"Introduction to Climate Progress"
For newcomers, this is intended as an introduction to Climate Progress. Regular readers will find links to some of our best content on climate and clean energy, continually updated. Please post in the comments any suggestions you have for what you would like to see on this page.
We try to inform and entertain here — and be a one-stop-shop for anyone who wants the inside view on climate science, solutions, and politics. A key goal is to save readers’ time, save you from wading through the sea of irrelevant information — or outright disinformation — on climate and energy that pervades the media and blogosphere.
Climate Progress, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, was launched in August 2006, with me posting only once (!) a day. Over time, this blog morphed into a true community of interest on climate and energy, with some of the top experts and activists guest posting, sharing their thoughts in interviews, and even commenting regularly, people like Bill McKibben.
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I was also Acting Assistant Secretary of Energy for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in 1997, where I oversaw $1 billion in R&D, demonstration, and deployment of low-carbon technology. So this blog focuses as much on solutions as it does on science and politics. You can read a longer bio here.
Last year, we added a first-rate reporter Stephen Lacey, who is now Deputy Editor for Climate Progress. He edits content for publication and writes on a variety of clean energy issues. Before joining Climate Progress, he was an editor/producer with RenewableEnergyWorld.com.
In 2009, Time named me a “Hero of the Environment″ and “The Web’s most influential climate-change blogger.” I write from what I call a climate realist perspective — the emerging scientific view that on our current greenhouse gas emissions path we are poised to destroy the livability of the climate for 1,000 years. The most important post that lays out that case is:
- An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts: How We Know Inaction Is the Gravest Threat Humanity Faces
Humanity’s Choice (via M.I.T.): Inaction (“No Policy”) eliminates most of the uncertainty about whether or not future warming will be catastrophic. Aggressive emissions reductions dramatically improves humanity’s chances.
Some other key climate science overview posts include:
- Climate Story of the Year: Warming-Driven Drought and Extreme Weather Emerge as Key Threat to Global Food Security
- USGS on Dust-Bowlification: Drier conditions projected to accelerate dust storms in the U.S. Southwest
- Eight Must-Have Charts Summarize the Evidence for a “Human Fingerprint” on Recent Climate Change
- NOAA: Climate change “largely irreversible for 1000 years,” with permanent Dust Bowls in Southwest and around the globe.
Another good post is Royal Society Special Issue on Global Warming Details ‘Hellish Vision’ of 7°F (4°C) World — Which We May Face in the 2060s! “In such a 4°C world, the limits for human adaptation are likely to be exceeded in many parts of the world, while the limits for adaptation for natural systems would largely be exceeded throughout the world.” This would be the worst-case for the 2060s, but is in any case, close to business as usual for 2090s:
We also spend a lot of time describing the solution(s). Fundamentally we have most of the needed technology now (or soon will), and avoiding catastrophe requires only a very small fraction of the nation’s and world’s wealth — one tenth of a penny on the dollar:
- An introduction to the core climate solutions
- IEA’s Bombshell Warning: We’re Headed Toward 11°F Global Warming and “Delaying Action Is a False Economy”
- Study Confirms Optimal Climate Strategy: Deploy, Deploy, Deploy, Research and Develop, Deploy, Deploy, Deploy
- Breaking: Socolow reaffirms 2004 ‘wedges’ paper, urges aggressive low-carbon deployment ASAP
- The full global warming solution: How the world can stabilize at 350 to 450 ppm
- McKinsey 2008 Research in Review: Stabilizing at 450 ppm has a net cost near zero.
Stephen Lacey has created a portfolio of chart-filled posts that dive deeper into the individual clean energy solutions and how they have been starting to achieve significant market penetration and drop in cost:
- Solar is Ready Now: ‘Ferocious Cost Reductions’ Make Solar PV Competitive
- Top Three Reasons Cheap Natural Gas Won’t Kill Renewable Energy
- One Trillionth Dollar Invested in Clean Energy in 2011: Will American Business Capture the Second Trillion?
- Google Phases Out Clean Energy R&D in Favor of Deployment, Citing the “Compelling” Cost Reductions in Solar PV
- Investments in Renewable Energy to Double by 2020, Reaching $395 Billion Per Year, Says Bloomberg New Energy Finance
We also spend a lot of time keeping readers up on the politics of energy and climate action:
- Bipartisan Support Grows for Carbon Price as Part of Debt Deal
- Romney On Cap And Trade In 2003: ‘I Am Making Good On My Pledge’ To Clean Up Carbon Pollution ‘Harming Our Climate’
- Hill conservatives reject all 3 climate strategies and embrace Rush Limbaugh — what does that radicalism mean for Obama, progressives, and humanity?
- Tea Party Introduces ‘Wacky’ And ‘Ludicrous’ Conspiracy Bill To Shut Down Arizona Energy Efficiency Programs
- The failed presidency of Barack Obama, Part 2
And then there is the offbeat stuff:
- Jack Bauer becomes first-ever carbon-neutral torturer as Rupert Murdoch says “Climate change poses clear, catastrophic threats”
- I just learned two shocking things
- How to be as persuasive as Abraham Lincoln, Part 1: Study the figures of speech and Shakespeare
- Leaked Documents Reveal Flatland Institute Plan To Brainwash Toddlers With ‘Baby Inhofe’ Videos. UPDATE: My Mea Culpa
- Breaking: The earth is breaking … but how about that Royal Wedding?
Oh, and peak oil stuff:
- Least surprising headline of the day: “Exxon Struggles To Find New Oil”
- Peak oil production coming sooner than expected
- World’s top energy economist warns peak oil threatens recovery, urges immediate action: “We have to leave oil before oil leaves us”
- German military study warns of peak oil crisis
- WikiLeaks peak oil bombshell: Saudi Arabian reserves overstated by 40%, global production plateau immiment
And the media criticism:
- Scientist: “The Murdoch Media Empire Has Cost Humanity Perhaps One or Two Decades in Battle Against Climate Change.”
- Silence of the Lambs 2: Media Herd’s Coverage of Climate Change Drops Sharply — Again
- Media Stunner: Atlantic Editor Megan McArdle Admits She’s Outsourced Her Thinking to Cato’s Pat Michaels
- How the status quo media failed on climate change
- How the press bungles its coverage of climate economics: “The media’s decision to play the stenographer role helped opponents of climate action stifle progress.”
- What if the MSM simply can’t cover humanity’s self-destruction?
And here’s two of my best written posts: