<![CDATA[Climate Desk · Storify]]>https://storify.com/TheClimateDeskNodeJS RSS ModuleWed, 24 May 2017 04:15:20 GMT<![CDATA[Live: Will World Leaders Finally Confront the Climate Crisis?]]>

Follow our live updates as world leaders meet to talk about the global response to climate change.

Storified by Climate Desk · Tue, Sep 23 2014 20:44:04

2:00 pm EDT: More cash for climate fund. French President Francois Hollande just joined the list of world leaders who will direct money into the UN's Green Climate Fund, which is meant to funnel billions into climate adaptation in the developing world but has been chronically under-funded. Hollande said France would contribute $1 billion over the next few years and called on other countries to pony up as well.

"We cannot depend just on deploring things," he said. "We must go from words to actions."

Chinese Vice Premiere Zhang Gaoli, who spoke just before Hollande, said his country would commit $6 million. Other contributors to the fund include South Korea and Germany; the US has yet to commit anything. The deadline for initial pledges to the fund is this November before the next climate summit in Lima, Peru; so there's still time for the biggest economies to show their cards.

Jennifer Morgan, director of climate programs at the World Resources Institute, said that bigger commitments from China and a big promise from the US will be crucial next steps for the fund to build credibility with developing nations.

"Germany and France set a good bar," she said. "Now we need to wait and see how the US comes in." -TM
1:35 pm EDT: President Obama has addressed a packed crowd in the General Assembly hall of the UN this afternoon, highlighting "the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate," from which "no nation is immune."


Obama directly referenced Sunday's 300,000-strong climate march, saying, "The alarm bells keep ringing, our citizens keep marching, we cannot pretend we can't hear them."


The president—whose speech slightly went over the allotted four minutes—took the opportunity to announce a directive for US government agencies to assess the impact of climate change in all international development programs. 


Oxfam, the international group that tackles global poverty, pointed out earlier today that USAID—the federal government's main international development agency—has been factoring climate resilience into its investments since 2012.


Obama listed the successes of his administration, among them slashing a predicted 300 million metric tons of carbon by 2020, and slashing HFCs—a potent greenhouse gas—by 80 percent by 2050.


The president painted climate change as an urgent runaway problem. "The climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it," he said, adding that part of the problem was opposition to climate action. "None of this is without controversy. In each of our countries there will be interests that are resistant to action." -JW & TM

Obama: "The climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it." http://t.co/am4Pw7xtsJ · MashableLIVE
12:30 pm EDT: UK Prime Minister David Cameron just performed a punchy 4-minute highlights reel, burnishing his country's climate achievements. (All I could think about was the news that broke near-simultaneously that Cameron had just been overheard telling former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg that the  Queen "purred" at the news of Scotland rejecting independence. Purred!) 

Cameron called for "all countries" to sign on to a legally binding climate treaty in Paris next year, but stopped short of offering any new carbon-cutting commitments or other climate initiatives. 

Climate change, he said, "is not just a threat to our environment. It's a threat to our national security."  The UK is on track to reduce carbon emissions 80 percent by mid-century, he said, adding that his country aims to slash subsidies for fossil fuel producers. -JW & TM
12:00 pm EDT: Companies demand a carbon price. The chief of Norway's state-owned oil company led a call by private companies for an international carbon price here this morning, saying that "business cannot succeed on a planet that fails."

Helge Lund, the CEO of Statoil, said that the "patchwork" of climate regulations worldwide was creating a nightmare for businesses big and small, and that the best solution would be a global carbon marketplace "so that the most efficient company is winning."

Lund's comments came at the launch of the UN's Private Sector Forum on climate, which is happening today parallel to statements by global political leaders at UN headquarters. Carbon pricing is a prominent theme here today; in his opening remarks UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called a carbon price "one of the most powerful and necessary instruments for reducing emissions."

Also participating in the forum are top executives from some of the world's biggest carbon polluters: Royal Dutch Shell; several major airlines; Barclays Bank; and McDonalds, among others. -TM
11:30 am EDT: Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, a poet from the Marshall Islands--a Pacific nation facing some of the worst threats from climate change--gave a powerful speech during the opening ceremony at the UN. Jetnil-Kijiner read a powerful poem in which she denounced "greedy" companies, "backwater bullying of businesses with broken morals," and "blindfolded bureaucracies" whose actions threaten to turn Pacific Islanders into climate refugees. -JS
Marshallese poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner speaking at the UN Climate Leaders Summit in 2014 · tcktcktckorg
11:05 am EDT: Presdient Obama's new executive order. Our partners at The Huffington Post are reporting that Obama will announce a new executive order today "directing federal agencies to consider climate change in all international development programs."
10:55 am EDT: Mayors get together. The mayors of Johannesburg, Bonn, and Istanbul took the stage together to announce a new compact between mayors worldwide to tackle carbon emissions from cities. Since cities account for roughly 70 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, local regulations can go a long way toward filling holes left in national laws. 

