By Steve Hochstadt
The history of scientific hoaxes is often amusing. In 1813, Charles Redhoffer created a “perpetual motion machine,” a device that created more energy than it used. After hundreds of people paid a dollar to see it spinning around, Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamboat, grew suspicious of its uneven motion. When pieces of wood were removed from the wall behind the machine, a belt drive made of cat-gut was revealed, leading to an upper floor, where an old man was turning a crank with one hand and eating bread with the other.
By Sarah Rose
California League of Conservation Voters
Like many Californians, I watched President Obama's announcement yesterday of a comprehensive plan to fight climate change with a great deal of pride in his leadership and in our state for leading the way on climate solutions. President Obama's plan begins to meet our moral obligation to protect future generations from climate change. The President's decision to take action to cut carbon pollution from power plants is particularly important and is inspired in part by California's landmark Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32).
Currently, there are no limits on carbon pollution from our nation's power plants despite the fact that they are its number one source.
By Rev. Jim Conn
Despite the conventional wisdom that Southern California only has one season, some wag suggested it does indeed have four: Fires, floods, earthquakes and riots. So far this year we've had none of those, for which I am grateful, and I hope our luck holds.
I say luck because Los Angeles County leads the state in fire risk. Of the million homes in California in high-risk fire areas, half are in our county. Seven of the 10 most expensive fires in the U.S. since 1990 have been in California, and insurers paid some $5 billion in wildfire claims in 2003, 2007 and 2008.
By Alan Kandel
Houston: We (California) have a problem, a Texas-sized problem.
With the climate change debate front-page news, the fight to combat air pollution is every bit as important in my book; perhaps even more so. If not, what is this saying?
California's San Joaquin Valley is the place I call home. The Valley is among the nation's worst offenders.
So that which is being spewed into the air in California's central interior, where is it coming from? The following is from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.
Federal Government Runs out of Money to Fight Fires, Pays for It By Cutting Fire Prevention Programs
By David Dayen
Here's a story at the intersection of catastrophic climate change and austerity.
Because of the constant burning of carbon into the atmosphere and the resulting changes to the weather and climate, the US has experienced more and more wildfires over the past several years. In fact, this has been the worst wildfire season on record.
By David Dayen
This news from the Berkeley Earth Project should get more attention. Richard Muller, the head of the project, was a confirmed climate skeptic, and he got plenty of attention from the right side of the spectrum for his views. In fact he got funding, including $150,000 from the Koch Brothers, to study climate science and produce a set of conclusions. And after years of work, years of going through ice samples and carbon readings and all the rest, Muller determined that global warming does in fact exist:
By Madhavi Colton and Gretchen Hofmann
The ocean may seem timeless and impervious. Yet we are increasingly seeing that in the sea, as in the natural world as a whole, the only thing that is constant is change.
While some changes--like habitat loss or overfishing --have long been studied, we are only just beginning to understand emerging threats like ocean acidification. Sometimes described as “osteoporosis of the sea,” we already know that ocean acidification is impacting the health of shellfish and coral reefs. But we have as many questions as answers about the long-term implications for sea life and people.
By Robert Cruickshank
Climate activist Bill McKibben has a new article out in Rolling Stone that has been generating much discussion and debate lately. Titled Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math, it shows how humanity is on pace to produce carbon emissions that will raise global temperatures significantly greater than we’ve already seen. Given that current temperature increases are already having devastating effects on climate, the economy, and society, unchecked carbon emissions would be catastrophic.
By Peter Schrag
So was it a threat or just a statement of hard facts? The “it” here was the Field Poll’s finding last week that 72 percent of voters don’t approve of the school budget cuts that would automatically follow failure of Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax increase measure on the November ballot.
Did the voters disapprove because they saw the school cuts as a threat – what Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California, called “the most expensive ransom note in California history”?
Did it mean that 19 percent of us who said we approve of the school cuts like cutting school funding (9 percent had no opinion)? And if voters were reacting to a perceived threat, why did a significantly greater percentage of Republicans react positively to the Brown proposal than did Democrats (22 percent to 14 percent)?
By Amy Goodman
Evidence supporting the existence of climate change is pummeling the United States this summer, from the mountain wildfires of Colorado to the recent “derecho” storm that left at least 23 dead and 1.4 million people without power from Illinois to Virginia. The phrase “extreme weather” flashes across television screens from coast to coast, but its connection to climate change is consistently ignored, if not outright mocked. If our news media, including—or especially—the meteorologists, continue to ignore the essential link between extreme weather and climate change, then we as a nation, the greatest per capita polluters on the planet, may not act in time to avert even greater catastrophe.