Daily Archives: September 5, 2019

Heavy Weather: Balancing Joy and Despair

Climate One

Streamed live 115 minutes ago

Nearly half of all Americans are dealing with a new mental stressor: climate anxiety. How can the human brain reconcile the scary headlines with the need to make sure our most basic needs — food, water and shelter — are met? Can we simultaneously enjoy a beautiful day in nature and worry about the future of human civilization? Join us for a conversation about mindfulness in an age of unprecedented disruption with Mark Coleman, mindfulness meditation teacher and author of “Awake in the Wild: Mindfulness in Nature as a Path of Self-Discovery,” and Mica Estrada, associate professor at the UCSF School of Nursing.

Subnational Climate Change Policy in China


Subnational Climate Change Policy in China

At a time when there are considerable political challenges in some countries (such as my own!) for national governments to institute meaningful climate change policies, the potential role of sub-national policies becomes more important than otherwise. In other countries, sub-national climate policies may be a stepping stone to significant national efforts, as in China. Partly with this in mind, the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements (HPCA) conducted a research workshop in July of this year on “Sub-National Climate Change Policy in China.” Tsinghua University’s Institute of Energy, Environment, and Economy — directed by Professor Zhang Xiliang — hosted and co-sponsored the workshop, which was organized by my colleague at the Harvard Kennedy School, Dr. Robert Stowe. Twenty-seven experts from China, Europe, Canada, India, Australia, and the United States participated (see the photo below). In addition, a group of students observed the workshop, and the Environmental Defense Fund’s China Program hosted a dinner for workshop participants. The Harvard Global Institute provided major support for the project. Here is a link to the full agenda (in both Chinese and English).


Climate change is a global commons problem, and, as such, requires cooperation at the highest jurisdictional level — that is, international cooperation among national governments — if it is to be adequately addressed. Participation by national governments is key, and sub-national governments can also play important roles. Provinces and municipalities around the world have undertaken initiatives — sometimes working together across national boundaries — to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. These include jurisdictions in the largest-emitting countries — China, the United States, and India — as well as in the European Union.

The Workshop and its Analyses

Participants in the Beijing workshop examined how Chinese provinces and municipalities work with the central government to implement policy — and discussed challenges to such cooperation. They focused to a considerable degree on the implementation of China’s national carbon-pricing system, including approaches to integrating the seven pilot sub-national market-based systems into the new national scheme, scheduled to launch in 2020 (see “What Should We Make of China’s Announcement of a National CO2 Trading System?,” January 7, 2018). Participants also addressed sub-national dimensions of other policy approaches to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions in China.

As we have done with previous HPCA research and policy workshops, participants in the Beijing event are now writing briefs on topics related to their respective presentations. We will edit and compile these short papers in a volume to be released later this year. In the meantime, you can view the PowerPoint presentations from the Beijing workshop:

  • China’s National Emissions Trading Program (Zhang Xiliang)
  • Ten Drivers Behind Climate Policy Making in China (Qi Ye)
  • Creating Sub-National Climate Institutions in China (Michael Davidson)
  • Multi-Dimension Post-Assessment of China’s ETS Pilots (Qi Shaozhou)
  • Political Economy Framework for Climate Change Policy in China (Christine Wong)
  • Canadian Climate Change Policy (Katie Sullivan)
  • Sub-National Carbon-Pricing Policy in the USA (Robert Stavins)
  • Integration of China’s National ETS with Provincial/Municipal Pilots (Valerie Karplus)
  • Introduction of Beijing ETS (Mei Dewen)
  • Sub-National Implementation Pathways for the National Pricing System (Goerild Heggelund)
  • Assessing Regional Implementation Pathways of National ETS In China (Wu Libo)

The Larger Context

The Beijing workshop was part of a larger initiative of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, supported by the Harvard Global Institute, examining and comparing sub-national climate-change policies in China and India. We will conduct a similar workshop in New Delhi next year.

