Opinion | A Brief History of the Warren Presidency – By David Brooks – The New York Times

David Brooks

By 

Opinion Columnist

“A crisis of legitimacy swept across American politics in the second decade of the 21st century. Many people had the general conviction that the old order was corrupt and incompetent. There was an inchoate desire for some radical transformation. This mood swept the Republican Party in 2016 as Donald Trump eviscerated the G.O.P. establishment and it swept through the Democratic Party in 2020.

In the 2020 primary race Joe Biden stood as the candidate for linear change and Elizabeth Warren stood as the sharp break from the past. Biden was the front-runner, but fragile. Many of the strongest debate performers — Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bennet — couldn’t get any traction because Biden occupied the moderate lane. By the time he faded, it was too late.

Warren triumphed over the other progressive populist, Bernie Sanders, because she had what he lacked — self-awareness. She could run a campaign that mitigated her weaknesses. He could not.

Biden was holding on until Warren took Iowa and New Hampshire. He or some other moderate could have recovered, but the California primary had been moved up to March 3, Super Tuesday. When Warren dominated most of the states that day, it was over. The calendar ensured that the most progressive candidate would win.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment.
David Brooks, this is a fine piece of fiction, and you make many good points. But it is missing the elephant in the room. Bloomberg Businessweek put on its November 5th, 2012 cover: “It’s Global Warming Stupid” The NYT has done a magnificent job covering the climate crisis. Please take a serious look at their Magazine of around August 1st, 2019, titled, “Losing Earth: thirty years ago we could have saved the planet.”
I would recomment you look at this weeks Time Magazine 9/23/19 titled, Special Climate Issue, 2050 How Earth Survived, with the cover story by Bill McKibbon, and other spectacular pieces by Al Gore, and Aryn Baker. I haven’t read them all yet.
But for God’s sake, or for the sake of our grandchildren, wake my friend, and “study the Science,” as 16 year old Greta Thunberg just begged a group of congressmen and women to do. You are one of my favorite Republican, right of center, writers, thinkers and analysts, but you are starting to embarrass me because you don’t see, read or feel, the climate crisis:  that they are suffering multiple days of heat in Jacobabad, Pakistan of 51.1 degrees Celsius. That is multiple days of 124 degrees Fahrenheit. Global warming was predicted by climate scientists, because it is based on high school chemistry.

Opinion | Sliding Down the Climate Slope – By Gernot Wagner and Constantine Samaras – The New York Times

By Gernot Wagner and 

Drs. Wagner and Samaras are academics whose work focuses on climate change.

CreditCreditChase Dekker/Wild-Life Images, via Moment –Getty Images Plus

“Twelve years is at once an eternity and right around the corner. Just ask any parent watching their kids grow up. So it hits home when a growing chorus of often young voices — from proponents of the Green New Deal to the global Youth Climate Strike — says forcefully that the world has 12 years left to avoid disastrous climate change. This is just the latest dire warning about time running out issued over the past 20 years. But this deadline is different — it’s both entirely wrong, and oh so right.

The idea of a 12-year deadline arose last fall with the release of a special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The United Nations group of climate scientists from around the world said that if the planet’s governments want to limit global warming to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above preindustrial temperatures, a mere 1 degree Fahrenheit above today’s levels, society will have to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by about half by 2030, declining further to net zero by around midcentury. The “about” and “around” typically get dropped in translation, rendering the outcome falsely precise, especially in headlines about the report. The Guardian, for example, announced: “We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns U.N.”

Now, of course, it would be 11 years.

Technically, this deadline is wrong, not least because it is much too precise. The world won’t end in 2030 if emissions don’t decline. The NASA climate scientist Kate Marvel summed it up perfectly: “Climate change isn’t a cliff we fall off, but a slope we slide down.”

That’s one of the many reasons climate change is such a difficult problem. There’s no obvious stop sign, no simple red line. The reverse is also true: There won’t be a superhero ending to this movie, a point when climate change will have been “solved.” Our children and grandchildren — and theirs — will be managing the impacts of climate change for decades and centuries to come.”

Greta Thunberg, on Tour in America, Offers an Unvarnished View – The New York Times

“These are some of the things that Greta Thunberg has learned on her American tour.

New York City smells. People talk really loudly here, they blast air conditioning and they argue over whether or not they believe in climate change, while in her country, Sweden, they accept it as fact.

Also, American lawmakers would do well to read the latest science on the threats posed by climate change.

That’s what Ms. Thunberg, 16, told members of Congress on Wednesday, when she was asked to submit her testimony into the record. She submitted a report issued last October by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, spelling out the threats of global temperature rise. “I don’t want you to listen to me,” she said. “I want you to listen to the scientists.”