"If a problem stems from the local level, it can only be solved at the local level," Kadir Topbas, the mayor of Istanbul, said. "We want to be solutions to these problems."

The main goal of the compact is to establish a uniform, transparent process for cities to measure and report their carbon footprint. 

10:45 am EDT:Saving the world’s forests. A multinational drive to halt the devastating effects of deforestation emerged as a major theme of this morning’s talks at the UN.


A signing ceremony took place this morning between the governments of Norway, Peru and Germany to save one of the most important climate resources: the Amazon. The Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, committed $300 million through 2020 to “immediate and decisive action to reduce forest related emissions.”


The world’s forests act as enormous “carbon sinks,” preventing carbon dioxide from escaping into the atmosphere. Loss of forests is one of the leading causes of carbon emissions around the world: 17 percent in 2004, according to the EIA. In Peru, deforestation accounts for about 71 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year, according to documents that accompanied the announcement.


Separately, Norway is also committing $150 million through 2020 to Liberia’s efforts to fight deforestation. “It will not be an easy task,” Solberg said. “Norway will be a committed predictable partner to Liberia in the years to come.” That country will be forced to preserve 30 percent of its forests by 2020. More than half of Liberia's forests—home to 40 endangered species, including the western chimpanzee—have been sold off to industrial loggers during President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's post-war government, according to figures released by Global Witness.


Scientists have been exploring the links between deforestation in West Africa and the rampant spread of the Ebola virus, a disease that leaps from animals to humans. Deforestation is thought to potentially increase interactions between those animals and human populations. The president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was absent from the signing, due to the Ebola crisis engulfing her country.


"We are on a path as a country to contribute to green growth and this initiative is a major step forward," said Augustine Ngafuan, Liberia’s foreign affairs minister.

10:35 am EDT: Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev says that climate change isn't an allusion, and points to massive rainfall and flooding in his country earlier this year.
10:25 am EDT: The representative from Albania just pointed out that climate change presents an international security threat--it's a "threat multiplier" that increases competition over natural resources.
10:05 am EDT: In his speech just now, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda described climate change as a "new form of aggression" against Africa and "humanity in general."

Uganda is one of a number of African countries that is "heavily dependent on rain-fed agriculture and have all experienced higher temperatures and reductions of water sources consistent with climate change," explains the Guardian. To make matters worse, "Uganda’s climate change policy is estimated to cost $258 million per year compared to current public spending in the region of $25 million per year."
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https://storify.com/TheClimateDesk/live-un-climate-talks-take-place-in-new-york-cityhttps://storify.com/TheClimateDesk/live-un-climate-talks-take-place-in-new-york-cityTue, 23 Sep 2014 20:44:04 GMT
<![CDATA[Live: Thousands Take to the Streets Around the World to Demand Climate Action]]>

Climate Desk reporters Tim McDonnell and James West bring you live coverage of the People's Climate March.

Storified by Climate Desk · Sun, Sep 21 2014 19:28:39

Nice shot of #PeoplesClimate from @jameswest2010 http://t.co/ic9taT99T3 · Climate Desk
Climate Desk is live in New York City today for what organizers say will be the largest march for climate action in history. For the next few hours, we'll be bringing you interviews, images, and insights from the demonstrations.
3:20 pm ET: Some final thoughts from James and Tim: 

Dogs, strollers, drums, hipsters, seniors, teachers, cops, scientists, politicians. Under a sticky New York fog, thousands of marchers—310,000, according to organizers' official estimates—streamed from Central Park, down Sixth Avenue, past Times Square and over to Manhattan's West Side. Passions were sky-high—and the dancing continued—even after the long walk.

Aside from the powerful message about climate change and fossil fuel dependence, fracking stood out as a key focal point of the march. Young people also dominated the crowd—teenagers sang and danced, tweeting and Facebooking all the way.

It's one of the biggest demonstrations we've ever seen, certainly since the anti-Iraq war protests. It was peaceful, vibrant and creative. Organizers are claiming it's the biggest in the last decade in New York City.

