At The Environment's Expense

ISSUE 4 | 01.15.19 | Not-so-natural gas boom; Mom's Air Force; A climate change soundtrack

Where do we go from here? | Photo by Daniel Jensen | unsplash.com


QUICK GLANCE INDEX:
ONE |
Not-so-natural gas boom. TWO | It’s not you, it’s the methane. THREE | Fracking West Virginia. FOUR | Incoming from Moms Clean Air Force! FIVE | Hot climate data! SIX | Neil Young and our Climate Activism Playlist. SEVEN | Is climate change YOUR fault? EIGHT | Winds of the future. NINE | Carbon fee gets billed. TEN | A climate change snowman.

NOTE: If you were forwarded this bi-weekly email newsletter, free subscribe at: changingclimatetimes.substack.com


ONE | NOT-SO-NATURAL GAS BOOM: Bigger feet than expected
For years, the lower-carbon footprint of natural gas has been touted as a good transition to renewable energy. And a lucrative one. Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s keynote at the big World Gas Conference in June 2018 opened with a marching band and ended with the Harlem Globetrotters. The Texas Tribune has sorted through a tangled web of interests that birthed a U.S. natural gas boom. If the Globetrotters are in, it has to be good, right?

But the headline to the Tribune’s 08.16.18 deep dive describes the stakes: “The U.S. is helping the natural gas industry make a profit at the expense of the environment.” Natural gas used to be natural trash, burned off as an unwanted byproduct of oil drilling. But condensed into liquid form, it’s now shipped en masse to places like China and championed as a coal-alternative to combat climate change. This has powered a booming U.S. export industry, first touted by the Obama administration, then unleashed by Trump’s:

What’s good for corporate profits, however, may not be good for the planet. A growing body of research suggests natural gas isn’t the climate panacea many promised it would be, with mounting concerns over its main component: methane, …. In the race for energy supremacy, the U.S. has become not only the world’s largest natural-gas producer but also a top exporter of oil — a fuel that remains among the most harmful for the climate and public health. As energy exports climb, so too does global consumption of fossil fuels, drawing billions in infrastructure investment that — some argue — tilts the world away from renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar.


TWO | YOU’RE NOT MY FRIEND ANYMORE: It’s not you, it’s the methane
A recent 12.12.18 installment in the Tribune’s gas boom coverage explains why you may be seeing in your local and national media more and more coverage and protests of natural gas pipelines. And of the controversial hydraulic fracturing — better known as fracking — process powering the boom:

Record-high U.S. gas production is also spawning thousands of miles of pipelines and hundreds of gas-fired power plants nationwide, despite urgent recommendations from scientists for a more rapid and extensive transition to zero-emissions sources of energy such as solar and wind. The latest from the National Climate Assessment showed global-warming impacts are already being felt, from worsening blazes such as the November wildfire that tore through Northern California — the deadliest in state history — to intensifying storms like Hurricane Florence, which pummeled the Carolinas with record rainfall in September.

The Sierra Club initially wrapped their arm around natural gas’s shoulder, buddying up to a supposedly more climate-friendly energy mix. The friendship’s kaput:

“The world as a whole is going to need to reduce its use of all fossil fuels, gas included, in order to achieve the kinds of emission reductions we need,” said Nathan Matthews, a senior attorney at the Sierra Club. “When we’re building infrastructure now, it’s got to be the infrastructure that’s gonna get us to zero emissions.” The Sierra Club was among several green groups that championed gas as a pathway to renewables but quickly soured on the fuel amid mounting concerns over methane and drilling. As far back as 2012, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune wrote, “It’s time to stop thinking of natural gas as a ‘kinder, gentler energy source,’” as he launched Sierra’s “Beyond Natural Gas” campaign.


