We’re on track to blow our carbon budget. Are we doomed? | By Molly Enking – Grist

If existing sources of fossil fuel emissions (like factories, cars, and power plants) simply continue to operate for the duration of their expected lifetime, the world will emit more than 650 billion tons of carbon dioxide, according to the study published Monday in the journal Nature. That’s 78 billion tons more than the maximum the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says can be emitted to have a reasonable chance of not exceeding 1.5 degrees of warming.

“We really need to try to avoid building anything new that uses fossil fuels whenever possible, going forward,” said Steven Davis, a co-author of the study and an associate professor at U.C. Irvine’s Earth System Science program. In addition, some existing infrastructure will need to be retired early (or retrofitted to capture their carbon emissions), according to the research.”

Source: We’re on track to blow our carbon budget. Are we doomed? | Grist

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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.”

As the World Heats Up the Climate for News Is Changing, Too – By Marc Tracy – The New York Times

“As Europe heats up, Greenland melts and the Midwest floods, many news organizations are devoting more resources to climate change as they cover the topic with more urgency.

In Florida, six newsrooms with different owners have taken the unusual step of pooling their resources and sharing their reporting on the issue. They plan to examine how climate change will affect the state’s enormous agriculture sector as well as “the future of coastal towns and cities — which ones survive, which ones go under,” according to a statement released when the initiative was announced last month.

Florida’s record-breaking heat wavesdevastating storms like Hurricane Michael and increased flooding at high tide have not been lost on Mindy Marques, the publisher and executive editor of The Miami Herald, one of the six organizations taking part in the effort.

“It’s undeniable that we are living with the impact of changes in our climate every day,” Ms. Marques said.”

Opinion | Connect the Dots to See Where Trump’s Taking Us – by Thomas Friedman – The New York Times

“Some of the colds can even get colder, as when a weakened polar vortex, which normally keeps cold air trapped in the Arctic, allows more frigid polar air to push southward into the U.S. At the same time, the hurricanes that are fueled by warmer ocean temperatures get more violent.

That’s why you’re seeing weird weather extremes in all directions. So, The Washington Post reported that in Montana: “On March 3, the low temperature tanked to a bone-chilling minus-32 in Great Falls. Combined with a high of minus-8, the day finished a whopping 50 degrees below normal.” At the time, the city was in its longest stretch below freezing on record.

Temperatures in Great Falls, Mont., did not rise above freezing for 32 consecutive days between February and March.CreditRion Sanders/Great Falls Tribune

But then The Post reported that on May 11 in a town “near the entrance to the Arctic Ocean in northwest Russia, the temperature surged to 84 degrees Fahrenheit” — in May! Near the Arctic! And this happened at the same time that “the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eclipsed 415 parts per million for the first time in human history.” “

David Lindsay: Most Scientists agree that we need to limit our carbon emmissions to no more than 350 parts per million. That is why Bill McKibben calls his organization 350.org.

Opinion | The Democratic Party Is Trying to Downplay Climate Change. Don’t Let It. – by Justin Gillis- The New York Times

“None of that is enough, apparently, for the Democratic Party to choose to put this issue front-and-center in the primary campaign. Not only did the D.N.C. turn Mr. Inslee down; according to him, the party informed him that he would be banned from party-sponsored debates if he took part in any unofficial candidate debate on climate change.

In a statement, the party declared it would not schedule any single-issue debates, so that voters would “have the ability to hear from candidates on dozens of issues of importance.” That might make sense if the D.N.C. were only planning two or three debates. It is planning 12; surely the party can afford to devote a twelfth of its debate time to the issue that threatens to throw human civilization into crisis.

Infuriating as this latest maneuver is, Democratic fecklessness on the subject of climate change is nothing new. The party has always made that most basic of political calculations — which voters does this issue get us that we don’t already have? — and come up with the answer: none.”

Our military can help lead the fight in combating climate change – By Elizabeth Warren

By Elizabeth Warren

“Last year, Hurricane Florence ripped through North Carolina, damaging Camp Lejeune. Hurricane Michael tore through Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, leaving airplane hangars that housed our fifth-generation aircraft shredded and largely roofless. At Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, floodwaters swamped more than one million square feet of buildings, forcing military personnel to scramble to save sensitive equipment and munitions. The total cost to repair just three bases? In the billions.

Climate change is already impacting the way the Pentagon operates — its training, equipment, supply chains, construction, maintenance, and deployments. More and more, accomplishing the mission depends on our ability to continue operations in the face of floods, drought, wildfires, and desertification. The changing climate has geopolitical implications, as well. It’s what the Pentagon calls a “threat multiplier,” exacerbating the dangers posed by everything from infectious diseases to terrorism. In the Arctic, for example, melting ice has made previously closed sea routes easier to navigate, creating greater chances for competition and conflict over access to these waters and natural resources. In Southeast Asia, rising seas are forcing thousands of people to migrate from their homes, increasing the risk of ethnic and political strife.

