Join us for a joint Climate Desk Live and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) event moderated by Chris Mooney discussing the alarming science behind climate change’s increasingly wild weather featuring senior Weather Channel meteorologist Stu Ostro and top climate researcher Jennifer Francis.
- Date and Time: Thursday, June 6, 2013, 4:30 p.m.
- Location: WWF Building, 1250 24th St., NW, Washington, DC 20037.
- To attend, please RSVP here.
Stu Ostro is a senior meteorologist at the Weather Channel, and was a longtime climate change skeptic—until the devastating 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, when he started documenting hundreds of cases of extreme and unusual weather and the patterns associated with them, and became convinced that something is very off about the atmosphere.
Jennifer Francis is a top climate researcher focused on the Arctic, whose work has drawn dramatic attention in the context of the very warm U.S. winter of 2012 (and attendant droughts and wildfires), the Russian heat wave and Pakistan floods of 2010, and other extreme weather events.
Both are now leading voices in diagnosing the wild weather that the world has seen of late—most recently, an intense winter in the UK that threatens to last throughout April.
For Ostro and Francis, the explanation for what we’re seeing is simple. More heat in the Earth’s system due to global warming is felt everywhere, and that includes the massive-scale patterns of atmospheric circulation that give us our weather.
Ostro’s observations suggest that global warming is increasing the atmosphere’s thickness, leading to stronger and more persistent ridges of high pressure, which in turn are a key to temperature, rainfall, and snowfall extremes and topsy-turvy weather patterns like we’ve had in recent years.
Francis’s scientific story is complementary. She sees the rapid warming of the Arctic weakening the northern hemisphere jet stream, and thus, once again, slowing down the weather, leaving a given pattern stuck in place for longer (making any event potentially more disruptive and extreme).
We don’t know—yet—what the next extreme manifestations of these large-scale changes in weather patterns will be. But as Ostro and Francis warn, we had better be getting ready for them—because this isn’t your grandparent’s Planet Earth any longer.
We hope you can join us for Climate Desk Live on June 6th, 2013, as we discuss this important subject.
The latest Climate Desk Live asked if pipeline opponents picked the wrong battle—and if that even matters.
If you’re a liberal or centrist, generally inclined to bash those “hippies” to the left of you—well, perhaps you should stop and think about it for a moment, and not resume bashing until you at least understand the best case activists can make for what they’re trying to achieve, and the particular strategy they’ve chosen.
That was one upshot of the latest Climate Desk Live briefing in Washington, DC, a collaboration between the Climate Desk and one of its key partners, Grist. The event focused on what the Keystone XL Pipeline protest movement means to the future of environmentalism, and featured a panel that spanned from activist to centrist, uniting representatives of the climate grassroots group 350.org and the Council on Foreign Relations. (Mega archive of event Tweets here.)
The protestors and organizers surrounding Keystone XL have often been criticized for picking the wrong fight by focusing on a pipeline that is unlikely to be defeated and, some claim, won’t significantly increase global carbon emissions. The activists argue back that the fight is important as a galvanizing battle, and that when it comes to wanton burning of fossil fuels, it’s simply time to take a stand.
Against this backdrop, the panel took up the question of what the impact this movement could have on the broader push for limiting carbon emissions. On that, everyone agreed that the notion that the Keystone XL protests will have any one clear effect, whether good or bad, is far too simplistic. The movement’s impact echo in complex ways—perhaps backfiring in some respects yet promoting progress in others. Caught up in the moment as we all are, we can’t fully say—but for that very reason, how sure are we that we can criticize?
May Boeve, who as a student activist worked with Bill McKibben and went on to co-found 350.org (and is now its executive director), spoke first, and frankly, about the anti-Keystone movement. “Is it the perfect political battle?” she asked. “Are we sure we’re gonna win? No.” But Boeve argued that the movement has mobilized a new constituency, and that itself is an achievement that will extend beyond this specific fight. “No matter what the president decides, we have a climate movement now that is stronger than we’ve ever had, and it is going to keep growing,” she said.
Boeve was followed by two journalists who have struggled with the Keystone issue and, ultimately, come out on the side of the activists. For Grist‘s David Roberts, the reason was simple: “Aside from whether Keystone XL is the right target, or how much effect on carbon emissions Keystone may or may not have, the fact that forty thousand people uprooted themselves and went to DC on a freezing cold day, and stood there chanting, is a signal.” For Roberts, it’s silly to say that we know precisely what will draw attention to the climate crisis. Rather, “we don’t know what’s going to make change, so just need to pull every lever that’s available.”
