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Around the globe, people have taken to the streets today to march for climate awareness and, even more importantly, Climate Action.  

Last count,  0957 EST, 2808 events in 166 countries with some 100,000+ in New York at this time.

A simple and fundamental question:

Will the 100,000 plus in New York spark a shift in American politics?

As we need it to, will Climate Change risks, mitigation, and adaptation become a true centerpiece of American political discourse, social dynamics, and investment -- from individuals to communities to business to the general society?

In New York, for me, one of the most appealing elements is not the mass mobilization numbers but the serious effort to provide space and structure for highlighting a range of reasons for concern and pathways forward.  Not only is there organizing by groups (from States to LGBT to faith to clean energy to ...) but the march itself is structured to enable highlighting the diversity of issues/approaches with six major organizing elements:

1. Frontlines; The communities being hard hit, NOW, are in the forefront of the march just as they are on the leading edge of climate chaos damage.

2. We can build the future:  Labor, families, children ... we have the resources to create the future we need.

3.  Solutions:  From clean energy to better food production to better land management, we have real and viable solutions -- in place -- ready for deployment for real change.

4. We know who is responsible: there are villains and nasty actors -- we know who is holding back progress.

5.  The debate is over: while there are always details to work out, the science is clear -- climate change is occurring, humanity's thumb is tipping the scales to drive it, and this is creating ever-greater risks.

6. To change everything, we need everyone -- religious organizations, student groups, politicians, businesses, everyone ...

Note that this is not 'climate science' nor 'environmental' but an attempt to represent the range of society, the range of perspectives, to highlight that this is an all-emcompassing issue that impacts everything and has implications for everyone ...

And, when it comes to "everyone", that includes the media -- traditional to new media.  

The Washington Post editorial page recently published six days straight of editorials laying out why climate change matters and requires attention/action. While certainly problem filled, this was a strong series. In today's dead-tree edition of the Washington Post, as there are 2808 events around the world and 100,000+ strong in New York, there is crickets as to the People's Climate March and the UN Climate Summit.

As the crickets sing in my garden (and, sigh, inside my home all night long .... got into walls ...), the dead-tree edition that I opened up this morning had deafening crickets on today's mass mobilization.

But, the dead tree world isn't alone.

Here at Daily Kos, there is (yet again) an impassioned climate Blogathon(see after the fold) calling attention to the UN Climate Summit and today's march.  Yet again, the Daily Kos community has brought in eloquent, powerful (in multiple ways -- both in voice and in life position), and prominent people.  And, yet again with the notably strong exception of Meteor Blades and today's Devilstower/Mark Sumner pundit review, the front page is notable for its crickets on climate change as the march goes on and with the UN Climate Summit this coming week (see front page diary list ...)

2808 events in 166 countries ...

100,000+ on the streets in New York ...

Engagement from political elite ...

Yet, crickets ...

What will it take?

For far too long, Climate Change has been pigeon-holed as "environmental" and commented on as "your issue" to those who comment that this requires across the board attention and action.

Yet again, a major climate action ...

Yet again, a major silence from the Daily Kos 'elite' and 'management'.

It has been asserted -- make it politically relevant and we will come.  

Hmmm ... where has the site been on KXL?

Hmmm ... how engaged has the front page been about the strength/weakness of Steyer's engagement on politics?

Hmmm ... the crickets at DKos are overwhelming.  

With that in mind, with such deafening crickets from Progressive elite voices, how can we find it atrocious that (increasingly conservative) mainstream media like the Washington Post don't highlight the march?

We face a time where we must all crawl, hobble, march demanding attention to and action on climate change.

If you care about progressive society, you must call for climate action because climate chaos' costs and havoc will undermine any ability to move forward on issue after issue.

Climate change is not a pet issue ...

Climate change is not a stove-piped issue, to be put aside for 'later reflection' ...

Climate change is not something to the side ...

It is a reality ...

And, it is a reality that is central to our prospects for the future ... as individuals, families, communities, and nations.

The time for crickets is done ...

It is time to hear and amplify the drumbeats 100,000s of shoes marching in New York.

Tt is time to hear and amplify the voices of those marching in New York and around the world.

It is time ...

