White Gold

All eyes in the climate world are preparing to turn toward the UN’s annual two-week Conference of the Parties, which begins on November 30 in Dubai. This is the 28th such meeting under the 1992 international treaty known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which coordinates the worldwide response to global warming. … Read more

Ice Melt

Accelerated melting of sea ice, glaciers and ice sheets is among the most immediate consequences of global warming. An important benchmark for assessing these changes came two years ago, when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change offered its latest synthesis of observations and computer modeling  on how melting of Earth’s ice (the cryosphere) may progress … Read more

Green Finance

Transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy requires mobilizing large amounts of money. This is a basic principle that has been executed with remarkable efficiency by the Biden administration. Within nineteen months of taking office, and with a unified Democratic Congress behind him, President Biden signed three major pieces of legislation that have greatly accelerated … Read more

Green Growth?

Earlier this month, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, made a provocative statement to accompany release of the agency’s latest World Energy Outlook, perhaps the most comprehensive analysis of the state of the global energy system and where it is heading. Looking at the data, Dr. Birol concluded that “…the transition … Read more

Methane Capture

International concern is growing over the rising level of atmospheric methane, a greenhouse gas second in influence only to carbon dioxide, and responsible for 25-30% of global warming since the start of the Industrial Revolution. Methane is a naturally occurring trace gas in Earth’s atmosphere that was present at a preindustrial concentration of 700 parts … Read more

Temperature Spike

Over the last few weeks, a new scholarly term has appeared in the lexicon of climate science: gobsmackingly bananas. The phrase was coined by a leading climate scientist, Zeke Hausfather, to describe the outcome of a new analysis of global warming by him and his colleagues at Berkeley Earth. The work reveals a sharp global … Read more

Carbon Tariffs

Ask climate policy specialists about the best approach to rapidly phase out fossil fuels, and it’s a good bet that many will offer carbon pricing as the answer. Innumerable economic studies bear this out, but the powerful effect of a carbon tax is also pretty intuitive. As long as comparably priced clean alternatives exist, using … Read more

Offshore Oil

Last Friday, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), part of the US Department of the Interior, announced a new five-year program for oil and gas leasing in federal waters on the outer continental shelf. BOEM periodically revises its offshore oil and gas leasing program in accordance with the 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act … Read more

Supreme Madness

In February of 2020, a small Atlantic herring fishing company, Loper Bright Enterprises, sued the US Secretary of Commerce over the actions of the National Marine Fisheries Service, a federal agency in the Commerce Department. NMFS has authority to regulate fisheries under a 1976 federal law, the Magnusen-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act. The law … Read more

Planetary Boundaries

Last week, an interdisciplinary team of twenty-nine scientists from labs spanning four continents published a comprehensive update of a “planetary boundaries framework,” an analysis of Earth’s ability to withstand human impacts. From the temperature record of the past 10,000 years, deduced from glacier ice cores, we know that Earth’s environment was exceptionally stable while civilization … Read more