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

Obama spends $500 million on climate change before Trump takes office

January 18, 2017 by  
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With mere days before President-elect Donald Trump takes office, President Barack Obama has made one final move to help tackle climate change . The U.S. Department of State announced yesterday they’ve given a $500 million grant to the Green Climate Fund (GCF). That $500 million is just part of a $3 billion commitment, one many people fear Trump won’t honor. The GCF enjoyed worldwide support from 194 governments when it was founded back in 2010 to help developing countries reduce emissions and adjust to climate change, and fight a global temperature increase of 2 degrees Celsius . In 2014 the United States committed to investing $3 billion to the fund. The new $500 million adds to an additional $500 million granted last year, leaving America still $2 billion short of their pledge even as a climate change denier is slated to take office. Related: Green Climate Fund promises paradigm shift in clean energy funding Trump said he’d defund global climate action , including the GCF, during his campaign; the GCF is helping carry out the Paris agreement . However, it doesn’t matter if Trump blusters over this $500 million – he’s not getting it back. President Obama was able to dodge a Republican-filled Congress to send the money to GCF by using executive power to draw the money from the state department. A movement of almost 100,000 people called for the president to transfer the full $2.5 billion to the GCF, but leaders of the movement are still calling the $500 million a victory. Tamar Lawrence-Samuel, Associate Research Director for Corporate Accountability International , told The Guardian, “The Obama administration is refusing to let President-elect Trump’s posse of oil barons and climate deniers dictate how the world responds to the climate crisis. This victory is the climate justice movement’s opening salvo to the Trump presidency. And we’re not going away.” Via The Guardian and Grist Images via Ash Carter on Flickr and IIP Photo Archive on Flickr

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Obama spends $500 million on climate change before Trump takes office

Obama shuts down all pending permits for seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean

January 9, 2017 by  
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Outgoing President Barack Obama made another last-minute effort to secure his environmental legacy last week, when he formally denied all pending permits to conduct seismic airgun blasting in the Altantic Ocean . The practice is used to search for oil and gas deposits below the ocean’s surface, but conservationists say it poses unique threats to the ocean’s wildlife, and that it can disrupt entire marine ecosystems. This new move not only protects vulnerable ecosystems from the direct effect of the tests – it also sends a message to oil and gas companies that new development in the Atlantic is not welcomed by the federal government or coastal communities. Seismic airgun testing is conducted by blasting intense bursts of compressed air into the ocean continuously for weeks or even months on end. The noise from these blasts is loud enough to be heard up to 2,500 miles away from the source and is intensely disruptive to many forms of marine life which depend on their ability to detect sound in order to communicate and survive – including fish, sea turtles, and whales. Some of these species , like the right whale , are critically endangered. This is more than simply an environmental issue: it’s also an economic problem. As Oceana has pointed out in their campaigns, research shows that seismic blasting ends up reducing catch rates of commercially valuable fish. So this decision by the Obama administration protects communities that depend on income from fishing to survive. Related: Obama creates two new western national monuments in last minute effort The decision to ban airgun blasting is one of several groundbreaking environmental decisions Barack Obama has made in the closing days of his term: he’s also shut the door on new Arctic and Atlantic drilling over the next five years, and created two new national monuments in the Western US. Via Oceana Images via Gabriel Barathieu , Green Fire Productions , and Lauren Packard

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Obama shuts down all pending permits for seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean

Obama creates two new western national monuments in last minute effort

December 29, 2016 by  
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The clock is ticking. Before the United States and the world is snapped by political whiplash on January 20, 2017, the Obama Administration is working quickly to secure its environmental legacy by creating new national monuments in environmentally sensitive areas of the Western United States: Bears Ears National Monument in Utah and Gold Butte National Monument. As usual, the land on which these new public resources have been created has been fiercely contested for their political and economic significance. President Obama has nonetheless pushed forward with the national monuments to cap off an ambitious and sometimes controversial environmental agenda that his successor will likely seek to dismantle. The establishment of Bears Ears National Monument in the Four Corners region of Utah , a state where two-thirds of the land is owned by the federal government, represents a victory for the American Indian tribes that have called the region home. In an historic first, an inter-tribal commission composed of members from the Hopi, Navajo, Uintah and Ouray Ute, Ute Mountain Ute and Pueblo of Zuni will be established to provide management input of the national monument, which contains sacred sites, ancient petroglyphs, and remnants of Pueblo structures over 3,500 years old. Most elected officials in Utah are opposed to the site’s protection, though the state’s congressional delegation had supported a scaled-back plan. “The midnight move is a slap in the face to the people of Utah, attempting to silence the voices of those who will bear the heavy burden it imposes,” said Republican US Rep. Jason Chaffetz. Chaffetz intends to seek assistance from President-elect Trump in abolishing the national monument. Related: President Obama establishes controversial new National Park in Northern Maine The Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada is similarly packed with politics. Supported by retiring Democratic Senator Harry Reid but opposed by Nevada’s Republican Representatives, the national monument outside of Las Vegas will preserve 300,000 acres of ecologically sensitive, pristine land that contains important archaeological sites and rare fossils. Gold Butte carries special significance because of its proximity to the site of the armed standoff led by rancher Cliven Bundy in 2014. The establishment of these national monuments “protect some of our country’s most important cultural treasures, including abundant rock art, archaeological sites, and lands considered sacred by Native American tribes,” said President Obama in a statement. “Today’s actions will help protect this cultural legacy and will ensure that future generations are able to enjoy and appreciate these scenic and historic landscapes.” Through authority granted under the 1906 Antiquities Act, President Obama has protected more land than any president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His successor and his supporters seek to use the Act, which allows for the creation of national monuments without congressional approval, to unilaterally remove protections, a policy that has not been attempted in modern times. Via the Guardian  / Washington Post Images via Ron Reiring   (1)

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Obama creates two new western national monuments in last minute effort

Obama creates two new western national monuments in last minute effort

December 29, 2016 by  
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The clock is ticking. Before the United States and the world is snapped by political whiplash on January 20, 2017, the Obama Administration is working quickly to secure its environmental legacy by creating new national monuments in environmentally sensitive areas of the Western United States: Bears Ears National Monument in Utah and Gold Butte National Monument. As usual, the land on which these new public resources have been created has been fiercely contested for their political and economic significance. President Obama has nonetheless pushed forward with the national monuments to cap off an ambitious and sometimes controversial environmental agenda that his successor will likely seek to dismantle. The establishment of Bears Ears National Monument in the Four Corners region of Utah , a state where two-thirds of the land is owned by the federal government, represents a victory for the American Indian tribes that have called the region home. In an historic first, an inter-tribal commission composed of members from the Hopi, Navajo, Uintah and Ouray Ute, Ute Mountain Ute and Pueblo of Zuni will be established to provide management input of the national monument, which contains sacred sites, ancient petroglyphs, and remnants of Pueblo structures over 3,500 years old. Most elected officials in Utah are opposed to the site’s protection, though the state’s congressional delegation had supported a scaled-back plan. “The midnight move is a slap in the face to the people of Utah, attempting to silence the voices of those who will bear the heavy burden it imposes,” said Republican US Rep. Jason Chaffetz. Chaffetz intends to seek assistance from President-elect Trump in abolishing the national monument. Related: President Obama establishes controversial new National Park in Northern Maine The Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada is similarly packed with politics. Supported by retiring Democratic Senator Harry Reid but opposed by Nevada’s Republican Representatives, the national monument outside of Las Vegas will preserve 300,000 acres of ecologically sensitive, pristine land that contains important archaeological sites and rare fossils. Gold Butte carries special significance because of its proximity to the site of the armed standoff led by rancher Cliven Bundy in 2014. The establishment of these national monuments “protect some of our country’s most important cultural treasures, including abundant rock art, archaeological sites, and lands considered sacred by Native American tribes,” said President Obama in a statement. “Today’s actions will help protect this cultural legacy and will ensure that future generations are able to enjoy and appreciate these scenic and historic landscapes.” Through authority granted under the 1906 Antiquities Act, President Obama has protected more land than any president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His successor and his supporters seek to use the Act, which allows for the creation of national monuments without congressional approval, to unilaterally remove protections, a policy that has not been attempted in modern times. Via the Guardian  / Washington Post Images via Ron Reiring   (1)

