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.”

Opinion | Maybe We’re Not Doomed After All – by Jon Gertner – The New York Times

“Glaciers and sea ice are melting at an alarming rate; temperatures are rising at a steady clip. To make matters worse, the Trump administration’s recent efforts to ignore a fact-based, scientific approach — rejecting, for instance, the use of computer projections to assess how a warming world might look after 2040 — leads me to worry that climate denialism is moving from the scientific fringes to the institutional center.

Still, it’s worth considering that things may not be as bad as they appear. I say this with a full understanding that most indicators are pointing in the wrong direction. Yet I also feel we’re in danger of losing sight of two crucial and encouraging aspects of our predicament.

The first is the extraordinary value of the climate knowledge we’ve amassed over the past 100 years — a vast archive of data and wisdom that gives us a fine-grained understanding of how the planet is warming and how we can change the trajectory we’re on.

The second is the emergence of potential solutions, the products of a half-century of technological innovation, which may help us avert the worst impacts of the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases we continue to release into the atmosphere. (Last year carbon dioxide emissions were the highest ever recorded.)”

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

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.

The Cheeseburger Footprint – by Jamais Cascio – Openthefuture.com

The Cheeseburger Footprint

by Jamais Cascio

“We’re growing accustomed to thinking about the greenhouse gas impact of transportation and energy production, but nearly everything we do leaves a carbon footprint. If it requires energy to make or do, chances are, some carbon was emitted along the way. But these are the early days of the climate awareness era, and it’s not yet habit to consider the greenhouse implications of otherwise prosaic actions.

So as an exercise, let’s examine the carbon footprint of something commonplace — a cheeseburger. There’s a good chance you’ve eaten one this week, perhaps even today. What was its greenhouse gas impact? Do you have any idea? This is the kind of question we’ll be forced to ask more often as we pay greater attention to our individual greenhouse gas emissions.

Burgers are common food items for most people in the US — surprisingly common. Estimates for the average American diet range from an average of about one per week, or about 50/year (Fast Food Nation) to as many as three burgers per week, or roughly 150/year (the Economist, among other sources). So what’s the global warming impact of all those cheeseburgers? I don’t just mean cooking the burger; I mean the gamut of energy costs associated with a hamburger — including growing the feed for the cattle for beef and cheese, growing the produce, storing and transporting the components, as well as cooking.”

Source: The Cheeseburger Footprint

If Seeing the World Helps Ruin It- Should We Stay Home? – By Andy Newman – The New York Times

“The glaciers are melting, the coral reefs are dying, Miami Beach is slowly going under.

Quick, says a voice in your head, go see them before they disappear! You are evil, says another voice. For you are hastening their destruction.

To a lot of people who like to travel, these are morally bewildering times. Something that seemed like pure escape and adventure has become double-edged, harmful, the epitome of selfish consumption. Going someplace far away, we now know, is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change. One seat on a flight from New York to Los Angeles effectively adds months worth of human-generated carbon emissions to the atmosphere.

And yet we fly more and more.

The number of airline passengers worldwide has more than doubled since 2003, and unlike with some other pollution sources, there’s not a ton that can be done right now to make flying significantly greener — electrified jets are not coming to an airport near you anytime soon.

Still, we wonder: How much is that one vacation really hurting anyone, or anything?

It is hard to think about climate change in relation to our own behavior. We are small, our effects are microscopically incremental and we mean no harm. The effects of climate change are inconceivably enormous and awful — and for the most part still unrealized. You can’t see the face of the unnamed future person whose coastal village you will have helped submerge.”

David Lindsay:  Amazing article, thank you Andy Newman. I loved the link at the end to the Openthefuture.com website, and the article there about the carbon footprint of a single cheeseburger, or the 50 to 150 cheeseburgers most Americans eats every year.

I liked the comments, about getting involved in politics and personal changes. I have upped my contributions to climate change hawks running for office, and added 46 solar panels to the roof of my house. We have upgraded our two gasoline autos to one electric Nissan Leaf and one Toyota Prius plug in hybrid. We are now converting the gas systems in the house with electric ones.  We replaced the old gas fired hot water heater with a heat pump electric water heater, and have installed 4 ductless splits, electric condenser heat pump room heaters and air conditioners by LG.

I remain as guilty as the rest, with my use of occasional air travel, which I will have to examine.

