May 29, 2020

Diplomacy in Climate Talks No Match For New Energy Alliances

On November 29 representatives from 190 countries will be in Cancun, Mexico for the 16th Conference of the Parties under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Late last week, following a two-day Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate in Washington, the Obama administration’s chief climate negotiator told reporters not to expect too much. “I would describe myself right now as neither an optimist nor a pessimist,” said Todd Stern, the State Department’s …

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Amid Turbulence A Path For Climate Action

Maybe things aren’t as dismaying as we thought a week ago. Or just a little less in the dismay department. In the last few days, two of the prominent names in American politics and business appeared to reach consistent conclusions about governing, technology, and the warming climate. On Friday, Karl Rove told an audience of natural gas developers in Texas that “climate is gone” as a Congressional issue. And this week, in a Rolling Stone …

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Why Can’t U.S. and China Just Get Along in Tianjin? Answer Is They Are

TIANJIN, China — On Monday, two days after the UNFCCC climate conference ended after six days of grudging negotiation, the sky above this busy city turned blue, the sun appeared for the first time in a week, and Tianjin’s angled skyline, not visible previously in the thick smog, appeared like a gleaming glass and steel mountain range. The beautiful warm day not only brought a fresh focus to just how earnest China is in building …

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In China and the U.S., Measuring Tolerances

A long time ago, in the mid-1980s, I wrote about New York City’s infrastructure modernization in Manhattan Inc., an upscale business magazine that no longer exists. It was a perfect gig for a writer who as a kid counted bridge overpasses on the highway during the regular family drive from suburban New York to suburban Boston to visit my grandparents. I loved watching new skyscrapers get slotted into New York City’s skyline. I was fascinated …

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In Era of Turmoil, Top of the World is Melting

Photo © Aaron Jaffe / Circle of Blue By Keith Schneider Circle of Blue In January, when the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change acknowledged that it was wrong in predicting that the glaciers of the Himalayas could be gone by 2035, skeptics of global warming used the error to assert that much of climate science was a fraud. Next month, though, the Asia Society Museum opens a month long exhibition in New York …

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Obama Makes Progress on Climate But Environmental Community Divided

President Obama on Friday directed the EPA and the Transportation Department to develop a national policy to increase fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from medium and heavy-duty trucks in time for the 2014 model year. The action comes almost exactly one year (May 19, 2009) after President Obama set new fuel and emissions standards for new cars and light trucks sold in the United States beginning with the 2012 model year. The 2009 …

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Climate-Denying US Chamber Has A Point When It Comes to Grassroots Resistance to Clean Energy

The US Chamber of Commerce and many of its state-based affiliates, including the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, are nests of ideological movement conservatives devoted to all manner of influential key words that have shaped how states and Washington view their duties to mother nature. The Chamber has promoted such concepts as “free-market environmentalism” — which means allowing market trends to strip the earth — and “sound science,” which is a euphemism for ignoring science-based fact …

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When It Comes to Climate and Clean Energy, “Just Say No” Has Become Too Popular

Monday, in the parlance of Washington policy and journalism, was scheduled to be a potential day of breakthrough in the work to achieve action on the warming climate. Senators John Kerry (Mass.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (Conn.) had announced that they’d come to consensus on what a bipartisan energy and climate policy fit for the 21st century looked like. The results were to be unveiled at a news briefing that had global import. …

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Across the Big Pond Bonn Climate Negotiators

Today diplomats and climate action specialists met in Bonn for the first international climate meeting since the Copenhagen summit in December. April in fact marks the start of an intensifying schedule of global negotiating sessions on climate action, and on the international economy. NGO climate leaders from USCAN and our member organizations are in Bonn. Among the many things they are doing is to help make the case to delegates that at the very moment …

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Obama, His Shorthand, Energy, and the Frustration of Self-Interest

SAN FRANCISCO — A couple of people I know out here in the Bay Area attended one of the San Francisco fundraisers more than a week ago, during which Barack Obama talked about white working class Americans in Pennsylvania and the Midwest who “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.” The comment attracted no attention at all among the liberal, well-heeled Democratic donors gathered in the  …

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