FROM Tom Unterman
Will Plummeting Oil Prices Cause a Clean-Energy Meltdown? Both John McCain and Barack Obama say America needs renewable energy—wind, solar, nuclear and "clean coal" as opposed to oil and natural gas. When the price of oil was rising, those alternative technologies were attracting needed investment. But oil now costs half what it did just a few weeks ago. Added to that, the credit crisis is drying up capital and green-energy projects that looked promising are being put on hold. What about energy independence and global warming? Does government have the resources to take up the slack? Are renewables really the answer to the world's energy problems?
Climate Change: International Challenge and Business Opportunity Receiving the Nobel Prize today, Al Gore warned that failure to act against global warming will mean "mutually assured destruction." He had strong words for the US and China, two of the 190 nations meeting in Bali to hash out guidelines for a new treaty for reducing greenhouse gases. With a turnabout by Australia's newly elected prime minister, the United States is the only industrialized nation opposed to setting mandatory reductions of greenhouse gases. The Bush Administration backs private sector initiatives for energy savings and alternative energy sources. In Los Angeles, there's a meeting of entrepreneurs, manufacturers and investors who see climate change not just as a challenge, but an opportunity. What are they doing to reverse climate change and cope with a process that's already well under way? Can LA and other cities cash in on a new international industry created by global warming?
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.