Department: Forum


Obama’s Environmental Legacy: <br />How Much Can Trump Undo?

Obama’s Environmental Legacy:
How Much Can Trump Undo?

Few groups were as shocked and chagrined by Donald Trump’s victory as the environmental community. Yale Environment 360 asked environmentalists, academics, and pro-business representatives just how far Trump might roll back President Obama’s environmental initiatives.
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What Pope Francis Should Say <br />In His Upcoming UN Address

What Pope Francis Should Say
In His Upcoming UN Address

Pope Francis will speak to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 25 about poverty, the environment, and sustainable development. In a Yale Environment 360 forum, seven leading thinkers on the environment and religion describe what they would like to hear the pope say.
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Top Climate Scientists Assess
Latest Report from U.N. Panel

Yale Environment 360 asked some leading climate scientists to discuss what they consider to be the most noteworthy or surprising findings in the recently released report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s working group on the physical science of a warming world.
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Forum: How Daring is<br /> Obama's New Climate Plan?

Forum: How Daring is
Obama's New Climate Plan?

President Obama has unveiled a proposal to combat global warming that would, for the first time, regulate carbon dioxide emissions from all U.S. coal-fired power plants. Yale Environment 360 asked a group of experts to assess the president’s climate strategy.
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Forum: Assessing Obama’s <br /> Record on the Environment

Forum: Assessing Obama’s
Record on the Environment

When Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008, environmentalists were optimistic that their issues would finally become a priority at the White House. So how is Obama doing? Yale Environment 360 asked a group of environmentalists and energy experts for their verdicts on the president's performance.
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Forum: Just How Safe <br /> Is ‘Fracking’ of Natural Gas?

Forum: Just How Safe
Is ‘Fracking’ of Natural Gas?


New technologies for freeing natural gas from underground shale formations have led to a hydraulic fracturing boom across the U.S. that is now spreading to other countries. In a Yale Environment 360 forum, eight experts discuss whether “fracking” can be done without serious harm to water and air quality and what environmental safeguards may be needed.

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Forum: Is Extreme Weather<br /> Linked to Global Warming?

Forum: Is Extreme Weather
Linked to Global Warming?


In the past year, the world has seen a large number of extreme weather events, from the Russian heat wave last summer, to the severe flooding in Pakistan, to the recent tornadoes in the U.S. In a Yale Environment 360 forum, a panel of experts weighs in on whether the wild weather may be tied to increasing global temperatures.

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As Copenhagen Talks Near,
What Are Prospects for Success?

For months, hopes that a climate treaty would be signed at the upcoming Copenhagen conference have been raised, then dashed, then raised again. Now, with prospects waning that a binding accord on reducing greenhouse gas emissions can be reached this year, ten environmental leaders and climate experts outline for Yale Environment 360 what they believe can still be accomplished at Copenhagen.
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The Waxman-Markey Bill:
A Good Start or a Non-Starter?

As carbon cap-and-trade legislation works it way through Congress, the environmental community is intensely debating whether the Waxman-Markey bill is the best possible compromise or a fatally flawed initiative. Yale Environment 360 asked 11 prominent people in the environmental and energy fields for their views on this controversial legislation.
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Putting a Price on Carbon:
An Emissions Cap or a Tax?

The days of freely dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere are coming to an end, but how best to price carbon emissions remains in dispute. As the U.S. Congress debates the issue, Yale Environment 360 asked eight experts to discuss the merits of a cap-and-trade system versus a carbon tax.
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A Green Agenda for the
President’s First 100 Days

Environmentalists – from Bill McKibben and Paul Hawken, to Fred Krupp and Frances Beinecke – offer President Obama their advice on the priorities he should set for the first 100 days of his administration.
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e360 digest

Republican Who Led EPA Urges
Confronting Trump on Climate

William K. Reilly, who was head of the EPA under President George H.W. Bush, is blunt in his assessment of the climate change deniers and anti-regulatory hawks
William K. Reilly

William K. Reilly
who have been nominated to fill many of President-elect Donald Trump’s top environmental posts. Reilly, a Republican, looks with special alarm on Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, nominated to run the EPA. “For a prospective EPA administrator to doubt or even contest a conclusion that 11 national academies of science have embraced is willful political obstruction,” says Reilly. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Reilly discusses how Trump administration threats to cut funding for NASA climate change research represent a “reckless head-in-the-sand posture,” explains why he believes former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson may turn out to be one of the more enlightened environmental voices in the new administration, and urges EPA employees to stay and fight for the environment. “I would not advocate that committed people leave,” says Reilly. “We need them now more than ever.”
Read the interview.

