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Environment Magazine September/October 2008

 

March-April 2015

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Commentary: Michael Brune's Misguided Optimism on Climate Change

In the January 2014 issue of Sierra, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune issues a bold call for optimism about what we can do to fight climate change. He writes, “Everywhere I turn, I … see that there are legitimate reasons for optimism—cautious, informed, guarded optimism—about our ability to meet this challenge.”1 Further, he issues a call to action: “We need to bring our passion and our muscle and our intellect to bear and accelerate the clean energy revolution: drive oil, gas, and coal companies off our priceless public lands; and secure a carbon-free power sector by 2030.”2 That goal for America—eliminating the need for any electricity produced from fossil fuels within 16 years—is realistic and within our grasp, or so Brune claims.

Eric R. A. N. Smith is a professor in the Department of Political Science and is affiliated with the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management and the Environmental Studies Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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