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Shaun Donovan, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and former Secretary of the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) along with lead on Hurricane Sandy relief, gave his first public talk as OMB Director this this morning at the Center for American Progress. A notable point: this first talk focused on climate change issues, the costs of inaction, and the payoffs from incorporating climate in our decision-making processes.

when you consider the impact of climate change on the Federal Budget, it’s bad news for everyone. Even a small reduction in real GDP growth can dramatically reduce Federal revenue, drive up our deficits, and impact the government’s ability to serve the public.
Donovan's prepared remarks are beneath the fold and are worth reading.  And, his responses to questions were substantial and thoughtful.

Rather than, however, attempt to dissect the comments, perhaps some impressions:

Quite simply, Donovan spoke forcefully and thoughtfully.  Having an OMB Director who has a substantive understanding of and serious concern about climate change matters.  The OMB has, over the decades, has been all too often a serious obstacle to movement forward on environmental issues.  Donovan's way of engagement suggests that is undergoing serious change.

What might be called climate adaptation and post-disaster rebuilding with climate change in mind truly had the strongest focus.  Climate mitigation and the payoffs from aggressive efforts to reduce future climate change did not, imo, receive forceful enough attention from Donovan.

Perhaps, however, the most important part of Donovan's visit to CAP came at the very end, when he spoke to "the incredibly wonky stuff that we do at OMB" and the need to get cost-benefit analysis right.  This arena is one where, almost without exception, we see too pessimistic analysis: even strong advocates for climate mitigation / adaptation typically over-estimate the costs for acting while underestimating the benefits.  Donovan stated that the OMB staff, under his direction, are seeking to get the cost-benefit analysis correct when they review government policies, regulations, and programs.   To insure "that we are appropriately pricing in climate change in all that we do."

To support this point, Donovan provided an intriguing and specific example.  When investing in infrastructure, how does one account for the differing trajectories of 'concrete' vs 'green infrastructure'.  He pointed to flood control measures -- comparing building up dikes and other concrete with investing in wetlands. That poured infrastructure begins to decay from the moment construction stops while the wetlands restoration is a longer term prospect and, in fact, should become stronger and more resilient (rather than less) over time as plants spread and trees grow (and root structures strengthen).  How does one account for this difference in analyzing life-cycles and cost-benefit analysis?  That is the sort of question that Donovan says he is of asking of staff, that is being asked with OMB?

As he put it, "incredibly wonky stuff" but the incredibly important wonky stuff that drives how policy concepts get transformed into reality.

A question worth asking ...

Within that wonkiness, there are innumerable questions. Here is one that merits asking:

With the focus on assuring "that we are appropriately pricing in climate change in all that we do", will OMB require the use of social cost of carbon within the fiscal accounting of all government decision making?
As background and context of that question, here are three more specific 'sub' questions.
  • Leasing of coal fields:  There is not a single Federal mining lease related to coal, that I have been able to discover, that would show a profit for the taxpayer if there were a reasonable social cost of carbon (SCC) applied to the burning of mined coal (let along accounting for all the other coal costs/impacts, from mining through transportation to burning to disposal of ash). In fact, it appears that coal leases return to the Federal government just pennies on the dollar in terms of the actual social costs of the resulting burned carbon.   The authorization of coal exports and leasing coal mining rights should include the SCC in the decision-making processes.  Has OMB directed that this be done?
  • Keystone XL pipeline:  Without question, the tar sands projects produce liquid fuel with a higher carbon load than traditional fuels and alternatives (from efficiency through emergent bio/synthetic fuels).  The Department of State analysis essentially ignored the social cost of this carbon.  How has OMB evaluated the SCC from Keystone XL in its examination of the DOS report?
  • LNG Export:  There is a strong push underway for liquid natural gas (LNG) export. Natural gas -- especially with the methane leakage rates from fracking -- potentially has a higher carbon load than burning coal, the energy costs for liquifying and transporting LNG around the globe turn this "potentially" into a simple reality. While natural gas has a lower carbon implication than coal during actual combustion, full life-cycle analysis changes that equation.  Has OMB required incorporating full LNG life-cycle carbon loads and that a SCC be applied against that true carbon implication as part of the export license approval process?



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Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 03:39 PM PDT

Birds die ...

by A Siegel

Birds die ... naturally and due to human causes.

