Tag Archives: climate change

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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10 questions for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on energy and climate change

We have now been through four debates in this election cycle — three for president and one for vice president — and there has not been a single question posed to either candidate on energy and climate change.

At Preserve the Beartooth Front, we believe that this is the key issue facing the United States over the next 20-30 years. It is central not only to energy policy, but to economic development, national security, immigration, infrastructure, and much more.

It is deeply concerning that these issues have not taken center stage in the campaign. Failure to debate them publicly lessens our chances of coming to consensus about a course of action that will enable the US to become an effective leader in reducing the impacts of climate change, and to transform our economy to take advantage of the dramatic shifts in energy technology that will occur in the coming decades.

We have tracked the candidates’ positions on energy and climate change for over a year, and have many questions we would pose to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump if we had the chance. Here are ten. Continue reading

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The Yellowstone River closing: this is what climate change looks like

A microscopic parasite is destroying the fish population of the Yellowstone River system, causing Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) to take the extraordinary step of closing a 183-mile stretch of the Yellowstone and its tributaries to all water-based recreation (fishing, wading, floating, tubing, boating). The closure affects the river from Gardiner, at the north end of Yellowstone Park, to Laurel, and includes the Stillwater River.

Why such a huge outbreak, and why now?

There are those in Montana who will say that this is an unfortunate chance outbreak of this disease, but it isn’t. This is what climate change looks like. It means that, as the conditions that promote diseases like PKD proliferate, so will outbreaks of the disease.

For those of us concerned about the future of this region it is a reminder that we need to guard against activities that can threaten our water. This includes oil and gas drilling, but many other activities as well. As Governor Bullock says, “We must be guided by science.”

The science is clear.

Continue reading

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Congratulations! You’ve just lived through the hottest year on record. Again.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before…

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in a press release issued today:

“During 2015, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.62°F (0.90°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest among all years in the 1880-2015 record, surpassing the previous record set last year by 0.29°F (0.16°C). This is also the largest margin by which the annual global temperature record has been broken. Ten months had record high temperatures for their respective months during the year. The five highest monthly departures from average for any month on record all occurred during 2015. Since 1997, which at the time was the warmest year on record, 16 of the subsequent 18 years have been warmer than that year.”

The issue of global warming has taken on increasing importance in this presidential election year, since the candidates hold widely divergent positions on whether warming actually exists, and, if it does, what humans should do about it. Continue reading

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Delegates reach historic climate agreement in Paris

Representatives of 195 countries, representing more than 95% of global greenhouse gas emissions, today reached a landmark climate agreement that will, for the first time, commit nearly every country to lowering planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions to help stave off the most drastic effects of climate change. The goal of the agreement is to limit global temperature rise to less than 2° Celcius, along with a stretch goal of 1.5°. Continue reading

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Paris climate talks: the future of the planet is at stake

Beginning today 40,000 world leaders, diplomats, experts and partisans will meet in Paris to begin 12 days of climate talks that could very well decide the future of our planet.

The conference is called Conference of the Parties 21, or COP 21, which refers to the countries that have signed up to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). UNFCCC is an international treaty now signed by 195 parties, with the aim of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions to control climate change. This is the 21st meeting since 1992, hence COP 21.

The goal is a new global climate treaty, involving all nations, that would take effect in 2020 to help the world avoid the worst consequences of manmade global warming. According to the UNFCCC, this means limiting global warming in 2100 to less than 2°C, or 3.7°F, above pre-industrial levels.

According to recent data, we’re already halfway there. In 2015, global temperatures have reached 1°C higher than pre-industrial levels. Without action, temperatures are expected to increase by 3.7 – 4.8°C by 2100.

To learn more about what can be accomplished in Paris, and why we should feel great urgency about acting now, read on. Continue reading

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Developing countries are moving fast to create clean energy capacity. Time for the US — and Montana — to step up

Some politicians characterize policies to address climate change as a choice between economic growth and the environment. What’s more, even if we were to take action on climate change, anything we do will make no difference because countries like China are “drilling a hole and digging anywhere in the world that they can get a hold of.”

Problem is, that just isn’t true.

New data just released shows that developing countries, most notably China, are far outstripping the United States in investing in and developing clean energy capacity. This trend is expected to continue and intensify over the next 25 years.

In advance of the critical international climate meeting about to take place in Paris, it’s time for the United States to step up its commitment to controlling carbon emissions. And in Montana, where our leaders blithely promote an “all of the above” energy policy, it’s time to wake up. The future is going to be built around transitioning to clean energy, not extracting fossil fuels from the shale underneath the Beartooth Front..

They understand this in Pakistan, Tunisia and Mexico. Why not Helena and Washington DC? Continue reading

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American acceptance of climate change growing rapidly, opening opportunities for action

American acceptance of the problem of climate change and the need for action is growing rapidly. A New National Survey on Energy and the Environment (NSEE) from the Gerald Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan shows acceptance of mainstream science near an all time high. For the first time since 2008, at least 7 out of 10 Americans indicate that they believe there is solid evidence of global warming over the past four decades.

For a discussion of the findings and their implications, go to the post. Continue reading

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Montana temperatures have risen 2.6° over the last century

Click to see a chart from the Montana Climate Office at the University of Montana depicting the temperature rise in the state from 1895-2012. Continue reading

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A debate between Pope Francis and Montana Senator Steve Daines on climate change

Pope Francis urges us to start a dialogue to help shape the future of our planet. To help this process along, we put him together with Steve Daines, who has very different ideas on the subject. Continue reading

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