Blogs and Articles
How Much is Left in the World's Carbon Budget?
"Information is Beautiful" has developed a graphic that clearly illustrates the world's remaining "budget" for releasing greenhouse gases, and what will happen if we exceed the budget. The group also has created graphics on other dimensions of global climate change, including one that illustrates which cities risk inundation because of sea level rise.
The Ethics of President Obama's Keystone Pipeline Decision
President Obama will soon decide whether or not to approve the Keystone XL pipeline -- a project that would allow Canada's tar sands oil to flow to U.S. refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. Obama faces ethical as well as economic and diplomatic issues, including whether the United States should be complicit in helping Canada distribute one of the most carbon-intensive and environmentally costly of all fossil fuels.
New Review of U.S. Climate Impacts
A federal advisory committee has issued its draft of a new National Climate Assessment, detailing the anticipated impact of global climate disruption on each region in the United States. The draft is open for public review and comment until April 12th. Go to http://ncadac.globalchange.gov
Federal Executive Actions To Combat Climate Change
In the current partisan atmosphere in Washington, there appears to be almost no chance that this Congress will take significant action on climate change. What, then, are the executive actions that the Obama administration can take with its existing legislative authority? There are quite a few, it turns out. This column will discuss the most significant ones.
Businesses Weigh In on Federal Climate Action
Rep. Henry Waxman and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse,co-chairs of Congress's Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, put out a call for ideas on how the federal government can address global warming. The Business Council for Sustainable Energy has responded with a detailed list of recommendations.
It's Time to be Radical
Environmental journalist Mark Hertsgaard argues that because of inaction in the past, only solutions that seem radical -- for example, leaving most of our remaining carbon fuels in the ground -- will prevent runaway climate change.
Obama's Energy Efficiency Goal: How Do We Get There?
In his State of the Union address, President Obama set the goal of doubling America's energy productivity by 2030. How do we get there? A national commission organized by the Alliance to Save Energy has laid out the roadmap.
Policy Matters: The Future of U.S. Clean Energy
"While the global clean energy marketplace is expanding rapidly, the competitive position of U.S. industry is at risk due to increased competition from abroad and uncertain policy at home." So says a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts. To maintain U.S. competitiveness in the growing global green energy market, we need a strong collaboration between private investment and public policy.
How Obama might find a way to limit carbon emissions in his second term
The politics of energy are changing in the United States. The changes give the Obama Administration an opportunity to fulfill its commitments on global climate change.
A New Harvard Report Probes Security Risks of Extreme Weather and Climate Change
A new report, co-authored by PCAP advisor Dr. D. James Baker, confirms we are not prepared for the growing consequences of climate disruption, which poses a threat to national security.
Water, Energy & Climate: The Military Gets It
While the political debate about global climate change continues in Washington, America's military already is doing something about it. Learn more in the post on Politico by Sherri Goodman (a member of the PCAP National Advisory Committee) and Gen. Gordon Sullivan (USA, ret.).
Summary for Policymakers: Can The U.S. Get There From Here?
The World Resource Institute has released a report that echoes what the Presidential Climate Action Project has advocated for the past five years: It's possible for the United States to make significant progress on reducing its greenhouse gas emissions using existing state and federal laws. WRI backs it up with some interesting data on emissions reductions under difference scenarios of federal and state action.
Read The Report
What's inside President Obama's climate toolbox?
He has several instruments he can use to help shape U.S. climate policy without further action from Congress.
Building on President Obama’s Clean Energy Successes
The Center for American Progress has issued its recommendations for President Obama on what he can do to address climate change, without relying on Congress.
Fresh Guidance on How to Address Global Warming
Climate Nexus has published a guide on how to talk about climate change. The new guide (Right Here, Right Now) is documented with 246 footnotes and more than 100 science cites. It makes the climate connections to subjects that include extreme weather, changing seasons, Arctic sea ice, ice sheets and glaciers, sea level rise, ocean acidification, human health, society and systems, and food prices.
Read The Guide
Log Baby Log: The Race to The Big New Resource Play You Haven't Heard Of
What is America's potential for obtaining new energy supplies through greater energy efficiency? According to Matt Genser, a former drilling engineer for the oil industry, now at Carbon Lighthouse, energy efficiency offers a major "resource play" -- untapped reserves waiting to be harvested.
Does federal policy encourage more people and communities to become disaster victims?
PCAP Executive Director Bill Becker explores this question in a three-part series of blog posts.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Is Relocation a Solution to Weather-related Disasters?
Several communities have decided the better part of valor was to get out of nature's way. One of the pioneers was Soldiers Grove, WI. Here's how it happened, and what we learned.
What can we expect now from Obama on energy and climate?
The conversation has begun about what President Obama can do about climate change and energy in his second term, with or without the help of Congress.
Related: Six Things President Obama and the Congress Must Do to Move Toward a Sustainable Economy
Is Our Bad Weather the Result of Climate Change?
Two Democratic congressmen have issued a report that says, the connections are well documented now.
The Victims on the Other Side of the Camera
PCAP's executive director, Bill Becker, gives his perspective on the first presidential debate.
Pipe Dreams: Why Mitt Romney can't free America from Middle East Oil
Michael Levi of the Council of Foreign Relations assesses the Romney energy plan.