Now, all eyes turn to the United Nations building for climate talks this week. Climate Desk will bring you all the latest.
We are rounding the bend to the final stretch. Energy still sky high. http://t.co/B8HqwKpLKx · James West
3:05 pm ET: So after today's big march, what happens next? On Tuesday, the action shifts to the United Nations, "where Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will preside over a confab of heads of state (including President Obama), diplomats, CEOs, and policy wonks who will all be talking about how to prevent global warming from reaching catastrophic levels." We'll be covering the UN meeting live on Tuesday.
2:05 pm ET: Slate reports that "New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio got in the spirit of the day and unveiled a plan that will seek to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, taking 2005 levels as a baseline":
1:50 pm ET: Our partners at the Guardian have some great photos of London's climate march. Check them out here:
1:35 pm ET: Wow.
#peoplesclimate This is Central Park West and 72nd Street right now. via @NoahFR http://t.co/BA4uXoTNfx · 350 dot org
1:25 pm ET: As protest puppets go, these are hard to top:
#hyperlapse 7: these hauntingly beautiful bird puppets soar over 6th ave. · jamespwest
1:20 pm ET: Interesting piece from Grist here..."Peacekeepers and direct-action proponents prepare for climate protest, in very different ways":
A peacekeeper stands next to a cop at the #PeopleClimateMarch #PCM (pic by @cgiller) http://t.co/m9b1jhaGP2 · grist
1:00 pm ET: The Texas State Board of Education may want to pay attention to this one:
A pretty simple message, well-put. TEACH SCIENCE #climatemarch http://t.co/s0bm0nFw4u · James West
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https://storify.com/TheClimateDesk/live-the-biggest-climate-march-in-historyhttps://storify.com/TheClimateDesk/live-the-biggest-climate-march-in-historySun, 21 Sep 2014 19:28:39 GMT
<![CDATA[Live Blog: Obama's Signature Climate Policy Announced]]>

Storified by Climate Desk · Mon, Jun 02 2014 21:01:40

Today the Obama administration is rolling out a landmark proposal to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The rules, which are intended to help fight climate change, will impose a 30 percent reduction in nationwide carbon emissions by 2030, compared to 2005 emissions levels.

Check back here throughout the day for live coverage and reaction.

[4:55pm ET]: One final post before we sign off...Grist's Ben Adler has a great article explaining what you need to know about today's announcement and what happens next. Be sure to give it a read.
[3:50pm ET]:
Obama's War on Coal equates to a War on the Poor because the poor suffer the most from higher energy prices. #tcot http://t.co/nBjOzR6ni0 · Jim Bridenstine
Republicans are out in force today arguing that the proposed climate rules are going to do serious harm to the economy. Climate Desk's Chris Mooney says they're wrong:

[2:30pm ET]: President Obama this afternoon hailed the EPA plans during a teleconference hosted by the American Lung Association. "In America, we do not have to choose between the health of our economy and the health of our kids," he said.

 

"These new standards are going to help us leave our children a safer and more stable world," he said.

 

The teleconference was the first time the president has addressed an audience about the plans since this morning's announcement by EPA administrator Gina McCarthy. The president spoke only for a short time, and did not take questions.

 

Recognizing the political fight today's announcement will unleash, President Obama said that claims the rules will "kill jobs" will be "debunked."

[2:30pm ET]: Listen to Climate Desk's Tim McDonnell discuss the implications of the new rules on KPFA's Letters and Politics show this morning:
[1:20pm ET]: Writing in Slate, Eric Holthaus smartly summarizes the main gripe many environmental groups have with these new rules: the EPA's use of 2005 as its baseline year:

"By choosing a baseline year of 2005 for the target 30 percent reduction, the administration lets industry off relatively easy. As of 2011, the United States had already achieved a 9 percent reduction in economy-wide CO2 emissions since 2005, thanks in large part to the boom in natural gas. Carbon from power plants is down 16 percent, according to the draft EPA rule text. States will get to factor in those gains to their 2030 targets. What's more, much of the coal that would have been burned domestically since then is just getting shipped overseas. U.S. coal exports have nearly tripled since 2006, adding to the heat-trapping pollution that accelerates global warming, even though domestic numbers show a decline."

We love the headline, too.
[1:00pm ET]: After a conference call with reporters, The Guardian's Suzanne Goldenberg writes that EPA officials are "skittish about describing 2005 as a 'baseline' year, even though it's the point of comparison for achieving the 30% cut in power plant emissions by 2030." That's because emissions have already fallen a lot since 2005, writes Goldenberg, and the administration is facing blow back from green groups who argue the target isn't strong enough.

