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Why This Matters: The Southeast is particularly vulnerable on its coast due to increasingly severe storms and flooding, but the region’s problems extend far inland too. One of the problems is an unwillingness by the region’s utilities to switch to renewables now that solar power is more affordable — many cities have not made significant commitments to cut carbon emissions. In addition, there is a misconception that only the coastlines have climate change concerns and many people in the region are unaware that they are significantly at risk in many areas due to increasing precipitation causing inland flooding that is made worse by aging infrastructure. And politics are a big problem too — Republican elected officials in southern states and cities are under the false impression that the private sector will do what is needed to adapt without additional regulations. But of course, if that were true, they would have done more already. With the South Carolina primary coming up later this month, it is a good time to start the education process and to find ways to ramp up solar development across the region.
Take Alabama, For Example
Many Alabama cities are making carbon-cutting goals without ever mentioning the words carbon or climate. The coastal region is vulnerable to storms in the Gulf of Mexico and dead zones caused by nutrient pollution and warming ocean temperatures. But progress on mitigation and adaptation in the state is slow. Birmingham Watch reported that even though Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin promised in December to pivot toward prioritizing sustainability, local non-profits are frustrated because “the city doesn’t have a strategy for addressing sustainability or environmental justice or climate change or anything related to those issues.” And the lack of a plan has real consequences for low-income residents because they are unduly impacted by pollution and high energy costs resulting from a failure to switch to cheaper new renewable energy. The city has other big environmental problems too — from water pollution to industrial blight to traffic. Still, many locals suspect that Alabama Power is also a big impediment.
by Julia Fine, ODP Contributing Writer Japan’s efforts to fight climate change is “hindered” by the influential business lobby Keidanren, Aaron Sheldrick reported for Reuters yesterday. As Sheldrick explained, the powerful lobby is “dominated by energy-intensive sectors that represent less than 10% of the economy, resulting in national policies that favor coal and are hindering […]
by Julia Fine, ODP Contributing Writer Climate change is, of course, a global phenomenon, but out of the contiguous United States, the Northeast is experiencing it particularly severely. As Kate Olson recently reported in Civil Eats, farmers in Maine are “struggl[ing]” with this “new, harsher climate reality” that includes even more deeply unpredictable weather events […]
by Julia Pyper, host and producer of Political Climate John Podesta has had a long and distinguished career in American politics. The veteran Democrat official recalls a time when Members of Congress were open to working across the political aisle, the debate was healthy and the resulting policies were less prone to repeal. But today […]
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