What Can the President Do About Buildings?
The U.S. Green Building Council has published two reports on how the President can use his executive authority to help the nation improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of its buildings. See USGBC's initial report and its update published earlier this year.
America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy
Read Grist's interview with Gus Speth (a member of PCAP's National Advisory Committee) about his new book, America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy.
Rebuilding for the Future: EERE's History of Greening Disaster Recovery
As the federal government explores how it can help disaster-stricken communities recover, one precedent has come to mind. In the 1990s, the U.S. Department of Energy created the Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development, deploying expert teams to communities to help them rebuild with sustainable designs and materials. The former director of the Center of Excellence, Bill Becker, gave this presentation recently to DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to brief it on its history of helping communities rebuild to be safer, stronger and more sustainable after disasters.
Download Presentation →
Fewer Swords, More Plowshares: A Marine Rethinks Defense
With a new foreign policy team about to join the Obama Administration and with the possibility of budget cuts for the Department of Defense, are changes ahead in how the United States approaches national security? That question is on the minds of thought leaders in the security and defense communities..
Read more →
The Incontrovertible Business Case for Clean Energy
Imagine this: You live in beautiful house with the best of everything. However, when you turn on your faucets, only one-fifth of the water you pay for comes out. The rest leaks from bad plumbing onto your basement floor. Part 1 | Part 2
Congress in Contempt
There was a moment when the Founding Fathers considered putting a provision in the Constitution that would allow citizens to recall members of Congress. The proposal failed. As a result, only members of Congress can remove other members of Congress from office. Part 1 | Part 2
Bring Congress Back for Christmas
Under Article 2, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, the President of the United States "may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them" into special session. Presidents have used that authority only a handful of times in the modern era. Read more →
Still Hurting in the Heartland
Superstorm Sandy may be remembered years from now as the pivot point in the United States' response to global climate change. Politically speaking, Sandy's true power was not its wind and water; it was the fact that it hit the principal center of America's population, financial institutions and media. Read more →
Climate Jobs? No Problem
In his first post-election news conference, President Obama made clear that his concern about global climate change will not push the economy and jobs off the top of his priority list. Read more →
Obama 2.0: A Coalition Government?
As Barack Obama found during his first term, it's nearly impossible to move America forward when everyone pulls in different directions. He might be able to do something about that as he shapes the team for his second term.
Read more →
De-Carbonize Our Taxes
"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change." That observation by Charles Darwin has interesting implications in these last weeks of the presidential election campaign. Read more →
The Rising Costs of Climate Denial
Some of us in the climate-action camp have long believed that if common sense and sound science were not enough to end denial over global warming, nature would eventually do the job. Unfortunately, that path to recognizing reality leaves a lot of victims in its wake. Read more →
Season of the Bogeymen
It makes sense that the presidential election is held so close to Halloween. It is a season when politicians wear disguises, strategists raise old issues from the dead, and the campaigns unleash armies of bogeymen to scare the wits out of us. Read more →
'Clean Energy Is Good for Business'
An ongoing argument in the presidential election campaign is whether Gov. Romney's or President Obama's positions are better for small businesses on issues such as government regulation and energy policy. I asked David Levine for his opinion. Read more →
Raise the Voltage in the Energy Debate
While energy got some airtime in the second presidential debate, neither candidate hit at the weakest spots in the other's positions. Mitt Romney's energy platform ignores the downsides of fossil fuels and reveals a misunderstanding of how the real world works. President Obama has presided over a national energy strategy... Read more →
The People on the Other Side of the Camera
If Mitt Romney and Barack Obama had been able to look through the television cameras at who was watching their first debate, it undoubtedly would have been more interesting than the debate itself. Read more →
Break the Candidates' Silence on Climate Change
The Obama and Romney campaigns are making the point that there are big differences between the positions of the two presidential candidates, and America has a clear choice between two futures. Read more →
Berkeley Lab Research Finds the Insurance Industry Paying Increasing Attention to Climate Change
The insurance industry, the world’s largest business with $4.6 trillion in revenues, is making larger efforts to manage climate change-related risks, according to a new study published today in the journal Science. See the new report from Evan Mills
Oil and Gas in the Crystal Ball
For those of us concerned about the future of the United States in an era of global climate change and international competition over diminishing natural resources, the new report from the National Intelligence Council (NIC) contains goods news and bad news. Read more →
Does federal policy encourage more people and communities to become disaster victims?
PCAP Executive Director Bill Becker explores this question in a three-part series of blog posts. Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Ask the Candidates About Climate Change
The energy plans and approaches to climate change that Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have put forward so far are the clearest differentiating issues in the presidential campaign so far. The moderators of October's presidential debates should ask the candidates for more specifics on what they plan to do about energy and climate security. Read more →
On Climate Change, Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: Part 1
Among political insiders in Washington, the conventional wisdom is that action on global climate change is a dead issue for the foreseeable future. But that need not, and should not, be the case. Read more →
On Climate Change, Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: Part 2
With Congress paralyzed late last year, President Barack Obama decided to assert his authority more aggressively on a number of issues: "If Congress refuses to act, I've said that I'll continue to do everything in my power to act without them." Read more →