“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

Great Minds Against Tar Sands Development

before and after tar sandsI am sorry to say I’ve been off the air for too many weeks.  It’s been a busy Spring, culminating in a week-long trip to Berlin with my graduate students to take a live and in-color look at German clean tech.  I will be following up here with some reporting on that.  Great stuff!  Stay tuned.  Plus there’s other news on which I will add my two cents, including the recent G7 talks and the upcoming encyclical from Pope Francis. Continue reading

The President Gets Angry

The annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner was the venue for one of the funniest, most totally in-your-face performances I’ve ever seen:  Stephen Colbert just eviscerating nearly everybody in the room in 2006.  (Start at 1:45 to skip the boring introduction.)  There is an extensive Wikipedia page just for this performance. Continue reading

The New Yorker Gets One Wrong

Franzen graphicWhat can you say about a publication, the venerable “New Yorker,” that has brought us writers the likes of Rachel Carson, Bill McKibben and Betsy Kolbert?  Easy:  They’ve got their environmental worldview very nicely in order.  But nobody’s perfect, so the editors responsible for accepting a recent essay, questionable (to be kind) in its logic and facts, by the novelist Jonathan Franzen, are to be forgiven.

There was, in fact, another reasonably bone-headed essay on the environmental movement from another distinguished writer, Nicholas Lemann, a couple of years ago that elicited responses from some worthy environmental leaders in whose company I found myself when the magazine printed my letter alongside theirs. Continue reading