On the decline of the coal industry

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“ In the US, coal has been crowded out in power generation by cheaper, cleaner gas from the fracking boom and even US coal executives believe Donald Trump’s promise to bring back jobs in the industry cannot succeed. Coal consumption has now been declining for three years in China, as its economic boom and output has tailed off in energy-intensive sectors such as iron, steel and cement (…) Coal has also been squeezed globally in recent years by the rapid growth of renewable power generation, which BP found had continued apace last year. Wind, solar and and other renewable power sources grew faster than any other fuel at more than 14% in 2016, slightly below the 10-year average ”

Adam Vaughan, ‘Global demand for coal falls in 2016 for second year in a row’, The Guardian

On connecting climate science to motivation for action

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“ There’s a lack of connection between the numbers drawn from climate science and the personal, immediate motivations required to drive active prioritisation of climate action (…) Per Espen Stoknes, a Norwegian psychologist, has examined why people continue to feel disconnected from climate warnings, despite the strength of the science. He says, ‘People think this is far off – it is not here and now, it’s also up there in the Arctic or Antarctica, it affects other people, not me, I’ll be old before this really happens, other people are responsible, not me. We distance ourselves from it in so many ways that the pure facts are not sufficient to generate a sustained sense of risk.’ (…) Connecting numbers to feelings is the antidote to the curse of temporal distance feeding the climate communication paradox. This is a jarring reminder of the generational inequity we exploit and worsen when we choose to disavow responsibility for the machines and industries causing the problem ”

Ketan Joshi, ‘Caring about climate change: it’s time to build a bridge between data and emotion’, The Guardian

On the consequences of the US withdrawal from the Paris agreement

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“ Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement could have serious consequences on maintaining commitments from other states and more generally on the state of the planet, given that global warming is already happening and every year lost to counteract it increases the risk of producing irreversible effects on the climate. The procedure to exit the treaty – which entered into force on 4 November 2016 – takes almost four years to be completed, but the United States could immediately abandon all their cooperation activities, not participate in the new climate meetings of the UN and isolate itself from the rest of the international community on this issue ”

Translated from Italian.

Il Post, ‘Some American cities want to respect the Paris climate agreement’, Il Post

On fossil fuels lobbies’ influence on the climate change debate

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“ Organisations that have observer status, and can therefore attend meetings and walk the corridors of the conferences, include industry groups that represent all of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies such as ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and BHP. Many of them have lobbied against policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions (…) ExxonMobil famously hid their knowledge about climate change for decades and investigations have revealed they continue to fund efforts to manipulate public discussions of climate change ”

Michael Slezak, ‘Fossil fuel lobby could be forced to declare interests at UN talks’, The Guardian

 

On the failings of the Affordable Care Act and Clean Power Plan

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“ The Affordable Care Act and Clean Power Plan — each on Trump’s chopping block — could be seen as two sides of the same coin. Each are vitally needed, and could save millions of lives in the long-run. Yet both entrust government-created marketplaces to create solutions totally out of step with the crises they seek to address. The Affordable Care Act will leave 28 million people uninsured by 2026. If enacted, the Clean Power Plan would cap emissions — in a best-case scenario — at levels far above the ones demanded by science. Each have come under consistent attack from the Right and have sat firmly in the Trump administration’s crosshairs since the inauguration. The ACA, however, has the benefit of having actually delivered some tangible benefit. When Congress threatened its “repeal and replacement” weeks back, stories emerged of people whose lives had been saved thanks to Obamacare. By contrast, the Clean Power Plan’s now all-too-likely repeal has failed to evoke anywhere near the same kind of response. Despite what might now be counted as two colossal failures, Democrats and big greens alike have continued clinging to market-based fixes ”

Kate Aronoff, ‘No Third Way for the Planet’, Jacobin Magazine

On 5 reasons why people won’t deal with climate change

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“ The psychologist and economist Per Espen Stoknes, author of the essay ‘What We Think About When We Try to Not Think About Global Warming’, has tried to answer these questions by analyzing hundreds of social science studies on the subject and came to the conclusion that there are 5 psychological reasons for which the struggle for climate change involves little people. They are summarized in five concepts: the distance, both temporal and spatial, of the negative consequences of climate change; fate, that is, the fact that we perceive climate change as inevitable by now; The dissonance between what we do every day – go in the car, keep the heating on, burn plastic – and what we know we should do, which is something that makes us feel hypocritical; The rejection of the problem, which is natural when we do not want to feel responsible; And finally, identity, understood as cultural identity and political values, which often pushes people with conservative orientation to reject the problem ”

Translated from Italian.

Il Post, ‘Why do we care so little about climate change, and how do we change that’, Il Post