Here is one of many comments I liked:

Tom

Yes we should, and that is what my wife and I have done for the last 8 – 10 years when we quit flying. I’m in my late 60’s and everyone I know bridles at the mention of limiting travel. They feel they worked most of their life and this is their time to travel and see the world. I felt that way too until I learned about habitat loss, ocean pollution and climate change. My wife and I greatly limit our consumption due to the impact producing those goods has on the environment. We live by Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle. Our friends consider us anomalies, and our lives completely unreasonable. We won’t limit climate change significantly any other way. Renewables and electric cars are not nearly enough.

4 Replies119 Recommended

Opinion | To Make Headway on Climate Change- Let’s Change the Subject – The New York Times

“. . . .  As the economic case for renewables grows more compelling, the issue becomes how much faster we can go in cleaning up the grid. The tactical goal for Democrats is not to get Republicans to admit they have been wrong about climate science; the only thing that matters is to pass measures to speed the energy transition.

Understanding all this, Democrats can still run hard on climate change in party primaries. But in general elections and upon taking office, they need to make the subtle shift from talking about the climate crisis to talking about the benefits of clean energy — something that Mr. Polis, for one, is skilled at doing.

The polls have told us, over and over, that right below the surface in this country lurks a powerful consensus to go all out on the energy transition. The falling costs offer a fresh opportunity to talk about competition and freedom of choice in the market for electricity, a language that many Republicans understand.

That unanimous measure in South Carolina tells you that for the right policies advocated in the right language, the votes are there.

Opinion | Ocean Protection Is an Urban Issue – The New York Times

By Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

Dr. Johnson, a Brooklyn native, is a marine biologist.

  • Image
CreditCreditSaul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“In New York City, it’s often easy to think that ocean conservation is an issue for someplace else — tropical islands, coral reefs, the Gulf of Mexico, the Arctic.

But New York City is an archipelago, a reality that can be obscured by the concrete jungle. The five boroughs — four of them on islands — have 578 miles of shoreline. The Hudson River can get salty up to Poughkeepsie. And the East River is not really a river; it’s a tidal straitthat links New York Bay and the Long Island Sound and makes Long Island an island. So the city has much to gain from a better approach to managing the ocean, including storm protection, access to healthy seafood, coastal recreation and a thriving “blue economy” based on the sustainable use of the ocean’s resources.

The point is, ocean conservation is an urban issue, and fortunately, there has been a growing movement in the city to protect its waters.

The Billion Oyster Project, for which I am a board member, is working to restore a billion oysters in New York Harbor by 2035 through reef construction to create habitat and improve water quality. The groups Riverkeeper and Surfrider Foundation NYC monitor the health of local waters and work for their protection. The Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay provides scientific advice to the city on wetland restoration and making neighborhoods resilient to floods and storms. The state has been installing “living breakwaters” conceived by Scape Landscape Architecture as part of a design competition to protect the shoreline from storm surges and create habitat for marine life. The group Gotham Whale conducts scientific monitoring and offers whale-watching tours. The Wildlife Conservation Society (a former consulting client of mine) is working through its Seascapeprogram to restore populations of threatened aquatic species and protect near-shore and offshore habitats. And Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Office of Resiliency and the One NYC initiative are working to prepare the city for the changing climate.”

Climate Change – Building a Green Economy – by Paul Krugman – The New York Times Magazine

by Paul Krugman
APRIL 7, 2010
315
Photo
Credit Photograph by Yoshikazu Nema; Artwork by Yuken Teruya

“If you listen to climate scientists — and despite the relentless campaign to discredit their work, you should — it is long past time to do something about emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. If we continue with business as usual, they say, we are facing a rise in global temperatures that will be little short of apocalyptic. And to avoid that apocalypse, we have to wean our economy from the use of fossil fuels, coal above all.

But is it possible to make drastic cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions without destroying our economy?

Continue reading

Start-Ups Hoping to Fight Climate Change Struggle as Other Tech Firms Cash In – By Nathaniel Popper – The New York Times

By Nathaniel Popper
May 7, 2019, 15

“SAN FRANCISCO — With the money he made selling his last start-up to Google, Matt Rogers has been investing in companies that are trying to fight climate change.

Mr. Rogers, one of the founders of the digital thermostat company Nest, has put millions of dollars into start-ups whose goal is to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Carbon-removal technology, as it is known, is something that scientists have said will probably be necessary to avert an extreme increase in global temperatures.

But Mr. Rogers has made a disappointing discovery: Despite all the money sloshing around Silicon Valley, few venture capitalists have been willing to join him in backing companies trying to address climate change.”