Opinion | Black Women Are Leaders in the Climate Movement – The New York Times

By 

Mrs. Toney is the national field director of Moms Clean Air Force.

  • Dr. Na’Taki Osborne Jelks, an environmental activist, is one of the founders of the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance.
CreditCreditAudra Melton for The New York Times

“Before the first Democratic debate, I watched one of my favorite shows, MSNBC’s AM Joy, excited to see not one, but three people of color tapped to talk about climate change and how candidates were discussing it along the campaign trail. My heart dropped when Tiffany Cross, a guest commentator on the show, stated that while climate change disproportionately impacts communities of color, it’s an issue only in very “niche groups” of those communities. She wasn’t claiming that the issue wasn’t important, but that your average black person didn’t see it as an everyday thing.

Despite stereotypes of a lack of interest in environmental issues among African-Americans, black women, particularly Southern black women, are no strangers to environmental activism. Many of us live in communities with polluted air and water, work in industries from housekeeping to hairdressing where we are surrounded by toxic chemicals and have limited food options that are often impacted by pesticides.

Environmentalism, in other words, is a black issue.

For more than 20 years, Dr. Mildred McClain has been fighting to protect and educate communities of color in Savannah, Ga. When the air was thick with pollution from the shipping channels in the Savannah port in 2018, Dr. McClain convened community meetingsso that people were part of the solution. She encouraged African-Americans in her community to become certified in environmental fields like hazardous waste removal, soil remediation and air monitoring.

Dr. Beverly Wright, a professor of sociology, has been training leaders from our country’s historically black colleges and universities in the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice. She started the HBCU Climate Change Consortium and the HBCU-CBO Gulf Equity Consortium, where her students assisted Hurricane Katrina victims, researched climate impacts on vulnerable communities and took their brilliance to places like the COP21 in Paris to witness the negotiation of the Paris Climate Accord.”

Automakers, Rejecting Trump Pollution Rule, Strike a Deal With California – By Coral Davenport and Hiroko Tabuchi – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — Four of the world’s largest automakers, including the Ford Motor Company, have struck a deal with California to reduce tailpipe pollution, in a setback to the Trump administration as it prepares to weaken national emissions standards and revoke states’ rights to set their own such rules.

While Trump administration officials in the White House and Environmental Protection Agency have been working on a plan to drastically weaken Obama-era rules on planet-warming vehicle pollution, four automakers — Ford, Honda, Volkswagen Group of America and BMW of North America — have been holding secretive talks in Sacramento on a plan to move forward with the standards in California, the nation’s largest auto market. And on Thursday, Gavin Newsom, the governor of California said he was “very confident” that more automakers would join the deal in the coming days.

The move is another blow in the battle between Mr. Trump and California, a state he seems to relish antagonizing and which has filed more than 50 lawsuits against his administration. “We in California see these regulations as a good thing. The Trump administration is hellbent on rolling back them back,” Mr. Newsom said. “They are in complete denialism about climate change.” “

Opinion | The Trees Might Save Us Yet – by Margaret Renkl – The New York Times

“. . . .   It’s a conundrum. We love our trees, and our trees protect us as we love them, breathing in the greenhouse gasses that are warming the planet, cooling our city streets and reducing energy costs. Chernobyl had nothing on the climate calamity we face today, but instead of protecting our surviving forests — both the urban tree canopy and the remaining wilderness in our care — we allow the pace of deforestation to increase at a breathtaking rate. Instead of replanting forests that have been destroyed by industry, we issue new logging and mining permits in previously protected land.

A new study recently sought to quantity the benefits that could be derived from planting trees in the coming cataclysm. A Times summary of the new report noted that “the planet could support nearly 2.5 billion additional acres of forest without shrinking our cities and farms, and that those additional trees, when they mature, could store a whole lot of the extra carbon — 200 gigatons of carbon, to be precise — generated by industrial activity over the last 150 years.” Planting trees, in other words, could go a long way toward saving us from ourselves. Although ecosystem changes may complicate the planting in this new climate, we have to try.

In Richard Powers’s magnificent novel “The Overstory,” which won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for fiction, one character repeats a Chinese saying: “When is the best time to plant a tree? Twenty years ago.”

Then she continues: “When is the next best time? Now.”

The Fish Is Boneless. (Fishless, Too.) – By David Yaffe-Bellany – The New York Times

“First, there was the meatless burger. Soon we may have fishless fish.

Impossible Foods, the California company behind the meatless Impossible Whopper now available at Burger King, is joining a crowded field of food companies developing alternatives to traditional seafood with plant-based recipes or laboratory techniques that allow scientists to grow fish from cells.

So far, much of Impossible’s work has focused on the biochemistry of fish flavor, which can be reproduced using heme, the same protein undergirding its meat formula, according to Pat Brown, the company’s chief executive. Last month, Impossible’s 124-person research and development team, which the company plans to increase to around 200 by the end of next year, produced an anchovy-flavored broth made from plants, he said.