Goldenberg also writes coal isn't going away under the new plans: "Another key takeaway – come 2030, America is still going to be using coal to some extent. EPA officials told the call they expect coal and natural gas to make up just under a third of the electricity supply, with renewables generating some 9%."
[12:15am ET]: So, what do climate scientists think? "It's a start," says Dr. Marshall Shepherd ,the 2013 President of American Meteorological Society, and current director of the University of Georgia's atmospheric sciences program.

"Obviously this is a problem on a global scale, irrespective of what the United States does," Shepherd said during a phone interview. "I think that what's important about it from my perspective is that typically other countries will often follow the US." Shepherd called the new rules "an exemplar by a nation that has not necessarily been in the lead on this issue, and I think this is a bold step both for science and the planet."

But Shepherd also acknowledged that when it comes to what impact the rules will have on global emissions, the jury is out: "At the end of the day because of the politics and the challenges of global cooperation, who knows how much it is going to actually reduce emissions," he said. "But I think it is a stimulus, a meter-mover—from a public relations standpoint—in terms of the US doing something."
[11:45am ET]: Here's one potential block in the road ahead: Republican representatives passed a bill in March called the Electricity Security and Affordability Act, which is designed to make implementing new EPA regulations a lot trickier. The Senate is yet to debate that bill:
[11:30am ET]: So how much is this going to cost? Critics have been quick to fire off damning statistics: The US Chamber of Commerce predicted the rules would cost 224,000 jobs and $50 billion per year until 2030; the National Mining Association has already been running ads saying the changes will boost electric bills by 80 percent.

NMA CEO Hal Quinn slammed the plans: "These rules are another step by the administration to take us to a more expensive and less secure energy future. They embody unrealistic measures that move America's electric grid away from the low cost and reliable power our economy needs to grow."

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called the plans a "sucker punch for families everywhere"

In her announcement of the plan (read the full speech here), EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy had a somewhat different take:

"Critics claim your energy bills will skyrocket," she said. "Well, they're wrong. Should I say it again? They're wrong."

According to the EPA's own analysis, the plan will provide roughly $74 billion in public health and climate benefits, while only costing around $8 billion, per year. In other words, every dollar spent though the plan on things like energy efficiency, renewable energy investments, carbon trading mechanisms, and the like will produce nine dollars of public benefit.

The major hitch in knowing exactly what the impact will be is that states have yet to develop their implementation plans; it will be up to each state to achieve the goals in the most cost-effective way.
[11:25am ET]: In a statement to Climate Desk, Bill Nye the Science Guy praised the proposed rule, but argued that more needs to be done. "We have a long way to go in addressing climate change," said Nye. "Coal will be controversial for a long time yet. But the longest journey starts with a single step. This is a good one. Let's get started."
[10:25am ET]: Kate Sheppard at Climate Desk partner Huffington Post has a great round up of this morning's news, including the the push back from the GOP and the US Chamber of Commerce: "The political fight over the rules began well in advance of their release. Last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a paper claiming that the expected rules would cost the economy $50 billion a year and eliminate 224,000 jobs. In the GOP response to the president's weekly address on Saturday, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) said the administration is "out to kill coal and its 800,000 jobs."
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http://storify.com/TheClimateDesk/live-blog-obama-s-signature-climate-policy-announchttp://storify.com/TheClimateDesk/live-blog-obama-s-signature-climate-policy-announcMon, 02 Jun 2014 21:01:40 GMT
<![CDATA[Live from Stockholm: UN Releases Landmark Climate Report]]>

1983-2012 was the warmest 30-year period in the last 1,400 years, and other top findings from the biggest climate change report since 2007.

Storified by Climate Desk · Fri, Sep 27 2013 21:22:24

Climate Desk is reporting live from Stockholm, where the world's top climate scientists are gathered for the release of a major report from the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The document—produced by hundreds of experts—will be used by governments, NGOs, and business leaders as they debate how to respond to global warming.


You can read the report here.

 

We'll be covering the event throughout the day and highlighting the best reporting from around the web. Timestamps below are in US Eastern Time. 

