Michael B. Gerrard, Author at State of the Planet

From Copenhagen to Paris: Low Expectations

As we head to Paris, the expectations are profoundly lower. The national commitments that countries are putting on the table do not add up to nearly enough to keep us within 2 degrees; instead the plan is to come back every five years and hopefully do better. … It is still mathematically possible to stay within 2 degrees, but the odds of actually doing so seem to be receding by the month.

by |November 23, 2015

A Major Legal Victory for Climate Science

     Though most attention last week focused on the Supreme Court ruling upholding federal reform of the health-care system, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued the most important judicial decision on climate change in five years.  That decision upholds the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gases, and it… read more

by |July 2, 2012

The Many Fights Ahead

Last week ended with high drama and muddled results. As Friday’s workday began, Danish television was trained on the convoy of vehicles that would take President Obama to the Bella Center as soon as Air Force One landed. The landing took place around 9 a.m., and the president was immediately taken to a meeting of world leaders. Notably absent was Premier Wen Jiabao of China, the country that arguably was holding […]

by |December 21, 2009

The Current May Be Shifting

As I write this a little after midnight on Thursday, less than 24 hours remain before the close of the Copenhagen talks. Local television is playing continuous loops of an English-language TV movie (with Danish subtitles) about an evil oil company that is trying to sabotage the “Kyoto 2 talks at Calgary” by pressuring the U.S. delegation, besmirching a respected scientist, hiding damaging data, and maybe worse […]

by |December 17, 2009

Getting In on the Act

The formal negotiations are taking place in only one place, the Bella Center, but throughout the city of Copenhagen the climate event cannot be missed. Numerous buildings are draped with huge signs proclaiming some company’s, nation’s, or group’s contributions to reducing the climate problem. Public plazas have large displays of electric cars, annotated globes, and alarming aerial photographs. A wind company has purchased the right to paste its posters on the platform floors in many […]

by |December 17, 2009

Is the U.S. Leading, or Leaving?

Difficult as it is to discuss global warming in the midst of a snowstorm (such as Copenhagen is experiencing right now), discussions proceed on multiple tracks, though “tracks” implies more linearity and parallelism than actually exists.

The hidden elephant (or polar bear) in many of the rooms is the U.S. Senate. Virtually every other […]

by |December 15, 2009

Greatest Show on Earth?

There are many shows taking place in Copenhagen right now. Where the real action is, however, is another question entirely.

Over the weekend a mass demonstration — estimates of the number of participants range from 30,000 to 100,000 — took over parts of the city, leading to nearly 1,000 arrests. When I arrived at the Bella Center first thing Monday morning, things were more […]

by |December 15, 2009