Today's Liberal News

Robinson Meyer

Honestly? The Link Between Climate Change and Hurricanes Is Complicated

Hurricane Ian is one of the most destructive hurricanes ever to hit Florida. A day after the storm made landfall, hundreds of people have been rescued and, as of this morning, millions were without power. President Joe Biden has indicated that early reports suggest “substantial loss of life,” but no firm numbers have been confirmed. With such a catastrophic storm coming after the string of disasters this summer, some commentators have tried to link Hurricane Ian to climate change.

A Very California Lesson on Just How Weird Electricity Is

Last week, Americans had a rare view into what the future might look like. It came from California, as usual, but it was not courtesy of Apple’s annual keynote, or indeed of any technology company. It came from the state’s electricity grid.Wait—wait! Don’t click away yet. Electricity is, I hasten to add, extremely interesting. It is the energy source of the future.

Biden’s Climate Law Is Ending 40 Years of Hands-off Government

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law. It is no exaggeration to say that his signature immediately severed the history of climate change in America into two eras. Before the IRA, climate campaigners spent decades trying and failing to get a climate bill through the Senate. After it, the federal government will spend $374 billion on clean energy and climate resilience over the next 10 years.

Not Even a Single Republican Voted for the Climate Bill

The Inflation Reduction Act, passed by the House of Representatives today, is about to become the first comprehensive climate legislation in U.S. history. Compared with Congress’s desultory approach to the issue in the past, the numbers are striking: The legislation will spend roughly $374 billion on decarbonization and climate resilience over the next 10 years, getting us two-thirds of the way to America’s Paris Agreement goals.

Not Even a Single Republican Voted for the Climate Bill

The Inflation Reduction Act, passed by the House of Representatives today, is about to become the first comprehensive climate legislation in U.S. history. Compared with Congress’s desultory approach to the issue in the past, the numbers are striking: The legislation will spend roughly $374 billion on decarbonization and climate resilience over the next 10 years, getting us two-thirds of the way to America’s Paris Agreement goals.

History’s Greatest Obstacle to Climate Progress Has Finally Fallen

Updated at 5:19 p.m. on August 7, 2022
Climate change was born as a modern political issue in the United States Senate. On a hot June day in 1988, a senior NASA scientist warned a Senate committee that global warming, which was previously mooted only as a hypothesis, was not only real but already under way. “It is time to stop waffling so much and say that the evidence is pretty strong that the greenhouse effect is here,” James Hansen said.An auspicious start, and an ironic one.

The Climate Bill Would Change the Course of the 2020s

First we got the bill. Now we have the numbers.
The Inflation Reduction Act, the surprise deal that Senator Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer struck last week, would significantly reduce greenhouse-gas pollution from the American economy. If passed, the bill would cut annual emissions by as much as 44 percent by the end of this decade, according to a new set of analyses from three independent research firms.

Joe Manchin’s Fickleness Is a Needless Catastrophe

For its many flaws, the world of cryptocurrency has bequeathed to the English language a vivid new verb: rug-pulling. As its idiom-derived name suggests, rug-pulling is when a crypto developer hypes up a new coin or new project, gets ordinary people to invest in it, and then—all at once—shuts it down in such a way that they take all of their investors’ cash with them.

Joe Manchin’s Fickleness Is a Needless Catastrophe

For its many flaws, the world of cryptocurrency has bequeathed to the English language a vivid new verb: rug-pulling. As its idiom-derived name suggests, rug-pulling is when a crypto developer hypes up a new coin or new project, gets ordinary people to invest in it, and then—all at once—shuts it down in such a way that they take all of their investors’ cash with them.

The Supreme Court’s EPA Ruling Is Going to Be Very, Very Expensive

Today’s major environmental ruling from the Supreme Court, West Virginia v. EPA, is probably most notable for what it did not do.It did not say that the Environmental Protection Agency is prohibited from regulating heat-trapping carbon pollution from America’s existing power plants.It also did not strip the EPA of its ability to regulate climate pollution at all.

