Trump fails to evade climate change lawsuit filed by 21 youths

March 8, 2018 by  
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21 young people have been taking on the United States government over climate change in the lawsuit Juliana v. U.S. since 2015, and President Donald Trump failed at attempts to dodge them. The plaintiffs just won a victory: the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the case can indeed move towards a trial, Bloomberg reported . 21-year-old plaintiff Kiran Oommen said in a statement , “The question of the last few years has not been ‘do we have a case’ but rather ‘how far will the federal government go to prevent justice.’ We have seen that they are willing to go to many lengths to cover up their crimes and maintain the status quo, but not even the Trump administration can go far enough to escape the inevitable tide of social progress.” Today the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the Trump administration’s “drastic and extraordinary” petition for writ of mandamus in the landmark climate lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, brought by 21 youth supported by Our Children’s Trust. The Court ruled that the Juliana case can proceed toward trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon and that the Trump administration had not satisfied the factors necessary for an extraordinary writ of mandamus. #youthvgov A post shared by Our Children's Trust (@youthvgov) on Mar 7, 2018 at 12:13pm PST The 21 plaintiffs — mostly teenagers , according to Bloomberg — say the government, in backing a climate change-inducing energy system, has violated their rights to property, liberty, and life, and hasn’t protected vital public trust resources. Barack Obama’s administration first attempted to extinguish the case in 2016, according to Bloomberg, and the Trump administration said the case is based on “utterly unprecedented legal theories.” Bloomberg said they utilized a rare procedural maneuver to contend a federal judge overstepped her authority — in 2016, she refused to dismiss this case. But the three-judge panel at the Ninth Circuit was unanimous, deciding the issues the federal government raised are “better addressed through the ordinary course of litigation.” Jacob made a sign, had his photo taken with his sign, & now it's posted online. Be like Jacob. #youthvgov A post shared by Our Children's Trust (@youthvgov) on Feb 6, 2017 at 3:05pm PST Related: Trump tries to keep 21 kids’ climate change lawsuit from going to trial Julia Olson, co-counsel for the plaintiffs and executive director of Our Children’s Trust , one of the organizations supporting the kids, said the Ninth Circuit’s move signaled a “green light for trial.” She said they’ll ask for a trial date in 2018. The question of the last few years has not been “do we have a case” but rather “how far will the federal government go to prevent justice.” We have seen that they are willing to go to many lengths to cover up their crimes and maintain the status quo, but not even the Trump administration can go far enough to escape the inevitable tide of social progress. The Ninth Circuit’s decision affirms that we are on the side of justice, and for justice we are moving forward. #seeyouincourt #youthvgov #julianavsus #ourchildrenstrust A post shared by Kiran Oommen (@kiran_oommen) on Mar 7, 2018 at 1:20pm PST Oommen summed it up this way: “We’ll see you in court.” + Our Children’s Trust Via Bloomberg Image via Gage Skidmore on Flickr

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Trump fails to evade climate change lawsuit filed by 21 youths

New hybrid solar panel harvests energy from raindrops

March 8, 2018 by  
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A team of Chinese engineers have created a new hybrid solar panel that can also harvest energy from raindrops. This new technology takes advantage of the triboelectric effect, the electrical charge of certain materials after coming into contact with a different material. Triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) deliberately create this charge through friction and may someday be used to capture static electricity as energy from a variety of materials, including clothing, car wheels, or touch screens. For the moment, TENGs are successfully being used to capture the latent energy of raindrops. To create a TENG, the team added two transparent polymer layers on top of their solar panel. The upper layer polymer is made from polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) while the lower layer is composed of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS). To increase the TENG’s efficiency, the polymer layers were imprinted with grooves modeled on the data side pattern of DVDs. When raindrops fall, they push the top layer into contact with the lower layer, which then acts as an electrode between the TENG and the solar panel . Related: The cost of high-efficiency solar panels fell 37% in 2017 Although the resulting electricity produced by the TENG-enhanced panel is relatively small, it nonetheless proves that such a device works and could be scaled up with further research. While this is not the first instance in which a TENG has been incorporated into a solar panel, the team describes their device as simpler, more streamlined and easier to manufacture than previous models. Theirs emphasizes the abundance of energy that exists all around us, which only needs to be harnessed to step closer towards a true clean energy economy. Via New Atlas Images via Depositphotos and ACS Nano

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New hybrid solar panel harvests energy from raindrops

