Now Trump wants to condemn wild horses to slaughter

May 26, 2017 by  
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There’s a new group on the chopping block under President Donald Trump’s latest budget proposal: wild horses . His administration thinks they could save $10 million next year by allowing the sale of wild horses snared in the American West. But they’d toss out a requirement presently in place that requires buyers to guarantee the horses won’t be resold for slaughter. Under the Trump budget, these iconic animals could be disposed of to foreign slaughterhouses to be processed as food. Wild horses are integral to the West’s wild history. Where would a cowboy be without his horse? But Trump’s budget bows to the wishes of livestock interests by discarding the current stipulation that buyers of wild horses won’t sell them for slaughter. Thousands of free-roaming mustangs could meet their end in a foreign slaughterhouse. Related: Trump budget proposes 31% cut to EPA funding Wild horse advocates say the move would toss out nearly 50 years of protection for these animals. There are around 59,000 wild mustangs in the region, which livestock interests don’t like because they compete for over 40,000 square miles of forage managed by the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) across 10 states. Nonprofit group Wild Horse Education president Laura Leigh said of the budget, “This is simply a way to placate a very well-funded and vocal livestock lobby.” The last three presidents also struggled with how to manage those wild horses and another 45,000 kept in pens and pastures. BLM said the current program is unsustainable, and the new budget could allow the government to manage the horses in a more cost-effective way “including the ability to conduct sales without limitation.” BLM said rangeland in America can only sustain less than 27,000 horses and burros. Rangelands are being damaged and horses are starving, according to Ethan Lane of the lobby National Cattlemen’s Beef Association , which backs the Trump proposal to allow slaughter of wild horses. American Wild Horse Campaign executive director Suzanne Roy disagrees with the budget propsal. She said, “America can’t be great if these national symbols of freedom are destroyed.” And the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) president Matt Bershadker said wild horses can be humanely managed with simple fertility control, “…yet the BLM would rather make these innocent animals pay for draconian budget cuts with their very lives.” Via NBC News Images via Pixabay and firelizard5 on Flickr

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Now Trump wants to condemn wild horses to slaughter

India cancels plans for coal power stations as solar prices hit record low

May 26, 2017 by  
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India has canceled plans to construct nearly 14 gigawatts of coal-fired power stations in the country as prices for solar electricity “free fall” to levels once considered impossible, The Independent reports. Experts expect a profound shift in global energy markets as the cost of solar has dropped by 25 percent in some regions. Tim Buckley, the director of energy finance studies at the IEEFA, explains that 13.7GW of coal power projects have been canceled just this month. He added that the dip in solar prices is so low, it will never be repeated. A few factors have contributed to the decline in solar prices. Reportedly, the price of photovoltaic panels — which account for a major percentage of solar power plant’s costs — have dropped by a staggering 30 percent in the past year. This has helped lower prices. Additionally, the Narendra Modi government is working hard to “assure private renewables developers by backing a payment security mechanism,” according to Scroll . For instance, the Solar Energy Corporation of India , the country’s largest solar power purchases, was included in an agreement last year between the Central government, the Reserve Bank of India and the state government. This safeguards it against payment defaults — which is important, as power distribution compares are reportedly notorious for delayed payment to renewable energy producers. Overaggressive bidding is also resulting in a decline in prices, according to The Independent. An auction for a 500-megawatt solar facility, for example, resulted in a tariff of just 2.44 rupees compared to a wholesale price charged by a major coal power utility of 3.2 rupees. That’s a 31 percent difference. Related: Chile’s solar price hits record global low – at half the price of coal “For the first time solar is cheaper than coal in India and the implications this has for transforming global energy markets is profound,” said Buckley. “Measures taken by the Indian Government to improve energy efficiency coupled with ambitious renewable energy targets and the plummeting cost of solar has had an impact on existing as well as proposed coal -fired power plants, rendering an increasing number as financially unviable.” What India is witnessing, says the analyst, is a further indication of the “rise of stranded assets across the Indian power generation sector.” He added, “The caliber of the global financial institutions who are bidding into India’s solar power infrastructure tenders is a strong endorsement of India’s leadership in this energy transformation and will have significant ripple effects into other transforming markets, as is already seen in the UAE, South Africa, Australia, Chile, and Mexico.” In 2017, India’s solar-generation capacity is expected to reach 8.8 gigawatts – a 76 percent increase from 2016. According to renewable energy consultancy Bridge To India, that will make the country the third-largest solar market in the world. Via The Independent Images via Pixabay

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India cancels plans for coal power stations as solar prices hit record low

