Articles of Interest

The Economist (November 28, 2015)

“Clear thinking needed”

The climate is changing because of previous inventions like the steam turbine and the internal combustion engine. However, global warming cannot be dealt with using today’s tools and mindsets. The new research agenda needs to tackle the deficiencies of renewables as well as needs radical innovation as a key to reducing emissions over the medium and long term. That is why the best way to cope with climate change is to keep inventing, even though the effects on climate change will not be immediate.


The Wall Street Journal (November 30, 2015)

“Carbon-Tax Debate Brings Together Unusual Allies” by Sarah Kent & Justin Scheck

Several big oil companies have fallen into unlikely alignment with environmental groups calling for new taxes on air polluters like coal-burning power plants. One key reason is that these taxes are probably good for their natural-gas businesses. As a result, a so-called carbon tax, which would force companies to pay for their emissions and likely increase oil producers’ costs, also would increase demand for natural gas, an increasingly significant part of their output. The companies are part of a collection of business interests, environmental activists and economists that have urged negotiators meeting at the climate talks in Paris to consider potential carbon pricing policies as a tool to curb emissions.


The New York Times (December 2, 2015)

“What You Can Do About Climate Change” by Josh Katz & Jennifer Daniel

Global climate change is a complicated topic and any long-term solution will require profound changes in how we generate energy. Nevertheless, at the same time, there are everyday things that people can do to reduce their personal contribution to a warming planet. Seven simple guidelines on how people’s choices today affect the climate tomorrow are presented in this article.


The New York Times (December 2, 2015)

“With Coal Industry Under Pressure, Some See Long-Term Decline” by John Schwartz

According to the International Energy Agency, coal use peaked eight years ago among the group of industrialized nations and the phasing out of inefficient coal-fired power plants is one of the biggest, most cost-effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Especially the rise of cheap alternatives like natural gas, as well as wind and solar power, has had a great effect on coal’s fortunes.Plummeting coal prices and business decisions by the companies to take on debt have also weighed down the industry. In addition, campaigns by activistshave helped to reduce the number of coal-burning plants in the United States. That is why coal is in trouble, and that could be good news for a warming world.

The Financial Times (December 2, 2015)

“COP21 Paris climate talks: India offers to cut coal use” by Pilita Clark & James Wilson

India, one of the world’s largest coal users, offered to cut its coal use. It will cut back on its investments in the fuel if the new climate deal due to be struck in Paris delivers more money to help. According to officials, solar power, hydro, nuclear, and other non-carbon sources are what India will develop to the largest extent they can, on condition that it is affordable.

Kerry Prods India to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

 Secretary of State John Kerry urged India to begin addressing climate change by reducing greenhouse gases emissions, even as the country attempts to bring electricity to tens of millions of its citizens. Kerry emphasized that though he recognizes India’s paramount commitment to eradicate poverty, climate change could cause India to endure excessive heat waves, droughts, as well as food and water shortages. India has consistently rejected efforts by developed countries to slow down its energy consumption for fear that it would retard its economic growth and hamper its drive to reduce poverty. For this reason, Kerry reassured India that protecting the environment could be consistent with India’s economic development by improving energy efficiency and spurring investment in green technology. He urges India to engage actively in the negotiations for the post-Kyoto Treaty. The 190-plus signatories to the United Nations Climate Convention have agreed to complete a new treaty with binding legal force by the end of 2015.

Articles of Interest; New York Times

Wesley Bedrosian, NYT

Life After Land

July 18, 2011

Rosemary Rayfuse writes, “If the international community cannot or will not slow global warming, the least it can do is help those states prepare for life after land by recognizing a new category of state:  the deterritorialized state.”  Nations now risk becoming inhabitable and the article calls the UN to insist that the nation states maintain their sovereignty.  Proposed solutions:  try to acquire territory from another state, build artificial islands, or they could enter into a federation with another state.

Sizzle Factor for a Restless Climate

July 19, 2011

Shifting weather patterns influence energy demand, affect crop productivity and lead to weather-related disasters.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show that the U.S. climate of the last 10 years was 1.5 degrees warmer than that of the 1970’s and the warmest since the first decade of the last century.  Based on climate history from NOAA it can help project what future Julys might look like.  By 2050, if business as usual persists, New Yorker can expect the number of days in July exceeding 95 degrees to triple.

U.S. and Europe Battle Over Carbon Fees for Airlines

July 27, 2011

January 1, the European Union will require all carriers entering or leaving its airports to either reduce their emissions or pay a charge.  The United States airline industry has argued that the E.U. has no legal right to regulate American carriers and the emissions that are released over other countries or into international airspace.  The E.U. might impose a landing charge instead.  Annie Petsonk, a lawyer who attended for the Environmental Defense Fund, said: “The E.U. system is not a tax — if you don’t want to pay you can reduce your emissions.”

According to the New York Times editorial, Airlines and Carbon, due to absence of a global deal to limit greenhouse gas emissions, the European Union’s plan is a reasonable attempt to address an urgent problem.  However, its facing enormous opposition:  China has threatened a trade war and India is protesting.