Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Climate Change

The White House: Kicking off National Health Week

From the White House, “Our Endangered Climate”:

On Monday, President Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation declaring this week, April 6-12, 2015, as National Public Health Week.

As part of the effort to support public health with a sense of purpose and determination, the Obama administration has focused on how climate change affects our environment. Our public health is deeply tied to the health of our environment. As the planet warms, we face new threats to our health and well-being, and the President is taking steps to counteract those threats.

Tuesday, President Obama spoke at Howard University Medical School in Washington, D.C., joined by the Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murphy, and Gina McCarthy, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, at a roundtable. The President explained what the Administration has already done to reduce the dangerous levels of carbon dioxide that are contributing to climate change, and discussed ways to prepare our communities for the impacts that cannot be avoided.

President Barack Obama gives remarks to the press during a roundtable discussion on climate change and public health at the Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C., April 7, 2015

In keeping with the President’s directive to make government as open as possible, as well as his commitment to combating climate change, the Administration also announced this morning that it’s expanding its Climate Data Initiative to include more than 150 health-relevant datasets on

Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

Secretary of State John Kerry: “There is no planet B”

On Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry addressed the Atlantic Council as part of the Road to Paris Climate Series.

Secretary Kerry:

So stop for a minute and just think about the basics. When an apple falls from a tree, it will drop toward the ground. We know that because of the basic laws of physics. Science tells us that gravity exists, and no one disputes that. Science also tells us that when the water temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it turns to ice. No one disputes that.

So when science tells us that our climate is changing and humans beings are largely causing that change, by what right do people stand up and just say, “Well, I dispute that” or “I deny that elementary truth?” And yet, there are those who do so. […]

… this is personal to me. But you know what? The bottom line is it ought to be personal to everybody, every man, woman, child, businessperson, student, grandparent, wherever we live, whatever our calling, whatever our personal background might be. This issue affects everyone on the planet. And if any challenge requires global cooperation and urgent action, this is it.[…]

Gambling with the future of Earth itself when we know full well what the outcome would be is beyond reckless. It is just plain immoral. And it is a risk that no one should take. We need to face reality. There is no planet B.

In the News: Emissions

Found on the Internets …

A series of tubes filled with enormous amounts of material some of which is emitted as noxious gasses.


China Agrees To Greenhouse Gas Cap; U.S. Will Accelerate Cuts

The United States and China pledged Wednesday to take ambitious action to limit greenhouse gases, aiming to inject fresh momentum into the global fight against climate change ahead of make-or-break climate talks next year.

President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. would move much faster in cutting its levels of pollution. Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to cap China’s emissions in the future – a striking, unprecedented move by a nation that has been reluctant to box itself in on global warming. […]

Developing nations like India and China have long balked at being on the hook for climate change as much as wealthy nations like the U.S. that have been polluting for much longer. But China analysts said Beijing’s willingness to cap its future emissions and to put Xi front and center signaled a significant turnaround.

For Obama, the fight against climate change has become a central facet of the legacy he hopes to leave. Facing opposition in Congress, Obama has sought to bypass lawmakers through emissions regulations on power plants and vehicles.

This is not just about “cementing a legacy”, this is caring about the future of the human species.


Emissions of a different sort (effluvia?) … Obama’s Climate Deal With China Enrages GOP In Congress

But Obama’s opponents in Congress balked, dismissing the new U.S. target as “job-destroying red tape” that would squeeze the middle class.

“This unrealistic plan that the president would dump on his successor would ensure higher utility rates and far fewer jobs,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who is set to become the majority leader early next year.

Yes, those pesky regulations … killin’ jobs again!! Who needs clean air or safe work environments??!? Why, wanting people to have better lives and a brighter future is downright un-American!!


More …

President Obama Addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Global Climate Change

From the White House:

In 2013, President Obama announced a series of executive actions to reduce carbon pollution, prepare the U.S. for the impacts of climate change, and lead international efforts to address global climate change.

At the U.N. General Assembly today, President Obama will participate in the Climate Summit – a meeting of world leaders that will showcase climate action commitments from governments, local leaders, and the private sector.

The President will give a speech at the summit that highlights the ambitious actions the U.S. is taking under his Climate Action Plan, while stressing that all major economies must step up to the plate if we are to avoid the dangerous consequences of climate change.

Climate Change and Apocalypticism

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I’ve never really considered myself an environmentalist. I don’t live a particularly “green” life, though I recycle, don’t litter, and don’t leave lights on or other electronic devices running. But I increasingly find opposition to climate science (I don’t think they are skeptics as much as scoffers) infuriating.

I don’t even know quite what is motivating this post at the moment. But I have a family member with a science based Ph.D. who consistently raises his opposition to the findings of climate scientists every time he sees me. He argues that he’s “read the science” and that his work has always been about modeling and that the models they use cannot hope to capture the complexity of the phenomenon of climate change and that ultimately belief in anthropogenic climate change is nothing more than belief, even religious belief. This last point resonates with those who often compare the dire predictions of climate scientists and environmental activists to the apocalyptic speculation that has occurred so frequently across western history.