5:20 pm -  One final dispatch today from Tim McDonnell: The talk of the town at the IPCC conference today in Stockholm was all about the so-called global warming "hiatus." In the last 15 years, global surface temperatures have risen more slowly, which some skeptics took as a sign that climate change was kaput. So I asked a few scientists to explain...turns out, while the exact cause of the slowdown is still being worked out, it's definitely not curtains for climate change. For more information, check out Climate Desk's explanation of the possible causes of the slowdown.
Is Global Warming Taking a Break? IPCC Scientists Explain · climatedesk
2:20 pm - Tim McDonnell reports from Stockholm: The Arctic is warming nearly three times faster than the rest of the planet, which means ice in the Arctic Circle could be nearly gone in summertime by 2030. Josefino Comiso, a NASA earth scientist and author of the report's chapter on the "cryosphere" (that is, the Earth's frozen parts) explains why.
IPCC Scientist On Why Summer Arctic Ice Could Be Mostly Gone in 30 Years · climatedesk
12:48 pm -  Check out Grist's great explainer--complete with charts and easy-to-understand stats--on what the IPCC found:
12:15 pm - Climate Desk's James West reports from China, where rising carbon emissions and dangerous pollution pose a major challenge. "If China can mind its business well, it will be a great contribution to the world," said IPCC report co-chair Dahe Qin Friday in response to a question from a Chinese reporter Friday, according to a translator.
11:33 am - From Tim McDonnell in Stockholm: One of the major trends in today's IPCC report was a more prominent role for oceans, which absorb 30 percent of the carbon dioxide we emit. This turns the water increasingly acidic, which threatens to dissolve many marine critters' hard shells. I sat down with Monika Rhein, an oceanographer at Germany's University of Bremen and a lead author of the report's chapter on oceans, to talk about the state of the science on ocean acidification.
IPCC Lead Oceanographer Dishes on Ocean Acidification · climatedesk
10:40 am - Check out some of the images the IPCC uses to illustrate climate change. According to the report, "atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years" and "CO2 concentrations have increased by 40% since pre-industrial times, primarily from fossil fuel emissions."
This has resulted in dramatic warming.
Here's the warming over the last century, distributed across the globe.
But not all carbon dioxide we release ends up in the atmosphere. According to the IPCC, "The ocean has absorbed about 30% of the emitted anthropogenic carbon dioxide, causing ocean acidification." You can read more about the effects of acidification here.
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http://storify.com/TheClimateDesk/live-from-stockholm-un-releases-landmark-climate-r-1http://storify.com/TheClimateDesk/live-from-stockholm-un-releases-landmark-climate-r-1Fri, 27 Sep 2013 21:22:24 GMT
<![CDATA[Live-Blogging Obama's Big Climate Speech]]>

The latest on Obama's comprehensive new plan for fighting climate change.

Storified by Climate Desk · Tue, Jun 25 2013 21:53:34

Today President Barack Obama unveiled the nation's first wide-ranging strategy for tackling climate change that touches on everything from renewable power, to energy-efficient appliances, to rebuilding in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. At 1:55pm ET, he'll follow through on his promise from his second inaugural address to take action on climate change with a major policy speech in Washington. 

Obama's chief task in this afternoon's speech is to outline steps that can be taken directly from the Oval Office, without the approval of a Congress that has proven sluggish and hostile on the issue. Top line items include an order from the President for the EPA to finalize long-awaited emissions limits for power plants—the single biggest source of carbon pollution—and a commitment to double the amount of renewable energy systems built on federal land.

Stay tuned as the day unfolds for updates and reactions from the across the Climate Desk partnership and the web. (All times are US Eastern Standard Time, and the latest updates are at the top.)
Watch the full speech here:
President Obama Speaks on Climate Change · whitehouse
5:00pm - Just wrapped up our online chat with Climate Desk journalists Kate Sheppard of Mother Jones and Grist's David Roberts to debrief the president's announcement. We covered Keystone XL, international climate treaties, and more; check out the complete recording below if you missed it:
Climate Desk: What You Should Know About Obama's Climate Plan · Climate Desk
4:33pm - Low-income housing goes renewable

The president’s plan includes a first-ever target for installing renewable power on federally-subsidized housing, with a commitment to build 100 megawatts by 2020, enough to power some 100,000 homes.


Technological advances and a growing market have dropped the cost of going solar 70 percent since President Obama took office, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association, and putting more panels on low-income housing could ease the burden on a federal assistance program, LIHEAP, that last year spent $3.5 billion to help low-income residents pay their electric bills.


Solar “is a smart investment, not to mention being clean,” said SEIA’s Rhone Resch. “The administration is responding to that.”