In surprise vote, Senate keeps Obamas methane rules in place

May 11, 2017 by  
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In a stunning win for environmental activists , the U.S. Senate voted against repealing the BLM methane rule (originally passed during the Obama administration) to limit methane pollution on public land. Overturned with a 51-49 vote , the deciding “No” was from Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona . Under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), lawmakers can overturn the rules of a previously instated administration within the first 60 days of their enactment. Because of this, Congress has voted 13 times to overturn a selection of Obama rules. Many of these relate to srteam protection, internet privacy and the shooting of hibernating bears, reports BuzzFeed. The outcome of Wednesday’s vote is being lauded as positive news, as the Obama-era rule requires gas drillers to limit leaking, venting or burning methane, which is responsible for fueling climate change . In present-day America, where the President believes climate change is a “hoax” and has ties to the oil industry, outcomes such as this one are rarely witnessed. Politicians including Sen. McCain, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina all voted against the repeal to prevent the government from drawing up any future rules that might restrict methane emissions. McCain said in a statement , “Passage of the resolution would have prevented the federal government , under any administration, from issuing a rule that is ‘similar’. I join the call for strong action to reduce pollution from venting, flaring and leaks associated with oil and gas production operations on public and Indian land.” McCaine added that the smarter thing the Trump administration could have done was to release an updated rule to improve the one passed during Obama’s time as President. Related: Senate Republicans could save methane rules from Trump Commenting on McCain’s surprising stance, Mark Brownstein of the Environmental Defense Fund said, “The oil and gas industry gets into power and the first thing they ask for is a repeal of pollution rules, it just doesn’t make people happy. Senator McCain once again demonstrated that he is a voice of common sense and reason.” According to the Bureau of Land Management , enough methane gas is wasted by drillers to supply 6.2 million homes a year. This, in turn, costs taxpayers $46 to $204 million in lost royalties. Considering solar technology is becoming more affordable and countries such as Germany and Costa Rica have already proven populations can thrive on renewable energy , it seems clear the future is green. Erik Milito of the American Petroleum Institute deemed the outcome “disappointing” and is calling for a review of the rule under a new executive order which was recently released by the White House. However, because of the short time limit on the CRA, it is now too late for another Congressional resolution to take place to repeal the BLM methane rule. Via The Washington Post , BuzzFeed Image via Colorado Politics , Newsmax.com

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In surprise vote, Senate keeps Obamas methane rules in place

Only 25 glaciers remain in Montana’s shrinking Glacier National Park

May 11, 2017 by  
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Our warming climate is ravaging the storied glaciers of Montana’s Glacier National Park . The United States Geological Survey (USGS) and Portland State University recently released data revealing the devastation of climate change on the area over 50 years. The park’s glaciers shrunk by 39 percent on average, but some dwindled by up to 85 percent. An estimated 150 glaciers filled the park in 1850; today there are around 25. The researchers tracked two glaciers on United States Forest Service land and 37 glaciers in Glacier National Park . But now just 26 glaciers in the park are bigger than 25 acres, the benchmark for a body of ice to be correctly termed a glacier. Geologist Andrew Fountain of Portland State said, “While the shrinkage in Montana is more severe than some other places in the U.S., it is in line with trends that have been happening on a global scale.” Related: The Glaciers of Glacier National Park May All Disappear by 2030 The researchers scrutinized digital maps from satellites and aerial photography to measure the outer edges of glaciers in the late summer, when seasonal snow has disappeared and it’s easier to tell how large a glacier truly is. Site visits added to the data. The researchers looked at glaciers in 1966, 1998, 2005, and 2015/2016 to track 50 years of climate change in Glacier National Park. The news isn’t good; it shows visually how the mountain ecosystem has altered in the northern Rocky Mountains. Lead USGS scientist Daniel Fagre said, “The park-wide loss of ice can have ecological effects on aquatic species by changing stream water volume, water temperature, and run-off timing in the higher elevations of the park.” The loss of glaciers in the park named for them could also hurt tourism in the area. The research is intended to help park management and inform the public; according to USGS it will assist scientists in their understanding of the effects of large scale climate patterns on glaciers in distinctive mountain environments . Via United States Geological Survey Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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Only 25 glaciers remain in Montana’s shrinking Glacier National Park

Powering forward on America’s climate commitments

April 25, 2017 by  
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Half of America’s Fortune 500 companies have set climate and clean energy goals. They’re collectively saving at least $3.7 billion annually by doing so.

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A moment for business statesmanship

April 24, 2017 by  
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Amidst rising global uncertainty, one group that stands to lose the most is global business.

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A moment for business statesmanship

A moment for business statesmanship

April 24, 2017 by  
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Amidst rising global uncertainty, one group that stands to lose the most is global business.

