Some universities stepped up early with courageous commitments to open up their dorms and other facilities to meet the urgent need for added healthcare capacity to cope with the COVID-19 crisis. Tufts and Middlebury were notable front-runners in meeting this challenge. Harvard was slow to consider similar action or, at least, to let the university community know what might be undertaken. I wrote this piece in late March as a concerned alum, and was joined by many in writing letters calling on university officials act and inform.
In this Q&A, I am joined by two other Boston University environmental voices in reflecting on what has and hasn’t been achieved in the half-century since the first Earth Day in 1970. We also give our perspectives on the challenges ahead.
Even beyond the current social-distancing ordeal, we may find ourselves questioning a return to 21st century hyper-mobility, looking instead to a renewed embrace of localism. This article explores a few dimensions of that possible transformation, including its impacts on slowing the rate of climate change.
In this series of letters to the Globe, I weigh in along with three others on why fossil fuel divestment is much more than the “narrow symbolism” that columnist Jeff Jacoby ascribes to it.
In this letter, I take issue with Phred Dvorak’s use of solar’s installed capacity as a basis for proclaiming that this renewable technology could become “the world’s largest energy source” by 2040. Solar’s total installed gigawatts may surpass other electric power sources in the coming decades but that does not necessarily mean it will eclipse fossil fuels in the electricity it produces. Dvorak’s article invites undue complacency about the policies and investments needed to make a wholesale shift to renewable energy.
Though Congress has ample reason to impeach President Trump for his self-serving machinations in Ukraine, we all know that the Senate’s blind Republican partisanship will block his removal from office. Given this inevitable outcome, it’s worth considering whether Congress could have targeted a far more consequential cause for impeachment: his utter failure to engage the climate crisis.
In an electricity future substantially reliant on renewable energy, how can we cope with the variability of solar and wind? Energy storage is an essential piece of the puzzle.
In response to Sen. Chuck Schumer’s “Bold Plan for Zero-Emission Cars,” I caution against making the transition to electric vehicles using oversized SUVs and trucks – the vehicles now being pushed by U.S. automakers. Instead, I call for shedding the big-car bias of our fleets along with their reliance on carbon-based fuels.
Reacting to technical and managerial setbacks at a pioneering solar plant, the Las Vegas Review Journal issued a blanket condemnation of federal loan guarantees for renewable energy projects as a waste of taxpayer dollars. Countering this claim, I credit the loan guarantee program with catalyzing a whole new era of utility-scale power generation based on renewable energy resources.
Technical advances, improved economics, and broad political support are fueling wind power’s ascent as a source of non-carbon-emitting electricity. This article explores the prospects for moving this renewable energy resource to center-stage in the U.S. pursuit of carbon neutrality.
It’s time to get serious about investing in the technologies that will move America from righteous campaign rhetoric to a net-zero carbon future.
Though still a small contributor to the electricity supply, solar power already is revolutionizing how U.S. consumers use and generate electricity. This article was written as a contribution to the “Climate Explained” section of Yale Climate Connections.
By grinding the permit-ready Vineyard Wind project to a halt, the Trump administration is dealing a major blow to offshore wind’s long-overdue development in U.S. ocean waters. This eleventh-hour move smacks of fossil fuel favoritism, I argue.
“If you’re alarmed by the state of the world, bring more children into it,” argues Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby. I argue that his dive into demographic exceptionalism ignores the resource toll of pushing way beyond the 7.7 billion now living on this planet. Four other Globe readers offer their own reasons for disagreeing with him.
When Times columnist Charles Caldwell called climate activist Greta Thunberg’s sense of urgency a threat to democracy, I countered that her concerns are well-founded and the policy tools are at hand to pull us back from the brink of climate catastrophe.
Slowing population growth in traditional and transitional societies is no small challenge. Breaking the radio silence on reproductive choice is one important step in this transformation.
The last thing Massachusetts needs is a new nuclear power complex eight times the size of the just-closed, problem-plagued Pilgrim plant in Plymouth. Yet that’s just what American University professor Joshua Goldstein proposed in his recent Globe op-ed. My letter points to the economic folly of this proposition and calls instead for a vigorous investment in renewables, storage, energy efficiency, and a smart grid.
Instead of reining in automotive fuel use and carbon emissions, recent reforms in our Corporative Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards have accelerated the switch to oversized SUVs and pickups. Presidential hopeful Joe Biden says we need to restore Obama’s failed fuel economy policies. In this op-ed, I say we need to do much more.
What does oil have to do with the Trump administration’s championing of democracy in Venezuela? I offer a few thoughts, along with a caution against military intervention.
In this letter, I take the Boston Globe editorial board to task for ignoring the grave hazards of nuclear power and misrepresenting the high costs of maintaining this hugely subsidized energy resource.