Climate change

China, the Climate and the Fate of the Planet

Read the full story in Rolling Stone.

If the world’s biggest polluter doesn’t radically reduce the amount of coal it burns, nothing anyone does to stabilize the climate will matter. Inside the slow, frustrating — and maybe even hopeful — struggle to find a new way forward

Proposed Texas Textbooks Teach Climate-Change Doubt

Read the full story in the National Journal.

Texas Board of Education member David Bradley wants to set the record straight on global warming.

“Whether global warming is a myth or whether it’s actually happening, that’s very much up for debate,” Bradley said. “Don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise.”

Bradley is not a climate scientist, but he’s about to make big decisions governing what Texas students learn about climate change.

In November, Bradley and the rest of the state’s 15-member board will vote to adopt new social-studies textbooks for public schools from kindergarten to 12th grade. When he does, he says that part of his mission will be to shield Lone Star schoolchildren from green propaganda.

Instead, Bradley plans to push for textbooks that teach climate-science doubt—presenting the link between greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity and global warming as an unsubstantiated and controversial theory.

Commentary: Divestiture Is Nothing but a Distraction

Read the full commentary in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

As a college president and chemist, I have worked throughout my career in areas connected to climate change. As an educator, I have written chemistry textbooks and regularly teach courses in which the most urgent issue is climate change. As a president, I frequently face decisions about investments in sustainable practices, whether green buildings (our most recent construction has been certified LEED platinum) or reductions in water and energy use, or curricular changes in support of our strong environmental-analysis major.

And yet on the topic of divestment of stock in companies that produce and market carbon-based fuels—an issue that is gaining attention on college campuses and in the news media—I am a profound skeptic. Why? Because we have passed the point for symbolic actions and need to take real steps to achieve change. Feel-good measures that have no effect on actual greenhouse-gas production are a diversion from the critical actions we must take before it is too late.

New ‘Green Growth’ Report Shows How the U.S. Can Cut Carbon Pollution by 40 Percent While Creating 2.7 Million New Jobs

Read the full story from University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The University of Massachusetts Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) and the Center for American Progress have announced a groundbreaking report that quantifies the investment and technology deployment needed for the United States to do its part to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. Released as climate leaders and policymakers meet in Nevada for the seventh annual National Clean Energy Summit, the executive summary for Green Growth: A U.S. Program for Controlling Climate Change and Expanding Job Opportunities shows that the United States can cut its carbon pollution by 40 percent from 2005 levels and create a net increase of 2.7 million clean energy jobs in the process, reducing the unemployment rate by 1.5 percentage points.

 

Retailers Make ‘Minimal Progress’ on Carbon Targets

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Retailers such as Carrefour, Costco, Ikea, Tesco and Walmart should aim for more comprehensive carbon disclosures and collaborate to define meaningful GHG emissions reduction strategies for the industry, according to Verdantix.

The analysis of GHG emissions by Verdantix, Carbon Strategy Benchmark: Retail Sector, covers grocery retailers Aeon, Carrefour, Costco, John Lewis, Metro Group, Tesco, Walmart and Whole Foods; home improvement stores Ikea and Home Depot; drugstore chain CVS Caremark; and apparel firms H&M, LVMH and TJX Companies.

Organic Coffee Threatened by Global Warming-Stoked Fungus

Read the full story from Bloomberg.

Teodomiro Melendres Ojeda, an organic coffee grower in Cajamarca, Peru, stands at a crossroads. Neither path is attractive.

Leaf-rust fungus, known as roya in Spanish, has devastated about a third of his crop. Melendres, 48, can use chemicals to kill it, though he risks forfeiting his organic certification and the 10 percent price premium it brings. Or he can preserve the certification and watch his plants die.

“We coffee producers are living between a rock and a hard place,” Melendres said.

Global warming has been a friend to the fungus, enabling it to thrive in elevations that used to be inhospitable. The worst worldwide outbreak in 30 years has meant diminished yields, lower income and laid-off workers from Peru to Mexico. Organic growers face additional loss as they look for ways to save their livelihoods while at the same time avoiding chemical solutions.