Indeed, Roberts suggested that by making climate dissent visible, and by showing that a lot of people care about our burning of fossil fuels, activists may make…a lot of people care. Sociologists talk about the concept of “social proof”: People shift their behavior to match what they see others doing, because that’s a cue that helps them to determine what is and isn’t accepted. This logic suggests people should see more protesters causing a ruckus over climate change.
Michael Grunwald, the bestselling author of The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era, was in surprise agreement with Roberts on this. While Grunwald considered himself more of a centrist than other panelists, his view on Keystone and climate change was that sometimes, you just have to take a stand. ”If we think it’s a war, sometimes you’ve got to show that you’re willing to fight,” he said. And if we are now met on a great battlefield called Keystone—well, so be it, said Grunwald. Criticizing activists at this point, he remarked—to much laughter—is like saying, “Hey Rosa Parks, it’s not about the bus system!”
The event also offered an appropriately cautionary note. Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations, author of the new book The Power Surge: Energy, Opportunity, and the Battle for America’s Future, outlined possible negative side-effects from the Keystone protests. For instance: If President Obama blocks the pipeline, enraging Republicans and also a number of congressional Democrats, there’s a risk that Congress might “take away his Clean Air Act authority,” Levi suggested. “I think that’s a big deal.” Then there’s the broader political problem: A lot of people in “depressed communities that are struggling economically” look to energy development projects, like the pipeline, for jobs. Those people aren’t the enemy, and could be alienated if they see climate protestors as threatening local economic growth. “What I worry about is the hollowing out of the middle on climate change,” Levi said.
So what’s the ultimate answer? As the Keystone saga unfolds, nobody can really say what all of its ramifications will be. Meanwhile, the activists are busy and, just maybe, scaring the center a little. Pressure on moderate politicians, Roberts explained, “only works if there’s genuine fear of what the crazy hippies might do.” Like make history, for instance. Or as Roberts put it: “In conclusion: ‘Yay, activism!’”
Want to make sense of the feud between pipeline activists and “hippie-punching” moderates? Talk to the researchers.
On February 17, more than 40,000 climate change activists—many of them quite young—rallied in Washington, DC, to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline, which will transport dirty tar sands oil from Canada across the heartland. The scornful response from media centrists was predictable. Joe Nocera of the New York Times, for one, quickly went on the attack. In a column titled “How Not to Fix Climate Change,” he wrote that the strategy of activists “who have made the Keystone pipeline their line in the sand is utterly boneheaded.”
Nocera, who accepts the science of climate change, made a string of familiar arguments: The tar sands will be exploited anyway, the total climate contribution of the oil that would be transported by Keystone XL is minimal, and so on. Perhaps inspired by Nocera-style thinking, a group of 17 Democratic senators would later cast a symbolic vote in favor of the pipeline, signaling that opposing industrial projects is not the brand of environmentalism that they, at least, have in mind.
The Keystone activists, not surprisingly, were livid. Not only did they challenge Nocera’s facts, they utterly rejected his claims as to the efficacy of their strategy: Opponents of the pipeline have often argued that it is vital to push the limits of the possible—in particular, to put unrelenting pressure on President Obama to lead on climate change. Van Jones, the onetime Obama clean-energy adviser and a close supporter of 350.org founder and Keystone protest leader Bill McKibben, has put it like this: “I think activism works…The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender movement kept pushing on the question of marriage equality, and the president came out for marriage equality, which then had a positive effect on public opinion and helped that movement win at the ballot box and in a number of states, within months.”
This article is about the emotionally charged dispute between climate activists and environmental moderates, despite their common acceptance of the science of climate change. Why does this sort of rift exist on so many issues dividing the center from the left? And what can we actually say about which side is, you know, right?
Does Joe Nocera really have a sound basis for calling the pipeline opponents’ strategy boneheaded—or is that just his gut feeling as a centrist? Does Van Jones have any basis for claiming that activism works—or is it just his gut feeling as someone favorably disposed towards activism?
It’s high time we considered the science on these questions. There is, after all, considerable scholarly work on whether activists, by pushing the boundaries of what seems acceptable, create the conditions for progress or, instead, bring about backlashes that can complicate the jobs of sympathetic policymakers.
