Friday, February 19, 2021
6 min read

Friday, February 19, 2021

It's 38 degrees in Point Baker today. Here's the news—

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The Enormous Risk of Atmospheric Hacking

Bill McKibben, New Yorker (Tweet)

Solar geoengineering is the ultimate, break-the-glass response to the climate crisis—and one we should back away from for now.

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Meet Elizabeth Ann, the First Cloned Black-Footed Ferret

Sabrina Imbler, New York Times (Tweet)

Her birth represents the first cloning of an endangered species native to North America, and may bring needed genetic diversity to the species.

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As Winter Sweeps the South, Fed Officials Focus on Climate Change

Jeanna Smialek, New York Times (Tweet)

A top Fed official says climate scenario analysis could be valuable in making sure that banks mind their climate-tied weak spots.

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Texas Storms, California Heat Waves and ‘Vulnerable’ Utilities

Ivan Penn, New York Times (Tweet)

Power failures have cast a spotlight on whether energy companies and regulators are doing enough to prepare for climate change and natural disasters.

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A Hitchhiker’s Guide to an Ancient Geomagnetic Disruption

Alanna Mitchell, New York Times (Tweet)

A shift in Earth’s poles 42,000 years ago may have drastically altered the planet’s climate, scientists have found — and they’re naming the period after the author Douglas Adams.

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Biden Channels FDR on STEM Policy

Henry Jacoby, Gary Yohe, Ben Santer, Richard Richels, Scientific American (Tweet)

The president’s letter to his new science advisor emphasizes the crucial role science plays in our society—much as Roosevelt did in a similar missive in 1944 -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

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Ancient Trees Show When The Earth's Magnetic Field Last Flipped Out

Nell Greenfieldboyce, NPR (Tweet)

A precise record of the last major reversal of the Earth's magnetic poles can be found in ancient trees. Researchers say this event 42,000 years ago had a huge impact on the planet and ancient humans.

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The way we eat could lead to habitat loss for 17,000 species by 2050

Jenny Splitter, Vox (Tweet)

Two recent studies underscore the danger the meat production system poses for biodiversity.

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What's next in the Texas power crisis

Ben Geman, Axios (Tweet)

A Feb. 16 satellite image above of Houston-area power outages (shown in red and explained here) gets to the immense scale of the Texas-wide crisis.Why it matters: It's a human tragedy that's also quickly reaching Beltway energy discussions and responses and j…

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Partisan squabbles over Texas power crisis reflect America's can't-do spirit

David Nather, Scott Rosenberg, Axios (Tweet)

The power outages in Texas are the latest in a series of disasters that will be harder to fix — or prevent from happening again — because Americans are retreating to partisan and cultural corners instead of trying to solve problems.The big picture: From COVID…

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White House Adviser Says Texas Outages Show How U.S. Is Unprepared For Climate Change

H.J. Mai, NPR (Tweet)

White House homeland security adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall says the extreme weather situation in Texas serves as a reminder that the U.S. is not fully prepared to deal with climate change.

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Twitter In Standoff With India's Government Over Free Speech And Local Law

Lauren Frayer, NPR (Tweet)

Twitter blocked hundreds of accounts the Indian government said were inciting violence. Then it unblocked them. Now it's stuck between Indian law and defending free speech.

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How Much Is The Weather In Texas Due To Climate Change?

NPR, NPR (Tweet)

NPR's Steve Inskeep talks to James Marshall Shepherd, director of the atmospheric sciences program at the University of Georgia, about if climate change is responsible for the nation's violent storms.

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The latest GOP nonsense on Texas shows us the future Republicans want

Greg Sargent, The Washington Post (Tweet)

Faced with a massive public problem, Republicans retreat into their alternate information universe.

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This Austrian ski resort is preparing for a snowless future

Denise Hruby, The Washington Post (Tweet)

St. Corona, a small village at the foot of the Alps, has long relied on skiers to support the local economy. But in a changing climate, where it can no longer count on snowy winters, the village is transitioning to a warm-weather economy.

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The Energy 202: Democrats eye climate in big infrastructure push

Dino Grandoni, The Washington Post (Tweet)

But a cacophony of competing demands is already threatening to divide Democrats.

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What The Texas Snowstorm Tells Us About America's Energy Infrastructure

NPR, NPR (Tweet)

"The weather is playing a huge role in this situation. Our infrastructure isn't built to handle this much demand for heating under these conditions," says Joshua Rhodes, energy researcher at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Mostly united over covid relief, Democrats face divisions over Biden’s massive second economic plan

Erica Werner, The Washington Post (Tweet)

Biden’s next package could be far pricier than the covid relief legislation and as the next must-pass piece of legislation in a divided Capitol where legislative opportunities will be scarce, it’s unleashed a torrent of other demands from all sides, as advoca…

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Texas is a reminder: We’re much more willing to pay for cures than prevention

Philip Bump, The Washington Post (Tweet)

As extreme weather events increase, that threatens to get very expensive.

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Amid winter storm, Biden seeks to showcase competence but avoids grand gestures

Matt Viser, The Washington Post (Tweet)

Biden has approved disaster declarations, sent generators and fuel, and spoken to governors. But he has not visited the storm areas or taken other significant steps to showcase his trademark empathy.

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Scientists are divided over whether climate change is fueling extreme cold events

Umair Irfan, Vox (Tweet)

Is the cold wave that froze Texas this week a unique event or a sign of what’s to come?

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Scientists are divided over whether climate change is fueling extreme cold events

Umair Irfan, Vox (Tweet)

Is the cold wave that froze Texas this week a unique event or a sign of what’s to come?

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Is a super-sized agenda the key to Democrats’ 2022 success — or their demise?

Andrew Prokop, Vox (Tweet)

How can the party best limit backlash from voters?

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Texas's cold-weather catastrophe is a global warning

Adam Taylor, The Washington Post (Tweet)

There are lessons for the rest of the world in what is happening to the Lone Star state.

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In India, a climate activist's arrest shows shrinking space for dissent

Joanna Slater, Niha Masih, The Washington Post (Tweet)

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is deploying the country's legal machinery to suppress opponents in ways not seen in decades, critics say.

Newsletter by Eric McDaniel.