• Latest in the National Dialogue

    • Could Hurricane Patricia be a harbinger of storms in a warming climate?
      Daniel Cohan

      Could Hurricane Patricia be a harbinger of storms in a warming climate?

      Hurricane Patricia drew immediate attention by intensifying from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane in a single day. It soon developed the fastest winds ever recorded in a western hemisphere storm. Meteorologists and climate scientists have already begun their scientific investigations of how a cyclical El Niño and ongoing greenhouse warming intensified this remarkable storm. Dr. Daniel Cohan Yet even before Patricia completed its soaking path through Mexico and the United States, a new meme emerged among some who deny the urgency of climate change: if Patricia was so strong, they said, why did it cause so little death and destruction? Why are we not seeing the jaw-dropping images that accompanied more destructive hurricanes... Continue Reading...

    • Climate Change and Hurricane Katrina: What Have We Learned?
      Kerry Emanuel

      Climate Change and Hurricane Katrina: What Have We Learned?

      Three weeks and three days before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans 10 years ago, a paper of mine appeared in the scientific journal Nature showing that North Atlantic hurricane power was strongly correlated with the temperature of the tropical Atlantic during hurricane season, and that both had been increasing rapidly over the previous 30 years or so. It attributed these increases to a combination of natural climate oscillations and to global warming. Author: Kerry Emanuel Had Katrina not occurred, this paper and another by an independent team would merely have contributed to the slowly accumulating literature on the relationship between climate and hurricanes. Instead, the two papers inspired a media firestorm, polarizing popular opinion and, to... Continue Reading...

    • Has the Clean Power Plan Abandoned Energy Efficiency?
      Josiah Neeley

      Has the Clean Power Plan Abandoned Energy Efficiency?

      The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday released the final version of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which mandates a 32 percent reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions from the U.S. power sector by 2030. The final rule is broadly similar to the original proposal from June 2014. However, there are some key differences. Among the most striking is the EPA's retreat from using energy efficiency in calculating its reduction targets. Source: NationalHeatingandAC.com. Republished under fair use.   Let's unpack this a little. The EPA set its reduction targets based on a process known as the Best System of Emissions Reduction (BSER). In layman's terms, the EPA looked at the different ways you feasibly could reduce emissions, and combined... Continue Reading...

    • Why Scientists are Calling for Nuclear Power to Save Biodiversity
      Suzanne Waldman

      Why Scientists are Calling for Nuclear Power to Save Biodiversity

      The idea we might need nuclear power to save biodiversity from the effects of climate change is one that could not have been foreseen thirty years ago, at the height of the anti-nuclear movement. But it’s an idea that more and more scientists of all stripes as well as energy experts and even environmentalists are coming to share. "Rainforests of the Sea" by NOAA's National Ocean Service Photostream via Flickr.   Last year, 75 biodiversity scientists published an open letter imploring policy-makers to rethink “idealistic” opposition to nuclear energy, given the threats to global ecosystems set in motion by climate change.  The scientists said despite “idealistic perceptions of what is ‘green,’”nuclear power was likely to be... Continue Reading...

    • Two Conservatives Debate Solutions on Climate Change
      Michael Quirke

      Two Conservatives Debate Solutions on Climate Change

      Below is an excerpt from a CCNF debate between Bob Inglis — former Republican Representative (SC, '93-'99, '05-'11) and current Executive Director of the Energy and Enterprise Initiative ("E&EI"), and Sam Thernstrom —Executive Director of the Energy Innovation Reform Project, Senior Fellow at the Center for the National Interest, and former Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. The virtual debate, titled "Conservative Policy Ideas on Climate Change," was held at Earth Day Texas in Dallas. The transcript below was minimally edited for brevity and readability.   Michael Quirke: Mr. Inglis, I’ll start with you, what can or should be done about climate change as nation? Bob Inglis: Basically, what we have here is a problem of economics because of environmental consequence, and so the opportunity at hand is... Continue Reading...

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