The Harvard Project has previously conducted three workshops addressing climate-change policy in — or related to — China:

  • “Bilateral Cooperation between China and the United States: Facilitating Progress on Climate-Change Policy,” June 2015. This was hosted by China’s National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation (NCSC). You can read more about this workshop here, and read the full workshop report here.
  • “The Design, Implementation, and Operation of China’s National Emissions Trading System,” December 2016. Our host was NCSC. The participants explored technical issues related to the design of China’s emerging national system, including allowance allocation, point of regulation, and price management.
  • “Cooperation in East Asia to Address Climate Change,” September 2017. This was hosted by the Harvard Center Shanghai, and supported by the Harvard Global Institute. You can read more about the workshop here, and read the complete volume of briefs based on the workshop here.

…(read more).

Why Hong Kong protesters say withdrawing extradition bill is ‘too little, too late’

PBS NewsHour

Published on Sep 4, 2019

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has announced the formal withdrawal of a bill that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be extradited to mainland China for trials. The proposal sparked months of large-scale demonstrations that sometimes turned violent. But as Nick Schifrin reports, protesters’ reactions were largely negative, with pro-democracy advocates saying it’s too little, too late.

Trump Shows Doctored Hurricane Map as Dorian Hits U.S. Coast After Ravaging Bahamas

Sep 05, 2019

After ravaging the Bahamas, Hurricane Dorian is continuing its path northward up the southeastern U.S. coast as a Category 3 storm. At least 73,000 people in Georgia and South Carolina were without power this morning. Officials in the Carolinas are warning of powerful storm surges and flooding, and North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper urged residents to follow any evacuation orders they receive.

The death toll in the Bahamas reached at least 20 people Wednesday as the nation now grapples with ongoing rescue efforts and the immense task of recovery after large swaths of the islands were left utterly decimated. Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said the unprecedented hurricane had caused “generational devastation.”

Meanwhile, President Trump doubled down on his false claim that Alabama would be hit by Hurricane Dorian. Over the weekend, Trump tweeted that Alabama would be hit, which was swiftly corrected by the National Weather Service. While speaking to reporters from the Oval Office Wednesday, Trump held up a map which appeared to show an altered projection of Dorian’s path to include Alabama. The hurricane’s path was extended with a black marker. Altering official government weather forecasts is illegal. The president and the White House refused to say who altered the map he showed.

Joe: Trump Will Pass But Residue Of His Lies Will Stick With GOP | Morning Joe | MSNBC


Published on Sep 5, 2019

The president used an apparently doctored National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration map in the Oval Office on Wednesday that showed Alabama as in the path of Hurricane Dorian. The panel discusses.

2020 Dem Candidates Talk Fracking, Green New Deal, Nuclear Energy & More at Climate Crisis Town Hall

Image Credit: CNN
Sep 05, 2019

Ten 2020 hopefuls took to the stage in New York City Wednesday night for a climate town hall hosted by CNN. In a seven-hour marathon, the candidates discussed their climate plans, the fossil fuel industry, the Green New Deal, fracking, carbon neutrality and more. Climate activists had been pushing for an official debate on the climate crisis, but the Democratic National Committee rejected the proposal. In one of the night’s most memorable moments, Joe Biden was asked about his plans to attend a fundraiser hosted by fossil fuel executive Andrew Goldman today despite signing the “No Fossil Fuel Money” pledge. This is Anderson Cooper and Biden.

Anderson Cooper: “There is a fundraiser tomorrow night. It’s given by a guy named Andrew Goldman. He does hedge funds and stuff, but he also has a company called Western LNG, and their biggest project, which I think was announced in like 2018, is a floating liquefied facility for natural gas. It’s off the coast of British Columbia, and it’s going to provide Canadian gas to parts of northern Asia. So, what Andrew is saying is, if you’re going to a fundraiser that’s given in part by this guy who has a company that is pulling up natural gas, are you the right guy to go after these people?”

Joe Biden: “Well, I didn’t realize he does that. I was told — if you look at the SEC filings, he’s not listed as one of those executives. That’s what we look at: the SEC filings, who are those executives.”

Later in the evening, Senator Elizabeth Warren was questioned by CNN anchor Chris Cuomo about whether, as president, she would mandate the type of light bulbs Americans use.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “This is exactly what the fossil fuel industry hopes we’re all talking about. That’s what they want us to talk about: This is your problem. They want to be able to stir up a lot of controversy around your light bulbs, around your straws and around your cheeseburgers, when 70% of the pollution, of the carbon that we’re throwing into the air, comes from three industries, and we can set our targets and say, by 2028, 2030 and 2035, no more.”