10 ways 3D printing is disrupting the architecture industry

March 8, 2018 by  
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3D printing , or additive manufacturing as it’s sometimes called, is poised to change the world as we know it. Many have hailed the technology as the coming of the third industrial revolution. That’s because it effectively puts the support and creation of a wide variety of products and goods in the hands of anyone that owns a 3D printer. But the technology is going to make the greatest impact in the fields of manufacturing, development and architecture. Designers and architects can now 3D print items out of materials like masonry, concrete and even wood. China-based WinSun Decoration Design Engineering actually constructed an entire 3D-printed building — a five-story apartment block — so the technology is there. Read on for a closer look at some of the ways 3D printing will transform the future of architecture. 3D-printed bridge by Heijmans 1. More realistic scale models and concepts 3D printing is commonly used to generate or develop models of properties and commercial real estate structures. It makes sense because you can design and build with the technology and create a working, realistic representation of any object or structure. It’s the advancement of this application that will especially change the game going forward. Just as a virtual representation of a building will be able to take you on a small tour — think digital walkthroughs — 3D-printed models will soon afford the same luxuries. Imagine looking at a scale model of a building, sliding open a hatch in the side and peering into the structure. More importantly, imagine a development and engineering crew that has access to a full-scale model of the structure they’re building. It offers more than just a resource and reference point — they can see the results of their work before anything is put in place. This could effectively be used to trial new possibilities and designs, or even test the durability of a structure before it’s made. 2. New Building Locations and Opportunities Much larger structures and objects are created using a variety of prefabs, bit by bit. A commercial or residential building, for example, would be printed room by room, for instance. Unlike traditional construction, this would allow teams to assemble and build in a variety of new locales, environments and even hard-to-reach locations. The building or structure could be designed and printed elsewhere and then hauled to its destination to be assembled. Imagine emergency housing after a huge natural disaster: Builders could construct whole models outside an affected area before moving the finished product to where it needs to be. 3. New Designs Due to the nature of the technology and how items are created using printers, developers and engineers will need to come up with new and innovative ways to create modern structures. More importantly, the designs and modeling of said structures will change considerably. In the case of the Chinese company that 3D printed an entire apartment building, the structure was printed and developed at the rate of a floor per day. Starting from the bottom and working their way up, the company printed the building piece by piece and then assembled it on-site. 3D-Printed Bloom Pavilion by Ronald Rael and UC Berkeley 4. Print More Than Walls When looking at manufactured housing, you’ll notice a lot of the furniture and fixtures are built right into the main support structure. The entire piece of a building or structure is moved and everything inside goes right along with it. The same can be said of 3D-printed structures. Imagine accessories and items like fixtures, internal walls, floorboards, ducts and more printed right into the building. This will do one of two things: The building itself will be highly efficient and integrated. as all the components are attached and built right into the main framing, and it will speed up development because everything is already embedded within the prefabs. 5. Crowdsourced Printing Similar to software-as-a-service, as printers become more accessible, a variety of companies and brands will crop up that allow anyone and everyone to print from a service-based system. It’s easy to see how this will transform retail and regular shopping channels. We could potentially print any item we can dream up and then pick it up from a printer or service center. Does the world really need more stuff? That’s a valid question. But it could be useful in construction and architecture, specifically when it comes to design. With 3D printing, one feeds a digital blueprint or file of the desired item into hardware. This file can be designed or created by just about anyone. There are entire databases dedicated to 3D printing files and blueprints such as Thingiverse . Now, consider something similar except on a much grander scale, and with residential and commercial property blueprints. What if you could go to a service printer and have your entire home created in little to no time, cutting out nearly all the middlemen? This isn’t going to happen overnight, but it’s certainly a process that will be made more possible with this technology’s rise. 6. Dynamic Players The crowdsourced scenario also reveals something a shift in the industry’s primary players. The digital construction economy will develop on its own, with hardly any insight from current professionals. That means workers in the construction, engineering and design industries will need to redefine their roles and find new uses for their skills. That’s not to say traditional construction and development will disappear overnight. However, we can expect construction to evolve, especially once organizations and teams realize how efficient and cost-effective 3D printing can be. New business opportunities will arise and need to be assessed, and what we know of the average contractor could change radically over time. 3D-printed Office of the Future in Dubai 7. Commercial Development It’s easy to dismiss 3D printing as a residential or smaller-scale operation, but that’s not the case. Dubai recently announced the completion of the world’s first 3D-printed office building . It is a full-scale, commercial office building with people actually working and operating within. This is not a concept, model or mere figment of someone’s imagination. The printer used to create the structure was 20-feet-high, 120-feet-long and 40-feet-wide. Using a unique cement mixture, the printed created an entire building that is now used daily. It took 17 days to build and assemble — a near record timing for a structure of its size. The takeaway is that 3D printing technologies will be viable across nearly every facet of the construction industry, including commercial and residential. 8. More Work By proxy, the faster rates at which a structure can be printed and assembled means more work over time. As more organizations and parties come to realize the benefits of printed structures, we’ll see the popularity grow, which will also mean an increase of opportunities for companies at the forefront of this movement. It’s likely we’ll see 3D printing construction become mainstream, with a seemingly endless list of opportunities for companies that adopt the technology. It is estimated the 3D printing or additive manufacturing market will fetch up to $26.5 billion by 2021 . That’s a huge leap from $8.8 million in 2017, so the market is growing steadily. 9. Design Values Will Change In traditional manufacturing and construction, a designer or engineer comes up with a building concept and sells it to the customer. This design is largely exclusive and is often bought outright by the client or company in question. With 3D printing designs and blueprints, things are a little different. There’s still the opportunity for designers and architects to create exclusive models for a company, but they can also create universal or publicly accessible designs that can be used by just about anyone. This opens up new opportunities for revenue in terms of selling designs, but it also may allow new avenues of experimentation. Imagine being able to create an unorthodox design that gets picked up, used and deployed in the real world by someone or an organization. Some may argue, however, that such a free market for design may not be advantageous. 10. Automated Construction With the convergence of 3D printing, modern AI and analytics, as well as advanced robotics, it’s increasingly likely that construction and development will be automated and computerized. Construction teams would enjoy greater efficiency and precision, not to mention higher safety ratings. Projects could be completed sooner and with less resources wasted or deployed. Mockup miniatures will be available through BIM or building information modeling, with the final product built entirely from the ground up using advanced machinery, with little to no human input. That too may make some readers squirm, as automation threatens human jobs. Still, it’s hard not to be impressed that one MIT robot can print an entire building in just under 14 hours . Now scale that up to include an army of these machines working in tandem to create larger, commercial-sized buildings, and the future truly looks amazing. Lead image via 3D-printed Curve Appeal house by WATG Urban