Her remarks lasted barely a minute. “And then I want you to take real action.” “

David Lindsay
I am a big fan of Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish teenager with low level autism, who surprised the Swedes by cutting school on Fridays to stand outside the Swedish parliament building, with a sign that read something like, we children demand that you adults take care of and protect our future.

She no longer has to stand by herself on Fridays.
From Wikipedia: “In August 2018, at 15 years of age, Thunberg took time off school to demonstrate outside the Swedish parliament, holding up a sign calling for stronger climate action. Soon, other students engaged in similar protests in their own communities. Together they organized a school climate strike movement, under the name Fridays for Future. After Thunberg addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, student strikes took place every week somewhere in the world. In 2019, there were at least two coordinated multi-city protests involving over one million pupils each.”
DL: I admire this youngster.She reminds me of Joan of Arc, who some argue raised the spirits of generals and solders and accompaniedd them into war as a teenager.

Opinion | Climate Change Is Not World War – By Roy Scranton – The New York Times

By 

Mr. Scranton is a professor of English at Notre Dame.

CreditCreditFrank Scherschel/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

“When Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts introduced their Green New Deal proposal in February, they chose language loaded with nostalgia for one of the country’s most transformative historical moments, urging the country to undertake “a new national, social, industrial and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal era.”

They are not the first to hark back to the struggles of that era. Former Vice President Al Gore, Senator Lamar Alexander and the environmentalist Lester Brown have all been calling for national “mobilization” to fight climate change for more than a decade. In 2011, environmental groups wrote a letter to President Barack Obama and China’s president, Hu Jintao, demanding “wartime-like mobilization by the governments of the United States and China to cut carbon emissions.” In 2014, the climate psychologist Margaret Klein Salamon and the journalist Ezra Silk founded the group Climate Mobilization, dedicated to an “all-out effort to deploy the strongest and most aggressive solutions for reversing climate breakdown.”

Two years later, Bill McKibben wrote an article arguing that climate change was actually World War III, and that the only way to keep from losing this war would be “to mobilize on the same scale as we did for the last world war.”

Yet much of this rhetoric involves little or no understanding of what national mobilization actually meant for Americans living through World War II. As a result, the sacrifices and struggles of the 1940s have begun to seem like a romantic story of collective heroism, when they were in fact a time of rage, fear, grief and social disorder. Countless Americans experienced firsthand the terror and excitement of mortal violence, and nearly everyone saw himself caught up in an existential struggle for the future of the planet.”

David Lindsay:   I thought this piece above was brilliant, until I read the comments, and quickly saw the many weaknesses to it’s arguments. Here are some of the top comments:

Ellen S.
by the sea
Times Pick

“How would we know when the “war on climate change” ends?” The ‘war’ ends when climate change is either stopped from increasing or reversed. Both are measurable, scientifically. It’s not a literal war, but a metaphorical war. The Green New Deal could mobilize all of our resources, create jobs, and transform our economy in way that is similar to mobilizations that occurred during WWI and II. Switching from petroleum -based dependencies for so many of our needs to alternative fuel sources will require such massive changes and mobilization of resources. The author of this article takes the metaphor of War a bit too literally.

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Rethinking commented 4 hours ago

Rethinking
LandOfUnsteadyHabits

Yes, there is an enemy to mobilize against. Those who reverse regulations limiting auto fumes, methane venting, water pollution, coal burning. In reversing these regulations, Trump and the GOP are guilty of crimes against humanity – and against all life on Earth.

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Andre commented 3 hours ago

Andre
Vancouver
Times Pick

I work developing technologies to fight climate change. Even if I found today a wealthy patron willing to fund my most ambitious efforts, it would take me 5-6 years before I could bring a process to commercial scale, and until 2038 for it to reach its fullest extent. And if, God willing, everything worked as planned, I would only be able to remove from the atmosphere 15-18 Mtons CO2/year, out of the 1-10 Gtons CO2/year that need to be removed. This is a Herculean task, made necessary by the enormous inertia in our present course. Yet anything less than such an effort, made with the greatest of haste, will unleash the Furies of a ferocious nature, turning on us for our benign neglect and greed. There is no other choice, but to make our greatest effort.

