Category Archives: Climate change

Largest oil and gas reserve in US discovered. It’s not the Christmas gift Ryan Zinke thinks it is.

On December 6 the US Department of the Interior announced the the discovery of the largest deposit of undiscovered, recoverable oil and gas resources in US history. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the reserve contains 46.3 billion barrels of oil, 281 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 20 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.

“Christmas came a few weeks early this year,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “American strength flows from American energy, and as it turns out, we have a lot of American energy.”

Zinke’s reaction comes two weeks after the US government released a National Climate Assessment that says we must act now to avoid the devastating effects of human-caused climate change.

We need a Secretary of the Interior who understands that more oil and gas is not a Christmas present but a huge challenge of priorities. Zinke clearly doesn’t get it.

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The National Climate Report: Don’t be duped. Understand it yourself, and take action.

The Trump Administration released its National Climate Assessment (NCA) last Friday. This is the work product of the science agencies of our country, and reflects the best scientific thinking we have to offer on the impacts of climate change over the next several decades. Here are the findings in a nutshell:

-Climate change is real.
-Science has determined the cause of climate change. It is almost 100% due to human activity.
-We can see the impacts today. They are here, and they are accelerating.
-Over the next several decades it will cause substantial damage to the US economy, human health and the environment
-The situation is not hopeless. By acting now, and acting forcefully, we can still avoid the most serious and dangerous impacts. It’s up to us. We hold our fate in our hands.

The Administration released the report last Friday, and immediately set about trying to debunk it, using mischaracterizations and outright lies. What they did not do is directly dispute any of the scientific findings.

At this point you have a choice: sit back and let this happen, or be in action to minimize the impact.

Click to read the findings. Continue reading

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How the Trump Administration is quietly stripping away environmental protections

While Donald Trump’s tweets make the cable news channels salivate on a daily basis, the outrage provides cover for the real work that the Administration is doing to strip away important environmental protections.

Make no mistake about it — Trump and company have done everything they can to roll back environmental protections that have been established over many decades. This has been done primarily through rulemaking and other administrative procedures, which are generally ignored by cable news but can have a huge impact. Continue reading

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Nebraska Public Service Commission approves Keystone XL Pipeline

In a 3-2 decision that removes the last regulatory hurdle to building the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, the Nebraska Public Service Commission approved the 36-inch crude oil conduit this morning. The section would send 830,000 barrels of oil per day from the tar sands of Alberta and connect with the existing Keystone Pipeline to send the oil to the Gulf Coast. The KXL would be built across Alberta, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.

However, this decision doesn’t mean the KXL will be built. Much has changed in the nine years since the KXL was proposed.

Click to read more. Continue reading

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Montana Climate Assessment says dramatic changes are coming; we need to be in action

According to the Montana Climate Assessment, published last week, the impacts of climate change are already being felt in the state, and will get more significant throughout the rest of the century.

The Assessment is the work of 32 Montana scientists from the public and private sectors doing research with the Montana Institute on Ecosystems, a collaboration of the University of Montana and Montana State University. The publication is the first of a series, and focuses on the impacts of climate trends on three key sectors: water, forests, and agriculture.

This is what climate science looks like folks. It’s clear, transparent, and the work of local scientists. Read this post to understand the potentially dramatic impacts of climate trends on the state, the implications for local action along the Beartooth Front, and to download a copy of the report. Continue reading

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New federal report shows the extent and likely impact of climate change

A new draft report developed by scientists from thirteen federal government agencies and released this week states that the average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and substantially since 1980, and that it is “extremely likely” that nearly all of the global mean temperature increase since 1951 has been caused by human activity.

The report directly contradicts statements by the Trump Administration that the causes of global warming are uncertain, and that the impacts of climate change are impossible to predict.

According to the report, global annual temperature has increased by more than 1.6°F from 1880-2015, and average temperatures are higher than at any time in the last 1700 years. The report states that from 1951-2010 the average global mean temperature increased was 1.2°F, and the human contribution to warming during the same period was 1.1° to 1.3°F.

To read more and download a copy of the report, click the link. Continue reading

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Money is why Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement

President Trump announced today that the United States will withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement, a landmark agreement in which 195 countries, representing 95% of the world’s carbon emissions, agreed to voluntarily reduce emissions to control global warming. The US joins Syria and Nicaragua as the only three nations in the world not participating. Nice company.

There is no question why Trump took this course. It has nothing to do with science (or he wouldn’t have taken this action). It has nothing to do with an “America First” foreign policy doctrine.

It’s about money. Continue reading

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What a bipartisan solution to climate change might look like

Most of us bemoan the lack of civility, negotiation, and compromise in politics. We’re so polarized that government does almost nothing to solve our most critical problems.

What’s particularly frustrating to those of us who see climate change as a major threat to the future of human civilization is that the clock is ticking. Global temperatures have risen about 1.5° Celsius since the beginning of the industrial age and are continuing to rise. The impacts will accelerate with each uptick in temperature: rising seas and coastal flooding, longer and more damaging wildfire seasons, more extreme and destructive weather, more frequent and intense heat waves, widespread forest death, costly and growing health impacts, severe drought, stress on clean water systems, disruption of food supplies, and much more.

What makes this so frustrating is that simple and elegant bipartisan solutions to this problem exist. Just last week a group of conservative Republicans proposed such a solution. The proposers aren’t ideologues or hacks, they’re Republicans with impeccable credentials.

To read about their solution and why it could make sense, click the link.

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Trump’s EPA pick makes his intentions on climate change clear

President Elect Trump has selected Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt is a close ally of the fossil fuel industry who has been a leader of efforts to block President Obama’s climate change rules.

Pruitt has put himself at the forefront of an alliance among state attorneys general, including Montana’s Tim Fox, who are working with energy companies and other corporate interests, which are in turn contributing large amounts of money for their political campaigns.

Don’t believe it when Trump tells reporters he has an “open mind” about climate change. Actions speak louder than words.

To find out more about Pruitt’s intentions, click the link. Continue reading

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Thoughts on environmental activism in a Trump presidency

Yesterday I looked at the potential environmental policy direction of the Trump Administration. Today I offer some additional thoughts about what this might mean for political action. Republicans own climate change Conservative Republicans now own climate change, with all its consequences.  Over … Continue reading

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