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Enviro-journalist Mark Schapiro Sleuths the Impact of Climate Change and the Cost of Carbon

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Veteran environmental journalist Mark Schapiro talks about his new book, Carbon Shock and comments on Obama’s emissions deal with China, Keystone and related issues.

The full title of Schapiro’s book is Carbon Shock: A Tale of Risk and Calccuslus on the Front Lines of the Disrupted Global Economy–How Carbon is Changing the Cost of Everything.

Schapiro has written for Harper’s, The Atlantic, and the Center for Investigative Reporting; he has reported for PBS Frontline, Bill Moyers and NPR’s Marketplace. He’s the author of Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power, and he teaches at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

We open by tweaking the author about his lengthy subtitle, then talk about the measurable impact of climate change on California cherry orchards. We get his comments on the recent deal between President Obama and China’s Xi Jinpeng, which is the first time China has agreed to any limits on emissions. Schapiro explains that airlines report their carbon outputs to the European Union, but no similar records are kept by the US. We discuss the Keystone pipeline issue, and its effectiveness in rallying climate activists.

We talk about a NASA animation that depicts how carbon in the atmosphere knows no borders. Watch that video here.

We also discuss the recent drop in gasoline prices in the US, and the opportunity, likely to be squandered, to increase the federal tax on fuel to reflect the true price of fossil fuel usage. Schapiro’s book provides an excellent explanation of the cap and trade systems that have been set up so far, and the volatile market for carbon offsets and allowances.

Schapiro’s website is here, and his twitter handle is @schapiro.