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The 19th-Century Tumult Over Climate Change – And Why It Matters Today

Read time: 8 mins

By Deborah Coen, Yale University

Back in the 19th century, when tractors were still pulled by horses and the word “computer” meant a person hired to carry out tedious calculations, climate science made front-page news.

One European forester remarked in 1901 that few questions had “been debated and addressed from so many sides and so relentlessly” as that of the climatic effect of deforestation. Recalling this crowded, noisy and wide-ranging conflict – a “hurly-burly” over the “climate question,” as the scientist Eduard Brückner called it at the time – reminds us that climate science has not always been the elite, well-mannered pursuit that it is today.

The Covert Attack on John McCain’s Climate Leadership by ExxonMobil and the Koch Brothers

Read time: 10 mins

By Kert Davies, originally published on ClimateInvestigations.org 
 

InsideClimate News  Marianne Lavelle published a long piece this weekend, chronicling Senator John McCain’s rise and fall as a climate leader.  The story highlights a campaign I worked on in 2000, where we asked all the presidential candidates the simple and still pertinent question, “What’s Your Plan?” on global warming. McCain was one of the only candidates that took it on. He went back to Washington in the middle of 2000, having been defeated by George W. Bush in the primaries, and immediately started holding hearings on climate change science.

As always, there is more to the story.  When McCain emerged as “Captain Climate” in the early 2000s, and introduced the first serious bipartisan legislation to cut emissions, he became the target of a multifaceted attack by anti-regulatory free market organizations.  It turns out, many of these organizations and front groups were quietly being funded by ExxonMobil and the Koch brothers.

Will John McCain Be The Last Republican Leader In The Senate To Address Climate Change?

Read time: 6 mins

By Tim Profeta, Duke University

He was just doing his job.”

When I asked a longtime staffer to Sen. John McCain why the senator battled to address climate change in the early 2000s, that was his answer.

A simple answer, but one essential to understanding how McCain led those early efforts to combat the challenge when no one else would step forward.

Although others had brought climate change as an issue to the Senate, McCain, a Republican, and democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman were the first to bring climate legislation that aimed to reduce emissions. That attempt was their bipartisan 2003 Climate Stewardship Act. As Lieberman’s counsel for the environment, I helped write this legislation.

An Alternative to Propping up Coal Power Plants: Retrain Workers for Solar

Read time: 5 mins
Coal miners at work

By Joshua M. Pearce, Michigan Technological University

The Trump administration announced new pollution rules for coal-fired power plants designed to keep existing coal power plants operating more and save American coal mining jobs.

Profitability for U.S. coal power plants has plummeted, and one major coal company after another has filed for bankruptcy, including the world’s largest private-sector coal company, Peabody Energy.

The main reason coal is in decline is less expensive natural gas and renewable energy like solar. Coal employment has dropped so low there are fewer than 53,000 coal miners in total in the U.S. (for comparison, the failing retailer J.C. Penny has about twice as many workers).

The Environmental Legacy of Senator John McCain, 1936-2018

Read time: 4 mins
John McCain and Susan Collins in Antarctica

By Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

As news outlets around the country reflect on Senator John McCain's life and legacy following his death at 81 on Saturday, one strand that emerges is his attempts as a Senator to push bipartisan action on climate change.

In early 2003, McCain joined with then-Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman to introduce the Climate Stewardship Act, which The New York Times editorial about his death called “the first serious bipartisan bill to limit greenhouse gas emissions by putting a price on carbon.”

Greenhouse Hothouse Firehouse: Scientists Set out Pathways for Planet Earth

Read time: 6 mins
Los Angeles city skyline at sunset

By Martin Bush. Reposted with permission from ClimateZone.org.

A scientific paper recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) is getting a lot of attention. Written in the dry style of systems analysis — and throughout the text referring to the planet as the “Earth System,” it nevertheless brilliantly manages to present the looming dangers of extreme climate change in a way that has powerfully resonated with many people. People who are worried about climate change, but aren’t exactly sure what the future holds, how bad it’s going to get, and how to avoid being dragged in that direction. 

Trump’s Coal Plan — Neither Clean nor Affordable

Read time: 5 mins
Gibson coal power plant owned by Duke Energy

By Daniel Fiorino, American University School of Public Affairs

Is climate change a problem? Consider the evidence: wildfires in California, Sweden, and Siberia; flooding in coastal areas due to sea level rise; droughts in some places and extreme weather and rainfall in others; new and emerging patterns of disease; heat waves; and much more. Yet, looking at the policy changes announced in the last 17 months by the Trump administration, one would think there is no such thing as climate change.

This week the Trump administration proposed a rule for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired electrical generating plants, fulfilling a promise to replace an Obama-era plan to cut emissions from coal plants by one-third between now and 2030.

This Small Branch of Trans Mountain Could Derail Canada’s Pipeline Purchase

Read time: 9 mins
Protester holding sign stating No Pipeline, No Consent, during a Kinder Morgan Pipeline Rally on September 9th, 2017 in Vancouver, Canada.

By , The Narwhal. Originally posted on The Narwhal.

The vast majority of oilsands crude moving to the West Coast passes through the little regarded Puget Sound Pipeline, which is now heavily entangled in troubled Canada-U.S. relations.

Politicians and industry have long boasted of the ability for an expanded Trans Mountain pipeline to get oil to lucrative Asian markets from Burnaby’s Westridge terminal.

But experts in Washington State are increasingly concerned that the twinning of the Edmonton-to-Burnaby pipeline may in fact lead to an expansion of the Puget Sound Pipeline, a 111-kilometer “spur line” from Trans Mountain that branches southward at Abbotsford to carry oil to four large refineries in the Puget Sound region.

Sizing Up Trump’s Dirty Replacement for the Clean Power Plan

Read time: 3 mins
Trump digs coal

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup.

Thirteen months ago, we made some guesses about what a replacement for the Clean Power Plan might look like. We speculated the new rule would be the sort of “inside the fenceline” policy preferred by the industry–one where coal plants are only required to make marginal improvements, basically just upgrading existing plants to run more efficiently.

Such an approach, which makes coal plants more profitable to run and would keep them running for longer, would ultimately lead to even higher levels of pollution than if there was no policy at all.

Judge Orders Full Environmental Review of Keystone XL in Nebraska

Read time: 3 mins
Niobrara State Park Bridge in Nebraska

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

TransCanada's long-gestating Keystone XL (KXL) tar sands pipeline was dealt another setback after a federal judge in Montana ruled Wednesday that the Trump State Department must conduct a robust environmental review of the alternative pipeline route through Nebraska.

U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris sided with environmentalists, landowners, and tribal plaintiffs in their challenge to the Trump administration. Pipeline opponents argued that the State Department's approval of the KXL was based on an outdated Environmental Impact Statement from 2014 of the original route, and accused the administration of trying to short-cut the permitting process.

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