3:12pm - Our colleague Kate Sheppard has posted this thorough run-down of today's news. She notes the significance of the speech, but also warns that some of Obama's biggest ticket items could be subject to delays: "The rules for existing power plants could be huge news, as old, dirty plants account for 40 percent of all emissions in the US. But there are scant details on what exactly those rules will entail. The EPA has missed deadlines on emissions, and other important rules have been stuck at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within the White House's Office of Management and Budget for months."
2:56pm - Climate Desk’s top three surprises from President Obama’s speech today:

1. At a particularly striking moment near the end of his speech, Obama called on consumers to divest from dirty energy: “Invest, divest, make yourself heard,” he said to raucous applause. Divestment has recently gained in popularly as a rallying cry for young climate activists, pushed by Bill McKibben and his group, 350.org. Read more about that campaign here. [UPDATE: In an email to Climate Desk, McKibben called the move a "shout out" to students, "his most devoted base," that "will hearten them enormously."]

2. Something to look forward to: a potential conflict between the EPA and State Department over measuring the climate impacts of the Keystone XL pipeline, now that the president has made that the deciding factor. (We’d love to be a fly on the wall of the next cross-agency meeting.)

3. Finally, Obama promised to withdraw financial support for any overseas coal-fired power station, unless it uses carbon capture technology, a decision meant to encourage developing countries to leapfrog dirtier phases of power production.
2:30pm - President Obama can look at this one EPA figure of Keystone's potential carbon emissions [pdf] as he weighs his decision: "If GHG intensity of oil sands crude is not reduced, over a 50 year period the additional CO2-e [equivalent] from oil sands crude transported by the pipeline could be as much as 935 million metric tons." That's 81% greater than emissions from regular old crude, this EPA letter says.
2:18pm - Obama links Keystone XL fight to carbon emissions:  President Obama explicitly linked the Keystone XL pipeline proposal to climate change today, saying that the pipeline only serves the nation if it “does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” He said: “The net effects of the pipeline's impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is to go forward.” There was no extra infomation about what he means by “net effects,” and how that will be measured. But opponents of the pipeline exploded with enthusiasm on Twitter:
2:00pm - Obama on the rising costs of extreme weather: Early in President Obama’s speech, he mentioned the rising costs of insurance premiums attached to worsening extreme weather, and the ongoing costs of rebuilding. We are “already paying the price of inaction," he said. Rising costs were detailed in a recent FEMA report (below), which said that climate change is likely to expand vastly the size and costs of the National Flood Insurance Program. The portion of the US at risk for flooding, including coastal regions and areas along rivers, will grow between 40 and 45 percent by the end of the century. Read more here:
1:40pm - In an apparent win for environmentalists who have pushed Keystone XL as a line in the sand for presidential climate action, the president's expected announcement would reframe debate over the contentious pipeline:
1:25pm - The Huffington Post is reporting that the president, in his speech, will say he will not approve Keystone XL pipeline if it leads to a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions, although it remains unclear how potential increases would be measured and against what baseline:
1:10pm - Speaker John Boehner has slammed President Obama’s plan, saying it amounts to a “national energy tax” that will "shutter power plants, destroy good-paying American jobs, and raise electricity bills for families that can scarcely afford it.”
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http://storify.com/TheClimateDesk/obama-s-climate-planhttp://storify.com/TheClimateDesk/obama-s-climate-planTue, 25 Jun 2013 21:53:34 GMT
<![CDATA[Top 20 Debate Tweets from Outraged Climate Journos]]>

A chance to finally break the #climatesilence? Not so much.

Storified by Climate Desk · Tue, Oct 23 2012 03:07:02

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http://storify.com/TheClimateDesk/will-final-debate-break-climate-silencehttp://storify.com/TheClimateDesk/will-final-debate-break-climate-silenceTue, 23 Oct 2012 03:07:02 GMT
<![CDATA[Campaign Climate Wrap: Obama Says Climate Change Not A Hoax]]>

Storified by Climate Desk · Fri, Sep 07 2012 06:49:04

President Obama, often shy of turning climate change into a marquee campaign issue, last night made a full-throated endorsement of climate action, calling out Governor Romney and the Republicans as disbelievers of reality, and jokesters about a real threat. He also explicitly linked this summer's extreme weather to global warming.

"And yes," he said to some of the longest applause of the night, "my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet – because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They're a threat to our children's future. And in this election, you can do something about it."

In a clear reference to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, President Obama said, "I will not let oil companies write this country's energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers."

"We're offering a better path – a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy; where we develop a hundred year supply of natural gas that's right beneath our feet. If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone."