There’s also data that may shed light on why these rifts between “moderates” and “activists” are more the rule than the exception—across the ideological spectrum. “I can’t really think of any movement where there isn’t some internal dissent about goals and tactics,” says Carleton College political scientist Devashree Gupta, who studies social movements. The recurrence of this pattern on issues from civil rights to gun control to abortion suggests that there is something here that’s well worth understanding, preferably before the next rhetorical bloodbath around Keystone.
A chief benefit of this line of inquiry: It should prove duly humbling to activists and moderates alike—and thus might help to unite them.
FROM THE OUTSET, I think we can agree on one fundamental point: Over the past several years, driven by the failure of cap and trade and a worsening climate crisis, America’s environmental movement has become considerably more activist in nature—some might even say “radical.” Exhibit A is the successful attempt by 350.org inspirer-in-chief McKibben (who has written extensively about climate for Mother Jones) to create a grassroots protest movement rather than simply to work within the corridors of power.
“What Bill is doing is actually quite impressive—he’s the first one to create a social movement around climate change, and he’s done it by creating a common enemy, the oil industry, and a salient target, which is Keystone,” says Andrew Hoffman, a professor at the University of Michigan who studies environmental politics.
One crucial aspect of this shift is a growing reluctance by environmentalists to work hand in hand with big polluters. The latter was a central feature of the US Climate Action Partnership, the industry-environmental collaboration that led an unsuccessful cap-and-trade push a few years back. Nowadays, the environmental movement is moving toward a more oppositional relationship with industry, as evidenced by its attempts to block a major industrial project (Keystone) and to get universities and cities to drop their investments in fossil fuel companies (another of McKibben’s goals).
The rival environmental factions are sometimes described as “dark greens” (the purists who want to force radical change) and “bright greens” (those who seek compromise and accept tradeoffs). There’s really little doubt that dark greens are on the ascendant. “He’s pulling the flank out,” Hoffman says of McKibben. “I do think he has a valuable role in creating a space where others can create a more moderate role.”
It’s also fair to say that McKibben—the charismatic journalist-turned-organizer—lies a good way to the political left. Its centrist biases notwithstanding, a recent paper by American University communications professor Matthew Nisbet does capture McKibben’s “romantic” ideology: Like most people, he’s unhappy about environmental degradation, but he also seems opposed, in a significant sense, to the economic growth engine that drives it. He believes in living smaller, in going back to nature, in consuming less—not a position many politicians would be willing to espouse. (Indeed, President Obama’s comments about climate change often contain an explicit rejection of the idea that environmental and economic progress are mutually exclusive.)
So environmentalists are moving left and becoming more activist in response to political gridlock and scary planetary rumblings. Then along come the moderates, unleashing flurries of what Grist‘s David Roberts calls “hippie punching” under the guise of being more rational and reasoned than those they are criticizing. For example, Nisbet writes: “McKibben’s line-in-the-sand opposition to the Keystone XL oil pipeline, his skepticism of technology, and his romantic vision of a future consisting of small-scale, agrarian communities reflects his own values and priorities, rather than a pragmatic set of choices designed to effectively and realistically address the problem of climate change.”
You can see how an activist might find this just a tad irritating. For what is Nisbet’s statement if not a reflection of his own values and priorities? Words like “pragmatic” and “realistic” give away the game.
THE TRUTH IS, there is every reason to suspect that both groups are driven by divergent emotions, passions, and personality dispositions—or at least, so says the body of research (admittedly, still in an early phase) that exists on the matter.
We live in an era in which politics seems less and less comprehensible without turning to psychology. In particular, there is a growing realization that today’s Democrats and Republicans simply don’t understand one another, and are trapped in a kind of unending political Mars and Venus saga due to their divergent personalities, psychologies, and emotionally rooted moral systems.
Yet anyone who has hung around the environmental movement long enough may have noticed an eerily similar version of this phenomenon in the divide between moderates and activists. And there are at least some researchers out there helping us to make sense of this divide.
First, let’s consider the personalities of so-called moderates: Research by Yale political scientist Alan Gerber and his colleagues suggests that people who score high on the personality trait “openness to experience” are not only more likely to lean liberal (a long-standing finding in political psychology) but, more surprisingly, are more likely to insist on remaining politically unaffiliated—in which case they tend to identify themselves as centrist, moderate, or independent.
