New York State Corrections Dept. Takes On Guards’ Union Over Brutality. For decades, the union has held the power in disciplinary decisions and whether guards accused of wrongdoing can be transferred. nytimes.com|By Michael Winerip, Michael Schwirtz and Tom Robbins

The scandal of the brutality of New York State prisons turns my stomach. Prison guards in New York are out of control. The Prison Guards Union in New York State should be make illegal, for acting as an organized crime machine.

For decades, the union has held the power in disciplinary decisions and whether guards accused of wrongdoing can be transferred.
nytimes.com|By Michael Winerip, Michael Schwirtz and Tom Robbins

Australia Turns Its Back on Climate Science – The New York Times

“For decades, Australia has run the most advanced and comprehensive atmosphere and ocean monitoring programs in the Southern Hemisphere, providing critical information not only for a nation that is already the driest on earth and fast getting drier, but also for a world in urgent need of such data to search for ways to cope with climate change.Last month, to the dismay of climate scientists around the world, Australia’s federally financed science agency — the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or Csiro — announced plans to shift its focus to commercially viable projects and cut or reassign 350 researchers. The decision, as more than 3,000 climate scientists have declared in an open letter to the Australian government, demonstrates a deplorable misunderstanding of the importance of basic research into what is arguably the greatest challenge facing the planet.”

Source: Australia Turns Its Back on Climate Science – The New York Times

There has been a tremor in the Force.

Planet on the Ballot. It appears that the goal of drastically reducing emissions is within reach, but the wrong leader could still get in the way of saving the planet. nytimes.com|By Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman: “We now have a pretty good idea who will be on the ballot in November: Hillary Clinton, almost surely (after the South Carolina blowout, prediction markets give her a 96 percent probability of securing her party’s nomination), and Donald Trump, with high likelihood (currently 80 percent probability on the markets). But even if there’s a stunning upset in what’s left of the primaries, we already know very well what will be at stake — namely, the fate of the planet.”

It appears that the goal of drastically reducing emissions is within reach, but the wrong leader could still get in the way of saving the planet.
nytimes.com|By Paul Krugman

The Court Blocks Efforts to Slow Climate Change – The New York Times

“The Supreme Court’s extraordinary decision on Tuesday to temporarily block the Obama administration’s effort to combat global warming by regulating emissions from power plants was deeply disturbing on two fronts.It raised serious questions about America’s ability to deliver on Mr. Obama’s pledge in Paris in December to sharply reduce carbon emissions, and, inevitably, about its willingness to take a leadership role on the issue.And with all the Republican-appointed justices lining up in a 5-to-4 vote to halt the regulation before a federal appeals court could rule on it, the court also reinforced the belief among many Americans that the court is knee-deep in the partisan politics it claims to stand above. While the court’s action was not a ruling on the merits of the case, it will delay efforts to comply with the regulation and sends an ominous signal that Mr. Obama’s initiative, known as the Clean Power Plan, could ultimately be overturned.”

Source: The Court Blocks Efforts to Slow Climate Change – The New York Times

Barack Obama: Why we must rethink solitary confinement Its overuse leads to tragic results. washingtonpost.com

By Barack Obama January 25

Barack Obama is president of the United States.

“In 2010, a 16-year-old named Kalief Browder from the Bronx was accused of stealing a backpack. He was sent to Rikers Island to await trial, where he reportedly endured unspeakable violence at the hands of inmates and guards — and spent nearly two years in solitary confinement.

In 2013, Kalief was released, having never stood trial. He completed a successful semester at Bronx Community College. But life was a constant struggle to recover from the trauma of being locked up alone for 23 hours a day. One Saturday, he committed suicide at home. He was just 22 years old.”

Its overuse leads to tragic results.
washingtonpost.com

Wind, Sun and Fire Will we have a renewables revolution? It may be closer than you think. nytimes.com|By Paul Krugman

I agree with Paul Krugman, this is a crucially important election.

Krugman writes, “So what’s really at stake in this year’s election? Well, among other things, the fate of the planet.

“Last year was the hottest on record, by a wide margin, which should — but won’t — put an end to climate deniers’ claims that global warming has stopped. The truth is that climate change just keeps getting scarier; it is, by far, the most important policy issue facing America and the world. Still, this election wouldn’t have much bearing on the issue if there were no prospect of effective action against the looming catastrophe.” …..
……”The numbers are really stunning. According to a recent report by the investment firm Lazard, the cost of electricity generation using wind power fell 61 percent from 2009 to 2015, while the cost of solar power fell 82 percent. These numbers — which are in line with other estimates — show progress at rates we normally only expect to see for information technology. And they put the cost of renewable energy into a range where it’s competitive with fossil fuels.”

