Saturday, April 25, 2015

Last Call For Changing Climate Change

Slate writer and meteorologist Eric Holthaus argues that, given his political constraints, President Obama has been largely successful in getting the ball rolling on dealing with climate change, even though there's a long, long way to go.

On Wednesday, as the president spoke in the Florida swamp, diplomats were gathering in Bangkok to discuss a possible global deal to phase out hydroflorocarbons (HFCs), one of the fastest growing contributors to climate change. This deal wouldn’t be possible without help from the Obama administration.

HFCs, which are used primarily as refrigerants in air conditioning, were phased in as a replacement for CFCs in the 1980s and 1990s in an attempt to stop the growth of the hole in the ozone layer. Since then, they’ve become a big problem in and of themselves—even though viable alternatives are readily available.

A pound of HFCs has up to 14,000 times the global warming potential as a pound of carbon dioxide. U.S. emissions of HFCs are the largest of any country in the world,and they’re rising—but they’re soon to get dwarfed by demand for cooling in places like India as the climate warms and the global middle class of people who can afford air conditioning expands. The proportion of humanity’s total impact on the climate by HFCs is projected to grow rapidly in the coming decades—and could amount to28 to 45 percent of all human-induced global warming by 2050 if the world cracks down on carbon dioxide in the meantime.

So what’s the good news? Air conditioning is a life-and-death issue in India, where its use is projected to grow at a whopping 20 percent per year for the foreseeable future. India had been opposing a transition to HFC alternatives to allow the greatest access to cooling possible. But a big breakthrough on HFCs came earlier this month when India unexpectedly submitted a plan for their global phase-out using the existing Montreal Protocol—the same treaty used to phase out CFCs decades ago. Lead U.S. climate diplomat Todd Stern claimed victory, crediting a bilateral meeting between Obama and Indian Prime Minister Modi in January. The U.S. and China had previously agreed to a similar deal on HFCs in 2013, and the Obama administration announced a voluntary deal with American cooling-intensive companies, like Coca-Cola, last fall.

Because the structure of this year’s first-ever global agreement on climate change is also voluntary—with each country effectively trying to peer-pressure others into greater cuts—it matters that the Obama administration is emerging as an effective negotiating force. India hasn’t yet announced its overall economy-wide goal for cutting carbon, but is rumored to be leaving the door open for more significant cuts should wealthier countries agree to fund them.

Considering Republicans refuse to even acknowledge climate change exists still, it's a victory.  The alternative is a Republican administration that with either do nothing or in fact make things worse by increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and saying "God will sort it out."

There is a difference between the two parties, and climate change action is definitely one of those differences.

The Clinton Rules, Con't

What Hillary Clinton actually said on Thursday's speech at the Women in the World summit, via Steve M:

All the evidence tells us that despite the enormous obstacles that remain, there has never been a better time in history to be born female. Think about that. A girl born twenty years ago in Tanzania could not hope to one day own or inherit property. Today she can. If she were born in Nepal, there was a tragically high chance that her mother and even she would die in childbirth. Today, thankfully, that is far less likely. A girl born twenty years ago in Rwanda grew up in the shadow of genocide and rape. Today she can be proud that women have led the way out of that dark time, and now there are more women serving in her country's parliament than anywhere else in the world.

But the data leads to a second conclusion: that despite all this progress, we're just not there yet. Yes, we've nearly closed the global gender gap in primary school. But secondary school remains out of reach for so many girls around the world. Yes, we've increased the number of countries prohibiting domestic violence. But still, more than half the nations in the world have no such laws on the books, and an estimated one in three women still experience violence. Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half. But far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth.

All the laws we've passed don't count for much if they're not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will, and deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.

What The Clinton Rules says that she said, starting with The Hill:

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Thursday said "deep-seated … religious beliefs" have to be changed before the world's women will get full access to abortion.
Daily Caller:

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took a feminist tone on Thursday. She told attendees at the sixth annual Women in The World Summit that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” for the sake of giving women access to “reproductive health care and safe childbirth.”

“Far too many women are denied access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth, and laws don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper,” Clinton said.

The Week:

Building on her decidedly feminist campaign message, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took a forceful stance on abortion rights Thursday when she called for a change in "deep-seated" cultural and religious standards.

Clinton made the comments while delivering the keynote address at the annual Women in The World Summit in New York. "Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper," she said. "Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed."

Bobby Jindal figures this line of "Hillary hates Christians!" attack is the way back to relevance.

It's ridiculous to see this in action, yet there it is.

Breakfast Of Champions

So, Bruce Jenner's interview with Diane Sawyer was illuminating to say the least.

Bruce Jenner was once hailed as the greatest athlete in the world and later became a reality television star with one of the world’s most famous families. Now, the former Olympian is revealing a secret that has caused him turmoil for decades. 
“For all intents and purposes, I’m a woman,” Jenner told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview that aired Friday in a special two-hour edition of ABC News’ “20/20.” 
“People look at me differently. They see you as this macho male, but my heart and my soul and everything that I do in life -- it is part of me,” Jenner, 65, said. “That female side is part of me. That’s who I am.” 
In hours of interviews with Sawyer in New York and California, Jenner detailed his internal struggles with being transgender, which he said he has wrestled with since childhood. 
During the interview, Jenner referred to himself using male pronouns and ABC News has chosen to follow his lead, though he also referred to himself as “Bruce” and “her.” 
“I look at it this way—Bruce always telling a lie. He’s lived a lie his whole life about who he is. And I can’t do that any longer,” Jenner said. 
“My brain is much more female than it is male,” he added. “It’s hard for people to understand that, but that’s what my soul is.”

Bruce also identifies as a Republican.  That may be the toughest part of this for the Jenners to deal with. He seems to honestly think the GOP can be more accepting. Part of me actually hopes he changes a few minds.
Related Posts with Thumbnails