Can we have capitalism and a stable environment? Is capital at war with the planet? Which is the problem- consumers or corporations? These are big questions, so we look to recent article by Klein and Monbiot to help us figure out what to think. She writes “In short, climate change detonates the ideological scaffolding on which contemporary conservatism rests. To admit that the climate crisis is real is to admit the end of their political and economic project. That’s why the right is in rebellion against the physical world.“ He write “Even the social democratic (Keynesian) kind (of capitalism) depends on perpetual growth on a finite planet: a formula for eventual collapse.” Listen in.

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This episode focuses on the economic impact of repeated hurricanes, the need for a new rating system for these climate-assisted “unnatural disasters,” and the new head of NASA who claims that climate change ended ten years ago.

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We discuss the connection of DACA to climate change. Dreamers have helped, and died doing so, in Houston even as it’s undocumented hide in shattered homes for fear of ICE agents. These events are a dress rehearsal for a warming world with increasing numbers of refugees. Climate Hawk recognized the link to all the progressive issues of our time. It’s the shared vision of a better world, and the need to support each other’s efforts. Listen in!

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For part two of our Hurricane Harvey coverage, we explore the aftermath and future of this and other “climate-assisted catastrophes.” We probe how Boston would fare in the face of a similar hurricane, and how the country as a whole could function if catastrophes like Hurricane Harvey occurred regularly.

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Of course, our focus is on Houston, Texas and the devastation incurred from Hurricane Harvey. Due to the enormity of the event, we will cover this topic in two podcast sessions—this week we focus on the human scale of the suffering, what you can do to help, the climate change assist given to this storm, and the implications of what is happening. We state, unequivocally, that Hurricane Harvey and its destructive nature is the sort of extreme weather event that climate scientists have warned about for decades. It is important to recognize the human scale of the suffering, but at the same time, we need to speak frankly about the underlying causes and the implications of what is happening. What we see unfolding in front of us is a climate event, and we need to make that point in real time. Eric Holthaus wrote an article for Politico “This is What Climate Change Looks Like.” Around the same time that Eric Holthaus published this article, David Leonhardt of the New York Times also published an article titled “Harvey, the Storm that Humans Helped Cause,” in which he explained the physics of why this happened—warmer weather causes heavier rainfall and the oceans are warmer due to ocean acidification traced to carbon pollution; therefore we have this deluge. We think it is a profound moral tragedy that both Politico and the New York Times are two publications that ran these great reports but also have had a history of running denialist screeds, in fact, the New York Times gave us Bret Stephens who pretends that this sort of stuff is not real. It is very, very real and profoundly deadly. One of the things we need to be clear on at the beginning is the connections between this storm and climate change.

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Bill McKibben makes a clear declaration in his new article on how we can get to a sustainable future:
It’s the call for the rapid conversion of energy systems around the country to 100 percent renewable power—a call for running the United States (and the world) on sun, wind and water. What Medicare for All is to the healthcare debate, or Fight for $15 is to the battle against inequality, 100% Renewable is to the struggle for the planet’s future. It’s how progressives will think about energy going forward—and though it started in northern Europe and Northern California, it’s a call that’s gaining traction outside the obvious green enclaves.
Listen in as we discuss!

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It seemed that fact was stranger than fiction in our discussion. We covered the climate implications of the solar eclipse, Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes’ new paper about ExxonMobil’s climate change communications, and Game of Throne’s “CliFi” subtext.

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We investigate Baker’s true climate motives, which are heroic in comparison to the clandestine efforts to sabotage the EPA that Scott Pruitt is undertaking. We salute a conservative Texas Mayor whose city runs on renewables. Tune in for those details.

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Our current administration has been plagued by leaks; this past week there was a leak equivalent to the size of the runoff stream in the Greenland glacier. The New York Times made the unofficial release of the latest National Climate Assessment Report. As a bit of background, this is a series of reports that were congressionally mandated. It was the 1990 Global Change Research Act, which George H. W. Bush signed into law in November of 1990, back when Congress cared, and we had a president that was willing to acknowledge the issue of climate change. Every four years, thirteen government agencies have to prepare a comprehensive report on the impacts that climate change will have on the United States. This particular “leaked” report was originally posted on one of the internet archive sites, and the NYT later published a draft of this report. According to the NYT, the average temperature of the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since the 1980s. Recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1500 years, and there is no evidence that this is caused by anything other than the burning of fossil fuels. This will have a significant impact on the United States. The Boston Globe reports that it will have a very critical impact on the Northeast in particular and now there is a sort of “countdown” because the officials have to sign off on the report by August 18th. Reports such as this have been suppressed, most notably by the George W. Bush administration. David Roberts from Vox wrote that the “report’s conclusion is about as certain as anything gets in the physical sciences.” Roberts went on to say, “But this report is not going make Trump or the GOP do anything.”

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Here in Massachusetts we consider ourselves leaders in the climate change movement. Notable among our many efforts on clean energy is the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), started in 2008. One of the items in the GWSA is a mandate to get to a certain amount of clean energy by the year 2020. As part of that effort to get to the mandated amount of clean energy that we use in MA, an idea has come up to burn biomass—essentially wood—and put it into the “clean energy” category. According to an article in the Boston Globe, the Baker Administration is considering designating biomass for renewable energy and making biomass eligible for clean energy incentives, which is very controversial as you might imagine. The Baker Administration is saying that biomass is part of the so-called “combo platter” of energy that the state needs to rely on and that over time it should not increase carbon emissions. Climate hawks protest because burning biomass will create more pollution in the form of soot and also reduce the trees that are needed to absorb carbon dioxide. As D.R. says, looking at it from a 35,000 foot perspective, branding biomass to be renewable energy as though it is the equivalent of wind and solar reminds him of the famous Reagan initiative to brand ketchup as a vegetable. This is an opportunity to play semantics with what is considered “renewable” and “clean energy.”

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