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.

Myron Ebell says Trump plans to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency

February 2, 2017 by  
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Climate change denier Myron Ebell recently hinted serious changes could be made to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Donald Trump administration. In a telling new interview, he said the agency could reopen a review of car fuel efficiency standards, and withdraw or change climate education information. Ebell called Trump’s campaign goal to scrap the agency an “aspirational goal”. The EPA won’t be gone tomorrow, but Ebell indicated its functions could be radically curtailed as Trump hopes to farm out many EPA roles to states instead. The agency has existed since 1970, to safeguard public health and the environment . But Trump reportedly thinks many of these duties would be better left to states. Related: Insider says Trump could pull America out of Paris deal within days Speaking to The Guardian, Ebell said, “To abolish an agency requires not only thought but time because you have to decide what to do with certain functions that Congress has assigned to that agency. President Trump said during the campaign that he would like to abolish the EPA or ‘leave a little bit.’ It is a goal he has and sometimes it takes a long time to achieve goals.” The Guardian noted Ebell does not speak for Trump. However, many of his statements echo those of new White House staff, including the president. As the leader of the Trump EPA transition team, Ebell worked on a method to withdraw from the Paris agreement and ditch President Obama’s Clean Power Plan . It’s up to whomever will lead the EPA now to follow through on those ideas, but as Trump’s pick is sue-happy Scott Pruitt , it’s not far-fetched to imagine he might follow up on Ebell’s environmentally damaging dreams should he be confirmed. In the past, Ebell said two-thirds of the EPA’s 15,000 scientists, engineers, and researchers could be cut. Such a move would be ironic for Trump, who’s staked many of his actions on the impression they create jobs . Ebell described himself on his Twitter page as the “number one enemy of climate change alarmism,” and directs the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which Greenpeace once slammed for a video of theirs that claimed carbon dioxide isn’t a pollutant. Via The Guardian Images via screenshot and Competitive Enterprise Institute Facebook

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Myron Ebell says Trump plans to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency

Bill McKibben on how to protect the earth from a Trumpocalypse

February 2, 2017 by  
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If you’re feeling overwhelmed in the face of President Donald Trump’s overtures to ignore climate science, resuscitate oil pipelines , and in general undo all of the environmental progress we have made so far, you’re not alone. But you can take action, and renowned climate activist and author Bill McKibben is here to tell you how. Bill McKibben knows a thing or two about activism. His landmark book The End of Nature came out in 1989 under Republican president Ronald Reagan. Since then he has penned several more books and been active in environmental fights under presidents from both major political parties. He’s protested the Keystone XL pipeline in front of the White House, for which he was arrested. And he helped bring attention to ExxonMobil’s deliberate suppression of climate change information , to name just a few of his global actions. Related: 8 ways to help the water protectors at the Standing Rock Reservation But, if you’re not Bill McKibben, activism under Donald Trump’s administration can be intimidating. When asked how he feels about people who are discouraged, McKibben told Inhabitat, “Me too. But people have faced big challenges before. And if Trumpism goes down, much will go down with it: climate denial, for instance. We don’t know whether Trump is going to be bad in a normal way or bad in an abnormal way. The first week makes it look like the latter. We don’t really know how to fight an authoritarian oaf, but we’re going to have to figure it out.” McKibben recommends getting involved with organizations fighting the good fight, including the organization he helped found, 350.org . “Find a local group connected to the big national and global fight: 350.org, Sierra Club , or your local environmental justice group,” he said. “That way you can work at every level, from projects nearby to big international fights. If DC is closed to us, we need to open new fronts.” McKibben imagines pipeline fights under Trump, for example, will still require a similar mix of mobilization and litigation as they did under President Obama. But he emphasizes there’s strength in numbers in the dawning resistance. “In the end, if there’s a big enough movement in enough places it’s harder for them to do their dirty work. Their currency is currency. Ours is passion, spirit, creativity – and bodies!” He also said it’s important to stand up for other issues too. “I’d make sure you’re also working with other causes and groups – immigrants facing deportation, for instance,” he said. “Solidarity has never been more important.” + Bill McKibben + 350.org Images via Lorie Shaull on Flickr ( 1 , 2 ), Mark Klotz on Flickr , Takver on Flickr , Fabrice Florin on Flickr , and Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Bill McKibben on how to protect the earth from a Trumpocalypse

