Tim McDonnell

Tim McDonnell

Climate Desk Associate Producer

Tim McDonnell joined Climate Desk after stints at Mother Jones and Sierra magazine. He remains a cheerful guy despite covering climate change all the time. Originally from Tucson, Tim loves tortillas and epic walks.

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Obama's Climate Plan Just Won Another Key Victory in Court

| Wed Sep. 9, 2015 4:54 PM EDT

Last year, President Barack Obama released an early version of his plan to crack down on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants—the cornerstone of his climate change agenda. Right away, a dozen coal-reliant states and coal companies fired back with a pair of lawsuits aimed at blocking the plan from going into effect. The challenges failed: A federal court in DC ruled that they would have to wait until the rules were finalized.

They tried again last month, when the final details were announced. But this afternoon, they got smacked down again because the rules, while now final, still haven't been published in the federal register (that process typically takes months). Here's the ruling:


Once again, the complaining parties were just too eager to chomp at the bit, said David Doniger, director of climate policy at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Counting this challenge, the previous one, and several prior attempts to squelch Obama's climate plan, he said, "they're batting 0-8 in premature challenges."

"It's not a great track record. You don't want to bring a succession of losing cases, because you get a bad reputation before the court."

The battle isn't over yet: You can count on the same cast of characters trying the same shenanigans when the rule is finally published sometime in October. 

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Stephen Colbert Perfectly Roasts Trump and the Media’s Obsession With Him in Dazzling Debut

| Wed Sep. 9, 2015 9:36 AM EDT

Last night Stephen Colbert premiered The Late Show on CBS, the talk-show staple he took over from David Letterman (who performed his final show in May). Colbert's guests included Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, George Clooney, and a cursed ancient amulet with a taste for hummus (an ingenious play on Colbert's requirement to ruthlessly sell products to his new, larger late-night audience.)

Colbert's tone was predictably a departure from that of the buffoonish conservative zealot he played on The Colbert Report on Comedy Central. Here, while still a smart goofball, Colbert seemed delighted to shed a decade of playing just one character, and noticeably conscious of taking on a bigger stage, quite literally: The Ed Sullivan theater in Manhattan has been sumptuously renovated and decorated for the occasion.

One of the best segments, in an unpredictable and larger-than-life show jammed with jokes, was when Colbert ripped into everyone's favorite top-polling, golden-haired, low-hanging comedic fruit—Donald Trump—and satirized the media's gluttonous obsession with covering him (using another not-so-subtle product placement). Enjoy:

They Say Love Is Dead. They Haven't Seen This Video

| Tue Sep. 8, 2015 4:55 PM EDT

They say love is an illusion. They say nothing lasts forever. They say not to trust anyone but yourself.

They haven't seen this video:

Baltimore Just Proposed a Settlement With Freddie Gray's Family

| Tue Sep. 8, 2015 11:08 AM EDT

Six months after Freddie Gray died from a spinal injury suffered after an alleged "rough ride" in the back of a police van, the city of Baltimore has tentatively agreed to settle with Gray's family for $6.4 million. From the Times:

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a statement that the settlement with the family of Freddie Gray would be sent to the Baltimore Board of Estimates for a vote on Wednesday...

"The proposed settlement agreement going before the Board of Estimates should not be interpreted as a judgment on the guilt or innocence of the officers facing trial," Ms. Rawlings-Blake said. The proposed settlement will be paid as $2.8 million in the current fiscal year and $3.6 million in the year beginning in July of 2016.

Six Baltimore police officers are currently being tried on criminal charges relating to Gray's death, which sparked massive national protests in April.

The proposed settlement is close in amount to the $5.9 million agreement reached in July between New York City and the family of Eric Garner, who also died at the hands of the police, and eclipses the total $5.7 million that Baltimore has paid in all 102 alleged police misconduct cases since 2011, according to the Baltimore Sun.

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