December 21, 2013 |
Tom Steyer is standing upright near the corner of a small, beige meeting room at Georgetown University, arms at his sides, eyes shut intently. Half a dozen ministers and priests surround him, laying hands on his torso. Together, the pastors begin to pray, asking for divine help in shaping public opinion: "Soften them.... Open them to you … for your purpose.... Claim the promise made to Moses. " It is a curious warmup for a technical conference about an oil pipeline. But like many other environmentalists concerned that America is dawdling as the world burns, these ministers, each a leader in efforts to mobilize churchgoers against climate change, see Steyer as, quite literally, a godsend.
December 7, 2013
Re "Studies raise urgent climate alarms," Dec. 4 It's senseless to argue that burning fossil fuels isn't driving the rise of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to levels that scientific core samples show have not been seen in millions of years. Clearly the Earth's internal system of environmental balances can be pushed out of whack by human actions. Foolish farming practices caused the Dust Bowl, and it didn't take centuries. I hope we are not past the global warming tipping point.
November 2, 2013
Re "Governor signs emissions pact with neighbors," Oct. 29 Gov. Jerry Brown is right to seek new ways to address climate change, but he's sabotaging his own efforts by greenlighting fracking for dirty oil in our state. The governor's support for fracking is out of step with both climate science and the electorate here, where a poll this summer found that 58% of Californians want a moratorium on the practice. To have a decent chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change, we have to leave most fossil fuels buried safely in the ground, as noted by the recently released report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
October 25, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - A new study has detected air pollutants, including carcinogens, in areas downwind of Canada's main fossil fuel hub in Alberta at levels rivaling those of major metropolises such as Beijing and Mexico City. The study by researchers from UC Irvine and the University of Michigan also found a high incidence of blood cancers such as leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma among men in the area, compared with the rest of Alberta and Canada. "When you get cancers that can be caused by the carcinogens we are seeing, that is reason for concern," said Isobel J. Simpson, a lead author of the study and a researcher at UC Irvine's chemistry department.
August 30, 2013
Re "For students, fossil fuels become an issue of conscience," Aug. 26 Congratulations to the students of San Francisco State University who persuaded the trustees of their college to divest from fossil fuel companies. However, this article has an egregious omission: the carbon bubble. This bubble will likely pop and fossil fuel stocks will crash in the next decade or so if we are to preserve the planet for future generations. According to the climate change activist group 350.org, the planet cannot handle more than 565 gigatons of carbon emissions before 2050.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 25, 2013 |
In the 1980s, student protests against apartheid led universities to sell off stocks in companies doing business in South Africa. More recently, concerns about genocide in Darfur, the health effects of tobacco and handgun violence led to more college divestments. Now another issue - the effect of fossil fuels on global temperatures - is rousing a new generation of student activists to press their schools to drop coal, petroleum and natural gas investments from campus endowments. Student campaigns, such as "Fossil Free UC," are underway at about 300 colleges and universities nationwide, organizers estimate.