climate change

Commentary: Climate Change Missing From Storm Coverage

Sep 15, 2017

The constant media coverage of Hurricane Irma kept people up to speed on the storm’s intensity and the damage it caused. But journalist Peter Dykstra of Environmental Health News says there was one thing most of the coverage was missing

I get a lot of "climate" hate mail.

Whenever I write a piece on global warming, someone will email to call me a "lie-bra-tard," or something similar, and tell me I should be in jail.

Sometimes I try to engage these folks and see if they might be interested in how the science of climate change works and what it has to tell us. Mostly, they aren't. Mostly, what they really want is to score some points. What they really want is an argument.

That's what climate change and climate science has become after all these years.

Better Georgia

Last week, President Trump revoked another Obama-era Executive Order. This one required projects built with federal aid be designed to handle sea level rise due to climate change. We talk about how the scientific community is responding to climate change denial by the White House with Peter Dykstra of Environmental Health News. We also hear from Matt Hauer, a UGA demographer researching how sea level rise will drive coastal-dwelling Georgians inland.

It’s been two weeks since the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The violence there renewed conversations about race relations, and have left some searching for answers on how to de-radicalize people. That’s something Shannon Martinez of Athens knows firsthand. She was a skinhead for several years, but managed to leave that life behind her.  We talk with her and Sammy Rangel of Life After Hate, a group that helps people move away from hate and violent extremism.

President Trump's astonishing press conference on Tuesday was, ostensibly, an announcement about infrastructure. But his brief remarks on the permitting process were entirely overshadowed by his defense of attendees at a white supremacist rally, among other remarks.

Former Vice President Al Gore helped shape the conversation about climate change with An Inconvenient Truth. Now he's back with a sequel — called An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, due out next month -- and it follows Gore as he continues the crusade he made famous with that first film.

The movie shows Gore standing in Miami floodwater, flying over imploding boulders of ice in Greenland and in Paris — trying to push the climate agreement over the finish line.

They landed, one after another, in 2015: plans for nearly a dozen interstate pipelines to move natural gas beneath rivers, mountains and people's yards. Like spokes on a wheel, they'd spread from Appalachia to markets in every direction.

Together these new and expanded pipelines — comprising 2,500 miles of steel in all — would double the amount of gas that could flow out of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. The cheap fuel will benefit consumers and manufacturers, the developers promise.

The G20 Summit ended in Hamburg with affirmation to pursue the Paris climate accord by leaders of the world's strongest economies, minus President Trump.

"The leaders of the other G20 members state that the Paris Agreement is irreversible," reads a declaration adopted on the final day of meetings Saturday, by a group that includes Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, and which some are now calling the "G19," at least when it comes to the question of climate change.

The world's best-known living physicist, Stephen Hawking, says that President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate change accord could lead humanity to a tipping point, "turning the Earth into Venus."

The Cambridge professor and renowned cosmologist made the remarks in an interview with the BBC that aired Sunday.

Climate scientists agree that this century is getting much warmer and that such warming will likely bring economic pain to the U.S., but economists aren't sure how much. Now, a team of scientists and economists, writing in the upcoming issue of the journal Science, says it can at least tell which parts of the country are likely to suffer the most.

John Englart (Takver)/ Foter

Climate change is a problem for everyone. But climate change disproportionately harms communities of color. An Atlanta-based organization recently received $1 million from the MacArthur Foundation to help combat this. Nathaniel Smith is a founder of that organization, the Partnership for Southern Equity. He joins us with Felicia Davis, Director of the Building Green Initiative at Clark Atlanta University.

First, June 20 is World Refugee Day. The town of Clarkston, Georgia, is home to a large refugee population. It’s been called the Ellis Island of the South. We talked with Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry about how executive orders may impact the refugee community there. Then, two refugee friends from Syria share their stories. One of them arrived in Georgia right after 9/11, but before the Syrian civil war. The other is a young child, who came to the state last year. Besides calling Syria their birthplace, they share an even greater bond.

If you live north of Macon, Columbus or Augusta and you think you’ve been seeing more gnats this year, you could be right. Even so, Jeff Burne says it could be worse.

