Climate interventions are of two forms: those based on natural processes and those based on technology. Nature-based interventions involve the management of forests, agriculture, and wetlands. Technological solutions involve reducing global temperature through interception of solar radiation or direct removal of CO2 through chemical means or with biofuels and carbon capture. In this module we will review the risks and possible advantages of the most likely … Continue reading Geoengineering

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Review of IPCC AR6

This a comprehensive review of the AR6 for my students at the University of Florida. It may be viewed but not downloaded or copied. One error in the narrative is the statement that hurricanes are becoming more frequent. The overall global frequency of cyclones has decreased since the 1800s. Atlantic hurricanes has decreased in the first half of the 20th century but since about 1960 … Continue reading Review of IPCC AR6

Economic Models and the Real-World Social Costs of Carbon

Economic theory mandates that it is worth reducing CO2 emissions up to the point where the benefits are equal to the cost. The social cost of carbon is an estimate, in dollars, of the economic damages from emitting one additional ton of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This metric is inextricably tied to the Neoliberal Economics and used by the UN and most governments to … Continue reading Economic Models and the Real-World Social Costs of Carbon

Burning down the house – global environmental consequences of tyranny in the United States

Published in Medium As a nation we have passed a political tipping point. The effects of decades of divisive rhetoric from right wing media and craven zero-sum political manipulation of race and economics by the GOP will be with us for decades to come. With the election of Trump our nation has been consumed by the negativity of his corruption, denial of science, overt racism, … Continue reading Burning down the house – global environmental consequences of tyranny in the United States

The economy of nature and the case for big government

I am an economist. As a professional ecologist I have been trained in the economy of nature. It is only those economists that service the financial industry who treat the human economy as if it is separate from the economy of nature. Since the time of Adam Smith the evidence has been overwhelming that they are tragically wrong. I continue to be impressed by the … Continue reading The economy of nature and the case for big government

Their money and your life - the clarity of climate change and COVID-19

There are several parallels between the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, but perhaps the most disturbing is the intentional disregard of the value of human life in favor of money. This is hardly the first time since the end of WWII that money vs. lives has defined our daily lives. From the institutionalized denial of the damage from smoking tobacco, to the utter failure of … Continue reading Their money and your life - the clarity of climate change and COVID-19

The Long Game: Facing Reality in the Environmental Century

170907084916-01-golf-wildfire-trnd-super-teaseGolfing while the mountains burn. Photo from Beacon Rock Golf Course.

Personally, I would rate the likelihood of staying under two degrees of warming as under 10 percent. – Michael Oppenheimer 2017

Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself.  – Thomas Merton

Under a concrete sky on 5 November 2014, Michele and I awoke to realize that Paul LePage had been re-elected as governor of Maine. Once again, Mainers had split their votes three ways and LePage was elected by a minority of the voters to another four-year term. We were deeply disappointed because during his first term LePage had made clear his disdain for environmental concerns. Little did we know that the next few years would make LePage’s first term look like the good old days. Continue reading “The Long Game: Facing Reality in the Environmental Century”

Ecology, Loss, and Triage

Rainforest-burning-NASA-2014Amazonia burning. NASA Earth Observatory 2014

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of all the beauty that remains.”

–Anne Frank

On Sunday, 30 April 2017, the New York Times reported that global marine fisheries are being pushed to the brink. This and countless other imminent losses prompt me to once again point out that management of the global biosphere is necessary if we are to have any hope of controlling climate change and feeding ourselves. Human impacts on ecosystems are pushing the living planet into a new regime characterized by disrupted ecological relationships and accelerating extinctions on local, regional, and global scales. Ecological disruption causes ongoing positive feedbacks from widely-distributed natural sources of emissions, thus further disrupting the climate system. Globally, we are approaching a state of unmanageability on many fronts. Continue reading “Ecology, Loss, and Triage”