THREE | NEW ENERGY, SAME PLAYBOOK: Play it again, Sam
My former Charleston Gazette-Mail colleagues teamed up with Pro Publica to craft a blockbuster 2018 series on how the fracking industry has changed the energy playing field in West Virginia. And also, quite literally, changed fields and hills, as the fracking industry tore pages from the rip-and-ship playbook of no-longer King Coal. See West Virginia’s Troubled Transition to Natural Gas,” for the knock-on effects of the retreat of one fossil fuel — coal — in favor of a supposedly more climate-friendly one with all sorts of new headaches. (As well as perhaps earthquakes, which the series does not explore, but which this earthquake scientist discusses in a 08.31.18 Heavy article).

PS: Along with being stellar investigative work, The G-M/Pro Publica series also showcases killer multimedia, including audio of a clanking fracking operation, a drone overflight of a fracking pad and nifty maps. Click this link or the graphic below to zoom in on a map depicting the startling growth of fracking across the state. PSS: An essential piece of climate change activism is to support media like the G-M, Pro Publica and Texas Tribune, which do the heavy lifting of essential enviro-reporting.


FOUR | IT’S A LOBBYIST THING: Moms against Trump’s EPA Pick
Speaking of methane, let us now consider this op-ed by Dominique Browning, co-founder of Moms Clean Air Force. Never heard of the group, but I <heart> its name, plus its ‘About Us’ mission statement: “Moms Clean Air Force is a community of over 1,000,000 moms—and dads!—working together to combat air pollution, including the urgent crisis of our changing climate.” Browning fires a heat-seeking NYT op-ed straight at Andrew Wheeler, Trump’s pick to pick up where Scott Pruitt left off in dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to protect anything. In her 01.19.19 piece, “This Coal Lobbyist Should Not Run the E.P.A. ,” Browning writes:

Mr. Wheeler has sought to roll back an Obama-era rule requiring energy companies to monitor and repair leaks of methane; these leaks can occur from the moment a well is fracked until the gas gets to your home. Methane is an extremely powerful and swift contributor to global warming. Rather than move the country onto a path toward climate safety, Mr. Trump and Mr. Wheeler are leading us — and the world — closer to mutually assured destruction…. Mr. Wheeler is more media savvy than Mr. Pruitt ever was, and that makes him more dangerous. His nomination to run the E.P.A. is among the most consequential and cynical of all the cabinet appointments that Mr. Trump has proposed. Mr. Wheeler’s disregard for the agency’s core mission — to protect public health and the environment — is brazen. But what else should we expect from a former coal industry lobbyist?

This is a clear and present danger: The Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee will consider Wheeler's nomination at a hearing this Wednesday, Jan. 16. Here is how to contact your personal Congress-critters.


Pumpkin Pie Meets Climate Change

ISSUE 3 | 01.10.19: | The Hayhoe Connection & Stories We Tell

What’s pie got to do with it? | Element5 Digital | unsplash.com

ONE | THE AUDACITY OF HOPE: And pumpkin pie climate action
A previous issue noted suggestions on who to follow among the Climeratti (my lame new coinage for notable climate change advocates on Twitter). Among them is Katherine Hayhoe (@Khayhoe), an atmospheric scientist and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. On 01.06.19, The Guardian published a good Q-A with Hayhoe, who won this Twitter follower’s undying affection when she took a break from baking pumpkin pies Thanksgiving weekend to respond to the Trump administration’s attempt to deep six the National Climate Assessment, which she had a hand in producing. (A hand I keep thinking of as being covered in flour). If you fail to click the link above, here’s a pass-it-forward quote from her: “Fear is a short-term spur to action, but to make changes over the long term, we must have hope.” And:

The most important thing is to accelerate the realisation that we have to act. This means connecting the dots to show that the impacts are not distant any more: they are here and they affect our lives. It also means talking about solutions. The technology and knowledge are there. The economics already make sense. In Texas, where I live, the biggest military base, Fort Hood, switched last year to renewables because they were cheaper than natural gas. And finally, it means weaning ourselves off fossil fuels, which is challenged by the fact that the majority of the world’s richest companies have made their money from the fossil fuel economy – so the majority of the wealth and power remains in their hands.