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David A. commented 3 hours ago

David A.
Brooklyn
Times Pick

Between any two processes there will be similarities and differences. The advocates of the Green New Deal are referring to scope of mobilization when making comparisons to the New Deal and the WWII effort. We do not trivialize the horrors of combat that our troops and those of our allies underwent. Here are some key quotes from this article’s description of WWII: “nearly everyone saw himself caught up in an existential struggle for the future of the planet” “entire industries were retooled” “more than 30 million Americans were uprooted from their homes and migrated across the country” “the material culture of American life was transformed beyond imagining: food production, housewares, automobiles, home building, highways, television, film, clothing, travel and music all underwent phenomenal metamorphoses” I believe that each of these applies to what will be necessary in the effort to mitigate and reduce Climate Catastrophe. And yes, this is not something the USA can do alone– any more that it could have defeated the Axis rattlesnakes alone. But as in WWII, perhaps even more so, the USA has a vital role to play.

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Brian commented 3 hours ago

Brian
Montgomery
Times Pick

I’m less concerned about politicians using aspirational language than I am about the planet my children are going to inherent. The coming generation has already experienced fear and lost economic opportunity; they know what’s coming in a hotter world. Which really isn’t that far away from the World War II generation.

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1.1 Million Students in N.Y.C. Can Skip School for Climate Protest – By Anne Barnard – The New York Times

“When New York City announced that public school students could skip classes without penalties to join the youth climate strikes planned around the world on Friday, you could almost hear a sigh of relief.

Before the announcement, the protests, to be held three days ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit here, had thrown a new complication into the usual back-to-school chaos: With the protests framed as a cry to protect their futures from climate disaster, should students heed the call?

Parents had wondered how to word emails to principals requesting excused absences. Teachers had been wondering how to react. Some students had been vowing to protest no matter what, but others had worried about possible repercussions.

Most of all, the decision last week by the nation’s largest school district buoyed national protest organizers, who are hoping that the demonstrations will be the largest on climate in the country’s history, with at least 800 planned across the 50 states. They expressed hope that other districts around the country would follow suit.”

Opinion | Tennessee Makes Way for the Monarchs – By Margaret Renkl – The New York Times

Margaret Renkl

By 

Contributing Opinion Writer

CreditCreditWilliam DeShazer for The New York Times

“NASHVILLE — A few years ago I started noticing wildflowers blooming beside the highway: ironweed and goldenrod and snakeroot and black-eyed Susan. The first time it happened the sun was in my eyes as I drove west toward Memphis, and a late summer drought was filling the air with dust motes. For a moment I thought I was imagining flowers where flowers had never been before. A daydream on a lonesome stretch of highway as twilight came on.

There was nothing unusual about the flowers themselves — they’re the plants that commonly bloom along Nashville’s greenways during late summer — but these flowers weren’t in a park or a nature preserve. They were growing right on the interstate median and on the side of the road. I figured the state’s Department of Transportation simply hadn’t gotten around to mowing yet.

Then I started to see the flowers in springtime, too, and all summer. The decision not to mow, it turns out, was deliberate. The Tennessee Department of Transportation — like many other state transportation departments across the country — now practices swath mowing, a strategy that allows wildflowers to bloom unmolested in rural areas till after the first frost. Instead of clearing the entire space between the road and the right-of-way fence, mowers clear only a 16-foot-wide area next to the road.

The mowed swath preserves clear sightlines for drivers while allowing wildflowers to grow in the deep margins between the mowed area and the fence. After the wildflowers have gone to seed, and the seeds have had time to ripen and drop, mowers clear the entire area again to keep trees from becoming established too close to the road. In Tennessee, this plan began as an experimental program in 2013 and now encompasses all rural highways managed by the state. That’s 13,807 miles of blooming flowers across Tennessee.”

Opinion | ‘Steve Bullock Is the Most Important Person on the Planet’ – By David Leonhardt – The New York Times

David Leonhardt

By 

Opinion Columnist

CreditCreditCharlie Neibergall/Associated Press

 

I love David Leonhardt. Whenever I feel I should work much harder at researching and writing an article, I discover I can just repost David Leonhardt, such as his piece today:
“Steve Bullock is the most important person on the planet,” Robert Frank, the economist and author, recently wrote to me in an email.

Bullock is the populist Democratic governor of Montana who’s running a lackluster campaign for president. But he’s so popular in Montana, despite its deep conservatism, that he is the only Democrat with any reasonable chance of beating the state’s incumbent Republican senator, Steve Daines, next year. That’s why Frank thinks Bullock is the most important person on the planet.

“The window of opportunity for effective action on the climate crisis is rapidly closing,” Frank wrote. “Absent robust measures to curb greenhouse gases, climate scientists forecast steadily more frequent and intense storms, droughts, flooding, and wildfires. Alone among major political parties worldwide, Republicans have refused even to admit the existence of climate change, much less enact meaningful legislation for dealing with it.” And seemingly the only way the United States will take meaningful climate action in the next couple years is if the Democrats control both Congress and the White House.”

x
DL: Taking back the Senate is as impportant as winning the White House. That is why Beto O’Rourke is a misguided egotist. He could and should challenge John Cornyn in Texas for his Senate seat.