A Hotter, Poorer, and Less Free America

For the past 18 months, Senate Democrats have been trying to find a climate deal acceptable to all 50 of their members. The main obstacles, so far, have been Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the owner of a coal-trading company, who wants any deal to reduce the federal budget deficit, and Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who refuses to increase tax rates, the easiest way to satisfy Manchin’s deficit-reduction goal.

Biden’s Climate Goals Rest on a 71-Year-Old Defense Law

Sign up for The Weekly Planet, Robinson Meyer’s newsletter about living through climate change, here.A legal relic dating back to the Korean War has become one of the White House’s most important tools to pursue its climate goals.On Monday, the White House announced that it was invoking the Defense Production Act to boost manufacturing of certain technologies that will be essential for decarbonization, such as solar panels, heat pumps, and transformers for the electrical grid.

We’ve Never Seen a Carbon-Removal Plan Like This Before

Updated at 3:45 p.m. on April 13, 2022.The world’s biggest tech companies are getting serious about carbon removal, the still-nascent technology wherein humanity can pull heat-trapping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Yesterday, an alliance of prominent Silicon Valley companies—including Google, Meta, Shopify, and the payment company Stripe—announced that it is purchasing $925 million in carbon removal over the next eight years.

The Left’s Climate Playbook Is Already Outdated

In the United States, the philosophy behind many of the most important progressive climate proposals of the past few years—such as the Green New Deal and Joe Biden’s climate plan—was premised on three ideas. Each was rooted in a diagnosis of the 2010s economy—and each, unfortunately, is looking more and more out of date.First, each plan almost universally assumed that the American economy remained bruised from the Great Recession.

America’s Energy Security Is Falling Apart

For the past few decades, whenever a geopolitical crisis or market tumult has led to higher oil prices, policy makers in the United States have generally followed the same playbook.First, they try to get more oil on the market as soon as they can. That almost invariably has meant asking Saudi Arabia, which geology has blessed with the world’s most agile oil reserves and which the U.S. has blessed with several billion dollars in weapons, to pump and sell more petroleum.

On Top of Everything Else, Nuclear War Would Be a Climate Problem

When we talk about what causes climate change, we usually talk about oil and gas, coal and cars, and—just generally—energy policy. There’s a good reason for this. Burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide, which enters the atmosphere, warms the climate, and … you know the drill. The more fossil fuels you burn, the worse climate change gets.

America Is the World’s Largest Oil Producer. So Why Is Losing Russia’s Oil Such a Big Deal?

In December, in a ballet of global logistics, more than 30 tankers ferrying liquid natural gas from the United States to various destinations around the globe—Japan, Brazil, South Africa—canceled their trips and set a new course for the European Union. On the days they pulled into port, the U.S. supplied more natural gas to Europe than Russia did.This represented more than a minor milestone in global energy history. As recently as the mid-2000s, energy companies fretted that the U.S.

The Simplest Way to Sell More Electric Cars in America

Updated at 5:20 p.m. ET on January 21, 2022 The Rivian R1T, the $75,000 debut pickup from America’s new electric-truck maker, is unlike any vehicle I have ever driven.It is, first, really big: 18 feet long and six feet tall, it weighs three and a half tons, heavier than a white rhinoceros or a tricked-out Ford F-150. But this girth is belied by everything else about it. The R1T has an aesthetic unity missing from every mass-market automobile on the road, Teslas included.

We’re Heading Toward a Very American Climate Tragedy

I try to avoid despair when writing about climate change. Having covered the topic for five years, I’ve learned that a game of telephone shapes what eventually enters circulation. Case in point: Last week, scientists presented satellite data showing that a floating piece of ice off the coast of Antarctica was beginning to splinter. That is concerning and surprising, but not catastrophic.