It appears that openness to experience, beyond its literal meaning, signals a desire to stand out from the crowd. These people are not joiners, or team players. So it would not be out of character for them to criticize people on their side of the aisle in order to distinguish themselves from their presumed allies. In this camp, we might expect to see plenty of instinctive contrarians, like the pundits and journalists who enjoy declaring a pox on both houses.
So, are moderates like Nocera really more rational or reasonable than activists? Gerber’s results suggest that there may simply be a “moderate” personality for whom this contrarian hippie-punching instinct simply feels right.
Beyond the personality studies, there is a growing body of research on the deep-seated emotions that underlie our personal politics. Dubbed “moral foundations theory,” it consists largely of work done by New York University psychologist Jonathan Haidt, Jesse Graham of the University of Southern California, and their colleagues and collaborators. Their approach is to measure the five (sometimes six) moral “foundations” that seem to drive our responses. (They are: “care/harm,” “fairness/cheating,” “loyalty/betrayal,” “authority/subversion,” and “sanctity/degradation.”) In short, they have been able to demonstrate that people’s views on right and wrong, and the intensity with which we respond to moral and political situations, have more to do with our gut instincts than rational consideration of the facts before us; our moral “reasoning” is actually a form of post hoc rationalization.
What can moral-foundations theory tell us about the chasm between environmental moderates and activists? Ravi Iyer of USC, a collaborator of Haidt and Graham, agreed to run some data for me, based on a sample of 15,552 individuals who responded to the researchers’ moral-foundations questionnaire, as well as a separate questionnaire that included a question about environmental attitudes.
Click here to read Ravi Iyer’s explanation of the data.
The result was revealing: People who had professed that it is important to “protect the environment” not only tended to be liberal (no surprise), but they also exhibited a considerably higher sensitivity to moral considerations about “care/harm.” In other words, when they weighed the right and wrong of a given situation, these respondents were more concerned than their fellow citizens about “whether or not someone suffered emotionally” and “whether or not someone cared for someone weak or vulnerable.”
Iyer suggests that environmentalists’ care/harm considerations extend far beyond the immediate and the local—they also apply to distant peoples, animals, habitats, and future generations. (This finding is consistent with a recent study on the “moral roots” of environmentalism by Matthew Feinberg of Stanford and Robb Willer of the University of California-Berkeley.)
Iyer then ran a second analysis. He compared the moral responses of liberals who scored highest in their desire to protect the environment with those of liberals who scored lower, yet still said they cared about the environment. This analysis, a proxy for the differences between the environmental purists and moderates, turned up relatively small but still noteworthy differences. The purists, or activists, tended to be more sensitive to three of the five moral foundations: “care/harm,” “fairness/cheating,” and “sanctity/degradation.” This suggests that if you want to engage an environmentalist activist on an emotional level, you should try a moralizing narrative: A corporation with too much power (unfair) is causing devastating damage (care/harm), defiling (sanctity/degradation) the environment and jeopardizing the planet for future generations (care/harm). Sound familiar?
Environmental activists, who associate nature with purity, may be viscerally offended by perceived abuses of its sanctity.
Perhaps most revealing, though, was the center-vs.-left difference in the realm of “sanctity/degradation,” a moral sensibility associated with disgust that is usually much stronger on the political right than on the left. It is measured by asking people how much they factor in “whether or not someone violated standards of purity and decency” and “whether or not someone did something disgusting” when deciding what is moral or immoral. Iyer’s analysis suggests that environmental activists, more so than the moderates, associate the environment with purity and feel revulsion when it is defiled. This may leave them viscerally offended by perceived abuses of the sanctity of nature—and less willing to compromise on their ideals.
The moderates, who are less driven by pure “care/harm” concerns, may tend to be less emotional about preserving the environment in a pristine state, and are thus more willing to endorse trade-offs. “The more moderate you are, the less extreme you are in any of the moral foundational domains,” says Stanford’s Matthew Feinberg. “So you probably are more utilitarian or consequentialist in the way you perceive the world.”
Does this mean that moderates are more rational? Insofar as they are less moralistic, they have something of a claim. But it is offset by their tendency towards knee-jerk centrism, which can be just another reflex.
The bottom line is that the activists and moderates respond and feel differently when faced with the same moral and political situation. And both factions are likely biased by their initial, emotional responses. Thus, a moderate can be just as reactionary as an activist—especially if he or she never moves beyond that first instinct and simply splits the difference between the opposing sides in every situation.
