Monthly Archives: December 2015

Environment  UN’s Ban Ki-moon: “This is no Plan B because there is no planet B”

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This Monday afternoon, Dec. 7, 2016, on the first day of the final week of the 21st UN climate summit, I slipped into a press conference just as Ban Ki-moon,  the UN general secretary, was answering a question of great interest to me — the intersection of faith and climate change. Here’s what he said:

“I am very grateful to Pope Francis for his clear moral leadership on this issue with the document he released in June (the papal encyclical Laudato Si, On Care for Our Common Home). I have spoken with him about this and greatly appreciate his efforts in support of the environment.

“It’s important to realize that climate change has nothing to do with religion. It has everything to do with humanity. We have to show some wisdom. Not just wisdom, but common sense. We have to live harmoniously with nature. Nature does not negotiate with human beings. We have to adjust to nature. That’s our only choice.

“We have to do what science tells us. Climate change is caused by human behavior. It only follows that humans have to change their behavior. As you know, we don’t hear many skeptics any longer. Even so, faith leaders have a role to play in convincing the remaining skeptics that climate change is real, and with faith leaders, we must all act and work as one.

“We have only one planet. There is no Plan B because there is no planet B.”



Environment  Gov. Jerry Brown warns COP21 crowd in Paris of “Eve of Destruction”

California Gov. Jerry Brown at the Global Landscape Forum, part of COP21 in Paris. Photo by Justin Catanoso

California Gov. Jerry Brown at the Global Landscape Forum, part of COP21 in Paris. Photo by Justin Catanoso

California Gov. Jerry Brown, whose distinctive voice I recognized as I entered late the packed hall in which he was speaking, was trying to remember a song from the 1960s. “I think it’s called ‘Eve of Destruction.’ Can’t remember who sang it, but I still like it. You should listen to it. It’s perfect for today.” (The song was written in 1964 by P.F. Sloan and performed by Barry McGuire, whoever the hell they were…)

Brown was a speaker today, Dec. 6, 2015, at the Global Landscape Forum, a side event of panel discussions and speeches about the importance of land use policy and forest preservation. Brown’s panel was called: “Science-policy exchange — Big ideas to connect landscapes, climate and development.”

Brown is a leftie, hippie-type who dated folk singer Linda Ronstadt in the 1970s when he was first California governor, and ran for president in 1980 as Gov. Moonbeam. He has since become the most mature, liberal, effective and realistic governor in America. Now in his 70s, he speaks his mind, and doesn’t give a darn much what people think. Why should he? When it comes to environmental protection and innovation, California leads the nation, if not the world.

“Not one thing is going to do it,” Brown told the crowd of more than 1,500, when it comes to keeping global warming under 2 degrees C by 2100. “It’s all of it together. This conference (COP21) is one of the biggest things for climate change ever. Every country is involved. Every country is pledging to do something. Let’s get that settled and then start pushing for more.

“The challenge will be relentless. But the fact that you’re here says a lot. Don’t get tired. Don’t lose heart. Don’t get excited about something else. This is it. But it’s just the beginning. It’s a lifetime challenge and task, if we really want to save the planet. And in that, I join you.”

Environment  Charlotte Business Journal: Business makes case at UN climate summit

Sustainability experts from Facebook (left) and VF Corp. Photo by Justin Catanoso

Sustainability experts from Facebook (left) and VF Corp. Photo by Justin Catanoso

Most people COP21 missed a unique panel discussion at the U.S. Pavilion in Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. Called “Leaning In, How Companies Influence Climate Policy,” it was sponsored by the White House and Ceres, a U.S. nonprofit organization that advocates for sustainability leadership in the business community.  Here’s the link.

Robert Morris, editor of the Charlotte Business Journal, was gracious enough to run the story on his site.

Environment  WGHP Fox 8 TV — Talking with anchor Neill McNeil about the Paris climate summit


One third of the Peruvian population — 9 million people — live in Lima. Problem is, Lima is a desert. It does not rain there. At all. Lima depends on glacier melt for the sprawling city’s drinking water. Yet those Andean glaciers have shrunk by 30 percent due to global warming. On the evening of Dec. 1, 2015, the Triad’s top news anchor invited me on WGHP-TV to talk about the UN climate summit in Paris, I was more than happy to do so.

Environment  Mongabay: Paris climate meeting begins in optimism; REDD+ part of solution?


  • Working for is such a pleasure. I have this great editor in Vermont, Glenn Scherer. He knows the issues cold. He make a good sentence great. He finds amazing photos to run with my stories. This is my last pre-COP21 story. The next one will be from Paris. Here’s Glenn’s summary:
  • Each nation participating in COP21 has made its own, self-determined commitment to the amount of carbon emissions it can trim from its economy.
  • Unfortunately, the total carbon commitments by all nations falls roughly 50% short of the cuts needed to prevent catastrophic climate change.
  • REDD+, a policy that allows industrial nations to keep burning fossil fuels while paying developing countries to preserve forests, may be part of the solution, though some argue it lacks the monitoring mechanisms needed to prevent cheating.