Insider says Trump could pull America out of Paris deal within days

January 31, 2017 by  
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For months President Donald Trump has blustered about yanking the United States out of the Paris climate agreement ; now Myron Ebell , who led the Environmental Protection Agency transition team, said the new president could pull America out of the historic, hard-fought deal within days. Ebell, a climate change denier, said he expects Trump will be “very assiduous in keeping his promises, despite all of the flack he is going to get from his opponents.” Speaking at a London briefing, Ebell said Trump could pull out of the Paris agreement “by executive order tomorrow, or he could wait and do it as part of a larger package. There are multiple ways and I have no idea of the timing.” He also claimed the United States will “clearly change its course on climate policy ” and that Trump is “pretty clear that the problem or the crisis has been overblown and overstated.” Related: Majority of Americans support Paris climate deal as Trump reconsiders pulling out Two weeks after his election, Trump indicated he had an “open mind” about the Paris agreement. He also said there was “some connectivity” when asked about the relationship between climate change and humans. But he hasn’t yet come out in support of the Paris agreement, or taken a stronger stance on climate change. The president’s Secretary of State pick Rex Tillerson said America might be better off staying in the agreement at his confirmation hearing: “I think it’s 190 countries have signed on. We’re better served by being at that table than by leaving that table.” Will Trump listen to his cabinet pick? Ebell doesn’t seem to think so. He said of Trump, “His mandate is pretty clear, and he knows who he got it from. If Rex Tillerson disagrees with the President, who is going to win that debate? Well I don’t know but the President was elected and Rex Tillerson was appointed by the President, so I would guess that the President would be the odds-on favorite to win any disagreement over climate policy.” Via The Independent Images via Jim Mattis on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Insider says Trump could pull America out of Paris deal within days

The 10 most viral Inhabitat stories of the year

January 1, 2017 by  
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Why do some online articles go viral and reach millions of readers around the world? Emotional engagement has a lot to do with it. Some tug on the heart, like this devastating photo of an emaciated polar bear that swept over social media in the past few months. Others inspire us to dream of a brighter future, like Dallas’ plans to create one of the largest urban nature parks in America . And others are just plain crazy – like Norway’s proposal for the world’s first floating underwater traffic tunnels and China’s smog-sucking vacuum tower (which may actually be working)! Here were the most viral Inhabitat stories of 2016 – vote for your favorite: [poll id=114]

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The 10 most viral Inhabitat stories of the year

Leonardo DiCaprio says climate action is America’s "biggest economic opportunity"

December 27, 2016 by  
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Actor Leonardo DiCaprio is taking President-elect Donald Trump to task on the topic of climate change. At this month’s United Nations Correspondents Association awards ceremony, DiCaprio called out a “few, very prominent people” who still deny the science on climate change – and then suggested that climate action offers America’s “biggest economic opportunity.” Hopes soared when DiCaprio met with the President-elect’s daughter , Ivanka Trump, earlier this month. The actor even met with the President-elect to clue him in on the fact that renewable energy could generate millions of jobs. But with top government positions offered to people like ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson and Energy Transfer Partners board member Rick Perry , it seems Trump refuses to acknowledge the science on climate change. Related: Leonardo DiCaprio schools Donald Trump on the benefits of renewable energy As DiCaprio received a prize at the U.N. event, he said the truth about climate change is spreading like wildfire. He said the world’s scientists have come to “overwhelming conclusions” that climate change is “largely human-caused and needs immediate urgent attention.” The actor and activist also said that “In less than 100 years of our pollution-based prosperity, we humans have put our entire existence in jeopardy.” DiCaprio’s recently released film Before the Flood is one of the most-viewed documentaries in history – and according to the actor, the impressive statistics show “just how much the world cares about the issue of climate change.” National Geographic Channel issued a press release back in early November stating the film was the “most-watched documentary in the world since 2000, and the most watched National Geographic film ever released.” DiCaprio also had a message of hope for those who fear backward environmental policies from Trump. “To those who may be discouraged by nay-sayers, let me remind you, the environmental awakening is all over the world and the progress we have made so far…has always been because of people, not governments.” The actor listed purchasing cleaner vehicles, eating smaller amounts of meat, and businesses going carbon-neutral as steps people have taken to battle climate change without the help of any government. Via Reuters Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Leonardo DiCaprio says climate action is America’s "biggest economic opportunity"

