‘Impossible to Ignore’: Why Alaska Is Crafting a Plan to Fight Climate Change – By Brad Plumer – NYT

By Brad Plumer,     May 15, 2018

“WASHINGTON — In the Trump era, it has mainly been blue states that have taken the lead on climate change policy, with liberal strongholds like California and New York setting ambitious goals for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Now, at least one deep-red state could soon join them: Alaska, a major oil and gas producer, is crafting its own plan to address climate change. Ideas under discussion include cuts in state emissions by 2025 and a tax on companies that emit carbon dioxide.

While many conservative-leaning states have resisted aggressive climate policies, Alaska is already seeing the dramatic effects of global warming firsthand, making the issue difficult for local politicians to avoid. The solid permafrost that sits beneath many roads, buildings and pipelines is starting to thaw, destabilizing the infrastructure above. At least 31 coastal towns and cities may need to relocate, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, as protective sea ice vanishes and fierce waves erode Alaska’s shores.”

David Lindsay:

2.5 minute film, from the article above. Lovely and scary. Alaska is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide, They are like a deer, frozen in the headlights on oil and gas, but even Alaska is admitting and making changes to accommodate and remediate climate change.



Opinion | Scott Pruitt Has Become Ridiculous – The New York Times

Despite stiff competition, Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is by common consensus the worst of the ideologues and mediocrities President Trump chose to populate his cabinet. Policies aside — and they’re terrible, from an environmental perspective — Mr. Pruitt’s self-aggrandizing and borderline thuggish behavior has disgraced his office and demoralized his employees. We opposed his nomination because he had spent his career as attorney general of Oklahoma suing the federal department he was being asked to lead on behalf of industries he was being asked to regulate. As it turns out, Mr. Pruitt is not just an industry lap dog but also an arrogant and vengeful bully and small-time grifter, bent on chiseling the taxpayer to suit his lifestyle and warm his ego.

Ryan Zinke Is Opening Up Public Lands. Just Not at Home. – The New York Times

“WHITEFISH, Mont. — When Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was a state senator from this idyllic mountain town, he drove a Prius, sported a beard and pushed President Barack Obama to make clean energy a priority.

Today, the beard and Prius are gone, and Mr. Zinke has emerged as a leading figure, along with Scott Pruitt of the Environmental Protection Agency, in the environmental rollbacks that have endeared President Trump to the fossil fuel industry and outraged conservationists.In the last year, Mr. Zinke has torn up Obama-era rules related to oil, gas and mineral extraction and overseen the largest reduction of federal land protection in the nation’s history, including an effort to slash the size of Bears Ears National Monument.”

David Lindsay Jr. Hamden, CT Pending Approval

Excellent reporting by Julie Turkewitz. She writes, “But as Mr. Trump’s chief public lands administrator, Mr. Zinke has favored the fossil fuel companies that have increasingly made up his donor base, overhauling restrictions on methane emissions, fast-tracking the oil-and-gas leasing process, and pushing to open nearly the entire outer continental shelf for energy development.”

Mr. Zinke is apparently a weasel. Methane emmissions are really bad for life on the planet as we know and admire it. He dismantles environmental protections, everywhere but his own state of Montana, since he is deeply ambitious for more political career. He was for fighting climate change when Barack Obama was president. Working for this new administration, it is no longer an issue. Just another politician for purchase.

David Lindsay:
I just enjoyed the The Will Rogers Follies at the Goodspeed Opera House. David Lutken was fabulous, and quoted Will Rogers as saying, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” But then added, though some men are far more trying than others. Will Rogers made a lot of jokes at the expense of politicians of both major parties. Thinking of Zinke, the weasel described in this NYT piece, I would amend the statement. I never met a man I didn’t like, unless he was a politician and practicing hypocrite and sycophant.

David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com

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.”

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.”

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

Harrowing Storms May Move Climate Debate- if Not G.O.P. Leaders – The New York Times

For years, climate change activists have faced a wrenching dilemma: how to persuade people to care about a grave but seemingly far-off problem and win their support for policies that might pinch them immediately in utility bills and at the pump.But that calculus may be changing at a time when climatic chaos feels like a daily event rather than an airy abstraction, and storms powered by warming ocean waters wreak havoc on the mainland United States. Americans have spent weeks riveted by television footage of wrecked neighborhoods, displaced families, flattened Caribbean islands and submerged cities from Houston to Jacksonville.“The conversation is shifting,” said Senator Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii. “Because even if you don’t believe liberals, even if you don’t believe scientists, you can believe your own eyes.”

Here is a a comment I didn’t like, and my response.

William Case United States 25 minutes ago NYT Pick

The climate has been cooling since the Holocene Climate Optimum peaked between 7,500 to 5,000 years ago, when temperatures were much higher than today. The cooling is produced by the Milankovitch Cycle—predictable changes in the Earth’s orbit—which combines with changes in the tilt of the earth orbit and the present positioning of the continental plates to produce very long glacial periods (ice ages) and very short interglacial periods (warming periods). The glacial periods last millions of years while the interglacial periods average about 10,000 years. In geological time, the current interglacial period has a few minutes still to go. There have been other brief warming periods during the cool-down similar to the one we are now experiencing. The only difference is that manmade carbon emissions are now contributing to the present warming period. If manmade carbon emissions can prolong the current interglacial period, they may be doing as much good as harm. However, it is unlikely that manmade carbon emissions will offset the Milankovitch Cycle. The probability is that the ice sheets will soon return, once again covering the northern tier of the United States beneath kilometers of ice.

In Reply to comment above:
David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval
William Case, cite your source or sources. If we cause the extinction of 80% of species on earth, as predicted by EO Wilson of Harvard and others, the human species might be one of them. We do not have several thousand years to exacerbate the overheating of the planet, before the next cooling period.
If we melt most of earth’s ice in the next few hundred years, the wars that might ensue from a 100+ foot sea level rise might do in most of the human race as well.

States Dare to Think Big on Climate Change – The New York Times

“The one bright spot amid the generally gloomy news about climate change, and the Trump administration’s resistance to doing anything about it, is the determination of a number of state governments to take action on their own.

California, as usual, has commanded the headlines on this score, having just strengthened its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Now the nine Northeastern states that form the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have done much the same, in a further rebuke to the know-littles and do-nothings like Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, who are now calling the shots on climate policy in Washington.

The nine states, including Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York, last week agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants an additional 30 percent by 2030, on top of the 40 percent cut they have already achieved since the program began in 2009. R.G.G.I., as the initiative is known, was the nation’s first multistate greenhouse gas initiative. From the beginning (and despite the defection of New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie), it has had the backing of governors from both parties. More important, it has quietly achieved substantial emissions reductions at little cost to the states’ economies or to their consumers.”