LET US NOW return to the Keystone debate. If you’ll recall, the moderates’ instincts tell them that activists create backlash that interferes with the movement’s wider goals, whereas the activists believe their protests create space for, at minimum, the achievement of more moderate goals. So which side is correct?
To answer that question, we have to turn to a different body of research: the study of “radical flank effects” in social movements. Perhaps the most seminal work on the matter was Black Radicals and the Civil Rights Mainstream, 1954-1970, a book published in 1988 by Herbert Haines, a scholar at the State University of New York-Cortland. Haines argued, provocatively, that radical groups like the Black Panthers and individuals like Malcolm X actually helped make space for a series of moderate successes (led by Martin Luther King Jr.) that culminated in the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Haines called this a “positive radical flank effect” because it led to a beneficial outcome for civil rights. But he also raised the possibility of “negative radical flank effects”—indeed, a delayed civil rights backlash had kicked in by the early 1970s. But overall, he argued, the presence of the radicals and their growing prominence helped create favorable conditions for the moderates to push important legislation.
The radical flank concept now “has a lot of credibility among social-movement scholars,” says Riley Dunlap, a sociologist at Oklahoma State University who studies climate change (and the people who claim it isn’t real). The concept has since been applied to political movements and moments ranging from women’s rights to the New Deal.
Some of Haines’ observations sound entirely relevant to today’s environmental moment. For instance: “Radicals specialize in generating crises which elites must deal with”—Keystone anyone?—”while moderates specialize in offering relatively unthreatening avenues of escape.” In other words, it’s a symbiotic relationship: The moderates are more attractive for the power brokers to negotiate with, Haines writes, “but all the more so when more militant activists are applying pressure.”
The sad irony here is that the activists don’t get what they want. In the end, they merely get to help out the moderates. But that’s the nature of the positive radical flank effect.
For this article, I asked several sociologists and specialists on movements—Haines included—how one might apply the radical flank theory to the current environmental movement. Short answer: It’s tough without the benefit of hindsight. “It’s easy to do when you look over the course of history, but when it’s right in the moment, it’s really complex,” explains Jules Boykoff, a specialist on social movements at Pacific University in Oregon.
First, it is important to acknowledge, as Haines did, that the definition of “radical” hinges entirely on what society considers mainstream—and that’s a moving target. The tactics of radicals vary greatly, too—in this context, the peaceful anti-Keystone movement hardly counts as extreme.
But certain scholarly considerations may prove illuminating. For instance, one of the critical factors in determining whether a radical flank effect will be positive or negative is the way moderates and activists relate to one another. “How clearly are the moderates and radicals differentiating themselves?” asks Carleton College’s Devashree Gupta. This, as Gupta notes, shapes media coverage and the thinking of politicians and policymakers who may be calculating whether helping the moderates will ease the headaches the radicals create for them.
It is noteworthy that as the Keystone XL pipeline protests have heated up, environmental organizations have not differentiated themselves clearly. Indeed, the leaders of typically moderate groups such as the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council wrote a letter to President Obama in 2011 noting that “there is not an inch of daylight between our policy position on the Keystone Pipeline and those of the very civil protesters being arrested daily outside the White House.”
A second major consideration involves policy momentum. Here, the question is whether all sides agree that change is coming anyway. If so, a positive radical flank effect is more likely, as the status quo comes to envelop and embrace moderates (and spurn radicals). “For a positive effect to happen,” Haines explains, “what you kind of have to have is things moving in the right direction politically. So around environmentalism, it would have to be that policy is already moving in a pro-environmentalist direction, like civil rights was, and the radicals come along and give it a boost.”
Are things moving that way? That’s incredibly difficult to discern at the moment. Climate progress is clearly in congressional limbo. But culturally, you could say that there is indeed momentum as the public awakens to the reality of increasingly extreme weather, and even the Wall Street Journal is publishing op-eds supporting a carbon tax. There is also positive momentum in the sense that Obama clearly wants to do something for his environmental legacy, and there is still much he can do without cooperation from Congress.
Finally, any radical-flank analysis must consider the possibility of backlash. In a sense, that backlash has already happened, as the political right has taken up Keystone XL as a case study in environmentalists wanting to kill jobs. Haines cautions: “If you’ve got a radical flank and a very polarized environment, where there’s no real concept or impulse to compromise on the other side, then not only is more-militant stuff less likely to encourage progress, but it can become a weapon that the other side uses.”