Opinion | Hurricane Dorian Makes Bahamians the Latest Climate-Crisis Victims – By Erica Moiah James – The New York Times

By 

Dr. James, an art historian, founded the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas.

CreditCreditJoe Skipper/Reuters

“MIAMI — Whoever thought Dorian might be a good name for a hurricane has some explaining to do. In the Bahamas, when we have to deal with difficulties, we try to make the saddest people among us laugh, knowing that they will return the favor in our hour of need.

So when Hurricane Dorian hit land in the Abaco Islands in the northern Bahamas a few days ago and the horrific pictures started streaming in on social media, among the videos shared early on was what appeared to be a woman running through the rain and wind to safety, only to have her wig blow from her head.

The punch line wasn’t the wig taking flight. It was that she doubled back to retrieve it, rather than continue to safety, expanding the list of life’s essentials. Many people might read this as a highly inappropriate moment for such frivolity, but for Bahamians it was perfect timing.

What we have seen in the past few days has been sublime in its horror. It has estranged us from the humor that keeps us going despite the increasing fragility of life in the breathtakingly beautiful place we call home. It has a tiny carbon footprint but carries the burden of being ground zero for our climate crisis.

We Bahamians listen to climate deniers in rich countries who are oblivious or indifferent to those who bear the weight for their wonderful life. Meanwhile, the water rises from the ground in our yards because the water table is so high during high tide, and plants we once depended upon no longer grow. We experience too much rain or too little rain, and fresh water supplies are increasingly contaminated by rising sea levels.”

Climate Town Hall: Several Democratic Candidates Embrace a Carbon Tax – The New York Times

“. . . . In order to push her proposals through Capitol Hill, Ms. Harris called for another signature proposal of Mr. Inslee’s: ending the Senate filibuster, a century-old legislative institution, in order to overcome Republican opposition and push through new climate change laws.

Mr. Obama also sought to enact a sweeping climate bill that would have effectively placed a tax on carbon pollution, but it failed even when both chambers of Congress were controlled by Democrats because it could not overcome the 60-vote threshold required by the Senate’s filibuster rule in order to advance a bill through the chamber.

Mr. Inslee has called for abolishing the Senate filibuster — a move that would transform the way laws are made in the United States. Most of the presidential candidates have avoided calling for such a move, but analysts say that without it, their bold climate change plans — especially their calls for lavish spending — will remain unrealized.

CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

But abolishing the filibuster could also make laws vulnerable to quickly being undone by a new Senate majority, leading to an unstable whipsaw effect as laws are signed by one president and quickly undone by another.

Mr. Sanders acknowledged the political hurdle of pushing aggressive climate change policy through the Senate, but has not backed eliminating the filibuster. Instead, he proposed pushing climate change policy into must-pass budget legislation, which under Senate rules requires a simple 51-vote majority to pass.

Democrats used the same method to push through Mr. Obama’s sweeping 2010 health care reform bill.”

Top Scientist Quits USDA, Says Trump Admin Tried to Bury Study Linking Climate and Nutrition – EcoWatch

By Jessica Corbett

“The exodus of federal scientists in the era of President Donald Trump continued Friday as 62-year-old plant physiologist Lewis Ziska left the U.S. Department of Agriculture “over the Trump administration’s efforts to bury his groundbreaking study about how rice loses nutrients due to rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” POLITICO reported Monday.

“Ziska — who worked at USDA under five presidents, both Republicans and Democrats — charged in an interview with POLITICO that he left the department’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) because the USDA tried to block the public dissemination of his research on how the human-caused climatecrisis’s impact on rice could threaten the nutrition of 600 million people. The study, POLITICO reported, was internally cleared at the department and peer reviewed prior to its publication in the journal Science Advances last year.

USDA, in a statement to the outlet, said that “this was a joint decision by ARS national program leaders — all career scientists — not to send out a press release on this paper” based on scientific disagreement, and the decisions involving the study weren’t politically motivated.

Ziska, however, said that “this isn’t about the science. It’s about something else, but it’s not about the science.”

“You get the sense that things have changed, that this is not a place for you to be exploring things that don’t agree with someone’s political views,” Ziska said about the current environment at the USDA. “That’s so sad. I can’t even begin to tell you how sad that is.” ”

Source: Top Scientist Quits USDA, Says Trump Admin Tried to Bury Study Linking Climate and Nutrition – EcoWatch