Those three industries are buildings, electric power and oil, Warren said. And Bernie Sanders pledged to reject nuclear energy and invest in wind, solar and geothermal instead. At the town hall, he took aim at military spending.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “Maybe, just maybe, instead of spending a trillion-and-a-half dollars every single year on weapons of destruction designed to kill each other, maybe we pool those resources and we work together against our common enemy, which is climate change.”

We’ll host a roundtable discussion about the climate town hall after headlines.

13,000 Homes Destroyed, At Least 7 Dead as Hurricane Dorian Devastates Bahamas

Sep 04, 2019

The Bahamas have been left utterly devastated after the Category 5 Hurricane Dorian ravaged the island nation. The death toll has gone up to at least seven people in the Bahamas as the island continues its rescue efforts. Dramatic images reveal the extent of the damage, with entire neighborhoods decimated by Dorian. On the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama, as many as 13,000 homes have been destroyed or heavily damaged. Some reports say 70 to 80% of the affected areas remain underwater, including the Grand Bahama International Airport. New York Congressmember Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez tweeted about the disaster, “This is what climate change looks like: it hits vulnerable communities first.” Residents of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas are now bracing for the storm as it heads toward the U.S. as a downgraded Category 2 storm. We’ll have more on Hurricane Dorian after headlines. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Fernand formed in the western Gulf of Mexico Tuesday and is expected to make landfall in northeastern Mexico today, bringing heavy rainfall and floods to the region.

Elizabeth Warren and Other 2020 Hopefuls Release Climate Change Plans

Sep 04, 2019

Senator Elizabeth Warren has unveiled her plan to tackle the climate crisis Tuesday, ahead of tonight’s 2020 CNN town hall on climate change. The plan adopts ideas put forward by Washington Governor Jay Inslee, who put the climate crisis at the center of his campaign before dropping out of the presidential race last month. The $3 trillion plan — which would be paid for by reversing Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthy — includes zeroing out carbon emissions for commercial and residential buildings, as well as most passenger vehicles, in the next decade, switching to renewable electricity by 2035, and creating unionized clean energy jobs. Senators Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris and former Housing Secretary Julián Castro have also released climate plans in recent days.

“Utter Devastation”: Bahamian residents stranded after widespread flooding destr oys homes

Democracy Now!

Published on Sep 4, 2019

Hurricane Dorian made landfall this Sunday leaving a path of “utter devastation” in its wake.The Category 5 hurricane destroyed as many as 13,000 homes on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama and left 70-80% of the affected areas almost completely underwater, including the Grand Bahama International Airport. The death toll is currently at 7 but is expected to rise as flash floods continue to hamper rescue attempts. “The toll of the hurricane is truly indescribable and unprecedented,” says historian and scholar Crystal deGregory. deGregory, who was visiting her family in the Bahamas when the tropical storm made landfall, described the widespread flooding across both inland and coastal areas as “mind boggling.” Sam Teicher, the founder and chief reef officer for Coral Vita, also joins us from Freeport in Grand Bahama to describe the conditions on the ground and the islands’ desperate need for supplies. Teicher says, “Bahamian people are really resilient and incredible, but they really need help from the outside world now.”

Sunrise Movement: Why environmental racism must be addressed in climate policy

Democracy Now!

Published on Sep 5, 2019

Mattias Lehman, digital director of the Sunrise Movement, reacts to last night’s historic climate town hall, where Democratic presidential candidates outlined their plans for combating the climate crisis. Lehman emphasizes that any climate proposal must take the issue of environmental racism seriously. “This is a reality for a lot of people of color, for a lot of poor people — they bear the brunt of the beginnings of what climate change is bringing,” says Lehman. “I think when we look at climate change, racial justice and environmental justice [have] to be at the forefront of everything we’re thinking about and doing because we can’t just abandon the Global South… This is a fight for the future of our species and the future of our planet, and we have to all be in here together.”