17 Jan 2017: China Cancels Plans for
100 New Coal-Fired Power Plants

China has canceled plans for more than 100 new coal-fired power plants, including several that were already under construction, according to news reports. The power stations, with an estimated price tag of $62 billion, would have had an electricity-generating capacity of more than 100 gigawatts, spread across several provinces. The decision, announced by the National Energy Administration, follows other recent moves by China to build more renewable energy facilities and reduce the country’s dependence on coal. Last year, China announced it would cap coal power generation at 1,100 gigawatts, according to Reuters. It plans to install 130 gigawatts of new solar and wind power by 2020. The latest decision also comes at a time when the country is expected to assume a key role in global climate change action following the election of Donald Trump, who supports reducing U.S. climate efforts.

 

Interview: In Costa Rica, Momentum
Builds for a Clean-Energy Economy

Costa Rica has an impressive track record when it comes to renewable energy. The country, famous for its ecotourism industry, produces almost all of its electricity
Monica Araya

Monica Araya
from renewable sources. But Monica Araya wants her nation to go even greener. Araya, the founder and director of Costa Rica Limpia — a citizen’s group that promotes renewable energy — is now pushing for the widespread adoption of electric vehicles in Costa Rica, all part of a vision of making her country one of the world’s first carbon-neutral nations. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Araya describes how the fledgling effort to decarbonize Costa Rica’s transportation sector has encountered government resistance, and she urges clean-energy advocates worldwide to intensify their efforts, despite the pro-fossil fuel stance of the incoming Trump administration. “If the U.S. doesn't want to be part of the game, the game is going to continue,” says Araya. “Clean energy's going to continue. Electric mobility is going to continue... Costa Rica's going to move forward.”
Read the interview.

12 Jan 2017: A Bay in Denmark May
Hold The Global Record for Carbon Storage

Danish scientists say that a sheltered bay in southern Denmark may hold the world record for carbon storage per meter

Thurøbund Bay in Southern Denmark.
because of its abundant seagrass meadows, which sequester carbon extremely efficiently. Reporting in the journal Biogeosciences, the scientists said that CO2 absorption by eelgrass in Thurøbund Bay has resulted in the bay storing 27,000 grams of carbon per square meter, more than twice as much as other efficient carbon-storing ecosystems worldwide. A key reason for Thurøbund’s impressive carbon storage is that once seagrasses die in its sheltered waters, they are buried in the bay’s sediments, locking up the carbon. By contrast, many of the nine other Baltic Sea sites studied by the scientists were in exposed coastal areas, which means that dead grasses are carried out to sea and often not buried in sediment. The importance of “blue carbon” storage in coastal waters is gaining increasing attention, with international programs now paying local residents to replant sea grasses, mangroves, and other shallow-water plants.

 

From Obama’s Chief Scientist,
Parting Words of Caution on Climate

John Holdren is the longest-serving presidential science adviser in U.S. history and probably one of the most influential,
John Holdren

John Holdren
having advised President Obama on key energy issues for the last eight years. A physicist by training, Holdren was among the chief architects of the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan. The plan has been lauded by environmentalists, but is loathed by conservative politicians, some of whom have filed suit against it. Holdren spoke with Yale e360 contributing writer Elizabeth Kolbert about the difference between “dangerous” and “catastrophic” warming, the incoming Trump administration, and how to talk to people who deny the existence of climate change. “Part of the reason that I retain some optimism about the future is that there are these fundamental forces pushing us toward doing the right thing,” he said.
Read the interview.

11 Jan 2017: First Carbon-Capture Coal
Plant in U.S. is Now Fully Operational

The first large-scale power plant in the U.S. that removes and stores carbon dioxide from coal combustion is now fully operating near Houston, Texas, capturing more than 1 million tons of CO2 annually. Operated by NRG Energy and JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corp., the Petra Nova plant — which cost more than $1 billion — extracts carbon dioxide from flue gases and then pipes them to the West Ranch oil field 80 miles away, where the CO2 helps extract additional oil from the ground. The U.S. Department of Energy, which provided $190 million in grants to the plant, called the facility “the world’s largest post-combustion carbon-capture system.” A second large carbon-capture plant is set to become operational in Mississippi by the end of the month. The Kemper Power Plant is designed to turn lignite, a type of coal, into a gas called syngas, removing some of the CO2 before the syngas is burned to generate electricity.

 
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