IPCC verifies impacts of climate change, Risky Business quantifies them
INFOGRAPHIC OF THE WEEK
GEOGRAPHY AT RISKS: THREATS AND OPPORTUNITIES. Bloomberg. September 2013.
On the same day the federal government shutdown because of the failure of the U.S. House and Senate to reach accord over the funding of the federal budget, Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, an Independent, former Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson, a Republican, and Tom Steyer, retired founder of Farallon Capital and co-founder of Next Generation, launched Risky Business, an effort bereft of politics, to persuade investors, policy makers and the public that the consequences of unchecked carbon emissions imposes catastrophic risks to the U.S. economy and environment.
Together, the high-profile-trio plan on appointing a panel of outside experts to comb through existing work on climate risks and synthesize it with new research – culminating in a report scheduled for release next summer. The economics of climate change, the heart of the undertaking, is discussed extensively in a feature story from Bloomberg Markets Magazine. For background on how the three esteemed co-chairmen joined forces, The New Yorker fills in the blanks. For further information on Risky Business and a video explaining the project, visit the website.
Climate Change 2013: the Physical Science Basis, the fifth assessment produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is out and its conclusion is categorical: climate change has not stopped and man is the main cause. At more than 2,000 pages, the report is gargantuan in size and scope.
Faced with the dilemma of condensing the complexities of climate change into tiny morsels for public consumption, the Columbia Journalism Review points out the report presented unique journalistic challenges and claims the solution favored by media outlets was to distill the findings into short lists and follow David Letterman’s lead. Inside Climate News offered its Top 10 Takeaways. The Guardian presented the six things we’ve learned. Shaken but not deterred, The Toronto Star listed the Top 5 scariest findings, while Mother Jones had 6 Scary Conclusions. Even the AP compiled a list of 10 Things to Know about the IPCC Panel.
The impact of the federal government shutdown is being felt across all federal agencies involved with energy and climate research and policy. For a thorough rundown of how the agencies are impacted read this and this. The EPA has been particularly hard hit. National weather forecasters are bruised; but it’s the folks involved in climate research that are really battered. A list of the California projects delayed by the shutdown can be found here.
Next Monday is the first Monday in October, when statute mandates the Supreme Court begins a new term. Court-watchers anticipated the nine justices would take another look at the EPA’s regulation of CO2 under the Clean Air Act. But, Reuters reports such a case failed to appear on the list of cases granted certiorari on the High Court’s docket – leaving 9 petitioners challenging the EPA waiting in the wings. Finally, Ron Binz, President Obama’s nominee to lead FERC, withdrew his name amid pushback largely from the coal industry.
While the federal government has grinded to a dysfunctional standstill, the Golden State is basking in praise for a legislative session many claim establishes a progressive template for the rest of the Nation.
The signing of AB 8 into law on National Plug In Day was no accident. Wired Magazine lauds Governor Brown’s signing of the bill, along with a sheaf of bills providing sustainable transport incentives – crowing it leaves other states in the Stone Age. From a state plan envisioning zero emission buildings to the unanimous passage of a bill in Palo Alto requiring all new home construction be fitted with power stations for EVs, with a bond forged with Quebec to curtail carbon emission and a nascent, evolving relationship with China to strengthen low carbon development in the fight against climate change, it should come as no surprise that a new report finds California captured 40% of green-tech project financing in the US in the first half of 2013 – with more expected to come.
Spreading just a bit more sunshine, installed solar power capacity around the world this year will beat wind for the first time. To quote Ricky Martin, solar power is ‘hot, hot, hot.’ Photovoltaic plants will add 36.7 gigawatts of capacity this year – up 20 percent from last year. And, the U.S. Army is spending billions of dollars shifting toward solar energy because it saves lives.
QUOTES OF THE DAY
“Climate change is every bit as big a risk to our economy as it is to the environment.” Henry Paulson, former Secretary of the Treasury.
“Whether you believe climate change is real or not is beside the point. The bottom line is, we can’t run the risk.” Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York.
“This cannot be a liberal narrative about an apocalyptic future. People have to feel they can do something about climate change that’s grounded in what they know and where they live.” Kate Gordon, Vice President and Director of Energy and Climate, Next Generation.
“… we’re the first generation with the knowledge and the ability to do something: We don’t need new science, and we have great technology. We need the will to act now so we don’t leave our children and grandchildren with a catastrophic burden.” Henry Paulson, former Secretary of the Treasury.
“… I’m worried that we’re ignoring real tsunamis forming off our shores. This is our generational challenge … to deal with energy and climate problems.” Tom Steyer, manager of Farallon Capital and Co-Founder of Next Generation.
"Things happen in California that are not happening in Washington.” Governor Jerry Brown on how California’s progressive legislation is forging a political path that could become a national model.
“Will the California agenda play in Peoria?” A question posed by Joel Fox about whether California’s ‘progressive’ efforts to legislatively lead the Nation will play in less liberal geographical sections of the country.
"I don't think anybody sees [this] as being optimal for the United States …” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on the federal government shutdown.
"This is an invitation to all cap-and-trade projects and creators." Yves-François Blanchet, Quebec's minister of sustainable development, environment, wildlife and parks addressing the promise of Quebec’s cap-and-trade agreement with California – encouraging others to join.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN