Climate Week En Review July 13, 2018
Happy Friday the 13th. If I could set up music to automatically play for you as you read, I would choose this oldie but goodie to accompany a recent Harvard University report that found "heatwaves really do fry your brain."
This week's must read: our spokesperson Chris Casey is crushing it with his thoughtful takes on conservative leadership. Read his latest piece, Protect national security, prepare for climate change (Amarillo Globe-News). Here's a preview: "When assessing the risks of a military operation, if we wait for 100 percent certainty before developing a plan of action, we'll be late to the battle. But that's exactly what's happening on climate change, not in the trenches or even the war room, but in Congress."
The post-Pruitt regime: Former President George W. Bush's EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman wrote a scathing op-ed in which she asks, with the appointment of coal industry lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to the acting EPA Administrator role, "what did 'drain the swamp' ever really mean?" In a related interview, she noted there are "several very active groups of Republicans working on solving problems like climate change, and trying to re-establish in people's minds the importance of science, and that we need to listen to science, which is something that Scott Pruitt and this administration was dismissing in many circumstances."
Pope concludes conference: On the third anniversary of his encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis convened a conference focused on the theme "Saving our Common Home and the Future of Life on Earth." In remarks made to the attendees, the Pontiff said, "Your presence here is a sign of your commitment to take concrete steps to save the planet and the life it sustains, inspired by the Encyclical's assumption that 'everything is connected.'" That principle, he said, "lies at the heart of an integral ecology." The Pope, who recently held a closed-door meeting with oil executives to discuss climate action, warned: "There is a real danger that we will leave future generations only rubble, deserts and refuse... the effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now." He asked nations to honor the commitments made in Paris and looked ahead to the next international climate conference in Poland, which "could prove a milestone on the path set out by the 2015 Paris Agreement." The Pope also called on Christian churches and religions which "have a key role to play" to act.
Overruled: Judge Brett Kavanaugh, nominated by President Donald Trump to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, wrote in 2013 that the need for climate action is "urgent and important at the national and international level." Since 2006, Kavanaugh has served on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal appellate court that hears most Environmental Protection Agency-related cases. He has argued that the agency should only issue a new rule if Congress granted them explicit, legislative direction to do so, like in the Clean Air Act or the Clean Water Act. "The earth is warming. Humans are contributing," he said in court two years ago. "There is a moral imperative. There is a huge policy imperative. The pope's involved." (See above.) Did you miss our action alert? Tell your Members of Congress what Kavanaugh said about climate change and ask if they will acknowledge the same.
Survey says: More Americans believe that there is evidence of global warming than anytime since 2008, according to a recent report conducted by the National Surveys of Energy and Environment. With that said, the divide between the 90 percent of Democrats and the 50 percent Republicans who accept the science has never been larger. This finding came as the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that May of 2018 was the warmest May in the continental United States since records began to be kept in 1895, beating out the Dust Bowl May of 1934. However, in a different survey, conducted by Morning Consult, Democrats and Republicans are aligned on the role of government, with 63 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of Republicans reporting little or no trust in governments to combat climate change. (Is that level of agreement a good thing or a bad thing? We haven't decided...)
How soon to 100?: The House Climate Solutions Caucus gained two more members, Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder from Kansas and his Democratic ark mate Rep. Ami Bera from California. The caucus rules require Republicans and Democrats to join in even numbers to preserve its bipartisan spirit. Stay tuned for comments.
Leading the Energy Revolution: Read this interesting op-ed from John Browne, former chief executive of BP and the first leader of a major oil company to acknowledge climate change is a problem. "When I took over as CEO of BP in 1995, the industry invested almost nothing in renewable energy. Today, the "supermajors" allocate more than $4 billion every year to low or zero-carbon energy. These giants have the resources to make large capital commitments, and in many cases, skills that can be adapted and redeployed to deliver energy solutions at the immense scale that is needed. If leaders can redirect their organizations toward a new lower-carbon purpose, and if they can successfully engage their staff, there is every reason to believe they can be active participants in, or even drivers of, the energy transition," he writes. In related news, Exxon Mobil quit the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) after a disagreement over climate change policy.
Recruitment: The best thing that happened since we last connected? I finally met the youngest member of our EcoRight team. Let her smile and obvious enthusiasm for the world give us hope. And I leave you with that thought. Happy weekending.