“It was being used to make paella,” Mr. Brown said. “But you could use it to make Caesar dressing or something like that.”

The fishless-fish project is part of Impossible’s grand ambitions to devise tasty replacements for every animal-based food on the market by 2035. Whether that aim is achievable, either scientifically or financially, remains to be seen. But for now, Mr. Brown said, he’s confident Impossible’s plant-based beef recipe can be reconfigured to simulate a new source of protein.”

David Lindsay: Great article and comments. Here are the top three I endorsed, but there are many more good ones”

Lowell H
California

@Stefan….Phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) are found in some of the healthiest plants and plant based foods. Soybeans, garbanzo beans, tofu, mung beans, sprouts of many kinds…The list goes on. Sorry, Stefan, but these items are “good for you”, as mom would say, the beef and pork industries “studies” and shrill attacks notwithstanding. You positing that they are “far more harmful than red meat” is merely another desperate meat-eaters mantra.

In Reply to Lowell H60 Recommended

Lindsey commented 5 hours ago

Lindsey
Philadelphia, PA

Appreciating NYTimes recent reporting on vegan meats, great to see. Disappointing to read that more people are still apparently only concerned with health benefits that would accrue directly to them rather than the myriad of benefits that would accrue for many, many people through a reduction in meat consumption: greenhouse gas reduction, less forest loss, return of native fish stocks, toxic runoff reduction, etc, etc. Surprised this article didn’t mention Gardein, which makes a delicious vegan fish fillet along with a bunch of other products. I don’t think Gardein has been as targeted at flexitarians and non-vegans, but I would argue their fish fillet would be an easy (and better tasting) replacement in the fish sandwiches of many fast food chains–and I used to really like those.

7 Replies58 Recommended

Randy commented 3 hours ago

Randy
SF, NM

I don’t understand the hostility of meat-eaters toward these plant-based products. No one is coming to take away your hamburgers. Eating plant-based protein isn’t going to be mandatory. You may continue to consume real meat. But anyone who thinks plant-based protein is “gross” compared to the real thing should look into what happens at slaughterhouses, processing plants and on fishing vessels.

1 Reply53 Recommended

Stop building a spaceship to Mars and just plant some damn trees | By Jackie Flynn Mogensen | Grist

When it comes to climate change research, most studies bear bad news regarding the looming, very real threat of a warming planet and the resulting devastation that it will bring upon the Earth. But a new study, out Thursday in the journal Science, offers a sliver of hope for the world: A group of researchers based in Switzerland, Italy, and France found that expanding forests, which sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, could seriously make up for humans’ toxic carbon emissions.

In 2018, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s foremost authority on climate, estimated that we’d need to plant 1 billion hectares of forest by 2050 to keep the globe from warming a full 1.5 degrees Celsiusover pre-industrial levels. (One hectare is about twice the size of a football field.) Not only is that “undoubtedly achievable,” according to the study’s authors, but global tree restoration is “our most effective climate change solution to date.”

In fact, there’s space on the planet for an extra 900 million hectares of canopy cover, the researchers found, which translates to storage for a whopping 205 gigatons of carbon. To put that in perspective, humans emit about 10 gigatons of carbon from burning fossil fuels every year, according to Richard Houghton, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center, who was not involved with the study. And overall, there are now about 850 gigatons of carbon in the atmosphere; a tree-planting effort on that scale could, in theory, cut carbon by about 25 percent, according to the authors.

Source: Stop building a spaceship to Mars and just plant some damn trees | Grist

This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of theClimate Desk collaboration.

It’s New York vs. California in a New Climate Race. Who Will Win? – By Brad Plumer – The New York Times

By Brad Plumer

Illustrations by Tim Peacock

“California and New York have recently set some of the world’s most ambitious climate targets, aiming to slash their net emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases down to nearly zero in just three short decades.

Now the race is on to see if either state can pull off this feat — something that no major economy in the world has yet achieved. For now, neither state has a clear advantage, and both must overcome unique obstacles to clean up their power plants, cars and buildings. New York has the lowest per-person emissions of any state in the nation, but California is close behind.”