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Obama creates two new western national monuments in last minute effort

President Obama says we’ll be heading to Mars by the 2030s

October 11, 2016 by  
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President Barack Obama  is setting his sights towards  Mars . Recently, the president penned an opinion piece for CNN on the future of space exploration in America. In it, he talked of the scientific research he’s invested in during his presidency, and his belief that humans could reach the red planet “by the 2030s.” “I still have the same sense of wonder about our space program that I did as a child,” President Obama said. “It represents an essential part of our character – curiosity and exploration, innovation and ingenuity, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and doing it before anybody else.” Related: Leonardo DiCaprio could be headed to Mars with SpaceX President Obama recalled his vow “to return science to its rightful place” in his first presidential address. He detailed the accomplishments America’s space program has achieved since, such as finding water on Mars , taking some of the best images of Pluto ever, and finding Earth-like planets . He said only America can claim to have “flown by every planet in the solar system.” Even as such thrilling discoveries are made, the president said “the cost of space exploration” keeps going down for taxpayers. Linked to thriving space exploration is STEM education. According to President Obama, 100,000 engineers are now graduating each year “from American schools.” The president’s goal is to train 100,000 new quality STEM teachers in 10 years, and he said we are “on track” to reach that goal. President Obama referred to today’s students as “the Mars generation.” He said initially the goal will be to send humans to Mars and then return them to Earth, with a long term goal of astronauts remaining on Mars. He held out the hope he would witness that day with his grandchildren on his shoulders, as he once sat on his grandfather’s shoulders “waving a flag as our astronauts returned to Hawaii.” Via CNN Images via Daniel Borman on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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President Obama says we’ll be heading to Mars by the 2030s

President Obama proclaims state of emergency due to Hurricane Matthew

October 7, 2016 by  
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President Obama announced a state of emergency in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew’s arrival in Florida . His declaration includes federal aid and authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security ” to coordinate all disaster relief efforts .” Meanwhile, Hurricane Matthew hurtles towards Florida with maximum sustained winds of around 120 miles per hour . Scientists from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) call Matthew ” extremely dangerous ” even as the hurricane diminished to a Category 3 storm during the night. NHC said there could be “potentially disastrous impacts.” Florida has not been hit with many storms that have winds as forceful as Matthew’s. About 1.5 million people have left the Atlantic coast, fleeing inland as the hurricane approaches. Around 300,000 homes in Florida have already lost power. Related: How to Prepare Your Home and Family for a Hurricane or Superstorm White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said according to scientists , Hurricane Matthew could be “largest and most powerful hurricane to hit the United States in a decade” and that it is a storm “people should take seriously.” He said if anyone doubts the severity of the storm, “they need only look at the images that are coming back from Haiti.” According to U.S. National Weather Service , Matthew could be the most forceful storm to hit particularly northeast Florida in 118 years. Florida governor Rick Scott urged residents in potentially affected areas to evacuate at once. In a news conference, he said, “You need to leave now. Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate…Your safety, not comfort, is the most important thing.” President Obama’s state of emergency applies to Florida, and according to CNBC in phone calls with state governors he also offered federal resources if necessary to South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. The hurricane center is likely to move “near or over” Florida’s east coast tonight, according to NHC, and could move over South Carolina and Georgia coasts on Saturday. “Maximum sustained winds” could still be 120 miles per hour. Via The New York Times and CNBC Images via Wikimedia Commons and screenshot

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President Obama proclaims state of emergency due to Hurricane Matthew

