Author: Christian

The Climate Debate Is Already Getting Hotter

The Climate Debate Is Already Getting Hotter

Climate change is fueling extremism, raising tempers along with temperatures

Ahead of the Paris Agreement on climate change, UN Secretary-General António Guterres is holding a two-day conference in his native Portugal to tackle a range of climate problems and the impact of global warming on the world.

At the same time, the U.S. government’s Environmental Protection Agency is releasing a list of “red” list companies that may be at a greater risk than the green ones. The red list includes companies that have shown a “pattern of, or responsibility” for “manipulation and misdirection of energy markets and/or suppliers.” So in other words, the EPA is saying that any company that is making money by giving money to fossil fuel interests is bad news.

The climate talks in Paris are also generating a lot of heat, in a way that not so long ago would have been unthinkable, given all the hatred and vitriol between various parties. What is also remarkable is how quickly the climate debate has moved from the political sphere into social media, and that social media has become the center of the climate debate, much like the old-fashioned print debates. The debate, it is being argued, is fast moving to a new kind of political conversation, the kind that was happening before the internet.

Here in the States, meanwhile, an important and contentious question is already being answered. The question is what to do with all the new, and older, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, both from fossil fuels and from other human activities, such as agriculture. For instance, we are now burning more coal than ever before, but we are also growing more corn, a cereal crop that takes up about 20 percent of the world’s land. Given that coal is the biggest source of carbon dioxide, should we just switch to more corn? Or is it better to just burn more coal and send carbon dioxide into the atmosphere? Even if that’s the wrong approach, is the right approach to just stop all of the coal in the ground immediately?

On the one hand, the fossil fuel industry wants to take

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