Lou Leonard's blog

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Dirty Dishes and Climate Change: Taking a Small First Step Toward a Safer Future

"I hate cleaning the kitchen. I put it off until it becomes a growling, reeking monster," says Lou Leonard, head of WWF's climate program in this piece reposted from the Huffington Post.  However, he adds, it doesn't have to be this way. "Even when the job seems too big, take it in chunks, something easy first, build your momentum...It turns out, this approach works for big problems beyond my kitchen -- from eating healthy to getting more exercise to moving away from dangerous fossil fuels and tackling climate change."

The Greatest American (Climate) Heroes

Quick, without thinking about it, answer this question: What's the most important thing that's happened in America on climate change over the past year? The tragedy of Superstorm Sandy? President Obama's State of the Union address? Sixty percent of America in the grip of a devastating drought? All fair answers. But here's mine: The leadership of American cities.

Talkin' on Turkey Day: A Thanksgiving Climate Pledge

We think of Thanksgiving as an eating holiday, but it really is a "talking holiday" when we slow down and spend the day in conversation.  When the conversation turns to the weather, consider talking about our changing weather patterns and the consequences we are feeling and hearing about.   What if we then spent a little time speaking with each other about steps we can take to prepare for those impacts, and to avoid more serious climate disruption in the future?   If we can pledge to talk turkey with friends and family around the table, we are one step closer to a national conversation about climate change -- and to enduring solutions.

Statement on the Re-election of President Obama

WWF congratulates President Obama on his re-election and looks forward to working with him and his administration over the next four years to tackle the greatest threats to our planet, and the people and other creatures that call it home.  An agenda focused on common-sense solutions to prepare for present and future climate impacts, while transitioning our economy to clean, renewable energy will command support across the political spectrum. At the same time, President Obama now has the political space to put international efforts to secure a global climate treaty back on the right track.
 

Sandy's Wake-up Call: The Future Is Here Early

For the 50 million of us who stood in the path of Hurricane Sandy and the rest who watched its devastation, isn't it time to ask our leaders how we can avoid a future where Frankenstorms like Sandy become the new normal?  We need common-sense strategies to prepare our communities to withstand a future with rising seas and with storms, droughts and wildfires on steroids.  We also must quickly harness American ingenuity to build a world powered by carbon-free energy that will stop pumping steroids into our climate system and lessen future risks.  We must do both and Sandy has reminded us that there's no time to lose. The future is here, a little early.

Losing the Top of the World: Breaking the Arctic Sea Ice One Record at a Time

In our world of information overload, we get used to hearing of records being broken. Even so, some moments stand out -- including now the record low Arctic sea ice extent reached earlier this month.   When we look closer, this and the many other climate-related records events we've witnessed in recent years are not isolated, but connected. And in this new era of extremes, we aren't just breaking records. By continuing to pour carbon pollution into the atmosphere we are rewriting the rulebook for the future of life on Earth.

The Melting North: Arctic Ice and Climate Change

When I was a kid, one of my prized possessions was a globe. No part of that globe fascinated me more than the Arctic, that amazing mass of white covering the top of the world.  But as we load the atmosphere with greenhouse gases, global warming is melting that polar ice.  On 26 August, sea ice extent had declined to 42 percent below the 1979-2000 median -- a reduction of extent equivalent to about one third of the entire land area of the United States. The globe we knew as children is disappearing before our eyes. Our politicians need to have an adult conversation  about these risks while we still have time.

A Tale of Two Droughts: As in '88, Will 2012's Weather Extremes Push Climate Change Higher on the National Agenda?

In 1988, America faced an extraordinary summer heat wave and an extensive drought that  helped to propel climate change into national politics.   Republican presidential candidate George H.W. Bush said that year: "Those who think we are powerless to do anything about the 'greenhouse effect' are forgetting about the 'White House effect.'''  In 2012, even more of the country has been afflicted by drought; and it is another election year.  Might we again hear of the "White House effect" this August? If there is to be any chance for a meaningful national conversation about climate change after the election, we have to hope that the candidates candidly address the issue before the election.

Congress should stop interfering in Europe's aviation carbon pollution policy

Jake Schmidt of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) shines some light on an important issue lurking in the dark corners of a huge bill being considered by Congress right now.  The bill would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – the US agency that regulates airlines. A  little-noticed provision in the House version of the bill would try to block a program in the European Union (EU) to tackle climate pollution from aircraft coming into and leaving the EU.  Why would Congress try to stop other countries from tackling climate change? 

Renewable Energy Can Phase Out Fossil Fuels in 40 Years

If the world continues its current trajectory for fossil fuel use, species, ecosystems and natural resources are all at risk from runaway climate change. WWF released a new report showing how the world can transition away from dirty energy sources and achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050.

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