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10 ways 3D printing is disrupting the architecture industry

Federal court orders first hearing on the science of climate change

March 8, 2018 by  
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Lawyers will present climate change science in what could be the first-ever court hearing in the United States on the topic, McClatchy Washington Bureau reported . Lawyers for BP , Exxon , Chevron , and other oil companies will go up against lawyers for the California cities of Oakland and San Francisco after United States District Judge William Alsup ordered “a two-part tutorial on the subject of global warming and climate change .” Sabin Center for Climate Change Law executive director Michael Burger told McClatchy, “This will be the closest that we have seen to a trial on climate science in the United States, to date.” San Francisco and Oakland filed lawsuits against BP, Exxon, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Royal Dutch Shell “alleging that the Big Oil giants are responsible for the cities’ costs of protecting themselves from a global warming-induced sea level rise , including expenses to construct seawalls to protect the two cities’ more than five million residents,” according to Hagens Berman , the firm representing the California cities. In late February, Alsup ordered the tutorial, which is to take place on March 21. Related: This lawyer wants Big Oil to pay for climate change Experts on both sides said they hadn’t heard of a call like this before. Physicist Steven Koonin, who served as an Energy Department Under Secretary for Science under Barack Obama and also penned a piece for the Wall Street Journal titled “ Climate Science Is Not Settled ,” told McClatchy, “I don’t know of any judge who has asked for a tutorial like this. I think it is a great idea. Anybody having to make a decision about climate science needs to understand the full spectrum of what we know and what we don’t know.” The first part of the tutorial will cover “the history of the scientific study of climate change;” each side will have an hour to delve into “scientific inquiry into the formation and melting of the ice ages , periods of historical cooling and warming, smog , ozone , nuclear winter, volcanoes , and global warming.” The second part, for which each side again has one hour, will cover “the best science now available” regarding global warming, sea rise, coastal flooding, and glacier melt. + United States District Court for the Northern District of California Via McClatchy Washington Bureau Images via Jeff Head on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Federal court orders first hearing on the science of climate change

BREAKING: Trump announces U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement