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TWO | WHEN THE DEEP SIX TEAM BLOWS IT: Not so marginal
There is a cabal of people who believe a cabal of people secretly run the US — a.k.a., the Deep State. But those concerned about climate action would do well to pay close heed to the Trump White House’s Deep Six team. Of course, the attempt to bury the National Climate Assessment on Black Friday backfired, as the report lit up front pages because of alert editors, interrupted bakers (see above) and a slow news day. Take a deep dive at the link. But out of the box, it makes a significant point. Right now, and henceforth, climate change will hit hardest at lower-income and marginalized communities. (Not to mention you, too, eventually, if you and your family, like me and mine, are a littler higher-income and non-marginalized):

More frequent and intense extreme weather and climate-related events, as well as changes in average climate conditions, are expected to continue to damage infrastructure, ecosystems, and social systems that provide essential benefits to communities … Impacts within and across regions will not be distributed equally. People who are already vulnerable, including lower-income and other marginalized communities, have lower capacity to prepare for and cope with extreme weather and climate-related events and are expected to experience greater impacts.

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THREE | SHIFTING TIMES: The past is not the future anymore
The massive National Climate Assessment, representing decades of work from more than 300 authors, is pretty blunt. And long — so this 11.23.18 summary by The Atlantic is a good overview that makes a significant point: “The assumption that current and future climate conditions will resemble the recent past is no longer valid.”

For centuries, humans have lived near the ocean, assuming that the sea will not often move from its fixed locationThey have planted wheat at its time, and corn at its time, assuming that the harvest will not often falterThey have delighted in December snow, and looked forward to springtime blossoms, assuming that the seasons will not shift from their course. Now, the sea is lifting above its shore, the harvest is faltering, and the seasons arrive and depart in disorder.

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FOUR: STORIES WE TELL: What Bull …
Since we first gathered around bonfires against the darkness and the watchful eyes of prey animals, we’ve told stories to explain the unexplainable, the worrisome and unknown. Anthropologist Susie Crate has spent years gathering climate change stories that indigenous cultures are now telling themselves. Crate and her daughter are featured in the 2015 documentary, “The Anthropologist,” as it follows them to Kiribati, Siberia, the Chesapeake Bay and the Peruvian Andes, to see how indigenous people cope with climate change. In my past life as a newspaperman, I interviewed Crate for a 10.07.17 story in advance of a local screening of the film. She talked to me about how Siberian elders have changed their tune about the Siberian winter:

Elders in the region speak of changes in what has been known for ages as “the Bull of Winter,” Crate said. “This is a way they explain this period of winter, when, for about three months, it gets too cold and dry to snow. It’s just this frozen stillness. They talk about, ‘The Bull of Winter’ has arrived.’” Then, in early March, the frigid temperatures begin to lift a bit, “and one of the horns starts falling off,” she said. “A few weeks later, they lift even more, and another horn falls off. A few weeks later, as spring comes, it starts to snow again. The bull’s head falls off, and spring is in full effect.”… Many of the elders she speaks with these days talk about the Bull of Winter “not arriving anymore,” Crate said, as temperatures warm. “It’s starting to be they can no longer talk about the Bull of Winter as something that occurs every year.”

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FIVE | TWEET OF THE DAY: Sunrise on our shoulders
Unless they figure out how to upload the brains of us grey hairs into the cloud (most likely delivered via Prime to an Amazon-owned cloud), us, um, elders, will likely not be around if the worst climate change scenarios develop. But avoiding worst-case scenarios, by cumulative action among those with grey hair and those with, well, more hair, if not purple hair, is essential. To that end, if you do not already know of the Sunrise Movement (@sunrisemvmt), get to know. Here is how they describe themselves: “We are building an army of young people to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process. This dark time in America must come to an end.” And in my continuing lobby for climate change tattoo phrases, I nominate another: “The time for complacency is over.”