To provide some context,

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Simply put, the economic analysis related to climate change issues used in public debates has systematically gotten things wrong. The very nature of the analytical process fosters an exaggerated projection of costs and an understatement of benefits from climate mitigation and adaptation investments. This fosters a discussion of the "costs" of action, rather than a more honest and meaningful discussion of the extent and nature of the "climate mitigation return on investment."  Fully-burdened cost-benefit analysis would highlight the huge return to be secured from sensible climate investments.

When it comes to cost-benefit analysis, two just released reports shed important perspective on this issue:

  • Risky Business documents the costs the United States is already accruing due to climate change impacts and projects these costs through the century.  Costs could include over $500 billion of coastal property below sea level by 2100, outdoor labor productivity declines of over three percent, agricultural production losses that could -- in some regions -- exceed 50 percent, etc ... Writ large, $trillions at risk in the US economy from unchecked climate change.
  • The World Bank's Climate-Smart Development: Adding Up the Benefits of Actions that Help Build Prosperity, End Poverty and Combat Climate Change examined six nations and the European Union through the lens of what would be smart choices for climate mitigation / adaptation and what would the economic impact be from these?  The answer:  a potential $2.6 trillion, per year, improvement to the global economy.

These reports, together, provide window on a simple truth:

When it comes to climate change, Inaction costs (a lot) ... Action benefits (a lot)

Read below the fold for more analysis.

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Communicating on science is difficult in American society. Tackling that communication in the face of concerted efforts to undermine science is an even more difficult challenge.

Effective teachers use a variety of methods to communicate with their students, seeking to find ways to communicate to all of the seven types of learning.  For aural, we're advised to

"use sound, rhyme and music in your learning".
Those concerned with educating, engaging with, and mobilizing people about climate risks pursue multiple tools, including music such as the catchy song in this video (which is worth watching for some of the embedded graphics).  (See after the fold for a second video ... )

Aside from a catchy (hmm, recognize it ...?) tune, there are many 'quotables' within the lyrics.

For example, the overwhelming consensus within the relevant scientific community is laid out simply:

So what if it snowed this past winter.

The science is proven and true.

How many studies do you need to see?

It's 10,883 to 2.

The end of the song is so true:
Believe it or not, it's still true.

Science doesn't care if you do.

The facts are still going to be true.

(And, evolution and gravity are, too.)

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With today's roll-out of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidance for reducing coal-fired electricity plants carbon emissions, industry interests have been pressuring hard with efforts to undermine public support for EPA action.

Before heading further and in line with the Debunking Handbook, let us start with some basic truths about investing in climate mitigation.

  • Climate mitigation investments will have huge economic returns on that investment ranging from energy efficiency reducing total energy bills to new economic activity surrounding the new technologies and businesses seeking to reduce our climate impact.
  • Climate mitigation investments will have huge corollary benefits -- such as improved human health (from reduced allergy risks to reduced emergency room visits with asthma attacks to reduced deaths due to fossil fuel pollution), improved visibility at national parks
  • Climate mitigation will reduce the huge risks associated with climate change and will provide an insurance against the potential that climate change implications could be far worse than standard projections suggest (e.g., the risk that the modeling is erring on the too optimistic side).
  • Climate mitigation is an investment that will provide huge returns -- across a spectrum of economic, social, and environmental fronts

Another simple truth, even proponents of action on environmental issues typically overstate costs and understate benefits for a number of understandable reasons.

With that in mind, putting aside accusations of skewing the situation to protect incumbents from innovative technologies threatening their business models and to protect polluters from having to take responsibility for the damages their businesses cause, does the past historical record provide us a window on whether we can trust institutions like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to provide reliable information as to the costs of environmental compliance?

Ramez Naam's the Infinite Resource: the power of ideas on a finite planet is a powerful discussion of how innovation can enable us, even at this stage, to address climate change successfully.  Naam presents a strong version of what I describe as 'pessimistic optimism' -- he is quite clear as to the extent of our challenges and problems while also providing cogent arguments as to why and how unleashing innovation can enable a transformation of American (and global) society toward a prosperous, climate-friendly future.

Naam has, among other things, an excellent discussion of how opponents and proponents have gotten the cost-benefit equation wrong on past policy discussions of addressing environmental issues (pages 201-204).