Will we have a renewables revolution? It may be closer than you think.
nytimes.com|By Paul Krugman

A Climate Deal, 6 Fateful Years in the Making The story of how the deal came together started long before that — in December 2009, with the failure of the last such summit meeting in Copenhagen. nytimes.com|By Coral Davenport

There are signs that the French played an oversized role: “So what changed from Copenhagen to Paris? In short, three things: a fundamental change in the geopolitics of climate change; a shift in the perception of global warming from a distant warning to an immediate threat; and the art of French diplomacy during the event and in the months beforehand to soften the sharp elbows of negotiators and reduce the chances that major points of contention might kill a deal again. In pa

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The story of how the deal came together started long before that — in December 2009, with the failure of the last such summit meeting in Copenhagen.
nytimes.com|By Coral Davenport

 

Nations Approve Landmark Climate Accord in Paris The deal, which required unanimous approval by delegates from around the world, will for the first time commit nearly every country to lowering greenhouse gas emissions. nytimes.com|By Coral Davenport

Coral Davenport wrote: “The new deal will not, on its own, solve global warming. At best, scientists who have analyzed it say, it will cut global greenhouse gas emissions by about half enough as is necessary to stave off an increase in atmospheric temperatures of 2 degrees Celsius or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. That is the point at which, scientific studies have concluded, the world will be locked into a future of devastating consequences, including rising sea levels, severe droughts and flooding, widespread food and water shortages and more destructive storms.

But the Paris deal could represent the moment at which, because of a shift in global economic policy, the inexorable rise in planet-warming carbon emissions that started during the Industrial Revolution began to level out and eventually decline.”

The deal, which required unanimous approval by delegates from around the world, will for the first time commit nearly every country to lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
nytimes.com|By Coral Davenport

Delegates at Climate Talks Focus on Saving the World’s Forests – Justin Gillis, The New York Times

LE BOURGET, France — The climate deal being negotiated here is meant to begin a transformation of the world’s energy systems, but it has another goal that has received far less attention: a sweeping effort to save the world’s forests.From Our AdvertisersDozens of countries put forests at the center of the plans they submitted ahead of the conference, near Paris. As the talks began, more than 60 heads of state emphasized their commitment to forest conservation.If a deal is reached this week and the plans go into effect in 2020, these nations — particularly tropical countries that are home to the richest diversity of plant and animal life — will have committed themselves to sharp reductions in deforestation, and in some cases to ending it entirely.

Source: Delegates at Climate Talks Focus on Saving the World’s Forests – The New York Times

Bill Gates Takes On Climate Change With Nudges and a Powerful Rolodex – The New York Times

“Mr. Gates told Mr. Hollande that energy innovation needed to be a top agenda item at the climate change conference now taking place in this airport suburb outside Paris. For years, Mr. Gates had prodded governments to increase spending on research and development of clean technologies. He had sunk $1 billion of his own fortune into start-ups working on new kinds of batteries and nuclear reactors.“Honestly, I’ve been a bit surprised that the climate talks historically haven’t had R.&D. on the agenda in any way, shape or form,” Mr. Gates, 60, said in an interview last week on the sidelines of the summit meeting, which ends on Friday.Continue reading the main storyRelated Coverage Many investors, even those worried about the effects of climate change, haven’t changed their portfolios, says David Richardson, global head of marketing and client service for Impax Asset Management. Wealth Matters: Climate Change and Choosing Where to InvestDEC. 4, 2015 An oil refinery in Nasiriyah, Iraq. Some OPEC members have acknowledged that their economies need to diversify. Despite Climate Concerns, OPEC Plans to Keep Pumping Oil While It CanDEC. 4, 2015The June tête-à-tête helped accelerate a sequence of events that led to one of the biggest public-private partnerships to tackle climate change, unveiled at the conference. Mr. Gates, who made billions from Microsoft before remaking himself as a philanthropist, was a linchpin of the effort, acting as an envoy between the worlds of business and policy.His role in sealing the deal offers a peek into how the inner circles of governments and industry intersect. It also underscores how a handful of the world’s wealthiest people can stand with heads of state to spotlight a social, economic and policy issue on the global stage. For Mr. Gates, the world’s richest person and co-chairman of the biggest private foundation, it is another sign of how his vast foreign aid operation and status as a technology icon have turned him into a uniquely influential global diplomat.Mr. Gates was drawn into the effort after the June meeting with Mr. Hollande and separate discussions with White House staff members in the summer. Mr. Hollande and President Obama saw the tech mogul as a potential catalyst for achieving broad political and diplomatic goals at the climate conference. In particular, Mr. Gates’s renown in India as a tech founder and philanthropist gave the French and American governments a key emissary to get the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, on board with their climate goals.”

Source: Bill Gates Takes On Climate Change With Nudges and a Powerful Rolodex – The New York Times