Oil exploration in Virunga National Park

Crossposted from here…

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Guest lodge at Virunga National Park.

Virunga National Park is the jewel of the African rainforest. It is perhaps the most biologically and geographically diverse area on the planet. Its borders contain a vast array of species and lakes, as well as tropical forest, savannahs, and volcanoes. A UNESCO World Heritage Center, this park has come to represent the African forest that supports the planet.

And it’s in trouble.

Aside from the continuing African World War that is being fought inside its borders, a corrupt charcoal trade that is toppling its trees, and rampant poaching that’s endangered its unique species, Virunga National Park has another rival: SOCO International. This park — that is intended to be some of the most protected land on the planet — sits on top of a store of oil. And yes, SOCO set its sites on drilling there. They are exploring as we speak.

If you care about climate, you care about Congo.

In the News 3/11: Let’s Talk About Climate Change

Found on the Internets …

Talking about your g-g-generation … and the next 100 or so.


28 Senators Are Staying Up All Night To Bring Attention To Climate Change

On Monday, 28 senators are planning on staying up all night talking about climate change, an effort that aims to “wake up Congress” about the seriousness of the issue.

The “talkathon” will start after Senate’s last votes Monday and is expected to last until Tuesday at 9 a.m. It was organized by the Climate Action Task Force, a group launched in January whose goal is to take an aggressive stance on climate change in Congress. Twenty-six Democrats and two independents have committed to attend the talkathon and are planning to tweet throughout the night using the hashtag #Up4Climate.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), one of the members of the task force who will be participating in the talkathon, said the goal of the all-nighter was “to break the pattern of the Senate and show the interest of at least 20 senators who will be participating through the night.”

CSPAN Video Feed

Twitter Hash Tag #Up4Climate


Floor Remarks Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) #Up4Climate Senate Floor

The scientists have done their work:  We now better understand the human causes of climate change and we understand its profound and accelerating impact.  Unfortunately, too many policy makers deny the evidence, or refuse to cross political lines to solve the problem.  But it is time that we wake up and act on climate change.

We have taken some steps in the right direction.  This past summer, President Obama announced his Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution.  The Environmental Protection Agency has begun creating new carbon emission standards for future power plants.  The Department of Energy is working on ground-breaking energy technologies, and the Department of Transportation is studying transportation planning to address future risks and vulnerabilities from extreme weather and climate change.  The Transportation Department is also addressing vehicle fuel efficiency which is saving vehicle owners and operators billions of dollars a year.  While these are all positive changes, it should concern us all that they are not nearly enough to address the problem at hand.  Congress needs to lift its blinders and wake up to this problem by enacting legislation that prioritizes renewable energy development, supports energy efficient technologies, and taxes carbon pollution.


More …

Gothic Basin near Glacier Peak (photos)

The following pictures are from Gothic Basin yesterday. It’s a rough hike, in fact, a lot of it isn’t what most people would even call trail. It’s more like a rock garden. It’s steep and there are deathly sharp drops in a few places — drops that get pretty close to the trail. That said, there was an endless supply of ladies aged 60+ out there blowing everyone else’s doors off. You just have to be as tough as they are.

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Or maybe it’s the view. This is a look across a canyon on the trail up to the basin.  

Tisha B’Av & Climate Change: James Hansen, A Modern Day Jeremiah?

I joined a Progressive Reform Synagogue about a year and a half ago. I first wrote about an experience I had there in this diary. Last year I wasn’t too active beyond taking my daughter to Hebrew and Sunday School, a few Friday Night Services here and there and the High Holy Days. I really had no idea how involved the Social Justice and Food Justice committees were in educating and organizing the congregation. I only just became involved a couple weeks before NetrootsNation2013 when I received an email from the Rabbi about my protesting the Keystone Pipeline, would I like to join a meeting about incorporating Climate Change into a Friday Night Service? Um, yes.

I was one of a panel of three in which we were asked to bring awareness about Climate Change to our congregation in the context of the upcoming Tisha B’Av and to describe our personal connection to Climate Change. I learned about the association between Tisha B’Av and Climate Change initially from our Rabbi and then through reading the work of Rabbi Arthur Waskow. I am often amazed at the depth of knowledge and feeling that some people are capable of conveying, and these two Rabbi’s are no exception.

I experienced a lot of anxiety about writing this presentation, I felt lost, like an outsider trying to talk about something of which she really doesn’t understand. My original draft had nothing original in it. So I took a break and read some diaries on Daily Kos, and I found my inspiration.

Some things deserve the honor of our tears and our sadness.

was written in a comment in response to a writer’s grief. What I followed that sentence up with is block quoted below and was presented to the congregation.