm | UPDATED: July 16, 2017

“Colorado on Tuesday joined the growing number of states and cities committed to meeting or exceeding greenhouse gas reduction targets set in the international Paris climate agreement that President Donald Trump rejects.

Gov. John Hickenlooper issued an executive order compelling a greenhouse gas emissions cut before 2025 by at least 26 percent below 2005 levels. Hickenlooper also declared Colorado will sign on to the U.S. Climate Alliance of states and companies countering the Trump administration by shifting more quickly to wind and solar energy. This move added Western heft to widening efforts to try to ease the impacts of rising temperatures.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signs an …Andy Cross, The Denver PostColorado Governor John Hickenlooper signs an executive order at Red Rocks Park, July 11, 2017, committing the state to climate action to reduce greenhouse gases by more than 26 percent by 2025, reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector by 25 percent by 2025, and 35 percent by 2035.
Colorado will accelerate work toward climate goals “regardless of what the federal government decides to do,” Hickenlooper said before signing the order at Red Rocks Park, overlooking metro Denver.”

Source: John Hickenlooper signs on to U.S. Climate Alliance