  • Addressing Acid Rain
    • Industry groups predicted annual costs of $25 billion per year, EPA projected $6 billion per year, over the past 20 years the costs habe been "only $3 billion per year, just one-eight of the industry estimates, and half of what the EPA estimated."
    • Benefits:  "regulations saved an estimated $118 billion per year in reduced health expenses".
    • And ... Americans still have electricity for their big-screen TVs.
  • Ozone layer
    • "Don Hodel ... [Reagan] secretary of the interior after James Watt argued that any near-term risk of thinning ozone layer could be handled by telling people to wear hats and put on more sunscreen. ... [DuPont] warned that phasing out CFCs could cost the United States more than $130 billion and "that entire industries could fold." ... the Competitive Enterprise Institute ... phasing out CFCs would cost the countgry between $45 billion and $99 billion. ... The EPA expected the phase-out to cost a total of $28 billion. .... the actual cost across the entire US economy turned out to be less than $10 billion ... less than a tenth of what DuPont had estimated, less than a quarter of the lowest cost estimates from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and only slightly more than a third of what the EPA itself had estimated."
    • While opponents of action had warned that refrigerators would become a thing only multi-millionaires could afford, "the country's air conditioning and refrigeration kep on working without disruption."
  • And ...
    • Benzene: When putting limits on benzene emissions at industrial sites, chemical companies forecast costs of $350,000 per plant.  Within a few years, changed processes that eliminated benzene entirely (beating the regulations) reduced this cost to ... zero.  Health benefits: $billions.
    • Asbestos:  OSHA estimated costs of $150 million to end asbestos use in insulation and the costs turned out to be $75 million.  Health benefits > $billions
    • Reduced coke oven pollution:  EPA estimated costs of $4 billion in 1987 learning by 1991 led to revised cost estimates of $400 million. Health benefits > $billions.
"Everywhere we look, the cost of reducing either resource use or pollution drops through innovation.  Even the cost estimates of regulators turn out to be too high." (205)
Much will (and should be said) about the EPA rules released this morning.  (Whether the 2005 starting point is gamesmanship to make the targets look bigger? Hmmm, yes.  Whether the rules go far enough?  Hmmm, no ... Whether the coal industry is bearing enough of the financial burdens for the damages burning coal causes? Hmmm ... no. Etc ...)  But most simply ... That the EPA is moving forward with guidance on coal fired plants  is -- seriously -- good.  That President Obama and the Administration are demonstrating a willingness to take -- in wide public view and in the face of serious political interest pushback -- Administration action in the face of a do-nothing Congress is good. That this is a step in the right direction is -- without question -- good.

What is not good is that, inevitably, the entire discussion will exaggerate the costs of action and understate the benefits of action.

And, well, as to the question above:

Does the past historical record provide us a window on whether we can trust institutions like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to provide reliable information as to the costs of environmental compliance?

Yes.

And, that window says that their predictions should not be trusted.

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The Administration is going all out in explaining the just released rules.

Here is a three minute "white board" explanation:

Related,

1.  EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy's speech video and text (in full after the fold) announcing the plan.

2.  EPA website on the proposed  carbon pollution standards.

3.  Reasons to apply a skeptical mindset to claims of disaster due to @EPA regulation …

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Energy poverty is one of the world's greatest challenges. Demo of solar LED lantern usage in Mankapur Haat MarketThere are billions of people without access to reliable and reasonably priced electricity. In India, alone, there are some 400 million people in energy poverty.  The new Indian government has set a major initiative to change this situation radically and rapidly: "to harness solar power to enable every home to run at least one light bulb by 2019".

“We look upon solar as having the potential to completely transform the way we look at the energy space,” said Narendra Taneja, convener of the energy division at Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party
This has the potential to change radically the situation throughout India.  Access to even a few hours of light, for example, has had a major impact on the status of women as the lighting enables children to do their homework.  A few hours of the lighting will equate to adding years of education to the poorest of Indians.

And, this is a very cost effective option. A solar lighting system costs in the range of 1-2 months of kerosene for an indoor lamp. Just on fuel costs, perhaps a 400 percent return in the first year -- freeing up money for other things (whether food, education, or ...) -- along with reduced pollution (both indoor for health and larger scale climate / other impacts).