“I've been some places in the tropics where I literally had to wear a respirator because they'd clog up your nose,” he said during a recent interview in his office.

“That’s a lot of gnats.”

 

Coal has long had a grip on American politics. That's why politicians worry about its fate. They tout the fossil fuel's contribution to the U.S. economy, but lately they've also been trying to find a way to clean up coal's image.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets Saturday in Washington, D.C., and cities across the globe, for the People's Climate March, demanding action on protecting the environment.

On a sweltering hot day in the nation's capital, protesters made their way down Pennsylvania Avenue chanting, singing and banging drums. Once they reached the White House, some staged a sit-in while others marched past carrying signs and shouting, "Shame, shame, shame."

One approach to climate change is to chip away at the human activities driving it, until greenhouse gas emissions level out. We spoke with Paul Hawken, founder of Project DRAWDOWN. He's working on solutions that he hopes will produce dramatic results to reverse global warming. Those solutions are the subject of Paul Hawken’s new book, DRAWDOWN.

President Trump issued a sweeping executive order on Tuesday that will begin to undo a slew of government efforts to fight global warming.

Among those worrying and watching to see how the executive order plays out are scientists who actually are in favor of exploring bold interventions to artificially cool the climate.

President Trump signed a sweeping executive order Tuesday that takes aim at a number of his predecessor's climate policies.

The wide-ranging order seeks to undo the centerpiece of former President Obama's environmental legacy and national efforts to address climate change.

It could also jeopardize America's current role in international efforts to confront climate change.

In a symbolic gesture, Trump signed the document at the headquarters of Environmental Protection Agency.

The numbers, in several cases, are astounding. 350.org, a climate action group, saw donations almost triple in the month after Donald Trump's election. Since Trump's win, Planned Parenthood told NPR it's gained over 600,000 new donors and more than 36,000 new volunteers. And the American Civil Liberties Union has raised more than $80 million since Nov. 8.

When it comes to facing the reality of climate change, the Republican Party, now led by the Trump Administration, has been slipping ever farther from its roots as a champion of American science.

Last week brought further evidence of this disconnect — but it also held out a glimmer of hope that the party's turn away from the U.S. effort in science is not universal.

President Trump's head of the Environmental Protection Agency says he does not believe that carbon dioxide is a major cause of global warming.

"I would not agree that [CO2] is a primary contributor to the global warming that we see," Scott Pruitt said Thursday in an interview with CNBC's Joe Kernen.

Climate Reality Project

Several hundred climate scientists and public health professionals descended on the Carter Center in Atlanta today. It was for a climate and health conference organized by former Vice President Al Gore. 

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There’s a major climate change conference on Thursday in Atlanta. It’s happening at the Carter Center, but only because it was canceled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We talked with Georges Benjamin of the American Public Health Association, who is giving the keynote address at the conference.

When a solar company wants to test new technology, they bring their panels to the National Renewable Energy Lab near Denver. It's a place where federal scientists can measure how powerful and long-lasting solar panels are, so consumers know what they are buying.

"A lot of times maybe people don't even know how to evaluate new technologies appropriately. And so we have a lot of insight and knowledge into the market that can help with some of those decisions," lab engineer Chris Deline explained.

Last year, global warming reached record high temperatures — and if that news feels like déjà vu, you're not going crazy.

The planet has now had three consecutive years of record-breaking heat.

The final few days before President-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of office will be filled with a flurry of congressional activity, as the Senate holds confirmation hearings for eight more of his Cabinet nominees.

Most are expected to be fairly routine, but a few could be hot-button affairs, including hearings for Education Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos and Scott Pruitt, Trump's nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

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The Department of Energy is refusing the Trump transition team's request to name those who have worked on climate change within the department, because of concerns about what the incoming administration will do with the names. President-elect Donald Trump has denied climate change is real.

Thousands of Earth scientists are in San Francisco this week to talk about climate change, volcanoes and earthquakes.

And another tectonic topic: President-elect Donald Trump.

As president, Trump will oversee a huge government scientific enterprise. Agencies like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA have satellites collecting valuable data on the climate. Other agencies employ scientists studying that data, or modeling future climate shifts.

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