Climate Advocates Are Gambling With Fate

Over the past few years, climate advocates have gained two atypical allies. For the cosmopolitan progressives who normally dominate environmental policy making, these two new groups are somewhat embarrassing to rub shoulders with, which is why discussion of the two shifts has been rejected or muted. But they signal that a new era has begun in climate politics—one that advocates have long wished for, but also one that they may now rue.

Climate Hype Might Be the Ticket to Decarbonization

The 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the third meeting of the parties under the Paris Agreement, is not going to save the world.You would not know it from the headlines. The rhetoric of climate journalism can sometimes swell with catastrophic overtones, but accounts of COP26, which will come to a close today in Glasgow, Scotland, have reached a new level of engorgement.

Biden’s New Climate Framework Is Maybe, Barely Enough

It has to pass, it has to pass, it has to pass. It has to pass! It has to pass. It has to pass. IT HAS TO PASS. Pass, it must. It. Has. To. Pass. Nothing happens if it doesn’t pass! 𝓘𝓽 𝓱𝓪𝓼 𝓽𝓸 𝓹𝓪𝓼𝓼. Senator Joe Manchin has to vote for it; Senator Kyrsten Sinema has to vote for it; all the Senate Democrats have to vote for it.

Democrats Might Give Up on a Methane Tax, and Maybe That’s Okay

Yet another climate provision may be out of the Democrats’ signature spending bill. On Monday, The New York Times and Reuters reported that Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, one of two pivotal Democratic votes, wants to remove the bill’s tax on methane leaks from oil and gas operations. (A spokesperson for Senator Tom Carper, a Democrat from Delaware whose committee oversees that proposal, denied the reports on Twitter.

Biden Cannot Declare Victory on Climate Without One of These Policies

In the past few years, a historic shift has occurred in American public opinion: For the first time ever, and across a variety of polling outlets, a majority of Americans say that they want to see the government take serious action on climate change. This shift has accompanied an eruption of climate-related disasters. Wildfires now paralyze the West Coast. Heat waves have killed elderly people in their homes.

Deforestation Is a Crime

The world doesn’t agree on many things, but one of them is that global deforestation is a problem. If deforestation were a country, it would be the world’s third-largest source of climate-warming pollution, after the United States and China. (It would also be a terrible place to live—bulldozers everywhere and no shade to speak of.) Parts of the Amazon now emit more carbon pollution than they capture because of deforestation, a recent study found.

Rivian Wants to Be the Apple of Electric Pickup Trucks

This is an excerpt from The Atlantic’s climate newsletter, The Weekly Planet. Subscribe today.Many fights about climate policy have been raging, basically unbroken, for the past 40 years. But something that sets this moment apart is that a subset of people who care about climate change, and who have founded companies to fight it, is becoming extremely wealthy.On Friday, the electric-car start-up Rivian filed for its initial public offering.

Big Business Is Bankrolling an Effort to Kill the Democratic Climate Bill

Four years ago, when President Donald Trump announced that he would take the United States out of the Paris Agreement, the world’s largest companies leapt into action.Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, personally beseeched Trump to remain in the pact. Bob Iger, Disney’s chief executive, resigned from a White House advisory council in protest. Goldman Sachs’s CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, sent his first-ever tweet just to denounce the exit. Within days, hundreds of U.S.

Electric Cars Have Hit an Inflection Point

This is an excerpt from The Atlantic’s climate newsletter, The Weekly Planet. Subscribe today.One theme of this newsletter is that the world’s physical infrastructure will have to massively change if we want to decarbonize the economy by 2050, which the United Nations has said is necessary to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis.

Democrats May Be on the Verge of Climate Disaster

This is an excerpt from The Atlantic’s climate newsletter, The Weekly Planet. Subscribe today.I’m starting to become concerned about President Joe Biden’s ability to pass a climate bill. They’re speaking sotto voce, but still: In the past few days, Democrats on the party’s left and right flanks have started to hint that, well, in some circumstances, given some contingencies, they might prefer no bill to a negotiated compromise with the rival flank.