If successful, the political impact is hard to overestimate.

it’s hard to imagine politicians not understanding the appeal of bringing power to the people: every time they turn on the lights voters will be reminded of the BJP.
The markets are already assessing the implications.  India's electricity system is cumbersome, inefficient, and heavily dependent on coal imports. If the new government follows through on its promise, with renewable energy a cornerstone of its energy policy, expectations of increased coal exports might turn into a chimera.  
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Each spring, millions of Americans at 1,000s of High Schools and Springfield Technical Community CollegeUniversities sit through commencement speeches. While many are filled with overused cliches and serve only as a speed bump en route post graduation parties, others represent mind-changing moments that "are truly worth remembering, or so well-said that they stick in the memory longer than just about anything else" with language worth returning to time and time again.  Paul Hawkens' is such a speech, framing our environmental challenges in a way direct relevant to the life choices of the students who were sitting before him.

You are going to have to figure out what it means to be a human being on earth at a time when every living system is declining, and the rate of decline is accelerating. Kind of a mind-boggling situation... but not one peer-reviewed paper published in the last thirty years can refute that statement. Basically, civilization needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades.
Politicians are standard on the commencement rounds, typically providing pablum rather than substance.  Sometimes, a politician takes a commencement speech to make a statement of fundamental importance, to move past photo opportunity to political leadership.  Such is the case with Governor Deval Patrick's 9 May speech at the University of Massachusetts (extracts after the fold).

Patrick opened with his perspective that education is about something greater than securing a job and that the graduates would put something central to their desires for the future: "above all I hope you will choose to be good citizens."

your education here at UMass is about more than preparation for being good employees. It is about preparation for citizenship itself.

Good citizens take an interest in people and issues outside themselves. They understand community, in the sense of seeing their stake in their neighbors' dreams and struggles as well as their own. They inform themselves about what's happening in their community. They volunteer. They listen. They take the long view. They vote.

Good citizens don't just live and work in a community. They build community.

With that in mind, Patrick laid out what is the greatest challenge today for being able to "build community":
no policy choice before this community, this Commonwealth and this Nation is more emblematic than climate change.
After discussing climate science (highlighting the just released National Climate Assessment, 2014) and laying out Massachusetts' progress in energy efficiency, clean energy, and climate mitigation/adaptation, Patrick laid out what we need from energy policy:
the time has come to set a new standard that ensures that, at every point in time, at every moment, we are getting the cleanest energy possible. It means energy efficiency first. It means zero-emission electricity next – solar, wind, and hydro. It means lower-emission electricity last – natural gas, an imperfect choice but best of the fossil fuels. And it means high-emissions sources never.
We should not be gleefully pursuing and celebrating an "All-of-the-Above" energy policy, which fosters continued investment in dirty energy sources along with moves toward clean energy, but must prioritize throughout our economy and our policy moves toward a cleaner energy system.
This is what we call a “clean energy standard,” and we should set one for our state that puts us on a path to reduce our emissions by fully 80 percent by mid-century. It’s not the ideal today, but it will get us there tomorrow. It’s how we move from good to better to best.
Patrick is laying out that 'prioritizing' clean over dirty isn't perfection, isn't "best", but provides a path toward "best".
What’s the best?

The best is a future free of fossil fuels.

A question:

Has a governor ever before made such a direct call for entirely getting off fossil fuels?

In a sentence, what is that "best ...future":

It’s an economy driven by homegrown, Governor Deval Patrickindependent sources of renewable energy, cutting edge technology, and hyper-efficient cars and buildings.
This provides a positive and optimistic vision -- that we can address climate change with leveraging our capacity for innovation with clean energy and efficiency throughout the economy.

Even better,

It’s a future within our grasp.
While every day makes the climate crisis worse,
We don’t have to wait for disaster:

the Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stone,

but because humankind imagined a better way and then reached for it.

It is time to "imagine a better way" and create that "best future free of fossil fuel".

Note:

Please take a look at and support the Better Future Project.


Here is their discussion of Better Future Project's engagement with Governor Patrick and his speech.