In other words, the jury is still out on whether the Keystone protests will encourage positive action on climate—so it’s awfully premature to be calling the strategy “boneheaded.” Mobilizing thousands of people, drawing massive media attention, perhaps redefining environmentalism—these are all actions that, even if they do produce some backlash, will assuredly have myriad other effects that are difficult to foresee.
But the protesters might also take a gut check from this analysis: Their success is far from certain. And most galling, from the vantage point of history, their “success” may well be defined by their failure on the specific issue they care most about. It is not hard to imagine, for instance, an outcome that would be the very definition of a positive radical flank effect: Obama approves Keystone and simultaneously announces a number of initiatives long desired by centrist environmental organizations. Chief among them: new steps by the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.
The activists would be bitterly disappointed, of course, but progress would be real and tangible. In this context, would Van Jones be wrong in saying that “activism works”?
TO SUM THINGS UP, we’ve seen that there is likely a deep seated, emotional and dispositional reason why some people wind up as activists and others as moderates. Perhaps the rift between the Noceras and the McKibbens of the world will make more sense—and even, perhaps, be diminished—if we can all accept the fact that enviros on both sides of the Keystone protests are feeling their way to their opinions.
Second, the study of social movements suggests that both outcomes—progress and backlash—can occur simultaneously, and the activists might well win by losing (or, if you prefer, lose by winning). Given all of the complexities, calling the mobilization of thousands of people around climate action “boneheaded” is, well, just that.
In the final analysis, it’s hard not to admire what McKibben and his supporters have pulled off. We don’t yet know which way the radical flank effect will go, but until fairly recently, there wasn’t even a flank to discuss. “The reality is that we’ve had no radicals so far, until Bill McKibben,” says Oklahoma State’s Riley Dunlap. McKibben has thrown the switch, and now the gears are turning, to uncertain end.
As we wait for the outcome, there’s a lesson here for the moderates: Un-jerk those knees. For moderates’ actions matter, too, and their choices may have historic consequences. “Whether it’s a positive or negative flank effect, we decide that,” says Jules Boykoff. “If you diss somebody, dismiss them, use them for your short term gain, you might sacrifice that group on the altar of missing what you actually want to happen.”
If the “bright greens” want to be known for nuanced views, sophistication, and willingness to endorse complexity and tradeoffs, then let them begin with this simple acknowledgement: Determining the historical impact of a movement like this one is anything but simple.
Join us for a Climate Desk Live event focused on Keystone XL.
Watch Thursday’s event here:
On February 17, more than 40,000 people rallied in Washington to convince the president to reject the Keystone XL, a proposed 875-mile pipeline running from the Canadian border into Nebraska and slated to transport oil from tar sands (which is 17 percent more greenhouse gas intensive than standard crude oil). The crowds outside the White House provided overwhelming proof that opposing Keystone has mobilized a new and powerful grassroots constituency.
But in the US Senate, the mood was different. In a nonbinding vote, 62 Senators—including 17 pro-Keystone Democrats—voted to approve the pipeline. Just 37 Senators voted against it. In fact, the amendment was co-sponsored by four Democrats, including Max Baucus of Montana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.
So are activists’ efforts all in vain? What will happen to the environmental movement if President Obama ultimately lets Keystone go forward?
And more broadly: What does this say about the best strategy for fighting climate change? Does compromise, horse-trading, and winning industry allies ultimately work best—or do you have to push the limits of the possible? You’re invited to the next Climate Desk Live event—hosted by myself—for a debate and discussion between some of the leading voices on this issue:
May Boeve, executive director and co-founder, 350.org.
David Roberts, Grist magazine, who has been covering Keystone regularly and recently wrote about the “Virtues of Being Unreasonable on Keystone.”
Michael Levi, director of the program on Energy Security and Climate Change at the Council on Foreign Relations, and author of the new book The Power Surge: Energy, Opportunity, and the Battle For America’s Future (Oxford, May 2013), where he writes that combating climate change will require “doing deals [with those] who want to expand production of oil and gas.”
Michael Grunwald, senior national correspondent for Time magazine, author of The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era, who recently declared that on Keystone, “I’m with the Tree Huggers!”
|Join us for a Climate Desk Live event focused on the Keystone XL: Thursday, April 18, 2013, 6:30 p.m. at the University of California Washington Center, 1608 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036. To attend, please RSVP to email@example.com|
Damn the do-nothing Congress. The Navy is going full steam ahead on green energy.