President Obama's statements—and the applause in Charlotte last night—had a lot to do with Governor Romney's remarks last week in Tampa. Romney openly mocked climate change in his speech to the Republican National Convention, allowing Democrats, including John Kerry, to chide and take higher ground. Listen to the 30-plus second cheer for climate inaction:
Gov. Romney Mocks President Obama's Statements on Climate Change · climatedesk
Romney's comments last week were immediately ridiculed on Twitter by climate scientist Michael Mann, whose book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars mounts a case against the deep politicization of climate change:
In an interview later with Climate Desk, Mann called climate change the "greatest societal threat we've ever faced." He said Romney's speech was a "dog whistle," designed to appeal to a Tea Party constituency that stills calls climate change "an elaborate hoax."

"I think like a lot of people I thought it was very sad, really, that a major party candidate for president would belittle concern for the environment in general," he said. Listen to the highlights here:

Climate Desk partner journalists agreed it was a moment of insight into what a Romney presidency would look like:
Suzy was right: climate change has played an important role in recent Democratic messaging. Here's a side-by-side comparison of the frequency of a few climate change keywords, as they appear in the official platforms of Democrats:
undefined · Climatedesk
And Republicans:
undefined · Climatedesk
Still, David Roberts from Climate Desk partner Grist cautions that simply paying lip service to climate change - what he derides as "climatespotting" - is ultimately fraught:
The best climate policy for the Obama campaign is pragmatism, says climate policy strategist Daniel J. Weiss of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. "He's got to talk about it in a way that's realistic in terms of what he can accomplish," he said in an interview with Climate Desk. In a hypothetical Obama second term, big-ticket legislative items like 2010's doomed cap-and-trade bill will still be nearly impossible for the president to push into law, he said, because of stout resistance from "a Republican Congress where the vast majority deny that global warming is occurring."

Instead, Weiss advised, the president should stay focused on baby steps, which he did last night; things that can be achieved largely through the Executive Branch—think last month's historic car mileage standards:
Or limits on air pollution from fracking:
Or giving a federal boost to renewable energy:
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http://storify.com/TheClimateDesk/campaign-climate-wrap-and-so-it-beginshttp://storify.com/TheClimateDesk/campaign-climate-wrap-and-so-it-beginsFri, 07 Sep 2012 06:49:04 GMT
<![CDATA[Heat Records. Storms. Repeat. ]]>

Storified by Climate Desk · Wed, Jul 18 2012 22:44:02

Climate Desk swung through Washington DC today from New York in an inadvertent Heatwave Tour; a day in Washington DC that has now earned the dubious title of 7th "100-plus" day this year. If heat wasn't wild enough, hail storms packing serious winds bore down on residents across the Mid-Atlantic.
Here's a pic that, according to Climate Desk partner The Guardian, was taken from a plane leaving LaGuardia airport by former NFL player Dhani Jones:
#stormcoming #nyc #isolated I've never seen a storm so concentrated. The power of mother nature! · d0057
And here's a street-level image from Manhattan:
19th Street · mark
Here's a view of the lightning in Boston:
Jaime Zozula's Twitter Photo · Jaime Zozula
Climate Desk is collecting evidence of records broken. This handy Washington Post chart spells it out:
RT @isardasorensen: Today's summer storm as it starts to rip through #NYC, http://twitpic.com/a93p8j · Dan Brusca
Ohio, too.
Take a look at this sizzling hot plate:
You can definitely tell where the front was ... · Facebook
These two Facebook users do a good job of summing up the general feeling of absurdity/angst felt around New York City today, a place not known for accommodating hot humans at the best of times.

Had to re-read that NYC weather forecast 5-6 times: heat index 115 and LARGE HAIL.

Please pple on nyc trains use deoderant take baths. And please dnt sit yo ass on me. Deffinitely if you nah say excuse me.fml. Handling my business in heat makes everyting a challenge.

Not only did the city swelter, then it hailed, stunning locals... and sending many flocking to Instagram (of course):
So much hail. (Taken with Instagram) · aj701
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http://storify.com/TheClimateDesk/heat-records-storms-againhttp://storify.com/TheClimateDesk/heat-records-storms-againWed, 18 Jul 2012 22:44:02 GMT
<![CDATA[Your Photos: Northern Colorado's Wildfire]]>

Twitter users shared photos of the High Park fire with the hashtag #highparkfire. Did you snap any of your own? Send them to us, and we'll add them to the slideshow.