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SIX | PREYING ON THE MIND: ‘Thoughts of Dog’ to the Rescue
Climate change round-ups can get heavy, what with rising seas and melting Siberias. But remember: the wolves beyond the periphery of our Cro-Magnon campfires became today’s lovable, goofy dogs. If you need a pick-me-up AT ANY TIME OF DAY while contemplating climate change, follow ‘Thoughts or Dog’ on Twitter. If you’re not on Twitter, I heartily recommend you get an account just to follow “Thoughts of Dog.” With 2.1 million followers, it is one of Twitter’s most popular accounts, right up there with Obama’s. It’s by far one of the sweetest, dearest, most lovable thing on social media. Without being sickly sweet, the “human” who channels “Thoughts of Dog“ exquisitely captures the pure heart of lovable doggedness. We must save the planet, after all, not only for ourselves. But for our dogs — and cats, and gerbils and tarantulas, and guinea pigs and ….
PS: Thoughts of Dog pinned tweet: sometimes. the human presses their noggin against mine. to figure out what i’m thinking. so i just think really hard. about how much i love them. and hope they figure it out

The Art of Climate Change Awareness

ISSUE 2 | 01.06.19 | Cries from the heart and stressed-out butterflies

ONE | THE ART OF CLIMATE CHANGE: A cri di couer
What role can artistry play in stirring action on climate change? Grappling with a radically changing climate motivates lots of artforms nowadays. What is a benchmark for successful climate crisis-inspired artistry? Inspiration to act? Motivation to advocacy? Maybe such work is enough in itself, a cri de couer — a cry of the heart, as the French say. It’s a phrase whose dictionary definition could summarize the urgency we feel: “An anguished cry of distress or indignation; outcry.” Maybe such work needs only to hold a mirror to an urgency and fear that speaks volumes, in the way sci-fi invasion and monster films of the 1950s and ‘60s were retrospectively seen to channel anxiety over atomic apocalypse. Do we even have time for such a retrospective? What artworks of climate crisis have moved you and why?

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TWO | ROUNDING THE CORNER: Circular logic

Photo by DAVID IMBROGNO

My older brother, David, is a retired museum director, a naturalist before the term was ever widely known and a keen-eyed, inventive photographer. He has been producing a series of circular landscapes like the one above. While not intended overtly as climate crisis artwork, some spoke to me as I was contemplating the theme of this issue. David added these words for the image above:

“When it comes to climate change, we have a choice about which road to follow into the future. There are maps and signs to guide us if we choose to use them. The signs tell us that our road has a dangerous curve ahead. We have a choice. Heed the signs, follow the curve and ride safely down the highway. Or, ignore the signs, miss the curve and risk a barrel roll off the road to oblivion.”

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THREE | PATTERN RECOGNITION: The Art of Butterflies

Altered migration patterns from the knock-on effects of climate change pose a dire threat to uncounted species. To say that Barbara Kingsolver’s 2012 novel “Flight Behavior” is a work of the consequences of climate change on the migratory patterns of the monarch butterfly is to compartmentalize a compelling work of fiction. Yet “Flight Behavior,” which I came to unawares, just seeking a good read, is a devastating work of artistry inspired by climate change, whose closing scene is shattering. And inspiring. You may, like me, wish to do whatever in your power you can to save the butterflies. And, by extension, to restore and preserve the interconnected webs that sustain such an ancient journey up and down North America.

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FOUR | SPEAKING OF BUTTERFLIES: Part 2

Drought and severe weather are “deadly stressors” for monarch butterflies, notes this 12.08.18 article in The Guardian, which gives real-world numbers to Kingsolver’s work of fiction. Just two years ago, 8,000 monarchs overwintered in Santa Cruz, California. These days, just more than a thousand flutter amidst the Santa Cruz trees.

Over the last two decades monarch numbers in the West have declined by roughly 97%.” “It is a sad reality of climate change,” said Anthony Gutierrez, a volunteer guide. “For every little thing that changes there’s not just one consequence – it’s a whole chain reaction.”