June 1, 2017 by  
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During a highly anticipated speech at the Rose Garden, climate denier President Donald Trump announced that the United States of America will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement secured under Barack Obama’s leadership. President Trump stated that the accord was “bad” and poorly negotiated by the Obama administration, and that he “is keeping his campaign promise to put American workers first.” Part of Trump’s speech read, ”The Paris Accord is a BAD deal for Americans, and the President’s action today is keeping his campaign promise to put American workers first. The accord was negotiated poorly by the Obama administration and signed out of desperation. It frontloads costs on the American people to the detriment of our economy.” Before the announcement was officially made, Donald Trump was cited by The Daily Best telling congressional staffers on a conference call that he is withdrawing from the Paris accord. Energy policy adviser for the White House, Michael Catanzaro, confirmed that “the United States is getting out of the Paris agreement.” Catanzaro added that Trump “will be open to and will immediately be looking for a better deal.” Reportedly, the Trump administration will follow steps for withdrawal laid out in the agreement. In total, says Catanzaro, removing the U.S. from the deal will take four years. “But we’re going to make very clear to the world that we’re not going to be abiding by what the previous administration agreed to,” he said. Despite the fact that countries such as Costa Rica run on 100% renewable energy and Denmark once generated 400% of the power it needs from wind turbines , the Trump administration remains resistant to transitioning the U.S. to run on renewable energy resources. This is because President Trump, a businessman, believes that energy sourced from fossil fuels is the solution to making America great again – and he thinks climate change is a “hoax” invented by the Chinese . Related: China says they’ll stay in the Paris Agreement – with or without Trump At the time of its signing, 195 countries, including the United States, pledged to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change in order to prevent global catastrophes which may result from rising temperatures. President Barack Obama committed America to a goal of lowering emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. The broad aim was to increase these cuts over time. With the United States exiting the Paris Agreement, carbon emissions are likely to increase, potentially propelling global disasters resulting from rising sea levels , severe weather conditions, and increased temperatures. On a positive note, China and the European Union are prepared to publicly recommit to the agreement with or without the United States. Also, Trump cannot technically withdraw from the agreement until November of 2019. Finally, many U.S.-based companies, including Apple , have ambitious goals to run on 100% clean energy in the near future. With support from educated consumers, the U.S. may reach its previously contracted emissions goal with or without the President’s support. Via CNN Images via Pixabay , Wikimedia Creative Commons

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BREAKING: Trump announces U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement

World officials entreat Trump to stay in Paris agreement

May 8, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump’s policies don’t just impact the United States. As climate change grows increasingly dangerous, executive orders on the Clean Power Plan and fossil fuel development in a top greenhouse gas-producing country have consequences for other countries as well. The Guardian spoke with world leaders, some of whom were involved in the 2015 Paris climate deal , who agree it would be disastrous if Trump were to pull America out of the historic agreement. Trump threatened to pull out of the Paris agreement on the campaign trail, and has yet to follow through. But he’s taken shots at the environment anyway, by rolling back pollution rules including Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan. He could make a decision on the agreement as soon as this week, and former Brazilian environment minister Izabella Teixeira, instrumental in Paris, said the situation reminds her of when George W. Bush pulled away from Kyoto protocol. Related: ExxonMobil exhorts White House to keep Paris agreement Former head of climate policy in Uruguay Ramón Méndez, who was present in Paris in 2015, said it was an extraordinarily strong shock to hear of Trump rolling back the Clean Power Plan. He said of all the policies the president has pursued, this one holds the worst consequences for the rest of the world. He also told The Guardian if the U.S. leaves the Paris agreement, “it will make it harder for other countries to maintain their ambitions.” Trump advisers reportedly can’t decide if pulling out of the agreement would be worth the diplomatic fallout sure to follow. But United Nations environment chief Erik Solheim pointed to an economic fallout as well. He told Reuters , “The future is green. Obviously if you are not a party to the Paris agreement, you will lose out. And the main losers of course will be the people of the United States itself because all the interesting, fascinating new green jobs would go to China and to the other parts of the world that are investing heavily in this.” Even if Trump doesn’t back out of the agreement, he still needs to take action. Peking University expert Zhang Haibin told The Guardian the president could pursue a semi-withdrawal instead: “I think the greater likelihood is that Trump will end up not pulling out of the pact but instead adopting a passive approach towards it [and] meeting none of its commitments.” Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons and Michael Vadon on Flickr

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World officials entreat Trump to stay in Paris agreement