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A moment for business statesmanship

Elon Musk announces plans to debut a Tesla semi truck this year

April 14, 2017 by  
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Most people are familiar with Tesla ‘s cars – but the electric automaker’s next product will be bigger than personal transportation. Much bigger. According to a recent Tweet from Elon Musk , Tesla is set to launch an all-electric semi truck in just a few months. Musk says Tesla will reveal the new truck in September, noting that the new tech will be “seriously next level.” The Tesla CEO also mentioned that the company is working on a pickup truck, which won’t be revealed for 18 to 24 months. Tesla Semi truck unveil set for September. Team has done an amazing job. Seriously next level. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 13, 2017 Elon first mentioned Tesla’s plan to create a semi-truck in July 2016, while he was laying out his “Master Plan.” According to the plan, the Tesla Semi truck is an essential part of creating greener transportation. An electric, presumably self-driving semi-truck could make cargo transportation safer and cleaner for the environment. Related: Tesla officially becomes America’s most valuable car company @NoahMagel Pickup truck unveil in 18 to 24 months — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 13, 2017 In a recent Twitter conversation, Musk mentioned that the company is also working on a pickup truck for the Tesla line. That will be unveiled in a few years. Currently the company’s line up includes a the luxury Model S sedan , Model X luxury crossover SUV and the more affordable Model 3 , which should hit streets later this year. + Tesla Via Slashdot Images via Tesla Club Belgium

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Elon Musk announces plans to debut a Tesla semi truck this year

Trump’s cuts would have ‘devastating impact’ on NY, says NY Attorney General

March 24, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Superfund program would have a “devastating impact” on New York State, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman declared at a rally at the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn earlier this week. Joined by activists and lawmakers on Tuesday at what is widely considered to be the nation’s most polluted waterway, Schneiderman blasted the president’s calls to slash the agency’s funding by more than 30 percent, noting that the move would stymie the progress of cleaning up America’s most contaminated sites. “President Trump’s proposed budget cuts would have a devastating impact on New York—delaying and obstructing environmental projects around the state,” Schneiderman said. “Decades of hard work have helped clean up New York’s air, water, and environment. But President Trump’s budget threatens to unravel those gains and send us back to the bad old days of choking smog and rampant pollution.” Once a bustling cargo-transportation hub, the 1.8-mile-long Gowanus Canal is now a cesspool of raw sewage, carcinogenic sludge, and oil slicks. It floundered in political limbo for decades before the EPA designated the canal a Superfund site in 2010. Related: Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal gets Superfund status Dredging work was supposed to begin in earnest later this year, but Trump’s “blueprint” to bring the EPA’s budget to $5.7 billion—its lowest level in 40 years when adjusted for inflation—could grind the already glacial progress to a halt. Schneiderman says he isn’t above taking legal action against the White House, if necessary. “As we’ve made clear: if the Trump administration won’t meet its legal obligations to ensure basic access to a clean, safe, and healthy environment, we won’t hesitate to act to protect New Yorkers,” he said. + Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Via WNYC Photos by bobistraveling

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Trump’s cuts would have ‘devastating impact’ on NY, says NY Attorney General

Solar power now provides twice as many jobs as coal in U.S.

February 8, 2017 by  
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Regardless of what one fossil fuel-loving president might like, renewable energy is flourishing in the United States. A new survey from nonprofit The Solar Foundation reveals there are more than twice as many workers employed in the solar industry as there are in coal . The solar industry employs over 260,000 people, and pays a median wage of $25.96 an hour. In 2016, the solar industry created one out of every 50 jobs added, according to The Solar Foundation’s findings. These solar jobs can be found in all 50 states. Employers the foundation surveyed said they anticipate a 10 percent employment increase in the next 12 months. The industry employs 28 percent women, 17 percent Latino or Hispanic, and seven percent African American. Also, there are seven percent veterans in the overall United States workforce , compared to nine percent in solar jobs. Related: The Keystone XL pipeline would only create 35 full-time, permanent jobs According to the report, even though solar accounts for just 1.3 percent of America’s electricity, “Solar employs slightly more workers than natural gas , over twice as many as coal, over three times that of wind energy , and almost five times the number employed in nuclear energy . Only oil /petroleum has more employment (by 38 percent) than solar.” But Vox points out in order for solar to overtake polluting energy sources, it needs to be cheap. Right now solar requires more manpower per megawatt-hour than any other form of power. For the industry to bring costs down, they’ll likely need to automate some jobs, and won’t require as many human workers. On the other hand, solar may need to employ lots of people initially to gain political clout. Vox cites information from the Center for Responsive Politics , which reveals renewable companies spend far less on lobbying than oil and gas companies. But if an industry creates jobs – as solar does – it may garner more influence. For example, even some Republicans now defend wind and solar production tax credits, as wind energy is a noteworthy source of jobs in states like Ohio and Iowa. Trump can wipe any mention of solar from his White House energy page for now, but should solar and other renewable energy industries keep on adding jobs, he may just have to pay more attention. + The Solar Foundation Via Vox Images via 10 10 on Flickr and Student Design and and Experiential Learning Center on Flickr

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Solar power now provides twice as many jobs as coal in U.S.

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