The recent severe winter storm in Texas brought bitterly cold weather and caused blackouts, broken water pipes, suffering, and uncertainty. Could something similar happen here? The good news is that electricity generators and their fuel suppliers in our region are prepared for expected cold weather. In Texas, they apparently calculated that it would be a wise use of resources to concentrate on extreme heat and hurricanes, both of which are frequent and getting worse because of climate change. Texas focused on preparing for heat and… Read More »Climate Watch: Are We Prepared for Extreme Weather?
Op-Eds and Letters
American businesses are taking serious steps to curb climate change. General Motors recently announced that it plans to be carbon neutral by 2040 by making 40 percent of its US models battery-run by 2025, and powering 100% of its US facilities from renewable energy by 2035 (https://plants.gm.com/media/us/en/gm/news.detail.print.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2021/jan/0128-carbon.html). BlackRock, the world’s largest investment management firm, reported that investments in renewable energy funds increased more than 91% from 2019 to 2020. BlackRock stated that climate risk is investment risk, and urged companies to incorporate assessments of climate… Read More »Time for Congress To Do Its Part To Curb Climate Change
It is hard to overstate the timely value of Michael Mann’s latest book, The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet. The book explains clearly how the battlefield over climate issues has shifted. Climate “inactivists” as Dr. Mann calls them, generally no longer contend that the planet is not warming or that human actions are not the cause. The facts overcame those objections some time ago. The percentage of Americans who believe them now is in single digits. So those who would… Read More »Climate Watch: Michael Mann’s Latest is a Must-Read for Anyone Who Cares About Climate Action
by Sylvia Neely and Norma Morrison Last year Ezra Klein published a book entitled “Why We’re Polarized.” He traced the history of partisanship, explaining the ways parties have evolved, the changing role of the media, and the crucial influence of identity politics. The horrifying events on Capitol Hill on January 6 were the culmination of this corrosive process that has made many Americans come to fear each other, hate the other side, and refuse to listen to people with whom they disagree. In such a… Read More »Have We Reached the Limits of Partisanship?
Of the Three Musketeers and Climate Change by Joseph Haloua** What do carbon dioxide emissions and the Three Musketeers have in common? Human activity of course. In the seventeenth century, Paris was the largest European city and had to contend with an enormous influx of rural population. While economic output was rising, the lack of a sanitation infrastructure threatened to stall progress. The famous hats with large and solid brims worn by the Musketeers were more than mere fashion: they protected from all sorts of… Read More »Climate Watch: Of the Three Musketeers and Climate Change
This commonwealth has a long history as an energy leader. Our natural resources have helped spur the growth and development of both the state and the nation. Currently we are the third-largest energy producer in the nation and the number one exporter of electricity. Unfortunately, our commonwealth is also one of our nation’s largest polluters. According to the US Energy Information Administration, Pennsylvania has the fifth-dirtiest power generation sector in the country. We now have an opportunity to change that statistic. The Regional Greenhouse Gas… Read More »Climate Watch: Pennsylvania Should Join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
In its November 2020 Financial Stability Report, the Federal Reserve stated, for the first time, that climate change adds uncertainty and risk to the US economy and its financial institutions (https://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/files/financial-stability-report-20201109.pdf). The report updates the Federal Reserve’s assessments of vulnerabilities in the financial system, and factors or shocks that may affect them. Vulnerabilities include asset prices such as real estate values, and the ability of businesses and households to pay off debt. One such shock is climate change. The Federal Reserve report warns that acute… Read More »Report Underscores Need for Climate Action
In its November 2020 Financial Stability Report, the Federal Reserve stated, for the first time, that climate change adds uncertainty and risk to the U.S. economy and its financial institution. The report updates the Federal Reserve’s assessments of vulnerabilities in the financial system, and factors or shocks that may affect them. Vulnerabilities include asset prices such as real estate values, and the ability of businesses and households to pay off debt. One such shock is climate change. The Federal Reserve report warns that acute climate… Read More »Federal Reserve warns of climate risks
“Greenhouse gases” have reached a very dangerous level, worldwide. The science is clear; it’s not a hoax. Eighty-five percent of the world’s industrial energy comes from fossil fuels, and that causes temperatures to rise and rise. During the recent Paris climate accord meeting, Trump declared their goal was not “to save the environment. It was designed to kill the American economy.” “C’mon, man,” President-elect Biden urged, climate is no hoax. It is a Biden-administration top priority, after COVID, to reduce carbon gas emissions. And, when… Read More »Biden has Right Priorities
In the home stretch, Joe Biden leaned hard into the issue of climate change. He gave a televised climate speech and ran climate-focused ads in swing states. His campaign bet that this issue, once considered politically risky, would now be a winner. That bet paid off. Candidate Biden is now president-elect Biden. But, as is often the case, his party doesn’t have unified control across the whole federal government. That makes “working together” the order of the day. Encouragingly, Mr. Biden understands that people of… Read More »Climate change is a winning issue. Let’s work together to solve it.