In short, climate change is real, it is worsening by the day, and it is undermining our military readiness. And instead of meeting this threat head-on, Washington is ignoring it — and making it worse.

We have the most capable military in the world. It’s also the single largestgovernment consumer of energy, and it’s dependent on fossil fuels. The Pentagon spends about $4 billion a year to power its bases at fixed locations and consumes tens of billions of barrels of fuel per year. An Arleigh-Burke class destroyer can consume 1,000 gallons of fuel in an hour while underway. It cost the Pentagon as much as $400 per gallon to transport the gas needed to keep bases operational at the height of the war in Afghanistan; in Iraq, convoys transporting oil and gas were vulnerable targets for insurgent attacks. And our non-combat bases often depend on a commercial power grid that can go down for any number of reasons: old infrastructure, extreme weather, cyber-attacks. When the power’s out, it costs the Pentagon real money — more than $179,000 each day.”

Source: Our military can help lead the fight in combating climate change

Elizabeth Warren Proposes ‘Aggressive Intervention’ to Create Jobs – The New York Times

“Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on Tuesday proposed an economic program of “aggressive intervention on behalf of American workers,” suggesting that as president she would invest $2 trillion in climate-friendly industries over a decade, create a new cabinet-level Department of Economic Development and even manipulate the dollar to promote exports.

Unveiling a campaign theme of “economic patriotism,” Ms. Warren promised to announce further plans under that banner over the next several months, on issues like trade and Wall Street regulation.

By pledging to intervene in markets to support American manufacturing and promote job creation, Ms. Warren laid out a goal that President Trump has also pursued, albeit by different means, like imposing tariffs on imports from China and Mexico.”

Joe Biden Issues Climate Plan That Aims Beyond Obama’s Goal – The New York Times

“The chief policy goals of Mr. Biden’s plan are similar to the contours of the Green New Deal, the sweeping and ambitious climate change proposal put forward by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, in February. Most specifically, Mr. Biden’s plan calls for the United States to entirely eliminate its net emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide pollution by 2050.

By comparison, Mr. Biden’s former boss, President Barack Obama, had pledged to the world that the United States would lower its emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

“This definitely goes further than the Obama administration in terms of aspiration,” said Robert N. Stavins, an environmental economist at Harvard.

Mr. Biden would also call for an investment of $1.7 trillion over 10 years into clean energy and other initiatives. Like the Green New Deal, Mr. Biden’s plan calls broadly for “environmental justice,” programs designed to help poor people and minorities who face disproportionate economic harm from environmental pollution, and to provide retraining and new economic opportunities for coal, oil, gas and other industrial workers displaced by the decline of the fossil fuel economy.

The campaign said the spending would be paid for by rolling back President Trump’s tax breaks for corporations.”

DL: He also calls for a tax on carbon, and tarriffs against foreign goods that created unacceptable pollution.

Unhappy With Findings Agriculture Department Plans to Move Its Economists Out of Town – The New York Times

WASHINGTON — For years, economists at the Agriculture Department have churned out studies that forecast the effects of food trends, environmental changes and trade policy on rural America. But these days, career staff members at the Economic Research Service have been anxiously trying to predict their own futures.

Last year, after an economist with the division presented research that contradicted the Trump administration’s views about the president’s signature tax cuts, the Agriculture Department put into effect new rules about submitting work to peer-reviewed journals. Now, Sonny Perdue, the agriculture secretary, is planning to move the roughly 300-person research unit, along with another division, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, out of Washington and closer to America’s farmers.

Mr. Perdue, who tried to shrink the agencies’ funding early in President Trump’s term, is expected to detail plans to relocate both units to Missouri, Kansas, Indiana or North Carolina, or another location far from the capital. He believes that the move, which could be announced in the coming days, will save money and make research more relevant.

But some critics see the relocation plan as another attempt by the Trump administration to diminish the role of science in government policymaking. Economists at the research service, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss their views of the office’s internal dynamics, said they believed they were being shipped out of town as retribution for producing work that clashed with the administration’s agenda.

Opinion | Midterm Climate Report: Partly Cloudy – The New York Times

“The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made it clear that averting the worst consequences of climate changes (lesser consequences are by now all around us) will mean quickly cutting back on the use of fossil fuels that cause global warming.

Big Oil didn’t get the memo.

Faced with what they saw as an existential threat to their businesses, BP, Valero, Phillips 66, the Koch brothers and other members of the fossil fuel fraternity dumped more than $30 million into Washington State to crush a ballot initiative that would have imposed the first taxes in the nation on carbon emissions. Backers of the proposal hoped it would serve as a template for similar action elsewhere and perhaps for the country as a whole. But the theoretical elegance of a carbon tax, which most economists and scientists believe is the surest way to control emissions on a broad scale, was no match even in reliably Democratic Washington for relentless fearmongering about job losses, higher electricity bills and more expensive gasoline.

The defeat in Washington was the most disappointing setback for climate activists in the midterm elections on Tuesday, a day of decidedly mixed messages on climate change in particular and environmental issues more broadly.”

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