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At this time, US television screens are graced with several blockbuster science programs.  Showtime's The Years of Living Dangerouslyprovides serious and substantive looks at climate change. With Cosmos, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, NewsCorp is giving thinking people a substantive reason to tune in every Sunday evening. "Cosmos aims to be a primer on the incredible grandeur of the world around us, lionizing the scientists that have made our greatest discoveries, and hopefully stoking the fires for education and learning in the process." If we think about the political demographic associated with Fox News, Cosmos' calm, rather, and thoughtful scientific-based take on the history of Earth (no, not 6000 years), evolution (yes, it happens), and climate change (not that word) might appear shocking.

As to the last, Cosmos' discussion to date has been relatively muted -- certainly not a central focus -- but yesterday's show changed that equation.

Tyson's commentary:

We just can't seem to stop burning up all those buried trees from way back in the carboniferous age, in the form of coal, and the remains of ancient plankton, in the form of oil and gas.

If we could, we'd be home free climate wise.

Instead, we're dumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a rate the Earth hasn't seen since the great climate catastrophes of the past, the ones that led to mass extinctions.

We just can't seem to break our addiction to the kinds of fuel that will bring back a climate last seen by the dinosaurs, a climate that will drown our coastal cities and wreak havoc on the environment and our ability to feed ourselves.

All the while, the glorious sun pours immaculate free energy down upon us, more than we will ever need.

Why can't we summon the ingenuity and courage of the generations that came before us?

The dinosaurs never saw that asteroid coming.

In his calm sonorous voice, Tyson asks a profound question
"What's our excuse?"
Tip of the hat to Chris Mooney (see that discussion, which has links to other excellent discussions about and with Tyson).

MMfA steps in with Fox vs. FOX: Neil deGrasse Tyson Speaks Out On Climate Change: On Cosmos, Tyson Makes Climate Connections That Fox News Mocks

Discuss

Today, there is an all day event at the White House on solar power, both announcing a series of initiatives and honoring "solar champions" from around the nation (full press releases).  These champions are representative of leaders in technological change, drivers for policy change, and people working 'in the grassroots' to get solar on the rooftops of disadvantaged citizens across the country.  As to initiatives, they include several interesting ones:

  • Department of Energy funding to support state, tribal, and local planning for tackling barriers to cost-competitive solar deployment.  As solar technology prices continue to plunge, "soft" costs (planning, financing, inspection, sales, etc ...) are also falling -- but at a much slower rate which means that they are, with each passing day, a greater percentage of the total costs.
  • Energy Department SunShot and NREL staff/technical support to assist in accelerating solar installations at Federally-assisted housing.
  • EPA issuance of an "on-site renewables challenge" to prod businesses (Green Power partners) around the nation to put renewables (including solar) at their actual facilities rather than 'simply' buying clean energy credits.
  • Energy Department coming issuance of a "Solar Deployment Playbook", which is aimed to ease internal 'soft costs' as to decision-making and understanding within business as to why and how to do solar installations.
  • Capital Solar Challenge:  The Administration is targeting solar power at Federal facilities in Washington, DC, as part of an effort "to lead by example".
  • Military Solar Deployment:  The White House is reaffirming the military commitment to solar deployments. Note that the WH press release emphasizes the Army.  Last week, at the Sea-Air Space Symposium, Navy leaders mentioned that the Secretary of the Navy ordered far more aggressive action on putting solar up at Navy and Marine Corps facilities.

Many of the above are 'leading by example'.  Since this is a live, online event, the White House is taking questions via twitter using #WHChamps and #ActOnClimate.  My first question refers back to a painful issue:

Shouldn't the White House lead by example and put solar pv on the roof (next to Secret Service snipers?) as part of the Capital Solar Challenge?

Discuss

Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 04:21 AM PDT

Whiplashed by weather?

by A Siegel

Drastic shifts in weather (from beautiful sunny skies to dark menacing ones, from t-shirt frisbee temperatures to parka-wearing cold, from ...) are natural.  

Humanity, however, has been putting its figures on the scales of "natural".  

As Bill McKibben so eloquently discussed 25 years ago in The End of Nature, due to fossil fuel emissions, humanity's footprint is global. And, as he laid out in Eaarth, we now have changed the earth so much that the "natural world" of the 21st century and beyond is removed from what it was even in my youth some (too many ... sigh) decades ago.  

We are living in a world of Weather Gone Wild.

Amid mounting climate change and increased climate chaos, a term of growing frequency: "weather whiplash":

The term "weather whiplash" describes the rapid transition from one extreme weather event to another opposing extreme event.
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