Top scientist quits EPA, torches Trump administration’s environmental neglect

August 3, 2017 by  
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A top senior official at the EPA resigned this week with a scathing letter  aimed at Trump and his anti-environmental agenda. Elizabeth Southerland has been with the EPA for over 30 years, and in that time she has battled cancer-causing water contaminants, toxic pollution and a host of other threats to our natural resources. But working under climate deniers Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt is a bridge too far. “Today the environmental field is suffering from the temporary triumph of myth over truth. The truth is there is NO war on coal, there is NO economic crisis caused by environmental protection, and climate change IS caused by man’s activities,” she said in her letter. Southerland isn’t the first scientist to quit to protest the administration’s policies, which has also seen key scientists demoted in an attempt to drive them out of their roles. Southerland is particularly critical of Trump’s oversimplified policy of cutting two regulations for every new one. “Should EPA repeal two existing rules protecting infants from neurotoxins in order to promulgate a new rule protecting adults from a newly discovered liver toxin?” Related: Trump’s EPA moves to kill Obama’s Clean Water Rule Southerland was the director in the Office of Science and Technology. Already eligible for retirement, she cites the need to focus on family as a key decision to quit, in addition to her outrage at the hostile policies pushed by Trump. “[T]he President’s FY18 budget proposes cuts to state and tribal funding as draconian as the cuts to EPA , while at the same time reassigning a number of EPA responsibilities to the states and tribes,” she says in her letter. She also comments on a speech given by the Administrator in which he admonished the EPA for running roughshod over state’s rights. “In fact, EPA has always followed a cooperative federalism approach since most environmental programs are delegated to states and tribes who carry out the majority of monitoring, permitting, inspections, and enforcement actions.” Via Huffington Post Images via Flickr  and Wikimedia

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Top scientist quits EPA, torches Trump administration’s environmental neglect

Earths natural resources for 2017 are already in overdraft’

August 3, 2017 by  
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Yesterday was Earth Overshoot Day – but unlike Earth Day , this is no occasion to celebrate. As of August 2, 2017, humans have officially used more natural resources than the Earth can replenish in one year. From now until the beginning of 2018, every natural resource used is considered unsustainable . The Global Footprint Network can be calculated by dividing the number of ecological resources which are produced annually by humanity’s ecological footprint . That number is then multiplied by 365. The resulting data reveals the day every year that is the maximum date humans have before overshooting the “sustainability mark.” Unfortunately, that day arrived just slightly over halfway through 2017. According to the Earth Overshoot Day website, there are three main culprits to blame for the depletion of natural resources: overfishing , deforestation and the emissions of CO2. Deforestation is a primary concern as approximately 130,000 square kilometers (50,200 square miles) of forested land is removed every year, according to WWF . To put that into perspective, consider that is roughly the size of England. Effects of deforestation including habitat loss, reduced oxygen output and decreased animal populations. Large areas of woodlands are burned as well, releasing vast amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. Related: Stefano Boeri unveils Amatrice Food Village in town devastated by earthquake Every year, an estimated 38.2 billion tons of CO2 enter the atmosphere as a result of human activity. Because CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it produces an “insulatory effect” which increases the temperature of Earth’s climate. This, in turn, results in melting glaciers which raise sea levels , causing natural disasters such as tsunamis, floods, and food shortages. Fortunately, hundreds of nations all around the planet have agreed to set sustainability goals as outlined by the Paris Climate Agreement . Though progress is slow, action is being taken to reduce resource depletion. If you are interested in calculating your own overshoot day, visit the Global Footprint Network . + Earth Overshoot Day Via Daily Mail Images via Pixabay

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Earths natural resources for 2017 are already in overdraft’

Community is the key to resilience

July 24, 2017 by  
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Four weeks into the job, Josh Stanbro, chief resilience officer of the City and County of Honolulu, discussed confronting the sustainability challenges confronting the city and Hawaii as a state and part of the world at large.”On Oahu, people recognize that there are direct and immediate threats from climate change,” said Stanbro. Forward-thinking Honolulu had recently voted to establish an office of resilience that tackles affordable housing, critical infrastructure and response to natural hazards associated with climate change and sea level rise.  

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Community is the key to resilience

This framework could help measure climate action in cities

July 24, 2017 by  
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The mission of the Gold Standard Foundation is to show that projects meant to mitigate global warming can go hand in hand with sustainable development.

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This framework could help measure climate action in cities

British retailer Tesco to detoxify clothing

July 24, 2017 by  
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Fashion brands from H&M to Benetton to Levi Strauss have committed to Greenpeace’s initiative to detoxify the industry.

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British retailer Tesco to detoxify clothing

Doing the math on mining’s $16 billion climate problem

July 21, 2017 by  
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A new CDP report analyzing 12 major mining companies details both pitfalls and potential low-carbon openings for the industry.

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Facts and feelings matter when communicating climate science

July 21, 2017 by  
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It’s more important than ever that our approach to communicating about sustainability and climate change is evidence-based and built on a strong, theoretical foundation.

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Facts and feelings matter when communicating climate science

This investor dashboard visualizes progress (or lack thereof) on climate risks

July 20, 2017 by  
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U.K. investment giant Schroders warns planet is on track for more than 4 degrees Celsius of warming.

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This investor dashboard visualizes progress (or lack thereof) on climate risks

Climate change could transform one of Africa’s driest regions into a wet one

July 18, 2017 by  
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Climate change is often connected to heat waves and hot temperatures. But researchers recently found very different weather patterns could arise in a dry region of Africa : the Sahel. The area sprawls across multiple countries and is considered a transitional zone between the Sahara Desert and more humid regions to the south, and itself is prone to extreme dryness. But climate change here could trigger a monsoon circulation. The Sahel stretches from the Atlantic Ocean eastward into Sudan. According to Encyclopædia Britannica , eight months of the year at minimum are dry, and the wet season only sees around four to eight inches of rain . But all that could change if temperatures raise past 1.5 to two degrees Celsius , according to Jacob Schewe of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Anders Levermann of Potsdam University and Columbia University . Related: The sixth mass extinction is killing off wildlife 100 times faster than “normal” Dozens of computer simulations show this region of the world could get wetter under climate change, and the scientists scrutinized the simulations showing the greatest increase. They identified a self-amplifying mechanism that could intensify what Schewe called the Sahel monsoon as more water evaporates from hotter oceans and then falls on land. Regions which are nearly part of the Sahara Desert in Mali, Chad, and Niger could see as much rain as central Nigeria or northern Cameroon receive today. Rainfall could offer benefits for the Sahel, but the two researchers say adapting to the altered weather could be difficult for the region, some areas of which have been grappling with instability and war. In a statement, Levermann said, “…the Sahel might experience years of hard-to-handle variability between drought and flood . Obviously, agriculture and infrastructure will have to meet this challenge. As great as it hopefully were for the dry Sahel to have so much more rain, the dimension of the change calls for urgent attention.” The journal Earth System Dynamics published the research online earlier this month. Via the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research Images via Ammar Hassan on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Climate change could transform one of Africa’s driest regions into a wet one

Inside the rise and fall of NRG’s green strategy

July 17, 2017 by  
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The company’s former CEO is of two minds: Great for shareholders, but not so much for the planet — or the climate movement.

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Inside the rise and fall of NRG’s green strategy

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