Trump begins process of rolling back Obama-era clean water rule

March 1, 2017 by  
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As part of his ongoing campaign to repeal and undermine many of Barack Obama’s environmental accomplishments, yesterday President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing the EPA to roll back a 2015 regulation known as “Waters of the United States” rule. The regulation gives the federal government the authority to limit pollution in major bodies of water, rivers, streams, and wetlands. Trump’s executive order, on its own, can’t repeal the rule. However, he’s directed the controversial new EPA head, Scott Pruitt, to begin the complex legal process of rescinding and rewriting the rule, which the New York Times writes could take longer than Trump’s first term to actually carry out. The rule was originally created to clear up confusion about the federal government’s authority in regulating streams, wetlands, and major bodies of water after a series of court decisions created legal confusion. Related: New EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s emails reveal troubling oil-industry ties Though the rule was put forward jointly by the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers, many business owners in industries including property development, oil and gas , and fertilizer and pesticide manufacturing claim it stifles economic growth. Environmentalists, on the other hand, contend that it will help provide healthier drinking water and cleaner natural areas to people around the nation. This isn’t the only environmental executive order Trump’s expected to sign in the near future. Reports are also circulating that in the coming week he’ll sign a similar order directing the EPA to dismantle Obama’s 2015 climate change regulations as well. Via NRDC Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Trump begins process of rolling back Obama-era clean water rule

Philippines president Duterte signs Paris agreement

March 1, 2017 by  
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It’s been almost a year since leaders from 170 countries met in New York City to formally sign the Paris climate change agreement , and almost four months since the agreement officially went into force . But president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte is only now jumping on the climate change -fighting bandwagon, finally signing the historic accord. Duterte initially resisted signing the agreement; he claimed it favored rich countries like the United States, and threatened to boycott the agreement because it would hurt industrialization in the Philippines. But his protests subsided last November, when he said a cabinet decision swayed him to support the Paris agreement. Now that he’s signed the deal, it will need to go through the country’s Senate. Related: Hard-won Paris climate agreement officially goes into force Senator Loren Legarda said, “We are a step away from full ratification and it is my commitment to actively shepherd the Senate’s immediate concurrence.”It’s expected the Senate will back ratification as Duterte’s allies populate the governing body. Should the agreement finally go through, the Philippines would receive access to the Green Climate Fund , a global initiative slated to send billions of dollars to developing nations to help them combat climate change. Manila , the country’s capital, has set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent by 2030. The ambitious target will require financial and technical support. Duterte has been labeled a strongman and a firebrand. Vox described him as the Donald Trump of Manila, although the former Davao City mayor has been in politics for decades. Trump and Duterte have become fast friends – Trump reportedly praised Duterte’s war on drugs, which is so violent it sparked a January report from Amnesty International . Via Reuters Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Philippines president Duterte signs Paris agreement

Trump to sign executive orders rolling back Obama’s climate protection policies

February 21, 2017 by  
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The environment could be the next victim of President Donald Trump’s executive orders. The Washington Post reported  that according to individuals briefed on the measure, Trump is seeking to curtail some of President Barack Obama’s policies on water pollution , coal and the environment through upcoming executive orders . Signing such orders would signal the Trump administration will work to champion the fossil fuel industry , regardless of the economic growth the country could see through renewable energy . According to The Washington Post, people familiar with the proposals who asked to remain anonymous said Trump is currently preparing executive orders and could announce them later this week. The orders largely target rules put in place under Obama to protect the environment. It could take a while to actually implement the orders, but they would serve as a reminder the Trump administration is dead set on promoting fossil fuels. Related: Insider says Trump could pull America out of Paris deal within days One order could direct the Environmental Protection Agency to start rewriting a 2015 regulation limiting greenhouse gas emissions of electric utilities. Under the same order the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management could rescind a freeze on federal coal leasing. Another order could change the 2015 Waters of the United States rule, which provides authority for the federal government over rivers, wetlands, and streams that feed into large water bodies. The rule impacts some development that could pollute the smaller waterways. Trump has said such regulations aiming to safeguard the environment hurt economic growth. He’s condemned rules put in place to reduce the use of fossil fuels as an attack on the coal industry. While the president’s moves could face legal battles, the lifting of the coal leasing freeze could take effect immediately. Via The Washington Post Images via Wikimedia Commons and U.S. Department of the Interior on Flickr

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Rogue NASA Twitter account strikes back at Donald Trump

January 27, 2017 by  
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Yet another “rogue” Twitter account has cropped up in response to Donald Trump’s efforts to muzzle government agencies: this time, Rogue NASA is taking to social media to spread climate science. The new, unofficial account is one of a number of accounts purporting to be run by national park employees in their off hours. While the account makes clear in its bio that it’s not run by government employees, its mission is clear: to spread information about climate change in the event that Trump orders the agency to go silent.

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Rogue NASA Twitter account strikes back at Donald Trump

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