Event live stream to start 02/27/13 around 9:30 a.m. EST:
Increasingly, the US Navy is leading the charge towards clean energy, which can in turn impact national security and even climate change. Through investments in biofuels, construction of a more energy-efficient fleet, forward thinking about issues like rising sea levels and a melting Arctic, and commitments to reduce consumption and reliance on foreign oil, the Navy is leading the charge of a vast energy reform effort to “change the way the US military sails, flies, marches, and thinks.”
Please join host Chris Mooney for the next installment of Climate Desk Live on Wednesday February 27 at 9:30a.m, where he’ll discuss the Navy’s charge towards energy independence with Dr. David W. Titley, retired naval officer who led the US Navy’s Task Force on Climate Change; Capt. James C. Goudreau, Director, Navy Energy Coordination Office; Dr. D. James Baker, Director of the Global Carbon Measurement Program of the William J. Clinton Foundation and Former Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under the Clinton Administration; and Julia Whitty, environmental correspondent for Mother Jones whose cover story on this topic appears in latest issue of the magazine.
Date: February 27, 2013, 9:30 a.m.
Location: University of California Washington Center, 1608 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. David W. Titley is a nationally known expert in the field of climate, the Arctic, and National Security. He served as a naval officer for 32 years and rose to the rank of Rear Admiral. Dr. Titley’s career included duties as Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy and Deputy Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance. While serving in the Pentagon, Dr. Titley initiated and led the US Navy’s Task Force on Climate Change. After retiring from the Navy, Dr. Titley served as the Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for Operations, the Chief Operating Officer position at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Dr. Titley has spoken across the country and throughout the world on the importance of climate change as it relates to National Security. He was invited to present on behalf of the Department of Defense at both Congressional Hearings and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meetings from 2009 to 2011.
About Captain James C. Goudreau:
Captain James C. Goudreau serves as the Director of the Navy Energy Coordination Office. His sea duty and overseas assignments include: Assistant Supply Officer onboard USS REASONER (FF 1063) and USS NIMITZ (CVN 68), Supply Officer, USS THE SULLIVANS (DDG 68) and Supply Officer, Joint Maritime Facility, St. Mawgan in Cornwall, United Kingdom. His most recent assignment was as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Logistics at Expeditionary Strike Group Seven and Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet Based in Okinawa, Japan. Captain Goudreau’s ashore tours include: Naval Air Station Key West, FL; Naval Inventory Control Point, Philadelphia, PA as the P-3 Weapons Team Lead and Director of Aviation Industrial Support; Fleet and Industrial Supply Center San Diego as Site Director, Fleet Readiness Center Southwest; and Commander, Defense Logistics Agency North Island. Captain Goudreau is a member of the Defense Acquisition Corps (formerly the Acquisition Professional Community) and is qualified as a Naval Aviation Supply Officer and as a Surface Warfare Supply Corps Officer. He has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Navy Commendation Medal (five awards), Navy Achievement Medal (two awards), and various campaign and unit awards.
About Dr. D. James Baker:
Dr. D. James Baker is currently the Director of the Global Carbon Measurement Program of the William J. Clinton Foundation, working with forestry programs in developing countries to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and alleviate poverty. He is also a science and management consultant with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO in Paris and the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment in Washington, D.C. He is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics, and is an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania and at the University of Delaware. He was a scientific advisor to former Vice President Al Gore on the Oscar-winning film An Inconvenient Truth and lectures regularly on sustainability, climate change, and oceanography. During the 1990s in the Clinton Administration, Baker was Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. Most recently, Baker was President and CEO of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. Before coming to NOAA, he was President of Joint Oceanographic Institutions Incorporated in Washington, D.C., the first Dean of the College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington; and taught and carried out research at Harvard University and the University of Rhode Island. He has led oceanographic expeditions to many parts of the world and shares a patent for a deep-sea pressure gauge. He has more than 100 scientific publications and is the author of the book Planet Earth: The View from Space, published by Harvard University Press. Baker co-founded and was the first President of The Oceanography Society; is a member of the American Philosophical Society; and has served as the B. Benjamin Zucker Environmental Fellow at Yale College. He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by Oceanology International in 2008 for his “contribution to oceanography and marine science” and the Vikram Sarabhai Medal by the Government of India in 1998 for his “outstanding contributions to space research in developing countries” and holds two honorary degrees.