When Pope Francis thinks of climate change, he thinks of social justice. In his 2013 inaugural homily as pope, Francis implored “all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political, and social life” to “be ‘protectors’ of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.” Speaking at an Italian university a year later, Francis announced, “This is our sin, exploiting the Earth and not allowing her to give us what she has within her.” In 2015, Vatican-watchers expect Francis to produce an encyclical that situates climate change within the framework of Catholic social teaching. Francis’s position on the injustices of climate change is not new to the Roman Catholic Church.
Last night, Congress came within a single senator's vote of passing legislation to authorize a major crude oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico that would pump more than 830,000 barrels of high-polluting tar sands oil a day and carry and emit 51 coal plants worth of CO2 (pdf)—despite the fact that U.S. oil demand is falling and, you know, the planet is burning up—in exchange for 35 whole permanent jobs. I'm sorry, I buried the lede: what I meant to say is that the runoff Senate race in Louisiana hasn't happened yet.
In New York, 400,000 people marched to demand action on climate change. Thousands of us were there at least partly because of our faith.
Climate change will bring a laundry list of catastrophes to Africa. Across the continent, people are trying to adapt to the changing weather.
Joe Nocera thinks that everyone protesting the Keystone pipeline is pretty silly. He makes a series of weak arguments, and I'll direct you to others to explain why the pipeline isn't about a U.S. geopolitical advantage, why the environmental cost of tar sands oil extraction isn't small just because Nocera says so, why activism is more important than wonky incrementalism, and why a carbon tax wouldn't make tar sands extraction more viable. I'm more interested in Nocera's overall point: that we need to reduce demand for fossil fuels, not supply.
Why does antiscience sentiment gain such traction in America? Conservatives deserve some blame, but so does the scientific community.
As generations of coaches have delighted in pointing out, defense wins games. But we’re very far behind in the global warming game.
Earlier this year, the Century published a piece by an environmental scientist on just how radical the current shift in CO2 levels are—from the perspective of 50 million years. As I was working with that scientist, Lee Vierling, on the piece, we struggled to find a language that he and I and readers of the Century could share. He wanted something that was fluid and scientifically absolutely accurate. He also wanted to be certain that he was not using scare tactics.
The presidential campaign has been an exhausting marathon. Yet it's hardly touched on some major issues facing the nation.
Long ago, another atmospheric shift took place. It shows how different the earth's environments have been—and how different they may become.