MIT’s "food computers produce reliable crops anywhere

December 27, 2016 by  
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Hunger is an ugly social menace we would love to see resolved. It looks like MIT researchers may be getting close with their new ” Food Computers ”. Advanced greenhouses that use software to control for climate, energy, and nutrients, MIT’s new system is designed to produce reliable crops just about anywhere. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iI56tVuDGcY Caleb Harper is the director of MIT’s Open Agricultural Initiative , a program he began after witnessing the agricultural devastation surrounding the Fukushima , Japan nuclear disaster. A food crisis impacted both the locals supply and their economic potential, due to fear of radioactive contamination. He spoke to Motherboard about developing the Food Computer, super-advanced greenhouse hardware and software that uses data analysis to create the perfect environment to grow preferred foods. Related: Beautiful, odorless tabletop ecosystem is powered with food waste The system is equipped with climate controls, grow lights, and humidifiers to encourage the growth of plants through hydroponic and aeroponic systems. Specialized “climate recipes” can be used for specific plants and unique traits, such as colors or sizes, so even the most temperamental crops can be grown anywhere in the world. “The biggest problem [in agriculture] is that we became way too centralized,” said Harper. When food must travel long distances and sit in warehouses before reaching the stores, and then the consumers, not only are nutrients lost in the process, but a lot of fossil fuels are burned along the way. Harper argues that food computers put the power of growing food in individuals’ and smaller communities’ hands, increasing food security and decreasing food waste. MIT’s food computers are all open source, so anyone can build one for themselves. They come in three different sizes: a tabletop model, a larger unit about the size of a shipping container , and the largest unit, which is as big as a warehouse. The newest generation of personal food computer costs about $2000. “The reality is most of us don’t have to come into contact with how food is being grown,” argues Harper. With a food computer in every home, that could change. +MIT Open Agricultural Initiative Via  Motherboard Images via MIT

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MIT’s "food computers produce reliable crops anywhere

Trump ushers in the next phase of sustainable business

December 19, 2016 by  
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Even if the next administration moves in one direction on climate change, that won’t deter corporate America.

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Trump ushers in the next phase of sustainable business

John Kerry says Obama administration will work to stop Trump from leaving Paris agreement

November 16, 2016 by  
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As Donald Trump ‘s advisers seek a way out of the historic Paris climate change agreement , it appears the current administration doesn’t intend to let them succeed without a fight. United States Secretary of State John Kerry said the Obama administration will attempt to prevent Trump from leaving the Paris agreement. Before his address at COP22 in Marrakech, Kerry said, “This is bigger than one person, one president. We have to figure out how we’re going to stop this.” Kerry’s address at COP22 never mentioned Trump by name. But the Secretary of State delivered a call for action that seemed to be aimed at the president-elect. He asked for leaders in positions of power around the world to research the reality of climate change as they make decisions, and to listen to the voices of faith leaders, Fortune 500 businessmen, economists, farmers, and military leaders who take the threat of climate change seriously. Related: Trump advisers seek loopholes to allow ASAP withdrawal from Paris climate deal “Do your own due diligence before making irrevocable choices…And above all, consult with the scientists who have dedicated their entire lives to expanding our understanding of this challenge, and whose work will be in vain unless we sound the alarm loud enough for everyone to hear. No one has a right to make decisions that affect billions of people based on solely ideology or without proper input,” Kerry said in his speech . In his comments before the speech, Kerry didn’t provide many specifics on how the Obama administration might stop Trump. But he did leave the world with a warning at his last UN climate conference address: “We don’t get a second chance. The consequences of failure would in most cases be irreversible…So we have to get this right, and we have to get it right now.” At COP22, the United States released one of the first long-term climate strategies along with Mexico, according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change . Under the strategy, America aims to reduce emissions by 80 percent under 2005 levels by 2050. Via The Guardian Images via screenshot and W ikimedia Commons

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