Tag Archives: Climate Change

What is COP26? Here’s how global climate negotiations work and what’s expected from the Glasgow summit

U.N. climate summits bring together representatives of almost every country.
UNFCCC

Shelley Inglis, University of Dayton

Over two weeks in November, world leaders and national negotiators will meet in Scotland to discuss what to do about climate change. It’s a complex process that can be hard to make sense of from the outside, but it’s how international law and institutions help solve problems that no single country can fix on its own.

I worked for the United Nations for several years as a law and policy adviser and have been involved in international negotiations. Here’s what’s happening behind closed doors and why people are concerned that COP26 might not meet its goals. Continue reading

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‘Like It Never Happened’: Federal Judge Tosses Trump Attack on Clean Water Rule

Denying a Biden administration request to temporarily retain the rule, the judge reestablished “the careful balance of state and federal power to protect clean water that Congress intended when it wrote the Clean Water Act.”

By Brett Wilkins is staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10=22=2021

A salmon jumps as it swims upstream against a waterfall. (Photo: josullivan.59/Flickr/cc)

Environmental and Indigenous advocates on Friday cheered as a federal judge rejected a Biden administration request to temporarily keep in place a Trump-era Clean Water Act rule that one attorney said would have “devastated” states’ ability to manage their rivers.

On Thursday, Judge William H. Alsup of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco threw out a June 2020 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule changing the Clean Water Act Section 401 certification process to allow federal agencies to approve large projects—including fossil fuel pipelines, hydroelectric dams, industrial plants, wetland developments, and municipal facilities—against the wishes of states and Native American tribes. Continue reading

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Moving beyond America’s war on wildfire: 4 ways to avoid future megafires

Tools for a prescribed burn conducted in the Sierra Nevada in November 2019.
Susan Kocher, CC BY-ND

Susan Kocher, University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Ryan E. Tompkins, University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Californians have been concerned about wildfires for a long time, but the past two years have left many of them fearful and questioning whether any solutions to the fire crisis truly exist.

The Dixie Fire in the Sierra Nevada burned nearly 1 million acres in 2021, including almost the entire community of Greenville. Then strong winds near Lake Tahoe sent the Caldor Fire racing through the community of Grizzly Flats and to the edges of urban neighborhoods, forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people – including one of us. Those were only the biggest of the 2021 fires, and the risk isn’t over. A wind-blown fire that started Oct. 11 was spreading quickly near Santa Barbara on the Southern California coast. Continue reading

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‘Embarrassing’: US Absent as World Joins Together to Protect Biodiversity

“It reinforces the notion that the U.S. is a fair-weather partner when it comes to environmental conservation, including issues of climate change,” said one critic.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10-15-2021

Monarch butterfly on swamp milkweed in Michigan. Photo by Jim Hudgins/USFWS

As the United Nations Biodiversity Conference wrapped up Friday, critics are once again pointing to the glaring absence of the United States from negotiations to strengthen an international treaty to restore and protect the variety of life on Earth that has been ratified by every country except the U.S.

The U.S. did send a team to this week’s meeting, which was hosted by China and attended in-person and virtually because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic—a crisis that has highlighted the need to reform humanity’s relationship with nature. Continue reading

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‘We’re Not Stopping’: Weeklong D.C. Climate Protests End With 650+ Arrests, Vows to Fight On

“There is no other planet to escape to. Water is life… They need to listen to the youth. They need to hear us speak our cries.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10-15-2021

Indigenous & frontline youth led march to the Capitol. Photo: Movement Rights/Twitter

Earth protectors and climate campaigners from across the continent Indigenous peoples call Turtle Island vowed to keep up the fight as they marched on Friday, the final day of action in the “People vs. Fossil Fuels Mobilization,” a weeklong series of protests in Washington, D.C. in which over 600 demonstrators were arrested as they demanded that President Joe Biden and Congress act in the face of a planetary emergency.

More than 90 people were arrested Friday as Indigenous-led activists peacefully marched on the U.S. Capitol under banners with slogans including “we did not vote for fossil fuels” and “Biden, real solutions, no bullshit,” while protesters called on Biden to declare a climate emergency. The Build Back Fossil Free coalition, which organized the mobilization, said Friday’s arrests brought the week’s total to 655. Continue reading

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155 More Arrested for ‘People Vs. Fossil Fuels’ Protest at White House

“We’re coming every day of this week to tell Biden: Stop this madness.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-12-2021

Throughout the week, Indigenous leaders and climate activists are leading protests outside the White House to demand that President Joe Biden stop fossil fuel projects and declare a climate emergency. Photo: Patrick Young/Twitter

At least 155 more protesters were arrested outside the White House Tuesday as part of a weeklong action pressuring President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency and end all new fossil fuel projects.

Guided by the theme “fossil fuels are driving the climate crisis,” the latest demonstration followed over 100 arrests on Monday, when protesters marked Indigenous Peoples’ Day and drew attention to polluting operations including Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands project and the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). Continue reading

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A Quarter of All ‘Critical’ US Infrastructure at Risk From Flooding: Report

“Our nation’s infrastructure is not built to a standard that protects against the level of flood risk we face today, let alone how those risks will grow over the next 30 years as the climate changes,” said one expert.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10-11-2021

Long Island Expressway in New York City shut down due to flash flooding from Post-Tropical Storm Ida’s landfall. Photo: Tommy Gao/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Underscoring the need to slash greenhouse gas emissions and invest in public goods to better prepare communities across the United States for escalating extreme weather, a new report released Monday finds that one-quarter of the nation’s “critical” infrastructure is already susceptible to flooding that renders it inaccessible, with risks projected to increase in the coming decades.

Described as the first-ever nationwide evaluation of community-level vulnerability to flooding, the report—Infrastructure on the Brink, compiled by the First Street Foundation, a nonprofit research group that specializes in environmental risk assessment—highlights localities where housing, commercial real estate, transportation networks, schools, hospitals, power plants, and other pieces of infrastructure face operational flood risk in 2021. Continue reading

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Over 70,000 March in Brussels to Demand Green New Deal, Urgent Climate Action

“What do we do when we destroy the planet?” asked one demonstrator. “We have nothing else.”

By Common Dreams.  Published 10-10-2021

An estimated 70,000 or more protesters took part in a demonstration against climate change in Brussels, on October 10, 2021, ahead of the COP26 climate summit. Photo: European Youth Forum/Twitter

Tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of Brussels on Sunday to demand Belgium’s elected leaders and others from around the world finally dispense with proclamations, broken promises, and half-measures and instead “act” on the climate emergency.

With the U.N. climate conference (COP26) set for next month in Glasgow, the estimated 70,000 or more people who took part in the march offered a dramatic show of force for the nation’s climate movement. Continue reading

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As CBO Shows How to Cut $1 Trillion From Pentagon, Progressives Urge Spending on ‘True Security’

“Saving a trillion dollars that could be devoted to preventing pandemics, addressing climate change, or reducing racial and economic injustice is no small matter.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-7-2021

Progressive foreign policy experts say a new Congressional Budget Office report offering three options for slashing Pentagon spending by $1 trillion over the next decade underscores the imperative to invest in programs of social uplift and climate action. Photo: Peg Hunter/flickr/CC

Progressive foreign policy experts on Thursday pointed to a new Congressional Budget Office report that concludes it is possible to slash a trillion dollars in military spending over the coming decade without reducing force effectiveness as further proof that the United States can and should prioritize investments in tackling pandemics, inequality, and the climate crisis.

“The U.S. military budget is now higher than it was at the peak of the Vietnam War, the Korean War, or the Cold War,” said Lindsay Koshgarian, program director of the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). “This report shows that there are viable options for immediate, substantial reductions to the Pentagon budget.” Continue reading

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As heat waves intensify, tens of thousands of US classrooms will be too hot for students to learn in

Climate change means more schools will need to install or upgrade cooling systems.
Bill Uhrich/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Paul Chinowsky, University of Colorado Boulder

Rising temperatures due to climate change are causing more than just uncomfortably hot days across the United States. These high temperatures are placing serious stress on critical infrastructure such as water supplies, airports, roads and bridges.

One category of critical infrastructure being severely affected is the nation’s K-12 schools.

Ideally, the nation’s more than 90,000 public K-12 schools, which serve over 50 million students, should protect children from the sometimes dangerous elements of the outdoors such as severe storms or extreme temperatures. Continue reading

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