Asia Development Bank Report on Climate Change in Asia

 

“The historic Paris Agreement of 2015 has acknowledged that the global climate crisis is arguably the greatest challenge
human civilization faces in the 21st century. In this context, the role of the Asia and Pacific region is characterized
by a double dichotomy that entails simultaneously high risks and significant opportunities. Proper analysis guided
by adequate information can result in investment and policy choices that will continue to promote sustainable economic
development and eradicate poverty in the region.
The first dichotomy relates to the region accounting for an increasing overall share of global emissions of greenhouse
gases (GHGs) harming not only the world but the region itself. At the same time however, countries of the region have
the unprecedented opportunity to break the GHG-intensive development path by rapidly modifying the historical
model of industrial development. The rapidly decreasing costs of wind and solar power generation clearly indicates that
consumption and production of the future could be driven by renewable energy sources, though the when and where of
this great transition remain uncertain.
The second dichotomy pertains to the already observed and anticipated future impacts of anthropogenic global warming.
On the one hand, the rapid economic and human development of the region renders societies less vulnerable to the familiar
vagaries of the environment—such as heat waves, heavy precipitation or tropical cyclones. In particular, the shift away from
agriculture as the core sector guaranteeing livelihoods and the associated economic diversification of the countries of the
region help to increase resilience to weather extremes such as those experienced historically. Simultaneously however,
the same developments have opened up new avenues of exposure and vulnerability. Coastal populations and assets are
highly at risk from projected rises in sea level and the intensification of extreme weather events. Urbanized populations
are exposed to heat stress hazards. National and increasingly integrated regional economic systems are vulnerable to
disruptions in supply chain networks. Populations are migrating away from areas where climate change impacts represent
an increasing threat.
These rapidly emerging new climate vulnerabilities in the Asia and Pacific region need to be addressed with a portfolio
of strategies involving capacity building, preparedness programs, urban and rural planning, national and social security
schemes, proactive migration and numerous others. Crucial preconditions for success are whole-systems and long-term
thinking and planning, based on the best available data, analysis, and modeling.”

What It’s Like to Live in a Surveillance State – by James Millward – NYT

Image by Brian Stauffer, NYT

“I have researched Xinjiang for three decades. Ethnic tensions have been common during all those years, and soon after 9/11, Chinese authorities started invoking the specter of “the three evil forces of separatism, extremism and terrorism” as a pretense to crack down on Uighurs. But state repression in Xinjiang has never been as severe as it has become since early 2017, when Chen Quanguo, the C.C.P.’s new leader in the region, began an intensive securitization program.

Mr. Chen has brought to Xinjiang the grid system of checkpoints, police stations, armored vehicles and constant patrols that he perfected while in his previous post in Tibet. The C.C.P. credits him with having quieted there a restive ethnic group unhappy with its rule. In his first year governing Xinjiang, Mr. Chen has already recruited tens of thousands of new security personnel.”

“. . . .How does the party think that directives banning fasting during Ramadanin Xinjiang, requiring Uighur shops to sell alcohol and prohibiting Muslim parents from giving their children Islamic names will go over with governments and peoples from Pakistan to Turkey? The Chinese government may be calculating that money can buy these states’ quiet acceptance. But the thousands of Uighur refugees in Turkey and Syriaalready complicate China’s diplomacy.

Tibetans know well this hard face of China. Hong Kongers must wonder: If Uighur culture is criminalized and Xinjiang’s supposed autonomy is a sham, what will happen to their own vibrant Cantonese culture and their city’s shaky “one country, two systems” arrangement with Beijing? What might Taiwan’s reunification with a securitized mainland look like? Will the big-data police state engulf the rest of China? The rest of the world?”

Source: What It’s Like to Live in a Surveillance State – The New York Times

Opinion | Why China’s Good Environmental Policies Have Gone Wrong – NYT

Stange article, with some questionalbe assertions, such as, there is no data on the kinds of air pollution that China faces. This assertion is false. Other counties have already studied these pollutants. There is lots of good data.What is striking, is that cancer is the leading cause of death in China, and lung cancer is the most common form of cancer. That in itself is a form of data. There is no doubt but the rapid conversion is causing shortages and some severe discomforts.

I wonder if this writer is paid by the coal industry to try and cast doubt on the validity of changing rapidly to natural gas and sustainable energy sources.

Haste and zeal to please an increasingly authoritarian government have created unexpected problems.
NYTIMES.COM

Energy initiative to cut smog worsens winter gas shortage – China Daily

By HOU LIQIANG/DU JUAN/ZHENG JINRAN/ZHANG YU | China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-15 06:52

Surging demand for cleaner fuel affects household heating and pushes up market prices

Authorities in Shaanxi province limited the amount of liquefied natural gas cab drivers can purchase. [Photo/CHINA NEWS SERVICE]

Every day, before starting his shift, taxi driver Zhong Guishun heads to a gas station to fill his tank. Usually, the process only takes a few minutes, but last week it took more than two hours.

Like most cabs in Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei province, Zhong’s car runs on liquefied natural gas, which was in short supply.

“Only a few stations had the fuel. Some of my peers, who have been driving cabs for more than a decade, said the situation is the worst they’ve ever known,” he said, adding that the line of vehicles stretched more than a kilometer.

Although supplies at gas stations have returned to normal, the provincial government has yet to lift the orange alert-the second-highest level, signaling a shortfall of as much as 20 percent-it sent out about gas supplies last month.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201712/15/WS5a3300a6a3108bc8c6734c18.html

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