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FIVE | SPEAKING OF BUTTERFLIES: Part 3
It would be easy for an ‘I brake for butterflies’ bleeding heart like me to oversimplify in an email newsletter. For a deeper dive into what the monarch butterfly’s migratory decline means and why it might be happening (including how herbicides have decimated the monarch’s milkweed diet and their perilous Mexican wintering grounds), I point you to Anurag Agrawal, author of “Monarchs and Milkweed,” and a world expert. Agrawal nominates the monarch as a “canary in the coal mine” for the enviro-health of the North American continent:

“One of the things that is so cool about monarch butterflies is that they travel from Canada to central Mexico, drinking nectar all along the way. That makes them a potential indicator species for the health of our entire continent. With their numbers declining like they have been over the past 25 years, that should really set off a light bulb,” he says.

What to do? Agrawal counsels befriending the butterfly, but also thinking big picture:

“We have to take a step back and ask ourselves the harder questions none of us want to deal with. We want to plant milkweed or give $10 to the Nature Conservancy or have an enviro-friendly garden, and I encourage all of those things. But the truth of the matter is monarchs are health indicators for our continent and they are exhibiting multi-decadal declines that point to very big systemic problems. We shouldn’t fool ourselves.”

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SIX | LAST WORD ON BUTTERFLIES: And that wall
No, I am not butterfly-obsessed. But, um, that wall? The one the guy in the White House has ground the US government to a halt in order to get built? Yeah, that one. Hundreds of thousands of butterflies housed at the nonprofit National Butterfly Center are up for grabs after about 70 percent of the center's land would wind up on the other side of the border wall, according to the executive director of the center.

The center's 100-acre sanctuary near Mission, Texas, is home to at least 200 species of butterfly, and serves as critical habitat for the migration of the threatened Monarch butterfly and endangered species including the ocelot and jaguarundi, The Intercept reports.

So, see, this newsletter advocates for more than saving the butterflies. Ocelots, too. And jaguarrundis, whatever those are. Not to mention the human race.

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SEVEN | A FEW WORDS ON ‘CLI-FI’: It’s academic
If you’re unaware of the term ‘cli-fi,’ this link will catch you up. ‘Cli-fi’ refers to the tsunami of ‘climate fiction’ created on the theme of climate catastrophe. The genre is growing so fast it’s now a field of academic study with its own website. ‘The Cli-Fi Report’ is a research tool for academics and media professionals “to use in gathering information and reporting on the rise of the cli-fi term.”

Of course, dystopian works are a staple of old-school sci-fi. I recall the chill of Nevil Shute’s post-apocalyptic novel “On the Beach,” after it manifested as a 1959 soul-searing movie, at least to this kid. (I can rouse a shiver still from the scene where they discover the source of a mysterious Australian Morse code signal). It remains to be seen which cli-fi works serve to do more than just freak people out. I can only take so much of that, personally. I will NOT be re-reading Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake,” for instance, an older piece of cli-fi. (Link courtesy of The Cli-Fi Report!).

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EIGHT | THE BYSTANDER EFFECT: You go first
There is freak-out material galore in climate science. Why, then, are more people not agitating for action? Maybe it’s “the bystander effect,” a long-known phenomenon described in this link: “The bystander effect is the idea that the more people there are at an emergency situation, the less likely people are to offer help to a victim.”

In 2018, we witnessed flooding in India, heatwaves across Europe, hurricanes in the United States, fires in Portugal and cyclones in the Philippines. The scientific reality was spelled out 8 October 2018: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report – its stark message leaving no space for doubt and the false comfort it provides.

While some climate activists spoke of increased anxiety from the report, this article from The UK-based The Ecologist notes, “the considerable majority of the UK population went about their days pretty much as usual. It will probably seem strange to our children that there was more commotion about why the singer Ariana Grande broke up with comedian Pete Davidson.” I’ll let the article’s author, Holly-Allen Peteresen, have the final word:

Now is not the time for inaction. The question we need to ask ourselves is what am I doing to tackle climate change, or are we a symptom of the bystander effect – just standing by, watching as the tragedy unfolds?

