Apocalypse Got You Down? Maybe This Will Help – By Cara Buckley – The New York Times

By 

Ms. Buckley is a reporter for The Times.

“One day early this fall, 19 people gathered in a small event space in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and sat in a circle. They included an immigration lawyer, a therapist, an Extinction Rebellion protester, an artist and me. Outside, it was cloudlessly sunny and hot in a way that would have once been described as unseasonable but that nowadays is just mid-September.

We were there for a workshop called “Cultivating Active Hope: Living With Joy Amidst the Climate Crisis,” a title that sounded wildly optimistic. I was there because, for the life of me, I could not understand how anyone was coping with the climate crisis.

Have you ever known someone who cited the Anthropocene in a dating profile? Who doled out carbon offset gift certificates at the holidays? Who sees new babies and immediately flashes to the approximately 15 tons of carbon emissions the average American emits per year? Who walks around shops thinking about where all the packaging ends up? You do now.”

Opinion | Why Walmart and Other Companies Are Sticking With the Paris Climate Deal – By Kathleen McLaughlin and Andrew Steer – The New York Times

By Kathleen McLaughlin and 

Ms. McLaughlin is an executive vice president of Walmart. Mr. Steer is president of the World Resources Institute.

Credit…Nicholas Kamm/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“The Trump administration’s announcement this week that it would follow through with its plan to officially withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement is deeply unfortunate. Leaving the accord will hamper America’s economic competitiveness and put Americans and people around the world at greater risk for climate-related disasters.

That’s why Walmart is one of over 3,800 American businesses, states, cities and other entities that have joined together in the coalition We Are Still In to continue our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Together, these entities represent nearly 70 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and two-thirds of its population. If this group were a country, it would be the world’s second-largest economy — behind the United States but ahead of China.

Why is the Paris Agreement so important? Climate change is a global challenge that requires a global response. Although the commitments are voluntary, the agreement sets a clear course toward a low-carbon future, with nearly 200 countries working together and playing by the same rules. The Paris Agreement provides the context for national and global policies in areas like agriculture and energy, which have direct implications for businesses with customers and suppliers around the world.

A decade ago, many people viewed climate action and economic growth as being in conflict. Now it’s clear that long-term growth and climate action are inextricably linked. For example, a report by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate found that bold action on protecting the climate could generate over $26 trillion in benefits through 2030.”

Opinion | I’m a Climate Scientist Who Believes in God. Hear Me Out. – by Katherine Hayhoe – The New York Times

“I’m a climate scientist. I’m also an evangelical Christian.

And I’m Canadian, which is why it took me so long to realize the first two things were supposed to be entirely incompatible.

I grew up in a Christian family with a science-teacher dad who taught us that science is the study of God’s creation. If we truly believe that God created this amazing universe, bringing matter and energy to life out of a formless empty void of nothing, then how could studying his creation ever be in conflict with his written word?”

” . . .  It turns out, it’s not where we go to church (or don’t) that determines our opinion on climate. It’s not even our religious affiliation. Hispanic Catholics are significantly more likely than other Catholics to say the earth is getting warmer, according to a 2015 survey, and they have the same pope. It’s because of the alliance between conservative theology and conservative politics that has been deliberately engineered and fostered over decades of increasingly divisive politics on issues of race, abortion and now climate change, to the point where the best predictor of whether we agree with the science is simply where we fall on the political spectrum.

An important and successful part of that framing has been to cast climate change as an alternate religion. This is sometimes subtle, as the church sign that reads, “On Judgment Day, you’ll meet Father God not Mother Earth.” Other times this point is made much more blatantly, like when Senator Ted Cruz of Texas told Glenn Beck in 2015 that “climate change is not a science, it’s a religion,” or when Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said at a 2014 event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations that “the problem is Al Gore’s turned this thing into a religion.”

Why is this framing so effective? Because some 72 percent of people in the United States already identify with a specific religious label, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center. And if you are a Christian, you know what to do when a false prophet comes along preaching a religion that worships the created rather than the Creator: Reject it!”

Opinion | Fire Floods and Power Outages: Our Climate Future Has Arrived – By Justin Gillis – The New York Times

By 

Mr. Gillis, a former environmental reporter for The Times, is a contributing opinion writer.

CreditCreditMichael Owen Baker/Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Now we suffer the consequences.

In Northern California, power was cut to more than a million people this week. Near Houston, houses that flooded only two years ago just succumbed again. The South endured record-shattering fall heat waves. In Miami, salt water bubbled through street drains yet again as the rising ocean mounted a fresh assault.

All of it was predicted, in general outline, decades ago. We did not listen. Ideologues and paid shills cajoled us to ignore the warnings. Politicians cashed their checks from the fossil fuel lobbyists and slithered away.

Today, we act surprised as the climate emergency descends upon us in all its ferocity.

The scientists knew long ago, and told us, that the sea would invade the coasts. They knew a hotter atmosphere would send heavier rains to inundate our cities and farms. They knew the landscape of California, which always becomes desiccated in the late summer and early fall, would dry out more in a hotter climate.

But even the scientists did not quite foresee the way that bone-dry vegetation would turn into a firebomb waiting for a spark. California is the state that has done the most to battle the climate crisis, but that has not saved it from recent fires so ferocious they burned people alive.”

“. . . . We can sit back, citizens, and watch the fires and the floods and the heat waves with a rising sense of doom. Or we can be as brave as a schoolgirl and decide that now is the time to stand up and fight.”

David Lindsay:

My favorite essay in the Times this weekend was by
Justin Gillis in the Sunday Review, NYT, Our Climate Future Has Arrived.

Opinion | It’s the Environment- Stupid – By Thomas L. Friedman – The New York Times

Thomas L. Friedman

By 

Opinion Columnist

“I don’t know who sold progressive Democrats on the idea that the way to beat Donald Trump is to abolish the private health insurance of 160 million Americans and offer instead “Medicare for all” (and Mexico will pay for it), but it’s a political loser and an easy target for Trump to feast on. A much better campaign theme is hiding in plain sight. I call it “the Earth Race.”

In the 1960s, John F. Kennedy energized the country behind a “space race”: to make America the first nation to put a man on the moon. Democrats need to run against Trump on the Earth Race: to make America the leader in all policies and technologies that help men and women everywhere live sustainably here on Earth?

Yes, I know, mitigating climate change and saving the environment never poll well. But times change, and it depends how you frame the issue. Mother Nature is forcing herself onto the ballot, and Trump’s efforts to roll back more than 80 rules and standards protecting clean air, water, climate, parks and wilderness make him uniquely vulnerable. He can’t pivot away from what he’s doing. He owns it, and it’s villainous. This time is different.

In this era when so much activism is online, when was the last time you saw a bottom-up, mass movement of young people in America and across the world — some four million in all — take to the streets on every continent as they did last week to demand action to stop the heating of our planet? These young people are telling us, and their voting parents, that this issue is a political winner — theirs is a movement in search of courageous political leaders.

I am not saying that the Earth Race is the only issue to run on. I’m all for strengthening Obamacare and even adding a public health insurance option. But if I were running for president against Trump, I’d be leading with the Earth Race as an economic opportunity, a national security necessity, a health emergency, an environmental urgency and a moral obligation. No other issue can combine those five.

I’d pound Trump every day with this message: “Trump says he cares about you. Well, that’s funny, because he clearly doesn’t care about the water you drink. He just revoked a rule that prohibited coal mining debris from being dumped into local streams — among other actions to weaken the Clean Water Act — so that pro-Trump coal companies can make more money while they make you sick. What kind of president does that?”

Opinion | Al Gore: The Climate Crisis Is the Battle of Our Time, and We Can Win – The New York Times

By 

Mr. Gore was the 45th vice president of the United States.

“Things take longer to happen than you think they will, but then they happen much faster than you thought they could.

The destructive impacts of the climate crisis are now following the trajectory of that economics maxim as horrors long predicted by scientists are becoming realities.

More destructive Category 5 hurricanes are developing, monster fires ignite and burn on every continent but Antarctica, ice is melting in large amounts there and in Greenland, and accelerating sea-level rise now threatens low-lying cities and island nations.

Tropical diseases are spreading to higher latitudes. Cities face drinking water shortages. The ocean is becoming warmer and more acidic, destroying coral reefs and endangering fish populations that provide vital protein consumed by about a billion people.

Worsening droughts and biblical deluges are reducing food production and displacing millions of people. Record-high temperatures threaten to render areas of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, North Africa and South Asia uninhabitable. Growing migrations of climate refugees are destabilizing nations. A sixth great extinction could extinguish half the living species on earth.

Finally people are recognizing that the climate is changing, and the consequences are worsening much faster than most thought was possible. A record 72 percent of Americans polled say that the weather is growing more extreme. And yet every day we still emit more than 140 million tons of global warming pollution worldwide into the atmosphere, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I often echo the point made by the climate scientist James Hansen: The accumulation of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases — some of which will envelope the planet for hundreds and possibly thousands of years — is now trapping as much extra energy daily as 500,000 Hiroshima-class atomic bombs would release every 24 hours.

This is the crisis we face.”

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.”