Obama expands Hawaii marine reserve to double the size of Texas

August 26, 2016 by  
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President Barack Obama will issue a proclamation to expand the existing Papah?naumoku?kea Marine National Monument (PMNM), off the coast of Hawaii, to four times its current size . At 582,578 square miles (1.5m sq km), the new borders will make the protected area twice the size of Texas and the largest protected marine area in the world. The move is intended to protect animal and plant life as well as the world’s deepest and northernmost coral reefs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nlpDHSJ06o Hawaii’s governor David Ige requested the expansion of the marine reserve earlier this year in response to a community-driven effort to protect what has been called “one of the earth’s last best examples of a healthy marine ecosystem.” Enlarging the already protected area will provide further safeguards for the biodiverse region, parts of which have been designated as a marine reserve for decades. PMNM was originally established in 2006 by then-President George W. Bush as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument , and the name was updated the following year. Related: Chile is creating the largest protected marine park in the Americas Initially, the protected area covered 140,000 square miles, including 10 islands and atolls that are home to 7,000 species. Among the ocean creatures living in the protected area are green sea turtles, the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, Laysan and Nihoa finches, the Nihoa millerbird, Laysan duck, seabirds such as the Laysan albatross, as well as numerous species of plants and arthropods. Obama has made marine protections something of a priority during his tenure. In 2014, he ordered the expansion of another South Pacific Ocean marine reserve . Since marine reserves close even more ocean territory to commercial fishing, industry leaders are criticizing the decision, claiming political motivations are trumping scientific findings. Obama will travel to Hawaii next week to mark the proclamation ordering PMNM’s expansion and highlight the importance of protecting the world’s oceans. Via The Guardian Images via Wikipedia ( 1 , 2 )

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Obama expands Hawaii marine reserve to double the size of Texas

President Obama visits Hiroshima, speaks out against nuclear weapons

May 30, 2016 by  
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About 71 years after the United States dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, Japan , President Obama visited the site and placed a wreath before the cenotaph at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park . It is the first visit by a ” sitting U.S. President .” Both Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Obama delivered speeches, and Obama spoke out against nuclear weapons. According to The Washington Post, Japanese citizens ” longed ” for a U.S. president to publicly recognize those lost when nuclear bombs were dropped on Japan, first in Hiroshima and three days later on Nagasaki. An estimated 140,000 and 80,000 were killed in the bombings. The majority were civilians. Related: America’s most polluted nuclear site is now a national park In his speech, President Obama said, “The scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom requires a moral revolution as well…the memory of the morning of August 6, 1945 must never fade. That memory allows us to fight complacency. It fuels our moral imagination. It allows us to change.” The president denounced nuclear weapons and spoke of the terror faced by children, men, and women that day in Hiroshima. He said nations should “ultimately eliminate” nuclear weapons. At a visit to a Marine Corps Air Station about an hour away from Hiroshima, he spoke to Japanese and American soldiers about working for “peace and security” so no nation would feel they needed the destructive weapons. President Obama said in his speech, “That is the future we can choose, a future in which Hiroshima and Nagasaki are known not for the dawn of atomic warfare but as the start of our own moral awakening.” The president also spoke about the progress that has been made, from forming an international organization that works to prevent wars to the development of a positive relationship between Japan and America. He said, “The United States and Japan forged not only an alliance, but a friendship that has won far more for our people than we could ever claim through war.” Via The Washington Post Images via screenshot and Wikimedia Commons

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President Obama visits Hiroshima, speaks out against nuclear weapons

US Surgeon General compares climate change to the 20th century polio epidemic

April 5, 2016 by  
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In an effort to convey the severity of climate change , the White House released a new report that highlights its potential negative impact on human health. Around 100 experts from eight different government agencies including NASA, the EPA, and NOAA contributed to the document. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warns that the effects of shifting weather patterns could be an even tougher challenge to combat than the early 20th century polio epidemic . Read the rest of US Surgeon General compares climate change to the 20th century polio epidemic

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