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NINE | Wait!! Are we not freaked out ENOUGH?!
The whole bystander effect thing recalls David Wallace-Wells’ much-discussed July 2017 New York magazine story “The Uninhabitable Earth,” that details just how horrible things could get. The article kicked up a lot of response, including climate scientist Michael Mann’s Facebook rejoinder:

I have to say that I am not a fan of this sort of doomist framing. It is important to be up front about the risks of unmitigated climate change, and I frequently criticize those who understate the risks. But there is also a danger in overstating the science in a way that presents the problem as unsolvable, and feeds a sense of doom, inevitability and hopelessness. The article argues that climate change will render the Earth uninhabitable by the end of this century. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The article fails to produce it.

In a round-up and reaction to the responses to the New York piece, Slate’s Susan Matthews argued that we aren’t alarmed enough.

We don’t need to guard against alarmism, against depression, against anger, against despair when it comes to climate change. Sure, the hopelessness that accompanies pondering our fate might depress people out of recycling their water bottles or switching their light bulbs. That doesn’t matter. If it also scares people into actually taking this issue seriously at the ballot box, the trade-off will be well worth it. Because the ballot box is where it matters. If we force the issue—if we elect people who care about the survival of all humans rather than just a few—then we might have a shot of preventing the hellscape Wallace-Wells has outlined.

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TEN | P.S.: You promised cartoons


A good year for climate change?

ISSUE 1 | 01.04.19 | A round-up for some of the latest news on implications of a changing climate

  1. A GOOD YEAR FOR CLIMATE CHANGE?: Pigeons, meet roost
    Kevin Drum of Mother Jones, one of my favorite, sanest political bloggers, wrote a recent post with the provocative headline “2018 Was a Pretty Good Year for Climate Change.” What he meant, in his usual informed/wry way, was that finally the news hit people directly, with climate change sirens going off continuously — wildfires, tornadoes, flooding. And not in the abstract: “Announcements of seven new extinct species of rain forest beetle were never going to have an impact… So 2018 was a good year for climate change, and we need more like it: bad enough to get people’s attention before the really bad stuff starts.”

  2. A WATER LANDING: Is your main airport on this list?
    Speaking of getting real, back in 2012, the Federal Aviation Administration identified 13 major airports with runways at risk of moderate to high storm surge and rising seas (California, Florida, Hawaii, New Orleans, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Puerto Rico, and Virginia). Here’s a close-up by Buzzfeed News on how climate change could sink (rising water) or ground (rising temps) your upcoming flight as a lot of major airports are in low-lying coastal areas or rising-heat locales. Phoenix Sky Harbor grounded flights in 2017 due to temperatures hitting about 120 degrees Fahrenheit: “At such hot temperatures, it’s hard for planes to lift off the ground.”

  3. GET WITH IT WEST VIRGINIA: An electrifying read
    Just before Christmas, the New York Times published an article showing how each state produces its electricity. As my friend Perry Bryant, of the Citizens Climate Lobby of West Virginia notes: “When you scroll through the various states it clear that coal is declining rapidly in many states, although it is still the predominate fuel source in 18 states. Most of the reduction in coal generation has been a switch to natural gas. Where renewables have had an impact, it’s primarily from wind; think Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, etc. Solar has had little impact, outside of California, even in states where one would expect high penetration: Florida, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, etc. But perhaps the most disappointing state is West Virginia. Coal produced 98% of the state’s electricity in 2001 and 93% in 2017, the last year of data in this article.”

  4. QUICK READ: Green roofs, from Ecuador to your house
    Got roof? Go green. Nature-based solutions like green roofs are applicable in every single city,” says biologist Liliana Jaramillo, an advocate for “green roofs’” in Ecuador. “Growing plants on so-called green roofs can help reduce the threat of flash floods by absorbing excess rain. And, they can improve air quality,” says Jaramillo. Plus, your house will look like a hobbit lives there (above), which will be a good climate change conversation-starter.

