Fall 2018 CC news

Contributions by Drs. Robin Cooper and Elizabeth Haase


There has been a flood of news on climate change this week; too many to limit to a single “ Featured Article” so several will be discussed.

 As I watch the news about just one more extreme storm of historic, horrific proportions hitting the Florida panhandle, I am experiencing my own personal maelstrom.

 The latest UN IPCC report sounded new alarms with dire warnings that climate change is happening more rapidly than previously anticipated.  It confirmed we need to move faster to lower greenhouse gas emissions and calls  for urgent and dramatic transformations of our economy and energy use including the complete elimination of use of coal.

Juxtaposed was the announcement, on the same day, of the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to two economists, William Nordhaus and Paul Romer who outline economic and governmental policy solutions to our climate crisis.  Nordhaus says that robust pricing of carbon is the most efficient remedy requiring polluters to pay the price of the damage to our environment and health.  His work is highly regarded in his field and has contributed to widespread agreement among most economists that robust carbon pricing is an essential component to containing carbon pollution.  

Years sgo, the Lancet report included carbon pricing (fee or tax on carbon) as a powerful policy.

 A further report this week by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communications says that Americans are more worried but less hopeful about climate change.


Fear and hopelessness about humanity’s capacity to respond to global warming are fueled by lack of leadership, as reflected in this survey by the Yale…..This is bad news but only in the sense that the best response to fears that are reality-based is to take effective actions, which is less likely when you feel hopeless about their impact. But climate actions are growing in international momentum and effectiveness, and local actions, state by state, are taking off as the price of clean energy drops. Even traditionally conservative states like Wyoming are considering large changes supporting control of methane release and other measures to reduce atmospheric carbon fuels. In situations where you cannot make headway easily and become demoralized, it is often helpful to look to your moral self and ask what kind of person do you want to be. This appeal to your own core values will often clarify the path you should take. Finding activities and groups to work with can be the best antidote to stewing in the worry and can be effective in fitting into the growing efforts to limit the impacts on our world.

Suggestions for taking action can be found at https://www.climatepsychiatry.org/takeaction-1/





Robin Cooper