Storified by Climate Desk · Tue, Jun 12 2012 19:33:23

When I snapped this photo of the #HighParkFire from the plane on Sunday the blaze was less than 24 hours old. Today, 43,000+ acres have burned, 100+ homes are gone and one woman is dead. 500 firefighters are on scene, having achieved just 5% containment of the fire. Scary stuff. · hanklambo
From Brenna Rose Rush, via Facebook
here is another pic of the #HighParkFire from the air, this one with my actual camera http://pic.twitter.com/6dqozINs · Kirk Siegler
It looks like the end of the world. Literally the most scary thing I've ever seen. #highparkfire http://pic.twitter.com/Debdbcep · Kayla Laut
#highparkfire http://pic.twitter.com/f88RWsjv · Taliah Jenkins
@ColoradoStateU #HighParkFire view from CSU http://pic.twitter.com/28X6EV1l · Joseph Evans
Exploring the #highparkfire in fort Collins · billfgreer
Hey nature, how about stop doing this. #Colorado #HighParkFire http://pic.twitter.com/2U5jpo3s · Julia Noecker
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http://storify.com/TheClimateDesk/readers-photos-northern-colorado-s-wildfirehttp://storify.com/TheClimateDesk/readers-photos-northern-colorado-s-wildfireTue, 12 Jun 2012 19:33:23 GMT
<![CDATA[The Gas Prices Are High. Here's Why.]]>

Is it Obama's fault? Iran's? BP's? And what can we expect down the road?

Storified by Climate Desk · Wed, Apr 11 2012 13:34:36

Gas prices are hovering below $4 a gallon nationally (up 30 cents from this time last year). California and New York are already up to $4.50. And things aren't looking pretty for the summer months. Meanwhile, politicians on both sides are tossing out the new and the shopworn (from algae to drilling in Alaska) to tamp down the price per gallon. But what's the real reason why prices are so high? Is there anything we can do? Follow Climate Desk's handy Q&A.
Q: OK, let's get it straight: why are we paying so much for gas these days?
A: By and large, the price of gas at your local station goes up when the global cost of oil goes up. Simple. Check out the intimate dance between oil and gasoline prices on this Government Accountability Office analysis:
As big a role as crude oil cost plays, there are still other factors at play. This chart from the Energy Information Administration breaks them all down:
Q: Will more domestic drilling help reduce the cost of gas?
A: As Professor Christopher Knittel, a leading economics boffin from MIT, argues: nope, not really, because oil is a global market, and US production accounts for only about 11 percent:
Gasprices_2.mov · climatedesk
This story from Climate Desk partner Grist has a slew of handy charts on the relationship between US production and prices at the pump:
Q: What about Iran? Is instability in the Middle East really driving up the cost of gas? 
A: There's a lot of evidence to suggest it doesn't help. As Kevin Drum notes in Climate Desk partner Mother Jones, sanctions on Iran over its nuclear ambitions have made it more difficult for them to export crude oil, taking a big bite out of the global supply. The price of oil, therefore, goes up, and takes the price of gas with it.
U.S. Navy ships transit the Strait of Hormuz. · Official U.S. Navy Imagery
At the same time, fears abound that Iran will choose to slow or cut off traffic through the Strait of Hormuz, choking supply. But it's not clear what effect that would have, as Climate Desk partner The Atlantic explains: 20% of the world's oil passes through the strait, and there are only two other alternatives.
Q: Can we blame President Obama for higher prices?
A: Probably not. And according to the following graph in The Atlantic, you shouldn't rush to the conclusion that prices put President Obama in complete political peril: solid Democrats are the ones paying more at the pump than Republicans. But those purple states in the middle? They're swing voters, hovering around that psychological threshold of $4/gallon: Gas isn't cheap in those purple swing states:
Q: America has 696 million barrels of crude oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve--over 13.5 billion gallons of gasoline. Will releasing some of it make a difference at the pump?
A: That depends on whom you ask. US and UK officials say a release could reduce the price of oil and help families who struggle with high petrol prices. Politicians have pointed to the supply as a quick fix to gas price woes...
...but other analysts are skeptical the reserves could have any lasting impact.
Q: What do other countries pay at the pump?
A: Senate Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman used a chart produced by Mother Jones to illustrate how gas prices are pegged to the world market, and that Americans in fact pay less thanks to lower gas taxes. The little line all by itself at the bottom? Yep, that's the US.
Q: I've heard an argument that we should actually be paying more... what's that about? 
A: MIT economics professor Christopher Knittel, a leading energy analyst, says even counting all that, we're still not really paying the true cost. He says that when we buy a gallon of gas, we're not paying for its impact on the environment, your health or the climate.
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http://storify.com/TheClimateDesk/the-gas-prices-are-too-damn-highhttp://storify.com/TheClimateDesk/the-gas-prices-are-too-damn-highWed, 11 Apr 2012 13:34:36 GMT