The New, Improved American Right

I was re-reading a paper I wrote ten years ago and found it all too relevant to what we’ve been experiencing for the past year in America culminating, for the moment, in the catastrophe that was Election Day here.  You may find it helps to explain a few things.

The epigraph for my master’s thesis on the “The Underlying Psychology of Violent Political Conflict” was from Erik Erikson:  “There is no time left in which to be as naïve historically as, in all past history, the historians have been psychologically.  (Childhood and Society, p. 403.)  Let’s all of us, activists, political scientists, everyday decent people, not be so naïve about what just happened and what’s going to happen all too soon.

Here is my paper from the Fall 2006 edition of the “Journal of Psychohistory.”  (Read the pdf here if that’s easier.) Continue reading

Catastrophe

I’ve been offline for a long time, nearly a year, I know.  (Working on a new book and a few other impediments got in the way.)  But yesterday’s election makes me want to record my few thoughts here.

I think yesterday’s events are equivalent, probably worse, than those of September 11, 2001 or November 22, 1963 or December 7, 1941.  It looks and feels that violent.  I remember September 11th vividly.  We were right on top of it.  I also remember JFK’s assassination and the grim weekend that followed.  I wasn’t yet born when Pearl Harbor was attacked but I’ve been to the National Monument and got a sense of the scope of the disaster. Continue reading

China’s Nuclear Boondoggle

china-nuclear-plants

According to the IAEA here, there are 31 operational nuclear power reactors in China, and 24 more under construction.  But, according to the excellent “World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2015,” there is a deep slowdown underway in the planning for more new plants. Continue reading

“The whole system is warming up, relentlessly.”

NOAA 2015 global temp

The quote in the title of this post is from Jerry Meehl, a top and senior climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.  His observation, from an article today by the excellent Justin Gillis of the NY Times, could not be topped for its trenchancy.  It is all too on the money.  What’s the news?  2015 was the hottest year in the instrumental record, dating to 1880.

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“L’Accord de Paris pour le climat est acceptée.”

cop21 leaders

(left to right, with arms raised in victory) Laurence Tubiana, France’s climate ambassador; Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC; Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the UN; Laurent Fabius, President of COP21; and François Hollande, President of France.

“The Paris Accord for the climate is accepted.”  Thus pronounced Laurent Fabius, the Foreign Minister of France, and the President of the historic 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Continue reading

KXL – RIP

Obama rejects KXL

It’s been a few months since I’ve been on the air.  There is absolutely no better news I could come off my sabbatical with than that the Keystone XL pipeline project is dead. President Obama this morning announced the US rejection of the application.  There is enormous significance in this on several levels: Continue reading

Sabbatical

It looks like it’s time to take a break.  I’ve been blogging on climate change, sustainability, etc. since March 5th, 2007 when I did my first post for the Foreign Policy Association, the last for them more than five years and 750+ posts later, and then nearly 140 here since June of 2012.  I’ll be back but it looks like I’m taking the summer off.

The German Sustainability Revolution

Energiewende-500x333I just wanted to flag the fact that I led a group of grad students to Berlin at the end of May and we had a fabulous six-day series of tours and briefings.  I’ll be writing with a bit of depth about the trip here soon, but in the meantime, you can see my post at our NYU Center for Global Affairs blog, The Global Citizen.

“Our Sister, Mother Earth”

laudato-si-itThe title of the new, long anticipated, hugely important treatise from the leader of over a billion Roman Catholics in the world, Pope Francis, is Laudato Si.  The title comes from his namesake’s “Canticle of the Creatures” in which St. Francis writes:  “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs.”  Laudato Si’ – Praised be to you.

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“Think ahead. Act together.”

G7_Germany_Logo_lang_640_201The G7 members were hosted in Germany this year and made some bold pronouncements relative to the future of energy and the climate system.  I am manifestly not a cynic on the progress the world has been making on climate and energy over the past decade or so.  That is certainly the premise of my book and this blog:  that there are scores of important breakthroughs and initiatives being made every year, most everywhere.  I have, however, taken a cautious approach to the importance of the global approach to mitigating greenhouse gases.  A consensus has been building and continues to build about the need for action.  There is absolutely no doubt about that.  But the speed and depth of commitment from some of the leading actors remains in question. Continue reading