Climate, politics & money – headlines

August 1, 2013

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Voters think Republican climate dissenters ‘crazy’, bipartisan poll finds

Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian
Republicans in Congress who reject the science behind climate change could soon be reduced to political fossils, with new polling on Wednesday suggesting three-quarters of young voters find such views "ignorant, out of touch or crazy".

The bipartisan poll conducted for the League of Conservation Voters found solid 80% support among under-35 voters for Barack Obama’s climate change plan – and majority support even among those who oppose the president…
(25 July 2013)

A Republican Secretary of State Urges Action on Climate Change

David Biello, Scientific American
…Few modern Republican politicians favor such environmental effort, or even believe climate change is happening or that humanity could be primarily responsible for it. In addition, the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives is currently suggesting that the federal budget almost eliminate support for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy and other clean energy efforts from the Department of Energy. Still, Shultz continues to work for what he sees as improvements to U.S. national, economic and environmental security by addressing the growing threat of global warming through his role as chair of the energy policy task force of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Scientific American sat down with the 92-year-old Schulz to discuss what can be done to combat climate change in the present political environment. The interview was held at his home in the hills above Stanford, which boast solar panels and his electric vehicle—a Nissan LEAF—in the garage…
(24 July 2013)

US investors show climate clout

Kieran Cooke, Climate News Network
Shareholders in the US are showing growing concern about their investments in companies exposed to climate change-related risks, according to new data released by Ceres, a U.S. organization that promotes more sustainable business practices.

The annual round of corporate shareholder meetings – referred to in the US as the proxy season – has recently ended. Ceres says that at those meetings a total of 110 shareholder climate change and environmental sustainability-related resolutions were filed with 94 US-based companies: issues covered by the resolutions included concerns about hydraulic fracturing, flaring and both the environmental and financial risks of further exploitation of fossil fuel reserves…
(30 July 2013)

Can you be sceptical about GM but believe in climate change?

Alice Bell, The Guardian
A friend asked me recently, how can someone be sceptical about GM and yet also believe in climate change? This post is an attempt to answer her.

If you scream "I totally heart science, the Royal Society has teh awesomist mindz ev-er, you cannot dispute their pure and good genius" in one breath before voicing suspicion at these strange, corrupt and elitist would-be-wizards in pay of big pharma/ag/oil/ [insert your own bogey-man] in another, then yes, you are being a bit silly. But such silliness is pretty rare.

Moreover, I’m not sure we should expect a homogeneous response to something as diverse as science. When people use the term "anti-science", I want to know what definition of science they’ve based their concept of anti on. Who’d be simplistic enough to be "pro" the whole of science? What sort of shallow, shampoo advert "science bit" approach to the complexities of modernity are they living by?…
(31 July 2013)

You’re Getting Warmer: Another Wall Street Journal Global Warming Article Misses the Target

Phil Plait, Slate
If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you know I am no fan of the Wall Street Journal op-ed section. In fact, I think it’s simply awful: They will print mind-numbingly bad and outright ridiculous climate change denial articles like clockwork.

The other day, though, a slightly different kind of opinion article appeared there. It’s not outright denial but shows many of the same signs. It was penned by Matt Ridley, a British science writer. He claims he does not deny the reality of global warming or even that it’s caused by carbon dioxide; he just claims the future effects of it are exaggerated.

But given what he wrote for the WSJ, I’m skeptical. Titled “Science Is About Evidence, Not Consensus,” it dances around the topic, making confused and ultimately erroneous points about global warming. The headline is ironic as well, since the evidence he cites is uniformly wrong…
(8 July 2013)

Outbreak of global warming optimism is naive

David Strahan, New Scientist
DOOM-MONGERS of the climate variety might want to look away now – we apparently have more time to save the planet. A recent study published in Nature Geoscience suggests it will warm more slowly than feared, perhaps buying an extra decade for action.

There are other reasons to be cheerful. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has just said nations can get back on track to keep warming below 2 °C at no net economic cost. President Obama is talking tough on emissions and the US and China, the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, are, incredibly, collaborating on efforts to curb them.

So it all adds up to an unexpected opportunity to get ahead of the crisis – or at least catch up. Or does it?…
(29 July 2013)

Flood, Rebuild, Repeat: Are We Ready for a Superstorm Sandy Every Other Year?

Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones
Scientists often refer to the "100-year flood," the highest water level expected over the course of a century. But with sea levels rising along the East Coast—a natural phenomenon accelerated by climate change—scientists project that in our lifetimes what was once considered a 100-year flood will happen every 3 to 20 years. And truly catastrophic storms will do damage unimaginable today. "With the exact same Sandy 100 years from now," Deodatis says, "if you have, say, five feet of sea level rise, it’s going to be much more devastating."

Roughly 123 million of us—39 percent of the US population—dwell in coastal counties. And that spells trouble: 50 percent of the nation’s shorelines, 11,200 miles in all, are highly vulnerable to sea level rise, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And the problem isn’t so much that the surf laps a few inches higher: It’s what happens to all that extra water during a storm…
(July/August 2013)

Europe Floods to China Quake Fuel $85 Billion in Economic Losses

Kathleen Chaykowski, Bloomberg
European flooding and an earthquake in China are among catastrophes that contributed to about $85 billion of economic losses worldwide in the first half of this year, according to Aon Plc. (AON)

The figure is $10 billion higher than the same period of 2012 and 15 percent below the 10-year average, London-based Aon’s Impact Forecasting said yesterday in a report. Insured losses for the six months through June totaled at least $20 billion, about 20 percent less than last year, the report shows…
(25 July 2013)

France adopts soft energy proposals after business flexes muscles

Michel Rose, Reutesr
France’s eight-month national consultation on the future of its nuclear-dominated energy sector ended on Thursday with watered down targets on cutting energy consumption after a big business lobby group said earlier proposals were unrealistic.

The world’s most nuclear-reliant nation launched the debate on energy transition last November in a bid to reshape the way energy is produced and consumed as it faces increasing costs to maintain an ageing fleet of reactors…
(18 July 2013)

Change the politics image via caro2francq/flickr

Tags: climate change, Energy Policy, Industry, Politics