  5. CLIMATE NEWS FOLLOW-UPS: Yale Climate Connections
    The green roofs story comes from Yale Climate Connections, a broad-ranging, multimedia resource on climate change. Above is the website. Their Twitter feed is here. And their Facebook page is here.

  6. TWITTER UP: ‘Scientists who do climate’
    Katherine Hayhoe, a front-line climate scientists with a public-facing profile (and potshot-receiving profile, from climate change deniers) has compiled a useful Twitter compendium of “scientists who do climate.” It’s a helpful starting point for keeping up with climate change via a single Twitter follow. (And you should be following both her and Michael Mann directly, if you don’t already.)

  7. EDITORIAL: ‘Good Place to Start’ and Good Tattoo
    The South Florida Sun Sentinel is on the climate change frontlines — literally. As the paper notes in this 12.12.18 editorial: “Because of warming temperatures and melting ice sheets, South Florida politicians — on both sides of the aisle — are planning for a two-foot rise in sea level over the next 40 years, and scientists say that’s a conservative estimate.” This editorial is a good overview of efforts by U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, a South Florida Democrat, to gain traction on a carbon fee bill which would return a dividend to American citizens. Or as the editorial notes: “A flicker of hope … that deserves more oxygen.” Deutch sums up what would make a good tattoo for climate change activism: “The status quo isn’t sustainable.”

  8. CARBON FEE BRAINSTORM: It’s a Social Security thing
    Speaking of the growing discussion around a carbon fee/tax, what about using the dividend from a fee on generating carbon to increase Social Security benefits? That might achieve the nifty trick of attracting Trump voters to the carbon fee concept by making retirement more affordable, says Thomas Geoghegan: “Democrats should campaign to raise Social Security—not just to show which party is really for the working class, but to give Trump voters a reason to keep the planet from burning up.”

  9. NOTE: Pass it forward
    Changing Climate Times will eventually go to a monthly $5 subscription so we can afford ourselves and pay for catfood. For now, it’s in proof-of-concept stage and ‘Hey, pass on word and grow the audience’ stage. Subscribe and help out if you are climate change-conscious. Forward the newsletter or the link to its companion website: changingclimatetimes.substack.com. Much appreciated! | Douglas John Imbrogno and climate change catvocates Gizmo and Luna (who are in it for the kitty treats).

  10. P.S.: You promised cartoons

An Introduction

Welcome to The ChangingClimateTimes Newsletter

Earth’s climate is changing. Earth’s climate has always been changing. But humankind has pressed the pedal to the metal on the rapidity of that change. There is much dire, alarming and plainly frightening news out there about how badly humankind may have fouled its nest. How bad is it? And what can be done and who is doing it — or proposing what to do about it — to mitigate climate change? Plus, do you have any cartoons?

My name is Douglas John Imbrogno, and I am by profession and career a storyteller, feature journalist and social media video producer. After I was laid off from a longtime newspaper job as described in this Columbia Journalism Review article (along with about a bajillion others journalists in the last decade), I had to decide how I wished to spend my time. While continuing to freelance and produce videos, I also keenly follow the latest climate change coverage. It is the most important issue of the day, since without a habitable planet or with a planet convulsed by climate havoc and societal upheaval, all the other issues of the day become subsumed by it.

This newsletter is my small, personal attempt to bring some sense to the whirlwind of climate change coverage. I will state clearly — I am no scientist. My high school science fair project featured a volcano that was supposed to erupt, but did not. The judges gave me a B grade, which I believe to this day was a ‘Pity B.’ But I do have an editor’s sensibility for curating content that I hope will both track climate change coverage ‘hair on fire’ reports, to stories that offer directions on how we might put out the fire. I welcome feedback, civil dialogue and pointers to articles and commentary worth noting in the CCTimes. Plus, cartoons. Please pass on word of the newsletter to interested folks!

Thanks | Douglas John Imbrogno

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